Being an atheist is fine, as long as you do good, Pope Francis said Wednesday, rocking the worlds of less-tolerant Catholics.
In his homily at the morning Mass in Rome, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urged the faithfuls to broaden their horizon, following a principle Jesus taught his disciples. Citing the Gospel of Mark, he described how upset the disciples were at the news that someone outside their group was doing good.
"They complained: If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good," Francis said.
"This was wrong," he added, according to a report from Vatican Radio.
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Labeling the disciples as "a little intolerant," closed off by the idea that "those who do not have the truth, cannot do good," Francis remarked on the importance of the "doing good" commandment. The principle, he said, unites all humanity, beyond religions and ideologies, creating a "culture of encounter," which is at the basis of peace.