“Pope” Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church made news this past week by stating that one doesn’t have to be a Catholic to be redeemed. In fact, not only does one not have to be Catholic, Pope Francis affirmed that even atheists are redeemed.
It appears the modern, sweeping spirit of ecumenism has even infiltrated the papacy. Some Catholic apologists have attempted to defend Pope Francis by saying this teaching is not new. And I suppose this is true, but only since Vatican II in 1964. But prior to Vatican II, the Catholic Church had an entirely different view pertaining to this question. Read what two Popes said prior to Vatican II on this matter.
“Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also [pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]”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!” 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.” (Pope Francis, 2013).[/pullquote]apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins…In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Ephesians 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed….Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII 1302)
“It [the Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, 1441).
So if one is Catholic, which Pope is he to believe? The one who says non-Catholics will go to Hell, or the one who says that non-Catholics, even atheists are redeemed? A better question is this, should one believe the words of any man, regardless of who he is, over the word of God? The Bible says says that those who do not obey the gospel (that would include atheists) will not be saved (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Jesus, himself, said that if we don’t believe that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, we will die in our sins (John 8:24).
I appeal to all men, especially my Catholic friends, to give serious consideration to the following words. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).
Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).