The false quotation below began circulating the internet sometime around December 2014. Allegedly, it is a summary of what he said at Mass on Sunday, May 22, 2013. But, as so often happens with this pope, the actual message was quite different from what the person who made the graphic claimed it was.
This pope is very much about walking the walk, not just talking the talk. We cannot spread the Good News to non-believers if we only talk to fellow believers and we cannot fulfill our God-given duties to serve if we only hang out with people who don’t need anything.
Let me parse the false statement in the graphic and line it up, bit by bit, with what Pope Francis actually said on May 22, 2013.
GRAPHIC: “It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person.”
POPE FRANCIS, May 22, 2013: “The Lord created us in His image and likeness. … He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ.”
GRAPHIC: “In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money – for many, nature can be a church.”
POPE FRANCIS, May 22, 2013: “If we 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.”
GRAPHIC: “Some of the best people in history did not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.”
POPE FRANCIS, May 22, 2013: “This ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war. … To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
The text in the graphic above resembles the pope’s actual message about as much as a stinking pile of road kill resembles the living, breathing animal it once was. But, as Honest Abe once said …