POSTED: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 6:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 8:56am
Tyler Tx, (KETK) — Pope Francis wrote a letter to a liberal Italian newspaper saying atheist can be saved and go to heaven.
The letter has a lot of people questioning what he exactly means.
Will everyone, if they have a good conscience go to heaven, even if they do not believe in god?
"Salvation is open to all. But. all must seek, all must try to find the good," said Fr. Tim Kelly with St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church.
Pope Francis' response to an atheist newspaper owner has stirred a lot of confusion and questions.
Fr. Kelly said Pope Francis is known to answer questions openly and honestly about non- believers.
"He challenged the pope and he challenged the church to explain why it was they claimed that he and people like him couldn't be saved," said Fr. Kelly.
And goes to the heart of Christian teaching when it comes to questions about salvation.
"If you truly are an atheist, then why would it bother you that God is going to save you or not because you don't believe in God."
But, Pope Francis responded to the letter saying "the mercy of God has no limits and those who don't believe in God should obey their conscience."
Fr. Kelly says Christ died for the salvation of all.
"Christ didn't die for Catholics, Baptist or Jews or anyone he died for everyone."
Fr. Kelly said the pope in his letter says if you do good the church will meet you halfway and everyone, even atheist can be saved, but you truly have to accept God in your heart to go to heaven.
"For those who deny, who deliberately deny and deliberately object and deliberately oppose the will of God and his church there can be no salvation."