ANALYSIS: Pope Francis’ outreach to atheists not as controversial as it seems

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#2 -  Pope Francis by Debby Bird, Reston, Va. (Oil Paint on Canvas) - "I woke my two year old and my four year old up early from their nap on March 13th, 2013. We sat on the couch watching the news of white smoke and waiting. We snacked on lolly"Popes" and "Pope"corn. My son did not want me to step away from the TV. "Mom don't miss it." When the announcement came and Pope Francis humbly greeted the world, I knew what my next painting would be. Now my son walks past the 24" x 36" painting hanging at "St John Neuman" Church in Reston, Virginia and proudly announces 'Mom that's your painting of Pope Frances'"

#2 - Pope Francis by Debby Bird, Reston, Va. (Oil Paint on Canvas) - "I woke my two year old and my four year old up early from their nap on March 13th, 2013. We sat on the couch watching the news of white smoke and waiting. We snacked on lolly"Popes" and "Pope"corn. My son did not want me to step away from the TV. "Mom don't miss it." When the announcement came and Pope Francis humbly greeted the world, I knew what my next painting would be. Now my son walks past the 24" x 36" painting hanging at "St John Neuman" Church in Reston, Virginia and proudly announces 'Mom that's your painting of Pope Frances'"

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(RNS) Worried observers could have mistaken Pope Francis' pastoral gesture to atheists as an effort to dilute the gospel rather than what he really intended -- an evangelical outreach intended to bring nonbelievers closer to Christ.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The problem is that the media must put long papal statements or writings in one or two headline phrases and that is all that many will hear or read. They also must (for ratings and circulation) put things in the most sensational way. Previous recent popes knew this so were very cautious (or over-cautious) about what they said–and did not reach many people that really needed to be reached.
    This pope is being very incautious –refusing to worry about how the media will portray his words. I hope and pray that his strategy will be fruitful and that he will not become the target of every biblical fundamentalist or Catholic super-traditionalist.

  • I think the McKnight’s comment is relevant here. I have said several times in response especially to people forwarding the Independent article suggested that reporting is likely wrong. I read the full letter and the headline in the Independent article was just flat out misleading.

  • Sue Rosselli

    Where were you able to find the full article? We were looking for it, to be able to read the proper context, but could not find it anywhere.

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  • Allen Bourque

    Deacon, I must say I see Francis entirely the opposite that you do. I believe he is the most savvy politician on the face of the earth right now (thank God) and that he knows exactly what he’s saying and he’s saying it very consciously. And a part of his natural savvy is that he does it so seemingly casually. But I believe behind that casualness there is nothing that is not coherent and intended.

  • seba

    And what is salvation, if not forgiveness? Catholics sometimes are so twisted in their definitions, concepts and all this jazz they forget what early christianity represented or what desert fathers were saying, and unfortunately for catholics, it wasn’t deep theological stuff but simple message of forgiveness.
    We are slowly getting to the point in which it’s hard to say who believes what, you can say “I believe” but still act like church in middle ages, you can say I’m an atheist and live in poverty helping kids in nigeria.

    btw. it’s all silly when we read catholic stuff about “faith”, which clearly states that faith is a gift, and you can’t believe without God giving it to you. Lumen gentium is pretty clear about salvation of people who goes according to their conscience too..

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  • I enjoy seeing that you have used my painting as the image for this post. Have you used many of the images from the Pope Francis Portrait contest?

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