A Catholic who believes in Catholicism?

I love that there”s controversy circling around Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the pick-a-pope conclave gets underway in the Vatican.

Ratzinger”s comments about “a dictatorship of relativism” is coming under fire from some Catholics as being – apparently – too Catholic.

What the good Cardinal said, in effect, is that Catholics should follow Catholicism. You know, the actual religious order founded by Friends of Jesus back in the day. Catholicism teaches things like “divorce is bad and not allowed”, “if you”re not a good Catholic, you”re going to hell” and other things that can really bring down a weekend in Vegas.

Of course, a lot of Catholics (especially in the U.S.) don”t particularly like all these rules, and look for ways around them. Annulment is a fabulous loophole for a church that won”t recognize divorces, for instance. Married seven years? No problem! I”m sure we can squeeze out an annulment somewhere.

Then there”s the whole P.R. nightmare of a doctrine that assigns 83% of the world”s population to eternal damnation.

So The Ratz, obviously not happy with the notion that the Church should be a kinder, gentler place – and the treatment of the conclave as a political caucus where pope candidates are vetted against standards such as “media presence” – used his last public statement before being sequestered into pope-picking to give a shout-out to old-school religious rigidity:

“Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism,” Ratzinger said. “Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and “swept along by every wind of teaching,” looks like the only attitude acceptable to today”s standards.

“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one”s own ego and one”s own desires.”

Damned right.

If you”re going to have a religion, people, have a religion! If there are rules, follow them. If you”re not going to follow the rules, don”t claim to be a part of the religion that has these rules.

Now get in there and pick me a pope!

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