A Boy Asked If His Atheist Dad Was In Heaven. The Pope's Reply Was Heartfelt.

"Is Dad in heaven?"

During a papal visit to the St. Paul of the Cross parish on the outskirts of Rome, a sobbing boy asked Pope Francis if his dad, an atheist, could call heaven home.

As he stood in front of Pope Francis seeking guidance, the pontiff beckoned him to step forward.

"Is Dad in heaven?" asked the child, who Pope Francis referred to as Emanuele.

"A boy that inherited the strength of his father also had the courage to cry in front of all of us," the pope told the crowd after the boy granted him permission to share their private conversationper The National Catholic Reporter.

"If this man was able to create children like this, it's true that he is a good man," Pope Francis continued. "That man did not have the [gift] of faith, wasn't a believer. But he had his children baptized. He had a good heart."

Asked by the pope if they thought God would abandon a good man, the children of the parish shouted "No."

In the video of the precious moment, which has been viewed nearly 200,000 times online, the pope said,  "There, Emanuele, that is the answer."

The moment shared between Francis and the boy follows the release of an apostolic exhortation by the pope that made headlines for being socially progressive.

"Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate," Francis wrote. "Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned."

Cover image via neneo / Shutterstock.com.

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