The new pope says we atheists can also go to heaven as long we do good works. "Do good" he says and "we all will have a meeting point". If the rest of the Catholic Church follows up on this statement with actions that demonstrate sincerity, we may be in for a new era in relations between the Church and the community of freethinkers. This statement is a major departure from traditional teaching. All previous pontiffs have said there is no way to heaven except through the universal Holy Roman Church. The various atheist organizations may actually be able to have polite and civil discussions if the new pope is really able to change his Church!
As Margaret Thatcher said of Mikhail Gorbachev, "we can do business together". As most of you may know, a few years after the then President of the Soviet Union began acknowledging the shortcomings of Communism; both the ideology of Communism and the Soviet Union itself disappeared. We can only hop a similar fate awaits the Catholic Church during the next few decades.