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Author Topic: Pope Francis says atheists are going to heaven  (Read 6759 times) Average Rating: 0
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TheTrisagion
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« on: May 22, 2013, 09:27:47 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this. 

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 09:29:59 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this. 

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

Did he say they'd be enjoying the experience?
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 09:47:54 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this. 

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

I don't really know how to take this. I can't help but feel like he's glossing over some fundamental beliefs about baptism and the atonement...
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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 09:52:44 PM »

I think that people are reading too much into Pope Francis's statement. Nowhere does he say Atheists are definitely going to heaven, but merely that Christ died for them so they might be. Everyone is redeemed by Christ's death, but that doesn't mean all will choose to accept God's love in the end.
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« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 10:01:57 PM »

I don't see the cause for alarm. He's simply encouraging people to do good, no matter what they believe. As an atheist, you might have a sincere longing to believe, but you simply cannot believe. Even so, you should pursue goodness.

H.H. Pope Francis is not saying that baptism is null and void, or that it's okay not to pursue God. He's saying that we do not necessarily need to be absolutely certain in our beliefs to begin doing good. Perhaps in adopting this view, an atheist will feel encouraged to take action, and that action will lead him closer to God.

There are most likely atheists in this world who are much closer to God than I am. We certainly cannot peer into the inner conscience of every single person in the world. God can (and, I believe, does) save those outside of the visible Church based on their own circumstances and the content of their hearts.

Once we have found The Truth, we cannot reject it without rejecting our own salvation! But, for those who have not yet found it, or struggle with it, they should not be discouraged, H.H. Pope Francis is saying. He's not supporting atheism, he's not making membership in the Church optional, he's just giving hope to all who struggle for good in this life.
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 10:04:53 PM »

The grace of Christ is offered to all men and women and it does touch all people each in his or hers own unique way so that even an atheist has an opportunity to accept God's stirrings and do something good. This does not, however, mean that Pope Francis said that these atheists are saved only that the Redemption touches the entire human race insofar as Christ died for each of us.
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 10:06:23 PM »

I don't see the cause for alarm. He's simply encouraging people to do good, no matter what they believe. As an atheist, you might have a sincere longing to believe, but you simply cannot believe. Even so, you should pursue goodness.

H.H. Pope Francis is not saying that baptism is null and void, or that it's okay not to pursue God. He's saying that we do not necessarily need to be absolutely certain in our beliefs to begin doing good. Perhaps in adopting this view, an atheist will feel encouraged to take action, and that action will lead him closer to God.

There are most likely atheists in this world who are much closer to God than I am. We certainly cannot peer into the inner conscience of every single person in the world. God can (and, I believe, does) save those outside of the visible Church based on their own circumstances and the content of their hearts.

Once we have found The Truth, we cannot reject it without rejecting our own salvation! But, for those who have not yet found it, or struggle with it, they should not be discouraged, H.H. Pope Francis is saying. He's not supporting atheism, he's not making membership in the Church optional, he's just giving hope to all who struggle for good in this life.
Well put.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 10:53:43 PM »

Quote
"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.”

This is what confuses me.  He seems to be giving assurance to those who are atheists.  It would be one thing to say we MAY meet one another there by the grace of God.  It is quite another to say we WILL meet one another there.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 11:00:49 PM »

Quote
"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.”

This is what confuses me.  He seems to be giving assurance to those who are atheists.  It would be one thing to say we MAY meet one another there by the grace of God.  It is quite another to say we WILL meet one another there.
he is saying that the atheist should do his best 'to do good' and that is a common ground to meet each other on, which, of course, presupposes grace. Thus, by commiting himself to do good he surely has the opportunity to encounter God and from there perhaps God will lead him further, but Pope Francis is encouraging the atheist to at least make this first step.
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 11:03:06 PM »

Quote
"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.”

This is what confuses me.  He seems to be giving assurance to those who are atheists.  It would be one thing to say we MAY meet one another there by the grace of God.  It is quite another to say we WILL meet one another there.
he is saying that the atheist should do his best 'to do good' and that is a common ground to meet each other on, which, of course, presupposes grace. Thus, by commiting himself to do good he surely has the opportunity to encounter God and from there perhaps God will lead him further, but Pope Francis is encouraging the atheist to at least make this first step.

His words seemed a bit stronger than that to me.
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 11:12:38 PM »

Quote
"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.”

This is what confuses me.  He seems to be giving assurance to those who are atheists.  It would be one thing to say we MAY meet one another there by the grace of God.  It is quite another to say we WILL meet one another there.
he is saying that the atheist should do his best 'to do good' and that is a common ground to meet each other on, which, of course, presupposes grace. Thus, by commiting himself to do good he surely has the opportunity to encounter God and from there perhaps God will lead him further, but Pope Francis is encouraging the atheist to at least make this first step.

His words seemed a bit stronger than that to me.
What did you take his words to mean?
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 02:30:09 AM »

He's saying that we do not necessarily need to be absolutely certain in our beliefs to begin doing good.

No, he said "atheists." Not "theists with uncertainties." Atheists. People who actively disbelieve in God.
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2013, 02:54:08 AM »

I think that atheists know God better than all of us. That's why so many of them absolutely hate him even though they "disbelieve" in Him. Ever notice how some of the people who we feel like we hate and despise the most are those closest to us who we love? Such as our family and friends? I imagine it is somewhat like that with the atheist and God. They are so disturbed by the fact that a loving God could allow there to be so much evil in the world or could be so absent from their lives that they reject Him altogether because the reality is unfathomable. I believe it was Fr. Seraphim Rose who said that true existential atheism that hates God is merely one of man's attempts to grapple with a God they have so much trouble understanding. It's a lot better than the cafeteria Christians who don't think about their beliefs at all or who totally detach themselves from all of the evil and dilemmas in the world in order to protect their faith bubble.
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« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2013, 05:14:57 AM »

He's saying that we do not necessarily need to be absolutely certain in our beliefs to begin doing good.

No, he said "atheists." Not "theists with uncertainties." Atheists. People who actively disbelieve in God.

Someone who identifies as an "atheist" is not necessarily one who actively rejects God, although that's the classical definition. I think Pope Francis was using the term to describe a range of secular-minded people, from skeptics to agnostics to "hard" atheists. Richard Dawkins, who is in many ways a leader of the new atheist movement, argued in The God Delusion that few people fall into the latter category (believe that God does not exist); even he admits to a sort of "soft" atheism in which he does not believe in God based on the evidence he has but would be willing to change his mind in the future. I think most people who identify as "atheist" fall into that category. Few would be so bold as to say "there is no God," period.

At any rate, he wasn't talking in academic context, where his words needed to be precise. Although I'm sure he'd encourage people with strong disbelief to also pursue good.
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« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2013, 06:17:05 AM »

I think it helps and gives courage to those who have been influenced by the belief in an unloving God. Many atheists reject God based on a false understanding of Him. This kind of people don't need further indoctrination, but a little bit of love to help them see the light.
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 07:21:55 AM »

Good for him. Isn't Atheism a product of the RCC anyway? Maybe the could be a new order in the church, then schism off with schlock icons.
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« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2013, 07:38:16 AM »

I believe he is just stating in an informal way the very orthodox belief that the law of God is inscribed in everybody's heart.

And that even unbelievers may follow it - although with more difficulty to understand the full scope of what they are doing.

Or in other words, that we know where the Church is and where the Church is not, and we know who is in the Church and who is not *but* we don't know who will be thrown away and who will be called in after Judgment Day.

Salvation is in the Church only, but not everybody who is in will remain in, not everybody who is out will remain out. Some of those who are currently out and will be in may very well be atheists who, in contradiction with their own belief, still loved their neighbors as themselves and God above everything else, even if they call God by His other names: truth, life and meaning of life.

That to discern these things without a proper Orthodox Christian cosmological vision makes everything far more difficult is the reason why announcing the Gospel to them is still extremely important. So many atheists start well with some concern for those around them and ended supporting genocidical regimes, or just becoming sour cynical people who don't believe - and therefore can't love - even their neighbors.
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« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2013, 08:08:10 AM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2013, 08:14:07 AM »

I think that atheists know God better than all of us. That's why so many of them absolutely hate him even though they "disbelieve" in Him. Ever notice how some of the people who we feel like we hate and despise the most are those closest to us who we love? Such as our family and friends? I imagine it is somewhat like that with the atheist and God. They are so disturbed by the fact that a loving God could allow there to be so much evil in the world or could be so absent from their lives that they reject Him altogether because the reality is unfathomable. I believe it was Fr. Seraphim Rose who said that true existential atheism that hates God is merely one of man's attempts to grapple with a God they have so much trouble understanding. It's a lot better than the cafeteria Christians who don't think about their beliefs at all or who totally detach themselves from all of the evil and dilemmas in the world in order to protect their faith bubble.

Yeah it seems to me that fundie atheists are more obsessed with God then we are. And some are even Bible worshippers too.

But I'll let theist gal weigh in on this.
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« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2013, 08:17:22 AM »

Quote
Yeah it seems to me that fundie atheists are more obsessed with God then we are. And some are even Bible worshippers too.

 Cheesy  This is funny because it is so true.  A friend of mine is an atheist blogger and he is unbelieveable prolific in his writings on God and religion.  I think he thinks about God more than just about any Christian I know.
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2013, 08:20:56 AM »

Yeah you would think God not existing would have them shut up about it, but the opposite is true. Why go on about something you believe doesn't exist?

I would even argue they love God to some degree.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2013, 09:08:58 AM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP

Is it me or is the author of this piece an ignoramus? What do you expect from Huff Post anyway, they have their agenda after all.

This is news?

THE Church has proclaimed this since the beginning. Redemption and salvation ain't the same.
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2013, 09:32:13 AM »

Christ redeemed the entire Creation from death. Salvation is salvation from hell.

Christ's work had the final objective of uniting human nature with divine nature.

The trouble is that before that happened, human nature had fallen, causing death. Well, something that will eventually be destroyed will not be united to something that is eternal. So He had to heal this destroying death.

Once death is destroyed by His own death and resurrection, we are all, literally, imortals in the sense that although we die for this "crude matter", we as persons, somehow survive that partial destruction and will eventually be resurrected.

Now, after resurrection, we will be in the very presence of God, in the fullness of His Glory. We won't be able to pretend to be or pretend to believe we are not what we with deep love and obstinance had chosen to be. His Love will be all around us. Those whose life was a lie, a living hell will no longer be able to hide that. That is hell, and accepting truth in our life as soon as possible is salvation from that.

So we have salvation from hell that is participation in the whole truth. The whole truth includes God, God's real character and nature, and that's what makes it more difficult the more one is away from the Orthodox Church (the visible, manifest, undivided Body of Christ).

But one may have contact with truth in lesser manifestations as true morality, true knowledge, true beauty, true justice and true love of what is true.
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2013, 09:40:06 AM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP

Is it me or is the author of this piece an ignoramus? What do you expect from Huff Post anyway, they have their agenda after all.

This is news?

THE Church has proclaimed this since the beginning. Redemption and salvation ain't the same.
I just think its someone who doesn't understand the rudiments of RC or Orthodox Soteriology....much like many of the RC and Orthodox adherents, myself probably included Smiley

PP
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2013, 09:45:15 AM »

So, summing up, I believe the Orthodox faith is that we have universal salvation from death and conditional salvation from hell.
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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2013, 10:06:28 AM »

My priest just sent me the link below, with a very nice explanation.

orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/05/23/did-pope-francis-say-everyone-will-be-saved-by-doing-good/

I especially liked this paragraph.
"The capability of doing good is an effect of redemption, not its cause, and salvation is also another possibility because of that redemption. Someone may be redeemed and not be saved. Someone may be redeemed and not do good. Someone may also be redeemed, do good and yet not be saved."
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2013, 10:36:52 AM »

My priest just sent me the link below, with a very nice explanation.

orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/05/23/did-pope-francis-say-everyone-will-be-saved-by-doing-good/

I especially liked this paragraph.
"The capability of doing good is an effect of redemption, not its cause, and salvation is also another possibility because of that redemption. Someone may be redeemed and not be saved. Someone may be redeemed and not do good. Someone may also be redeemed, do good and yet not be saved."

Thanks Dpaula, that is a very good article on it.  His comments below the article also give a good explanation of what the Pope likely meant by the sentence I was concerned about.  The Pope was not referencing meeting in heaven, he was talking about meeting one another doing good.
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2013, 10:54:44 AM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP
This is news?

THE Church has proclaimed this since the beginning. Redemption and salvation ain't the same.
One of the great challenges of the day is to tell people what Christianity actually teaches rather than to allow them to believe what they think it teaches. Such statements as the Pope made here aren’t radical, but they don’t fit the narrative about Catholicism that many have made in their minds.
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2013, 12:06:55 PM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP
Like who? I thought it was customary for Orthodox Christians to make no judgments about such things.
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2013, 12:19:50 PM »

some people are taking the huffington post seriously?!
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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2013, 12:20:28 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this. 

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

I didn't read the article, but the Orthodox Church would not say atheists will not experience joy in age to come.

In fact, a certain Orthodox someone, who everyone hates me to mention so often, said some atheists will be absolutely glorified for rejecting God.

I cannot imagine getting the time to source that anytime soon.
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2013, 12:21:58 PM »

some people are taking the huffington post seriously?!
 Roll Eyes

Why not? For the most part it is a barely legal news aggregator from what I understand. A lot of "their content" is just aggregated material with enough "original" work to not be tied up in lawsuits all the time.
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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2013, 01:46:27 PM »

That does sound Universalist and Hippy religionist.
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« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2013, 02:34:11 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this. 

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

No, he didn't.

See this link for a good explanation.

http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/05/23/did-pope-francis-say-everyone-will-be-saved-by-doing-good/
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2013, 03:04:13 PM »

Christ redeemed the entire creation, but there are people that did not attain salvation, so.....

PP

Is it me or is the author of this piece an ignoramus? What do you expect from Huff Post anyway, they have their agenda after all.

This is news?

THE Church has proclaimed this since the beginning. Redemption and salvation ain't the same.
Exactly. Huff post of course provides its liberal coloring.
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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2013, 06:16:55 PM »

I must say, I have to pick my chin off the floor after reading this.  

Is it just me or is it sounding like Pope Francis is a universalist?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html

Someone needs to remind Pope Francis that works alone will not get you into Heaven.  There are too many verses in Scripture to mention that implies that works are the manifestation of Faith.  St. James stated that Faith alone without works is dead.  I say works alone with out faith is definity dead.
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William
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« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2013, 06:40:38 PM »

Come on guys, stop being so gullible. There's a modernist pope and he's more or less a Universalist with extremely weak ecclesiology. I get it, if you ignore half of what he said and make some logical leaps you can arrive at an interpretation of his remarks that is almost Orthodox. But why would you?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 06:41:21 PM by William » Logged

Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant
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« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2013, 08:56:26 PM »

some people are taking the huffington post seriously?!
 Roll Eyes
Some people are taking the huffington posts interpretation on religious issues seriously?
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« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2013, 08:58:12 PM »

I accept Huffington Post interpretation on religion as authoritative right behind the Church Fathers and right ahead of Evangelical Christians.  Wink
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« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2013, 09:03:47 PM »

I accept Huffington Post interpretation on religion as authoritative right behind the Church Fathers and right ahead of Evangelical Christians.  Wink
That's a rather wide canyon.
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« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2013, 09:19:38 PM »

I accept Huffington Post interpretation on religion as authoritative right behind the Church Fathers and right ahead of Evangelical Christians.  Wink
That's a rather wide canyon.

LOL, very true.
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« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2013, 10:44:25 PM »

I like the new pope more and more. First castigating capitalism, then making overtures to atheists. Not that bad. Plus it's also good he really irks those people that care about lace cottas. Not that i care, but most of them deserved to be annoyed.
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« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2013, 11:07:09 PM »

While I do think it wasn't the most prudent choice of words on the part of the Holy Father, the title of this thread and the interpretation by HuffPo and other such rags is incorrect.  Pope Francis has a tendency to speak off the cuff in his homilies.  I like it because his homilies are usually pretty good and I am scared to death of it at the same time because it is easy for something to come out the wrong way when you preach in that manner.  I think he is still learning to be Pope and coming to grips with the idea that everything he says will be dissected all over the world.  Pope Benedict had some things happen early in his pontificate which were taken out of context as well during unscripted comments.   He didn't go off the script much at all for the remainder of his pontificate.  At some point, Pope Francis will likely do the same.   

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/05/pope-francis-on-the-possibility-of-salvation-for-atheists/

« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 11:13:47 PM by jwinch2 » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2013, 11:08:27 PM »

I like the new pope more and more. First castigating capitalism, then making overtures to atheists. Not that bad. Plus it's also good he really irks those people that care about lace cottas. Not that i care, but most of them deserved to be annoyed.
lol you should hear my coworker complaining about how "humble" he is and misses the elegance of the Vatican when Benedict was in the chair.

Yeah I like the new pope too, but of course I remain skeptical on any reform he wants to introduce.
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« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2013, 11:23:19 PM »

I like the new pope more and more. First castigating capitalism, then making overtures to atheists. Not that bad. Plus it's also good he really irks those people that care about lace cottas. Not that i care, but most of them deserved to be annoyed.
lol you should hear my coworker complaining about how "humble" he is and misses the elegance of the Vatican when Benedict was in the chair.

Yeah I like the new pope too, but of course I remain skeptical on any reform he wants to introduce.
I do not think that Pope Francis will attempt to push any reform through officially. Rather, I think that he wants to call RCs and others towards a deeper relationship with Christ through orthopraxis and service.

The moment that really warmed me up to Pope Francis was his off the cuff embrace of a disabled boy; it's particular poignant for those of us who have disabled family members who are all too often marginalized and neglected by society.

The video can be found here, for anyone who's interested: http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/04/02/popes-embrace-viral/17633/
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