Saturday, December 03, 2005

Unbelievers too can be saved, says Pope

I got this from the cyberbretheren blog (whose blog I am also enjoying - do visit his blog and look around).

Well according to Zenit.Org of November 30, 2005, the Pope says that unbelievers so long as they are good and sincere (basically), can be saved without believing in Christ.
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 ( Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this affirmation today at the general audience, commenting on a meditation written by St. Augustine (354-430).

On a rainy morning in Rome, the Holy Father's meditation, addressed to more than 23,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square, concentrated on the suffering of the Jewish people in the Babylonian exile, expressed dramatically in Psalm 136(137).

The Pontiff referred to Augustine's commentary on this composition of the Jewish people, noting that this "Father of the Church introduces a surprising element of great timeliness."

Augustine "knows that also among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the Eternal City to which we aspire," Benedict XVI stated.

"They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption," explained the Pope, quoting Augustine.

This spark

"And he says that among the persecutors, among the nonbelievers, there are people with this spark, with a kind of faith, of hope, in the measure that is possible for them in the circumstances in which they live," the Holy Father continued.

"With this faith in an unknown reality, they are really on the way to the authentic Jerusalem, to Christ," he clarified.

Continuing with his quotes from Augustine, the Pope added that "God will not allow them to perish with Babylon, having predestined them to be citizens of Jerusalem, on the condition, however, that, living in Babylon, they do not seek pride, outdated pomp and arrogance."

The Bishop of Rome concluded by inviting those present to pray to the Lord "that he will awaken in all of us this desire, this openness to God, and that those who do not know God may also be touched by his love, so that all of us journey together toward the definitive City and that the light of this City might also shine in our time and in our world."

So what happens to fervent evangelism and faith as stated in Mk 16:15-16? Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life. No comes to the Father but through Me"? Benedict is following Augustine rather than Christ's Words. He is trying to pontificate over and against what God has revealed. It is better to do evangelism rather than make such a statement that will only confuse and perhaps make complacent believers.


Venerable Aussie said...

Mr Cruz,

It is in situations like this that I again have to stress the importance of reading very carefully. The Pope is giving a very deep reflection on one of the Psalms. Those who are looking for a fight to pick just don't want to go beneath the surface, and will always misread anything that comes out of Rome.

To help you, I recommend that you check out the very thoughtful comments (in the main) which have been made on the Pope's commentary here:

And I ask you - after you read Dominus Iesus which was written by Pope Benedict when he was Cardinal Ratzinger and Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - how can you still claim that he is watering down the Great Commission?

As regards your view that anyone (miss)reading his comments is likely to go lukewarm, this is just demonstrably false. I'm involved with many young Catholics here in Melbourne and they are on fire for the Faith! And there is an amazing buzz in your old country for the tour by ex-Protestants Tim Staples and Steve Ray through God's Grace have come home to the Church established by Christ. This is going to be one heck of an evangelization effort, and what is happening in the Philippines mirrors what Catholics are doing with greater fervour worldwide.

L P Cruz said...

Hi Mr. Venerable,

I posted here verbatim the article. I reviewed Dominus Iesus too.

What if the pope has changed his mind on the matter of Jesus being the only way? What if he is now having second thoughts about his Dominus Iesus, could that not be a possibility? I was an atheist and I can agree with him that there are truths in other religions, the question is this - who has the whole truth?

I know the RC is having a hard time in my old country. Over the last 20 years they have seen the erosion of their stronghold, such that the priests have stopped wearing their habits, introduced contemporary music, borrowed from evangelical choruses in a way of saying - you do not have to go there, we got it here too.

I am not surprised that the RCC would like to reclaim their wondering sheep. That is not my point. My point is simply that the comment is unhelpful and not Biblically motivated - you should grant that - he was following Augustine.