A Miracle on Perry Street and at the Vatican

Yesterday, not only did Pope Francis make it clear that you didn’t have to believe in God to be a good and righteous person, he believes even atheists will be redeemed.

I have problems with this Pope and organized religion in general, but this was very decent of him and it came at a particularly important time.

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “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.”

In a world where some people are denying other people’s basic human rights, or worse, hacking to death those with different beliefs, this is a GREAT development. Jesus preached love. (The opposite, for instance, of this very un-Christian Christian.) I think it’s enormously compassionate of this Pope to envision a God that will not punish me for my disbelief, but instead embrace me for being a good person.

Whenever someone has told me I’m going to go to Hell (and I get told this from time to time) I always think that’s so insane. Even if I was wrong about there being no God, I can’t imagine that God would be so petty as to condemn a basically decent person like myself to be burned for all eternity. It makes no sense.

In other miraculous news, the Lion (Bleecker) laid down with the Lamb (Finney).

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

8 thoughts on “A Miracle on Perry Street and at the Vatican

  1. Wow, thanks for the pointer to this thread, I have to go back and read more! Someone else was posting about it.

    But good on the Catholics, re this. I’ve never used that term before, “good on.”

  2. Yes, I found this news interesting and encouraging, too. And what you wrote at the end of your penultimate paragraph: “It makes no sense.” Isn’t that true for all religious doctrine in general? None of it makes sense to me.

  3. Well, most of the ten commandments are sound. I love a lot of Buddhist teachings, but honestly, I don’t know the doctrines of a lot of other religious groups. I’m not terribly educated about religion.

  4. Huh,
    I didn’t know about that teaching either–and I am Catholic. And reading this is the first thing that has gladdened my heart about being Catholic for some time. Thank you.
    I have hopes for our new pope Frankie Argentina (as I think of him). Not high hopes, because he’d have a lot to do to fix all the problems in the church, but hopes nonetheless.
    and p.s. Most people who consider themselves religious are “not terribly educated” about religion, and certainly not a variety of religious traditions, either, so don’t feel bad. 🙂

  5. Hi Stacy,
    for the record, Catholics do not deny the idea that Protestants can get to heaven.

    I am not a Catholic, and was interested to discover that the church regards Protestantism as “faith communities.”

    Perhaps a bit like people who gather privately for Bible study or something of the sort. However, they see salvation for Protestants as entirely possible.

    The church is a wise and venerable organization with many problems, like a ship with barnacles on the hull. And it is indispensable in the development of Western thought, from the point of view of both omission and commission.

  6. Some of the problems are pretty serious though.

    That said, I still love the compassion this pope recently expressed toward people like me.

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