I was cautiously optimistic at the election of Pope Francis though somewhat concerned that he had not been vetted well enough theologically. (Yes, I know, he was a cardinal archbishop; but there have been plenty of others from among those ranks who have gone off the rails. And, when it comes to being a theologian, Pope Francis is certainly no Joseph Ratzinger or Karol Wojtyła.) So, for me, the jury has remained out.
Now Vatican Radio quotes Pope Francis' as saying that everyone is called to "do good" because all are redeemed in Christ:
"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”Read it all on the Vatican Radio website.
It is worth wondering whether or not Pope Francis will soon be charged with universalism, joining the ranks of Katharine Jefferts Schori and Rob Bell. One thing for sure is that it seems a liberal Episcopalian, a lapsed Evangelical, and now the Pope (!) all appear to be saying the same thing.
P.S. I am praying we get some theological clarification of these remarks from the Pope soon.