Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope

Refers to St. Augustine\'s Commentary on Psalm 136(137)

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.



The Pope made this affirmation today at the general audience, commenting on a meditation written by St. Augustine (354-430).

On a rainy morning in Rome, the Holy Father\'s meditation, addressed to more than 23,000 people gathered in St. Peter\'s Square, concentrated on the suffering of the Jewish people in the Babylonian exile, expressed dramatically in Psalm 136(137).

The Pontiff referred to Augustine\'s commentary on this composition of the Jewish people, noting that this \"Father of the Church introduces a surprising element of great timeliness.\"

Augustine \"knows that also among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the Eternal City to which we aspire,\" Benedict XVI stated.

\"They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption,\" explained the Pope, quoting Augustine.

This spark

\"And he says that among the persecutors, among the nonbelievers, there are people with this spark, with a kind of faith, of hope, in the measure that is possible for them in the circumstances in which they live,\" the Holy Father continued.

\"With this faith in an unknown reality, they are really on the way to the authentic Jerusalem, to Christ,\" he clarified.

Continuing with his quotes from Augustine, the Pope added that \"God will not allow them to perish with Babylon, having predestined them to be citizens of Jerusalem, on the condition, however, that, living in Babylon, they do not seek pride, outdated pomp and arrogance.\"

The Bishop of Rome concluded by inviting those present to pray to the Lord \"that he will awaken in all of us this desire, this openness to God, and that those who do not know God may also be touched by his love, so that all of us journey together toward the definitive City and that the light of this City might also shine in our time and in our world.\"