By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
VATICAN CITY (Worthy News)– As part of his homily Wednesday, Pope Francis said that the Blood of Christ promised redemption for everyone engaged in doing good works, including atheists, according to Vatican Radio.
"The Lord has redeemed all of us … with the Blood of Christ. All of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!"
According to the Pocket Catholic Dictionary, redemption is the salvation of all humanity through Christ who bought back (redeemed) captive humanity from sin, paying the ransom by His suffering and death on the Cross.
But for many Christians, although Christ's sacrifice is sufficient for all, it's only efficient for those who actually accept it: until that acceptance, it's just an offer, not a guarantee.
Francis, however, emphasized the duty of doing good because it unites all humanity.
"We all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good … is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part … do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter. We need that so much. 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."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that goods works can be a means of sanctification (2427) and that any work united to Christ can be redemptive (2460) by rewarding the effort spent in co-operating with grace in order to be delivered from sin.
But even if doing good unites us all (somewhere), according to St. Paul, we're still saved by grace through faith apart from doing good works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).