He has transcended beyond the removal of traditions (most of which need to be removed from the Catholic church anyway) into a realm of misguidance and the very distinct potential of leading people away from salvation. Pope Francis may or may not mean well, but his words and actions are clearly not led by the Bible and absolutely not in line with the words and actions of Jesus Christ.
According to the Independent:
Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Let’s break it down…
The first two sentences are, in the best case, misleading. In the worst case, they’re blasphemous. Is it true that God forgives sins? Yes He does. He forgives the sins of the repentant who believe that Yeshua died on the cross for their sins. Saying that His mercy has no limits is clear, but the following statement is poorly worded.
“God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart.”
There is only one way to “go to Him”.
John 14:3-6 (KJV)
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
This is clear. This is unquestioned by those who read, believe in, and live by the Bible.
The next sentence in the Pope’s statement is outrageous.
“The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.”
NO. Absolutely not! This is not the issue for those who do not believe in God. Their conscience, as wonderful and politically correct as the message is, will in no way help them avoid the second death. They can be the most moral, conscious-driven, charity giving people in the world. They could fight for world piece during the day, cure diseases at night, and save orphans from burning buildings on the weekends and they will not be granted entry into heaven if they do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The issue isn’t conscience. The issue for those who do not believe in God is that they do not believe in God or their Savior.
His last statement is just as bad as the others and is just as false.
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
Sorry, but that is incorrect. Sin exists because we were too weak to fight the temptation of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sin exists because we followed (and in many ways continue to follow) the teachings and advice of the fallen one. We fell and we are incapable of stopping our own fall. Only through belief in our Messiah can we be saved from our sins. Notice that at no point in the New Testament does it say that we have any power over our own sin. It says that we can be forgiven of our sins through the blood of Yeshua.
That’s it. There is no other way. You cannot be forgiven of your sins by following your conscience. You cannot do works that will be pleasing enough to God to earn your way into heaven. You can believe in Yeshua as your Lord, your Savior, and your Messiah. That’s all there is to it.