If cleanliness be next to godliness, is conscientiousness a workable alternative to Catholicism?
Pope Francis (or Francesco as he refers to himself in the Italian papers) was asked whether God forgave those who chose not to believe.
"Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God's mercy has no
limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," the
pope wrote, "the question for those who do not believe in God is to
abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no
faith, in going against one's conscience. Listening to it and abiding by
it means making up one's mind about what is good and evil."
There it is, you see. Sort of, I guess. God's mercy has no limits. Let's start with that. Then there's the bit about how you can sin against your conscience. Even if you're a heretic, you have to listen to your conscience, decide what is good and what is evil, and then do the right thing. Fair enough, I can live with that.
Since Pope Francis has settled in there's also talk of reforming the Church including the 800-pound Vatican gorilla, celibacy. The pope's new Secretary of State, archbishop Pietro Parolin, says that celibacy is merely a "tradition" and isn't carved in stone.
"We can talk, reflect, and deepen on these subjects that are not
definite, and we can think of some modifications, but always with
consideration of [church] unity, and all according to the will of God,"
he was quoted as saying.