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Heartsick Boy Asks If Atheist Dad Is In Heaven. Pope Francis Reveals The Answer With A Hug.

A little boy in mourning received some touching words from Pope Francis following the recent death of his father. The child had an important question for the pontiff, “Is Dad in heaven?”.

Francis and the boy, who was referred to as Emanuele, met during a pastoral visit. During a question-and-answer period, Emanuele attempted to ask a question for the pope in front of an audience. He stepped up to the microphone but froze before he could speak. He broke the crowd’s heart when he began to sob into his hands.

Francis asked the boy to come forward and whisper the question into his ear. The two shared a hug and a private chat. With the child’s permission, Francis shared with the crowd what his question was.  Emanuele wanted to know if his father had gone to heaven. He revealed that his dad was a nonbeliever, but assured Francis he was a good man who had all of his children baptized.

In an English translation provided by the Catholic News Service, Pope Francis replied to Emanuele and the audience with heartfelt words. “A boy that inherited the strength of his father also had the courage to cry in front of all of us,” the Pope said. “If this man was able to create children like this, it’s true that he is a good man.”

Francis added that God, who has the heart of a father, decides who goes to heaven. He then asked the congregation if they thought God would abandon a good man like Emanuele’s father. Everyone simultaneously shouted back, “No.”

God surely was proud of your father, because it is easier as a believer to baptize your children than to baptize them when you are not a believer. Surely this pleased God very much,” Francis said.

In the past, the Pope has acknowledged that atheists can work for good. He has stated all humans are created by God and that doing good to others is what unites everyone, including atheists.

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