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Better an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic, Pope says

February 23, 2017

It is better to be a sincere atheist than a hypocritical Catholic, Pope Francis said in a homily at morning Mass on February 23.

Speaking about the day’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus warns against giving scandal, the Pontiff said that scandal consist in living a double life. He cited the attitude of a Catholic business executive, who might say:

I am very Catholic. I always go to Mass; I belong to this and that organization. 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.

This is the hypocrisy that gives scandal, and “this happens every day,” the Pope said. He exhorted the members of his congregation to be aware of hypocrisy in their own lives. The double life, he said, comes from “following the passions of the heart, the sins that are the wounds of Original Sin.”

 
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  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 24, 2017 7:39 AM ET USA

    Revelation 3:15-16: "I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Feb. 24, 2017 5:48 AM ET USA

    "I am very Catholic. I always go to Mass; I belong to this and that organization. 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." Yes, but if I commit the kind of adultery described in Amoris Laetitia, I will receive "mercy" through "discernment."

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Feb. 24, 2017 5:46 AM ET USA

    Tired of the social justice tirades, from the Pope and everyone else. Disingenuous at best. First cast out the beam in your own eye.

  • Posted by: claude-ccc2991 - Feb. 24, 2017 4:16 AM ET USA

    I'm certain the pope is correct. Nonetheless, I think he's being too hard on himself.

  • Posted by: WBSM - Feb. 24, 2017 3:58 AM ET USA

    He could've added: "I live in adultery, yet want to receive communion with no intention turn away from sin, truth is, I don't even consider it a sin... with my second, third partner we just LOVE each other." I agree. A sincere atheist is much better than this.

  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 24, 2017 1:08 AM ET USA

    The Pope carefully avoids giving concrete real examples. "I am very Catholic. But in the public square, I set that Catholicism aside. After all, there is no real connection between my private belief and my public actions."

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 23, 2017 10:03 PM ET USA

    The Holy Father is not an encourager, I fear. That's what people need today to meet their full potential in Christ.

  • Posted by: Grandmaster - Feb. 23, 2017 9:09 PM ET USA

    He does not speak of the hypocritical politicians that say they are Catholic but support policies that are antithetical to the teaching of the Church.