If there’s a breed of people that Pope Francis dislikes, it’s the two-faced kind.
Launching a scathing attack against “hypocrites” in his own 1.2-billion-member church, the religious head on Thursday suggested that it was better to be an atheist than one of the “many” Roman Catholics who lead a double life in defiance of God and basic morality.
“It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life,” the Pope said in improvised comments made during a sermon at his private morning mass. “There are those who say ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association’.”
“Some of these people should also admit that ‘my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, (I lead) a double life’,” the Vatican Radio transcript quoted him as saying. “There are many Catholics who are like this, and they cause scandals. How many times have we all heard people say: ‘If that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist’?”
Since his election in 2013, Francis has often told Catholics – both priests and lay people – to practice what their religion preaches.
In his often-impromptu sermons, the Pope has condemned sexual abuse of children by priests as being tantamount to a “satanic mass”, said Catholics in the mafia excommunicate themselves, and told his own cardinals to refrain from acting like “princes”. Less than two months after his election, he said Christians “should see atheists as good people if they do good”.
Francis’ sermon was an extended riff on Thursday’s mass readings, which included a passage quoting Jesus as saying that it was better to be drowned “with a millstone tied around the neck” than to cause others to sin.
(With Reuters inputs)