I think the Pope is drunk. That’s because he’s saying anyone can get into heaven now, like he’s the wasted friend who declares at the bar that the party’s continuing back at your place.
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “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!”.. 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.”
“Thank you for telling me something I had no concern about,” I say, being an atheist. “You might as well have told me I could get into fucking Narnia or Middle Earth or Westeros or whatever fantasy novel world you happen to be reading.”
“So atheists can get into Catholic heaven without doing all that Catholic bullshit like going to confession or not eating meat on Fridays during Lent or the Virgin Birth?” Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat says. “Then why stay Catholic if you can get the same result with half the effort and guilt? You’re diluting the brand, Frannie! You used to be that nightclub that only let a few people in, now you’ve turned it into a TGIFriday’s.”
“You have to die in battle to go Valhalla,” says Mikka. “The valkyries don’t just take anyone because they think they’re swell.”
“That really has to sting the people who think atheists and gays and other non-believers are automatically hellbound,” says Tina the Lesbian. “Now I can tell my older relatives that I can lick as much sinful carpet as I want and I’ll still end up in the same afterlife location as them. How do you like them apples, Nana!”
“I’m sure a bit later the Pope will preface his remarks by saying that non-Catholics and non-believers can get into heaven, but only if they’re like super good,” says Ninja Vicki. “Like there’s a scorecard for heaven and atheists are docked 70 points right from the start. There’s a deficit you as an atheist have to overcome for not going to Mass or believing in Jesus while regular churchgoers don’t have to do as much to get into heaven. Catholics get to play on Easy Mode; atheists have to play on the Hard difficulty level.”
“You’re all redeemed by the blood of Christ, but we’re still going to fight to not let gays adopt children or get married,” says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp. “We can lower the threshold on who is possibly hellbound but we’re not about to start letting women hold any positions of power within the Church. It’s apparently easier for the Catholic Church to bend the rules of the afterlife than to let women have any authority in its structure.”
“This strikes me as more of a marketing rebranding of the Church,” says Samurai Cathy. “Like when Domino’s Pizza had those ads apologizing for how non-edible and awful their pizza used to be. Now you have the new Pope cleaning up some of the mess left behind from Scary German Pope who didn’t give a flying fuck who the Church alienated. Hey, remember how the old Catholic Church didn’t like you, try New and Improved Catholic Church – the one that likes everyone!”
If this keeps Catholics from giving atheists and Wiccans and gays the stink eye, great news. Otherwise it has as much effect on my godless life as if the Pope had read out loud his recipe for red velvet cake. It doesn’t affect me – I don’t believe there’s a God and I don’t bake desserts.