So the new Pope wrote a letter. And what did he write? Well, it sounds sort of nice. Indeed, it probably will play well in some progressive circles, but for the hardened atheist, the following by Pope Francis is, well… drivel:
In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.” ((Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven, The Independent, 9/11/2013))
Uh-huh. However, last time I checked, the Catechism said no such thing, and, as far as I can tell, the Pope is NOT greater than the Catechism. In fact, the Pope can be fired, but if you did away with the Catechism there would be NO Catholic Church.
It seems to me, that the Catechism trumps the Pope whenever there is any conflict — and there certainly is conflict here.
II. HANDING ON THE FAITH: CATECHESIS
4 Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ. ((CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH))
PART TWO — THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO — THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER ONE — THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION
ARTICLE 1 — THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”5
I. WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen’s burial into Christ’s death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.”6
1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.” ((CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH))
Perhaps if the “vicar of Christ” had bothered to read his own church’s documentation, he might not have engaged in mindless drivel…