Pope Benedict XVI delivered an address from the Vatican on Sunday in which he suggested that those who disagree with Catholic teachings or do not believe in Jesus Christ should leave the church rather than become betrayers like Judas.
"Judas," Pope Benedict said, "could have left, as many of the disciples did; indeed, he would have left if he were honest. Instead he remained with Jesus. He did not remain because of faith, or because of love, but with the secret intention of taking vengeance on the Master."
The leader of the Worldwide Roman Catholic Church added that Judas' most serious crime was falsehood, which the pope described as "the mark of the devil." He added that Catholics needed to always be sincere like St. Peter and believe in Jesus.
LifeSiteNews reported that Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the Human Life International Rome Director, confirmed that the pope's comments are very much related to the Catholic Church's formal teachings in support of traditional marriage and pro-life views.
"For those Catholics who cannot bring themselves to believe the formal teachings of the Church on life and family matters it would be more honest to leave the Church rather than betraying Her," Barreiro said.
"We regret very much that the person is so inclined and we wish they would have a conversion to truly believe," he added.
The Catholics organizations in the U.S. has been battling policy changes by President Barack Obama that require religious institutions to provide contraceptives in their employees' insurance coverage, which goes against church teachings. Also, a host of countries around the world have been struggling over the issue of gay marriage – most recently, the Scottish Catholic Church has been urgently calling for support as their country prepares to become the first U.K. nation and one of the only ones in the world to legalize homosexual marriage.
Monsignor Barreiro noted that differences in opinion were not prohibited in the Catholic Church, but in some circumstances it was better to just obey the important teachings and "sacrifice your will."
"Intellectual difficulty is not disobedience," the HLI Rome Director said. "You might have teachings you find difficult to accept. However, (in those circumstances) it is virtuous to believe since you make a sacrifice of your own will, taking as your own the mind of the Church."
Barriero continued by stating that some issues were open for more discussion than others – as an example, he offered: "It is required for the teaching on abortion, but there can be legitimate differences of opinion among Catholics on how to take care of the poor." He noted also that all Catholics must accept that the church can never ordain women.
Still, many Catholics around the world do not fully side with the church when it comes to some teachings, such as abortion. In a 2012 Gallup poll, as many as 82 percent of Catholic respondents in America said they believe that birth control is morally acceptable.
At the same time, a slight majority of Catholics were at least willing to stand on the side of U.S. bishops who protested the White House's contraception mandate. A recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life noted that 56 percent of Catholics agreed with their bishops concerns, although 36 percent said that they disagreed. Another 64 percent of Catholic respondents agreed that they found religious liberty to be under attack from such policies.