From The Guardian:
Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis has said in his latest urging that people of all religions, and none, work together.
The leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning mass at his residence, a daily event at which he speaks without prepared comments.
He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.
"Even them, everyone," the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. "We all have the duty to do good," he said.
"Just do good, and we'll find a meeting point," the pope said in a hypothetical reply to the hypothetical comment: "But I don't believe. I'm an atheist."
Francis's reaching out to atheists and people who belong to no religion is in marked contrast to the attitude of his predecessor, Benedict, who sometimes prompted complaints from non-Catholics that he seemed to see them as second-class believers.