Pope Francis weighed in last month on the possibility, and actuality, of atheists doing good in the world. His homily, given May 22 at his Vatican “dorm” to Vatican City employees and in the presence of the Patriarch of Antioch, declared that a proper doctrine of creation places atheists within the matrix of the unity of love of God and neighbor. One could hardly call this open-hearted homily good news for Roman Catholic tribalists. Thomas Rosica, a priest who worked in the Vatican press office during the recent papal transition, threw cold water on the universalist enthusiasm Pope Francis displayed. One may hope that Pope Francis as well as those who find the sources or source of good to be nontranscendent will find common ground in the world of action. In sum, Pope Francis, good for the atheists? Bad for the atheists? Don’t be a schmuck, time will tell. Francis is quite likely capable of both gradual and punctuated evolution–may the rest of us be so capable too.
- Pope defends atheists: Atheists who do good are good, says Pope Francis (csmonitor.com)
- Vatican reverses Francis, says atheists still going to hell (upi.com)