Pope Francis criticized “greedy” Christians Thursday morning as he delivered a private sermon at Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City.
He slammed members of his own faith, those who profess to be Catholic but do not live their lives according to Christian values. These people may as well 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,” said the pope.
Francis defined the word “scandal” as “saying one thing and doing another.” He even suggested that it’s better to be an atheist than to live such a 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.’ It is that: scandal.”
A “scandal” is a grave offense in the Catholic Church. According to the Catechism, scandals include business fraud, swaying another person’s moral compass, and misguiding students.
Francis suggested that salvation is open only to Christians who live a good life while on Earth. He has also suggested, in previous sermons, that atheists who live good lives will be offered God’s grace in death.
Pope Francis has often encouraged Catholics to practice what they preach. The down-to-earth spiritual leader has been known to decline expensive apparel and travel options and advise cardinals not to behave like “princes.”
Less than two months after his election in February 2013, Francis surprised us by stating that Christians should view atheists as good people if they live good lives.
Author’s Note: The pope’s tirade on Thursday reminds me of character Pius XIII’s diabolical speech in the HBO TV series “The Young Pope,” where actor Jude Law slams “part-time believers” and preaches about an end of tolerance and a return to the mysterious and prohibitive. Maybe he’s watching??