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Pope Francis criticizes 'double-life' Catholics

Francis suggests it's 'better to be an atheist' than 'hypocritical' Catholics

Pope Francis on Thursday suggested that "it is better to be an atheist" than Catholics who he said lead "a double life," according to a report on Reuters.

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The pope made the remarks during a private morning Mass in his residence, Reuters reported.

"It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life," Francis said, according to a Vatican Radio transcript. "There are those who say, 'I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this and that association.'"

He said some of those Catholics 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.'"

"There are many Catholics who are like this, and they cause scandal," he said. "How many times have we all heard people say, 'If that person is a Catholic, it is better to be an atheist.'"

Francis said Christians should see atheists as good people if they do good things.

The pope has often told priests and laypeople to practice what the Roman Catholic Church preaches.

To read the original article on Reuters, click here.