Now don't get too carried away by this 'good news', if indeed it is a surprise to anyone who has actually thought about the subject at all. As any good Catholic will tell you (if you can find one) redemption and salvation are not the same thing. As Michelle Arnold says on Catholic Answers
" . . . redemption is collective and salvation is individual. By his passion, death, and resurrection, Christ redeemed humanity collectively from slavery to sin and from the debt of punishment mankind -- as a whole -- owed due to sin. Each and every person, Christian or non-Christian, is redeemed because he is a member of the human race.
Salvation is the application of redemption to individuals. Although a member of redeemed humanity, and therefore himself redeemed, a person can freely choose to deliberately reject the graces won for him by Christ and go to hell."
Obviously that makes perfect sense and wins an award from the Campaign for Clear English, but in spite of the religious babble you get the point. Because of the mythical death of a fictional character, you are forgiven for the sins that you didn't commit and relieved of a debt that you apparently owed for inexplicable reasons, whether a believer or not. But you are not yet forgiven for the ones that you have personally committed including those that you are even thinking of committing.
So the pope might seem to be giving some ground, but not enough for us atheists to get to heaven. He implies that salvation might be achieved by being good, but even he doesn't have the authority to override the bible does he? Good works alone will not get you to heaven.
Now he only has to work on one thing that is more important. How can he get his own flock and their priests to start to be good!