What Pope Francis Actually Said

12:33 PM Marcellino DAmbrosio 0 Comments

If you've read any news about the pope in the last few months, you know that they usually look something like this:

Vatican City- Pope Francis, dressed in simple robes made from bedsheets, setting aside the usual papal wardrobe which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars said in an off the cuff comment this morning that the Church is not really necessary at all anymore and really is more of a social cloud for people who want to feel good about themselves. “We believe in following your conscience.” said the Pontiff. We have interpreted this, of course the way we want to hear it. This is now a codified, ex-cathedra (whatever that means) dogmatic decree that every Catholic instantly must adhere to as reported by this news agency –we are not biased at all by progressive agendas. This is in stark contrast to Pope Benedict XVI, who said that only those whose names are in the registry of a Catholic Church and are fluent in ecclesiastic Latin could have any hope for salvation. Benedict made this decree while simultaneously kicking a kitten and taking food from a starving child before climbing into his papal Lamborghini.

Lets go ahead and slap a Vatican flag decal on the front, we can do that right?

The news never gets Pope Francis right, or Pope Benedict for that matter. They listen only for what they want to hear. So it is with the news articles that came out today declaring, like this one, that Pope Francis has “assured atheists that you don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven.” The author of this article doesn't give two craps what Pope Francis actually said. He's just fanning the flames of controversy. If you want to get your heart broken for Jesus and for all of humanity, go read the letter Pope Francis actually wrote here. Because I also know that I’m totally not normal and that normal people don’t usually read papal letters, I’m going to just give you a few of the quotes from this unbelievable saint of a man. These are all gems from his letter to Eugenio Scalfari, the founder of “La Repubblica” newspaper. I’ll let Pope Francis speak for himself:

Pope Frikkin Francis

              Where does faith come from?
“For me, faith is born from the encounter with Jesus. A personal encounter, which has touched my heart and given direction and new meaning to my existence. But at the same time an encounter that was made possible by the community of faith in which I have lived….Believe me, without the Church I would not have been able to encounter Christ, also in the awareness that the immense gift that faith is kept in the fragile earthen vessels of our humanity.”

               Who is Jesus? Is he a power hungry tyrant who came to destroy those who oppose him?
“[The question] ‘Who is he’” refers to Jesus’ identity, is born from witnessing an authority that is different from that of the world, an authority that is not aimed at exercising power over others, but of serving them, of giving them liberty and the fullness of life. And this to the point of putting at stake one’s own life, to the point of experiencing incomprehension, betrayal, rejection, to the point of being condemned to death, of sealing the state of abandonment on the cross. But Jesus remains faithful to God, to the end.
And it is precisely then... that Jesus shows himself paradoxically as the Son of God! Son of a God that is love and that wishes with all His being that man, every man, discover himself and also live as His true son. This is, for the Christian faith, the certificate of the fact that Jesus is risen: not to triumph over those who rejected him, but to attest that the love of God is stronger than death, the forgiveness of God is stronger than any sin, and that it is worthwhile to spend one’s life, to the end, witnessing this immense gift”

               Did Jesus come to cut his followers off from the rest of the world?
“In other words, Jesus’ offspring, as presented by the Christian faith, is not revealed to mark an insurmountable separation between Jesus and all others: but to tell us that, in Him, we are all called to be children of the one Father and brothers among ourselves. The singularity of Jesus is for communication, not for exclusion.”

               What about the Jews? Are they condemned to hell because they didn’t accept Jesus?
“What I can say to you, with the Apostle Paul, is that God’s fidelity to the close covenant with Israel never failed and that, through the terrible trials of these centuries, the Jews have kept their faith in God. And for this, we shall never be sufficiently grateful to them as Church, but also as humanity. They, then, precisely by persevering in the faith of the God of the Covenant, called all, also us Christians, to the fact that we are always waiting, as pilgrims, for the Lord’s return.”

               What of atheists? Does God forgive them even if they don’t believe in him?
“First of all, you ask me if the God of Christians forgives one who doesn’t believe and doesn’t seek the faith. Premise that – and it’s the fundamental thing – the mercy of God has no limits if one turns to him with a sincere and contrite heart; the question for one who doesn’t believe in God lies in obeying one’s conscience. Sin, also for those who don’t have faith, exists when one goes against one’s conscience. To listen to and to obey it means, in fact, to decide in face of what is perceived as good or evil. And on this decision pivots the goodness or malice of our action.”

               Is there absolute truth or is truth relative?
“Now truth, according to the Christian faith, is the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, truth is a relationship! So true is it that each one of us also takes up the truth and expresses it from him/herself: from his/her history and culture, from the situation in which he/she lives, etc. This doesn’t mean that truth is variable or subjective, quite the opposite. But is means that it is given to us always and only as a way and a life. Did not Jesus himself say: ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’?”

               When men cease to exist, will the idea of God disappear along with him?
“God – this is my thought and this is my experience, but how many, yesterday and today, share it! – is not an idea, even though very lofty, fruit of man’s thought. God is reality with a capital ‘R.”

               And about the church:
“Believe me, the Church despite all the slowness, the infidelities, the errors and sins she could have committed and can still commit in those that accompany her, has no other sense or end but that of living and witnessing Jesus: He who was sent by Abba “to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

With fraternal closeness,

               The Tear Jerker:

Pope Francis signed this letter to Eugenio Scalfari, a non believer, “with fraternal closeness.” No formality, no papal bull or decree or title, just "Francis." That is just awesome. That, more than everything else is the Pope  answer to all the questions Scalfari asked him- We are all brothers. Someone hand me a tissue immediately.

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