‘Conscience, conscience! Divine instinct, immortal and celestial voice, sure guide of a being that is ignorant and limited, but intelligent and free; infallible judge of good and evil that makes man like unto God;’ Just as Jean-Jacques Rousseau did 250 years ago, Francis and the atheistic, socialist journalist Eugenio Scalfari — in a prolific and widely publicised exchange of ideas — put particular focus on the riveting theme of the morality of human conduct.
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Above all, you ask if the God of Christians forgives those who do not believe and who do not seek faith. Given the premise, and this is fundamental, that the mercy of God is limitless for those who turn to him with a sincere and contrite heart, the issue for the unbeliever lies in obeying his or her conscience. There is sin, even for those who have no faith, when conscience is not followed.Listening to and obeying conscience means deciding in the face of what is understood to be good or evil. It is on the basis of this choice that the goodness or evil of our actions is determined. (Letter to Eugenio Scalfari, September 4, 2013)
Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good. And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place. (Interview with Scalfari, October 1, 2013)
Note: The authors of this study are aware that the Vatican Press Office has denied the interpretations that some media sources have attributed to certain affirmations contained in the interviews of Francis with Eugenio Scalfari. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that some of these sources are still published on the Vatican website (found by clicking on the links of the articles), lending an official air to their content, seemingly with the approval of Francis himself. In the midst of all the turmoil and confusion caused, we always feel that a presentation of the true doctrine should be made with clarity, together with such affirmations. We must not forget that the majority of the public read only the titles that the media publishes, and, as we know, the latter frequently manipulate the truth. Consequently, it appears that a mere declaration that the content of these interviews does not correspond with the textual words of Francis, is simply not sufficient. As such, we publish this article with the intention of clarifying and orienting the faithful, who have always been the principle objective of this page, as we expressed in our letter of presentation. In this way, each one can make a correct judgment, having beforehand attained knowledge of the truth.
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