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Catholic Church Explains Pope's Comment on Atheists Receiving Salvation

  • Religion Today Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • Updated May 24, 2013

After Pope Francis' comments during Wednesday Mass in Rome that God redeems nonbelievers, a number of people were left asking whether the Catholic leader believes atheists and agnostics go to heaven. The Vatican on Thursday issued an "explanatory note on the meaning to 'salvation,'" CNN reports. The Rev. Thomas Rosica, a Vatican spokesman, said that people who are aware of the Catholic Church "cannot be saved" if they "refuse to enter her or remain in her." At the same time, Rosica said, "every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the Spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin." Rosica also said that Francis had "no intention of provoking a theological debate on the nature of salvation."