It seems like the Catholic Church and especially the pope have been under a lot of fire lately, over the priest sex-abuse scandal. There's definitely a lot that needs to be uncovered there, and I hope that the perpetrators will eventually face justice. But I also worry that this scandal has become too much of a surrogate for general unhappiness with the Catholic Church. There's plenty there to criticize, much of it even more important than the abuse scandal, but it's hard to target a lot of it because there aren't the same kind of obvious villains involved.
I'm not Catholic, but it seems like every one of my best friends growing up came from a Catholic family. (Not by my intention - it was just the demographics of my hometown.) I was always envious of my friends for being able to get wine in church - it seemed like a pretty cool and grown-up kind of thing. And I've always thought that the Catholic Church did many good things: not just giving people hope in a troubled world etc., but all the charitable acts by its followers.
But ultimately I think there's so many things wrong with what the Catholic Church is teaching now. Let's see: I disagree with them on divorce, contraception, abortion, the role of women in the clergy and society in general, the environment (especially the church's insane advice to Catholics to keep cranking out as many kids as possible - have you heard of overpopulation???), and rock music. Probably a few other things, too. And it seems like in every case, Joe Ratzinger is pushing for the most extreme, conservative, and reproachable position possible.
Don't know who Joe Ratzinger is? How quickly we forget! That was the pope's name before he became pope. Apparently, when someone is promoted to pope, we're supposed to believe that they become semi-godlike and infallible and whatnot. Some sort of magical process, akin to the selection of the next Dalai Lama or something like that. But there was nothing holy about the way Joe Ratzinger became pope: he did all this political behind-the-scenes shit, like some German Dick Cheney, and got elected by these church buddies that he'd had promoted over the years.
And then, to complete the whole transformation, he gets to pick a special name like Most Excellent Benedict or His Royal Priestness or something. Well, he's never gonna be that to me. You're still Joe Ratzinger - always will be - and I abhor just about everything you've tried to get the church to represent. You see, I don't need the sex scandal thing to call you on all the crap you try to advance. So take that ...