Giving credence to Protestant distrust of the top-heavy authority structure of Rome, Pope Francis laying waste to the orthodox doctrines of the Christian faith has become a regular occurrence. This time, the current pontiff told a young boy that his atheist father was in heaven and the young boy should pray to his father.
While meeting with parishioners of Rome’s St. Paul of the Cross, Pope Francis was asked a question by a young boy in the catechism class. The little boy was crying too hard for the pope to understand his question, so Francis called him over. At first the little boy refused, but Pope Francis insisted that he whisper the question in his ear.
After the little boy whispered his question, Pope Francis turned to the crowd and, according to the transcript provided by Aleteia, said,
If only all of us could cry like Emanuel when we feel sorrow like he does in his heart. He was crying for his dad, and he had the courage to do it before all of us, because he has love for his dad in his heart. I asked Emanuel permission to repeat his question in public, and he said yes. So I’ll say it out loud: “A short time ago, my dad died. He was an atheist, but he had all four of his children baptized. He was a good man. Is Dad in heaven?” What a beautiful thing, that a son says of his father, “He was good.” That man gave a beautiful testimony to his children, for his children to be able to say, “He was a good man.”
Explaining why he believes Emanuel’s father to be a good man, Pope Francis opined, “If that man was capable of raising children like this, it’s true, he was a good man. He was a good man. That man didn’t have the gift of faith, he wasn’t a believer, but he had his children baptized. He had a good heart.”
The head of the Roman Catholic Church then went on to articulate a doctrine of God that ignored God’s holiness — God’s eternal separation from sin. Leaning into God being a Father, Pope Francis preached to the crowd that,
God is the one who decides who goes to heaven. But how does God’s heart react to a Dad like that? How? What do you think? … A dad’s heart! God has the heart of a father. And faced with a dad, a non-believer, who was able to have his children baptized and to give them that courage, do you think that God would be capable of leaving him far from Him? Do you think so? … Say it loudly, with courage.
Aleteia reports that the crowd responded with a hearty “No!”
The problem is that Pope Francis’ words and the crowds’ response violate the clear teaching of the Bible. God warned our first parents in the Garden of Eden that the consequence of sin is death. The apostle Paul reiterates that in the famous passage that says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).” During Jesus’ earthly ministry, John 14:6 reveals that, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
All humans are sinners and stand guilty before the Holy Creator of the universe. Because of that guilt, all humans are born under condemnation and are under God’s wrath. Unless an individual turns from their sin (repents) and places their faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they will not be reconciled to God and will spend all eternity suffering in hell. However, the good news is: “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).”
Those who are in Christ Jesus (those who are placing their faith in Jesus) are reconciled to God and will spend eternity in the new heavens and new earth enjoying God’s blessings. There is no other way to salvation except through faith in Jesus; God has decided that. For Pope Francis to claim that an atheist is in heaven is a blasphemous contradiction of God’s Words.