A lot of my readers (and family for that matter) are Catholic, so I’ll apologize in advance, but these kinds of statements from the Pope never cease to amaze me.

Materialism? Self absorption? Given the wealth of the Catholic Church, specifically that contained within Vatican City alone, along with the pomp and circumstance performed on a regular basis both within and outside those gates, there is much to say on this subject — none of it very positive — but I’ll refrain from further comment just in case God’s biased toward Catholics.

The Pope’s comments came over the weekend while he was on the Australian leg of the church’s “Hey Kid, Sorry ’bout What That Priest Did ’08″ world tour.

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Pope Benedict XVI, above, encourages people to stop wasting money on flashy clothes and fancy hats

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