16 – Atheists can also do good

Do good and avoid evil… without a doubt, that is everyone’s responsibility and no one is able to stifle the inner voice that constantly indicates this obligation in the depths of the heart. However, is everyone able to respond to this call in the same manner, with equal clarity and equivalent effects? This is a complex topic, with nuances that can’t be dealt with lightly. Yet it must be understood with absolute clarity, lest we confuse issues that are of capital importance for our salvation… As always, Catholic doctrine sheds abundant light on such questions amidst the prevalent darkness.



Quote AQuote B

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study


Sacred Scripture

Jn 3:5
Rom 6:4

John Paul II

The idea of a universal truth, knowable by human reason, is necessary to correctly determine the criteria of good and evil
The fundamental dependence of freedom upon truth

Benedict XVI

Charity needs to be practiced in the light of truth, else it be misconstrued and emptied of meaning
Without truth, charity is without value and degenerates into sentimentality
Atheism is one of the chief obstacles to human development - humanism which excludes God is inhuman

Catechism of the Catholic Church

By reason, man recognizes the God’s voice urging to do good and avoid evil: to love God and neighbor
What makes us adopted sons of God is Baptism
God gives us his grace to become children of God
Divine adoption alone makes us capable of following Christ’s example: doing good

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Salvation is not brought about without one’s own willing or participation – one must accept supernatural life

Council of Trent

Christ died for all, but not all receive the benefit of His death – only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated
Anathema: whoever says that man can live justly and merit eternal life without grace

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Man cannot do good unless aided by the gratuitous grace of God
Without grace, man can do evil with the appearance of good

II Council of Orange (529)

Anyone who asserts that without grace we can labor well contradicts the Apostle
Deceived by a heretical spirit: to affirm that through the strength of nature, and without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, eternal life can be attained
Without God man can do no good

Vatican Council II

Sin is overcome only by the aid of God’s grace
When God is forgotten, the atheist himself is unintelligible


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5 thoughts on “16 – Atheists can also do good

  1. This was informative, but I find some Vatican II references less than compelling. Like: “For their part, however, all believers of whatever religion always hear His revealing voice in the discourse of creatures.”

    I believe this is one of those ambiguous statements what sound good but on deeper reading can foster indifferentism.

    First, are there other religions? I was taught there was only one true religion, the Catholic one. All other belief systems are sects, or paganism.

    Second, does God speak to these sectarians and paganism in their sects? Or does the Catholic Church speak to them on His behalf?

    Third, what is meant by “discourse of creatures”? Ambiguity. Which creatures? Other men? Other creatures, animate and inanimate in nature? This quote, like much of what came out of Vatican II, and from John Paul II needs a good priest, well educated in philosophy, theology, and Traditional Church teaching to interpret.
    What popes write, that goes out to the whole world through media (that said pope knows full well will disseminate it) must be clearer. Does one need a Doctorate to read Church documents these days?

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