Atheists Can Go To Heaven, New Pope Says

We’re still a little flabbergasted by this—we did just dispense with the Nazi Pope, after all—but apparently it’s not a mistranslation: Pope Francis (first of his name!) just told the world that even atheists are redeemed by Jesus Christ if they do good in this life. So you’re saying I had to wear a white Colonel Sanders suit to get first communion for nothing?

All your prayers were moot! There’s actually no reason to sing hymns! Pope Francis even cited the Gospel of Mark to make his point—take that, fundamentalists. Between this comment and his earlier remarks condemning a global culture of money that precludes compassion for the poor, he is really angling to make some conservative heads explode. For that, we must salute him.

But I’m also really enjoying this idea that people can be redeemed almost against their will. Take someone like Ricky Gervais, who’s completely obnoxious in his atheism but gives millions to charity—how mad would he be to find out that heaven exists and he has to hang out there with the devoutly religious for eternity? Jesus saves whether you like it or not, I guess. And if you don’t, better cook up some evil deeds.   

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Photo: The Independent

Happy Ash Wednesday, People With Dirty Foreheads!

Yesterday was Mardi Gras, and you know what that means: today is the first day of the Lenten season according to the Western Christian calendar! I hope you all thought of something good to give up for the next five-plus weeks, and by ‘you all’ I mean everyone walking around with some schmutz on their foreheads.

Yes, it’s an odd coincidence, but every year I’m amazed to find that the only folks who really celebrate Ash Wednesday do not have a morning face-washing routine, or don’t look at their own reflection in mirrors and windows very often. What’s more, they seem to be the type of people with friends who don’t tell them they’ve “got a little something right there.”

But the fact of the matter is the head-stained among us believe in the love of Jesus Christ; they believe in his forty days of wandering the desert; they believe he doesn’t even want them to wear a sweatband or hat to maybe cover that stuff up because man, it looks like you fell face-first into a fireplace. If we could just stop stereotyping them for two seconds, we might find some wisdom in their smudgy faith.

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The Seven People Pope Benedict XVI Follows On Twitter

Pope Benedict XVI just got a Twitter account—@Pontifex. Finally! And not tweeting a single thing so far has netted His Naziness Holiness well upwards of 100,000 followers. Dat’s alotta Catholics! Or people who find Catholicism funny (overlap: 70%). Since the digital world has been so keen to welcome Benny to their shores, might we check out the seven people he bothered to follow back?

1. @Pontifex_de: This is also the Pope, but in German! Makes sense. That’s where he’s from, we hear.

2. @Pontifex_es: ¡AY CARAMBA! The Pope en español! Again, just the main Pope Twitter feed in a different language, with added soap opera melodrama.

3. @Pontifex_pt: Almost certainly the best thing about this Portuguese version (hello Brazil!) is that here the Pope goes by “Papa Bento.”

4. @Pontifex_pl: The Polish edition, no doubt a tribute to Pope John Paul II. Will presumably have the Pope’s many, many Polish jokes edited out.

5. @Pontifex_it: Does Italy really need this? I thought the Pope just stood out on his balcony with a microphone when he wanted to talk to Italians.

6. @Pontifex_fr: France’s Pope Benoît XVI posts here. No word yet on whether Pope Benedict will excommunicate Benoît for blasphemy, or what this apparent schism means for the church.

7. @Pontifex_ar: JUST IN CASE THE ARABIC-SPEAKING NATIONS START TAKING JESUS A BIT MORE SERIOUSLY, FINGERS CROSSED.

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