Pope Francis is lashing out at Catholics who live what he called a “ double life ” by not practicing Christian values. He even suggested that atheists might be better than members of the faithful who don’ t practice the tenets of their faith . According to a transcript posted online by Vatican Radio , the pontiff called it a “ scandal” during his morning mass on Thursday:
“ Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life , a double life . A totally double life : ‘ I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass , I belong to this association and that one ; but my life is not Christian, I don ’t pay my workers a just wage , I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life .” The pontiff said “ many Christians ” were living this double life . “ How many times have we heard ― all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere ― ‘but to be a Catholic like that , it ’ s better to be an atheist , ’” he said.
He gave an example of a Christian boss taking a vacation as his workers went unpaid — and issued a stern warning about where that will lead .
“ You will arrive in heaven and you willbknock at the gate : ‘Here I am , Lord!’ ― ‘ But don’ t you remember? I went to Church , I was close to you , I belong to this association , I did this … Don’t you remember all the offerings I made?’
‘Yes , I remember. The offerings , I remember them : All dirty. All stolen from the poor . I don ’t know you . ’ That will be Jesus’ response to these scandalous people who live a double life .”
He then called on Catholics to examine themselves . Francis has addressed atheism in the past, and in 2013 he seemed to suggest they may have a path toward Christian salvation.
“ Just do good and we ’ll find a meeting point,” he said. A church official later clarified that those who reject Christ cannot be saved , but added that the “ rejection of Christianity may not mean the rejection of Christ . ”
“ We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non - Christian who has rejected Christianity… is still following the temporary path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with God,” Rev . Thomas Rosica wrote at the time.