[Beliefnet:]In your work you often point to contradictions between the church’s rules and the Bible’s teachings. Do you have anything to say about a hypocrisy there?
[Paul Coelho:]I only can say about my religion and being a Catholic. I am a Catholic because I choose to be a Catholic. And then I go to the Mass because I choose. It is out of my free will. But then, when sometimes I see the human touch [in] the sacred rituals, you say, oh, my God, that’s not exactly what Jesus said. Jesus was much more open and--he was full of joy of living. Because he was the one who was always traveling, surrounded by women, drinking wine. You know, having fantastic conversations with his disciples.
In my church, now more than before, they are going against the natural flow of humankind. This new pope is a disaster, to put it plainly…. I’m not going to defend a pope that is against, for example, condoms. I’m not going to defend a pope that thinks that we still are in the medieval times and that the Catholic faith is the only one to be right. And then you ask, why do you consider to be Catholic if you don’t agree with this pope and many priests and bishops? I say because, well, my religion is more important than the men that are trying to guide it.
But the ritual of the Mass and the words of Christ--well, we’ll survive this pope. The Mass is a mystery. And for me, it is the most perfect ritual.