If ever I was confused by the teachings of the Roman Church, it is now. I certainly do not want to stand in the shoes of an unchurched unbeliever right now, trying to make out what Roman Christianity is teaching.
You know the expression “clear as mud.” This is it.
Pope Francis delivered a daily homily in the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on Wednesday May 22, 2013 (more). Amongst other things he said:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” (Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/05/22/pope_at_mass:_culture_of_encounter_is_the_foundation_of_peace/en1-694445 of the Vatican Radio website)
To provide some clarity Father Thomas Rosica issued this statement:
Pope Francis has no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation through his homily or scriptural reflection when he stated that “God has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!”
So, the Pope was apparently not speaking ex cathedra – (more). He did not pronounce an infallible and immutable truth (what a relief!). He was however preaching the Word of God. In Reformed circles a minister of the Word does not have the luxury of sometimes say immutable things and other times not. He will (and should) be pulled up if he preaches anything else but the Word of God.
Father Rosica however is of the opinion that “Pope Francis has no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation through his homily or scriptural reflection when he stated that ‘God has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone!‘”
He offers this clarifying explanation:
“A non-Christian may reject a Christian’s presentation of the gospel of Christ. That however, does not necessarily mean that the person has truly rejected Christ and God. Rejection of Christianity may not mean the rejection of Christ. For if a given individual rejects the Christianity brought to him through the Church’s preaching, even then we are still never in any position to decide whether this rejection as it exists in the concrete signifies a grave fault or an act of faithfulness to one’s own conscience. We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non-Christian who has rejected Christianity and who, in spite of a certain encounter with Christianity, does not become a Christian, is still following the temporary path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with God, or whether he has now entered upon the way of perdition. (more)
“Only through this Church can one obtain the fullness of the means of salvation since the Lord has entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone whose head is Peter.”
Without being sarcastic or contemptuous, I have to conclude that sometimes the Pope knows it all and sometimes he doesn’t; sometimes he chooses to not preach the whole truth, and sometimes he does; sometimes one must be saved through the [Catholic] church, sometimes not; sometimes one has certainty of salvation, sometimes not; sometimes one has some knowledge, sometimes one has to suffer confusion.
Maybe I should just read the Bible which is the infallible and immutable Word of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 10–14, NIV)
Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:18–21, NIV)
Atheists who comes to the Light and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, can be sure that He “will never dive them away.” (John 6:37) On the other hand, if they have no room for His word, they have the devil as their father (John 8:44).
Pope Francis, you have it wrong. The message of last Wednesday was not the truth of God’s Word. What you said is confusing; many walking in darkness could construe your words to mean that they will eventually end up in heaven just because they tried their best – even denying Christ.