Pope Francis sparks controversy for suggesting atheists` can go to heaven
Washington: Pope Francis has sparked a religious debate after confirming atheists can indeed go to heaven.
Christian teaching generally holds that belief in Jesus , and not good deeds, grants eternal life.
According to the Washington Times, the pope, in a morning Mass on Wednesday, suggested that belief and faith were not the biggest factors.
The comments were welcomed by Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
The Vatican, on Thursday, was forced to issue a statement of clarification.
The Reverence Thomas Rosica, a spokesman for the Vatican, said those who have knowledge of the Catholic Church cannot be saved if they refuse to enter her or remain in her, CNN reported.
He also said that every man or woman, whatever their situation, can be saved. Even non-Christians can respond to this saving action of the spirit. No person is excluded from salvation simply because of so-called original sin, the report added.
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