American Catholics overwhelmingly agree with the Pope that non-Catholics can gain access to heaven:
Something that has always puzzled me is the stated belief of some Christians in a God who is simultaneously (a) good, kind, forgiving, etc., and (b) capable of condemning people who lead virtuous lives to eternal torment (or even some lesser punishment) solely because they do not happen to believe He exists; or because they do believe He exists but decline to accord Jesus the status of supernatural savior, personal or otherwise; or because they regard the Bible as an admirable collection of folktales but no more divinely authored than any other purportedly sacred text or, for that matter, than the works of Shakespeare or the music of Mozart; or because they do not agree with this or that tenet of a particular religion.
If such a cruel, vain, and tyrannical God did exist, I can’t for the life of me see how the proper response would be to worship or even praise Him. Wouldn’t a more logical, more morally sound, more self-respecting response be to join a rebellion against Him—the Hell Liberation Front or some such—and try to overthrow Him?
He follows up here.