Via Apologetic Press:
On Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Pope Francis conducted Mass in Rome. During that service, he made one of the most memorable and astonishing statements ever spoken by anyone who calls himself a Christian. The theme of his sermon was that all humans should do good deeds for others. In the course of the talk he stated:
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! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. 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 at Mass…,” 2013, emp. added).
The Pope’s statement highlights two very important issues. First, it shows how far the Pope and the Catholic Church have fallen from the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus explained to the first-century Jews: “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). His point could not have been more clear: acceptance of the fact that Jesus is the Son of God is required for salvation. That is why Jesus told His apostles: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Furthermore, the inspired apostle Paul explained that Jesus Christ is coming “from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, emp. added). John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, boldly stated: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” Make no mistake, neither Jesus nor His inspired apostles ever once hinted at the possibility that people who do not believe in God will be saved. They will not. Revelation 21:8 explains: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral…shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (emp. added).
The second issue evident in Francis’ statement is the fact that pressure from the unbelieving community is mounting. As the number of unbelievers gradually increases, so does the temptation to appease them and attempt to bend the truth to ingratiate one’s self or organization with unbelievers. As Christians—followers of Jesus Christ—we must resist this tempation at all cost. Yes, praise God, Jesus’ blood is powerful enough to redeem unbelievers, if and only if, those unbelievers turn to Him with humble hearts, confess that He is God’s son, and obey the Gospel (Lyons and Butt, n.d.). Barring that response, unbelievers can look forward to nothing in the afterlife except a “certain fearful expectation of judgment” (Hebrews 10:27).
In my summation, a sad day in the Catholic Church. (Other articles linked in pictures)
A challenge was presented to AOM (see link in “All Dogs Go To Heaven”) and responded to thus:
Response to Some Objections
Some of Rome’s apologists will respond, like Bryan Cross:
It is important, as you mentioned, to distinguish between redemption accomplished objectively, and redemption applied subjectively. Pope Francis was speaking of the former when saying that Christ has redeemed all men, and therefore not implying universalism.
Bryan may be right to insist on that distinction, but Francis is not making that distinction – he’s arguing that the “this Blood makes us children of God.” The consistent reference to “us” in Francis’ lecture is everyone, and specifically not just Roman Catholics. The blood acting on subjects to make them something is not simply objective redemption accomplished, contrary to Bryan’s wish.
Jason Stellman, recent apostate/revert to Rome (it is unclear if he was baptized RC or not) put it this way:
Again, it’s not that “our sins are paid for” in the sense Protestants think of it (i.e., God imputing our guilt to Christ, pouring out his wrath upon him, and then imputing his righteousness to us). So the reason redemption accomplished doesn’t imply redemption applied is that the former doesn’t mean for Catholics what it does for Protestants. Jesus did not suffer divine anger and retribution for a certain group of people who then cannot but be saved. Rather, he recapitulated Adamic humanity in himself by offering a sacrifice that pleased the Father more than our sins displeased him. When seen in this way, redemption applied ceases to be a foregone conclusion and actually becomes something we must actively pursue through faith and the sacraments.
Expressing the recapitulation theory this way, however, doesn’t rescue Francis. Francis is talking about something that has been applied to people, not something that is merely available to people.
Jimmy Akin similarly says:
So far so good: Christ redeemed all of us, making it possible for every human to be saved.
That is not what Francis said, though. Francis did not say simply that it was possible for them to be saved, but that this redemption had made them children of God “of the first class.”
Jimmy Akin continued:
We can be called children of God in several senses. One of them is merely be being created as rational beings made in God’s image. Another is by becoming Christian. Another sense (used in the Old Testament) is connected with righteous behavior. And there can be other senses as well.
Here Pope Francis may be envisioning a sense in which we can be called children of God because Christ redeemed us, even apart from embracing that redemption by becoming Christian.
Had Francis not added “of the first class,” then this avenue might be available. Yet Francis talked about them being made children of the first class.