Pope Francis has delivered another criticism of some members of his own church, suggesting it was better to be an atheist than to live a hypocritical double life.
Delivering a 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 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 added.
“How many times have we all heard people say ‘if that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist’.”
Pope Francis, since his election in 2013 has often told Catholics, both priests and lay people, to practice what their religion teaches.
In his often impromptu sermons, he 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 not act “as if they were princes”.
Less than 2 months after his election, Pope Francis said Christians should see atheists as good people if they do good.