Pope Francis agreed with an old saying this week that it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic. Francis made his comments in reference to the general issue in the world in which devout Catholics who never miss a day in church live their lives outside of the church in a very un-Christian way.
“There are those who say ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association’,” the Pope said, but those same people, he argued, should admit that their lives are not Christian at all.
“‘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. How many times have we all heard people say ‘if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist’.”
This Pope has been revered on the more liberal side of the world for his incredibly modern and compassionate view while being reviled from some religious traditionalists for refusing to bow to religious pressures.
The pope made similar comments in recent months, seemingly in direct reference to President Trump’s promise to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico. The Pope then claimed that one cannot be a Christian while advocating for a wall to keep out those in need.
The Pope’s frequent narrowing of what is and isn’t a Christian and a Catholic is bound to ruffle feathers in the religious community, particularly among those who recognize their own lives in the Pope’s description of falling short. Still, his words are powerful and necessary in this point in American and global lives.