Pope Francis has shown himself to be an out of the box thinker who has worked towards changing many attitudes of Catholics. He has tried to cope with what modernity may have done to his flock at a time when scepticism is becoming as major a force as orthodox religion. He delivered another stinging criticism of his flock, suggesting it is better to be an atheist than one of the “many” Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life. He may have said it only in a sermon of his private morning mass in his residence, but his rage against “scandal” and “double life” hit the headlines, highlighting his talk of atheism.
Such caustic comments do make sense in a world that seems to be totally lopsided in its enrichment of the haves, the latest estimates suggesting the eight richest men are as wealthy as half the world’s population. Curiously, not all religions tend to view sin as fiercely as the Catholics do. Those following other faiths may be well aware of their karma, but they can be led to believe that reparation is possible in this life itself. This may be a reason why faith is even more fierce and growing in our land even as corruption tends to eat away at the vitals of the economy and rearranges the riches in such a way that the ruling class and their minions are disproportionately rich. The Pope’s advice is equally applicable to people of all faiths.