POPE FRANCIS: IT IS BETTER TO BE AN ATHEIST THAN A “GREEDY CHRISTIAN”

If you’re a Christian who exploits people, leads a double life or manages a “dirty” business, perhaps it’s better not to call yourself a believer, Pope Francis suggested in a sermon Thursday in Rome.

“So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others,” Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, according to Vatican Radio. “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.”

“But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another.”

Examples of such scandals abound, the Pope said, from money launderers to business owners who take beach vacations while stiffing their employees.

Francis’ sermon, as is customary, was an extended riff on Thursday’s Mass readings, which include a passage from the Gospel on Mark in which Jesus says it is better to be drowned than to cause others to sin.

Drawing on that passage, the Catholic Catechism describes scandal as a “grave offense” whether committed by “business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger or, manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.”

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