Pope Francis delivered another criticism of some members of his own Church on Thursday, suggesting it is better to be an atheist than one of “many” Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life. In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning Mass in his residence, he said: “It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life.”
“There are those who say ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association’,” the head of the 1.2 billion-member Roman Catholic Church said, according to a Vatican Radio transcript. He said that some of these people should also say “‘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’.
“There are many Catholics who are like this and they cause scandal,” he said. “How many times have we all heard people say ‘if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist’.”
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According to the pope, Jesus says in the Gospel that those who are cause of scandal- “without using the word scandal, but it’s understood”- will knock on the doors of heaven and introduce themselves to God, saying, “Don’t you remember me? I went to Church, I was close to you … Don’t you remember all the offerings I gave?”
To these, Francis argued, on judgement day God will say: “Yes, I remember those: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don’t know you.” This, the pontiff insisted, will be the response Jesus will give to Catholics who lead a double life.