By Jane Nambi
Pope Francis has raised eye brows once again with a statement to the atheists.
In a letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis gave a good word to the atheists telling them that they do not have to believe in God at all to go to heaven. “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. “Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience,” he wrote.
The pope was responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic. Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image. “Francis is a still a conservative. But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world,” Mickens said.
The pope went ahead and added, “Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart,” the pope wrote, “the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one’s conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one’s mind about what is good and evil.”