EndNotes

Pope Francis says…

Pope Francis listens to questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on its way back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013. Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn't judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
Pope Francis listens to questions during a news conference aboard the papal flight on its way back from Brazil, Monday, July 29, 2013. Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn't judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" Francis asked. His predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men with deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis was much more conciliatory, saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten. Francis' remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip in Brazil. (Luca Zennaro / Ansa)

When I was eight years old my friend Patty asked me to attend her Lutheran church with her. My mom wouldn’t let me saying, “Catholics are not allowed to attend non-Catholic churches.”

And now Pope Francis I writes about atheists, saying “open dialogue free of prejudices” between Christians and atheists is “necessary and precious.” My, how the Church has changed.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, is when one goes against their conscience,” he added. “To listen and to obey to (one’s conscience) means to decide oneself in relation to what’s perceived as good and evil. And this decision is fundamental to determining the good or evil of our actions.”

I am not certain if atheists care what a pontiff proclaims about them, but I do. A pope’s  willingness to converse with, understand and accept atheists offers an inclusivity that follows Jesus’ mandate to “love one another as I have loved you.”

(S-R archive photo)




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