Better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” –Matthew 15:8
He may have said this in a private place – in his residence following his morning mass where mostly there are only members of the Vatican and persons he knows closely. In spite of that, within an hour of his saying what he did, his words were splashed in headlines around the globe.
Pope Francis was delivering one of his most stinging criticisms ever, clearly saying that, “It is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic.”
He was apparently angry. And once Pope Francis is angry, there is no stopping him.
In improvised comments in the 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.” He said he knows of many Catholics who say, “I am very Catholic, I go to daily mass, and I am part of parish activities.” In a voice tinged with sarcasm, the Holy Father said that many of these daily-mass Catholics should also say, “My life is not Christian, I do not pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, I lead a double life.”
He said it is Catholics like those who cause scandal in the church and give the church a bad name.
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has exhorted Catholics – priests as well as lay people – to practice what their religion preaches.
Let us pray for God to give us the grace to accept the Holy Father’s reproach with the right heart and spirit. During this season of Lent, let each of us look deeply into our lives and behavior and identify the double standards if any, that lie concealed there.
The prophet Jeremiah said, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (verse 17:9).
Let us pray with the psalmist: “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” -Psalm 19:12
May this wonderful season of Lent bring about a transformation in our lifestyle and walk with Jesus.
By the NLTCE News Network Team
Source: Radio Vatican