Just do good, and we'll find a meeting point, says Francis in marked departure from Benedict's line on non-Catholics
The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning mass at his residence, a daily event at which he speaks without prepared comments.
It is sometimes rather infuriating when spin doctors report of alleged claims made by a pope purportedly contradicting the Church's position on matters pertaining to faith and morals. It is even more unjustly incensing when they pit a pope against his predecessor. They have done it to Pope John Paul II, they have done it to Pope Benedict XVI, and now they are doing it to Pope Francis.
Doing what, you ask... well, they are spinning his words by superimposing upon them a hermeneutic of rupture, of conflict, of contradiction and lies. From being a sign of unity for the Church upon whose office all salvific truth hangs, he is now projected as a relativistic shepherd for all who believe in all sorts of different things, and especially for all who believe in nothing (or rather, all who believe that they don't believe).
One important question that every child of the Church should ask when confronted with stinkingly dishonest reports like the one above is not so much whether the pope uttered these words verbatim, but rather, what he meant by these words. Did he mean these words in a way that contradicts the faith propagated by his predecessor and which takes a departure from the faith of the Church, or did he mean these words in a way that is to be construed in fidelity to the Church's faith about all humanity, including people of other religions?
In the first place, never doubt for a second that there were other things uttered by Pope Francis in this homily that were not reported by these journalists because they were utterances that did not work in their dishonest favour. The media today is fraught with such journalistic mischief. Secular atheistic journalists seek to hijack religious talk in any way they can and twist them towards humanistic-atheistic inclinations, ironically by seeking endorsements from religious figures such as popes. Nothing could be sillier than that, but this is precisely what they are doing.
Secondly, I would concede that Pope Francis is probably more tactful in his communication methods as compared to Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger is a German gentleman and a linear-logical scholar who analyses issues deeply and describes things as they are. He calls a duck a duck. There are people who appreciate him for being the way he is. No whitewashing. No unnecessary trivial pleasantries. In his many discourses on secular humanism, he had (in different ways) not deny the capacity of atheists for good and moral values. But ultimately, he says, one has to come to the table of dialogue to consider the ground of morality and good. For if God does not exist, then by what do we measure that which is good and bad? This is perhaps what Pope Francis is saying when he tells atheists, "Just do good, and we'll find a meeting point". The "meeting point", is perhaps not so much about the jointly doing good itself, but what comes after, i.e. coming to the table to consider the Source of this good that we are doing together. In other words, the logical conclusion to doing good would have to be the acknowledgement that there is a God, the Source of all this good that we do.
But no, secular humanists won't ever want to understand his words that way. They want to understand him the way they want to understand him. Because even though they don't believe in God, they want him to be their pope. Militant atheism has always been parasitic that way, feeding off the Judeo-Christian tradition in such a way that they need Christianity to exist just so that their atheism too can continue existing by denying the existence of the former. Atheism needs the elephant to exist in the room in order that it too can continue to deny the existence of that elephant, which happens to be its only reason to exist.
So, does Pope Francis truly believe in what these atheistic journalists seem to imply he believes in, that belief in God is not important for one to be good? Since the atheists have made him their pope, I challenge them to push him to the limit and see if his words truly square with their unbelief. Then perhaps, he will be their pope no more.
All this hijacking of the pope to justify unbelief and relativistic values is quite ridiculous, and honestly, illogically stupid.