This was so well written that I had to post it here. It was written by sisiphus in one of the communities I belong to...
I am not Catholic, nor have I ever been.
That said, I have little opinion on the election of Joseph Ratzinger. I leave it to the Catholics to determine who is the best-suited Catholic to be pope.
That said, I have heard random comments about how "we" were so close to electing a black pope or a liberal Latin pope. It is clear to me that the affirmative action sensibilities of this nation are more than rampant. In the same breath that a liberal will profess that we are all democratic and social equals, he will champion the rise of a person based on his skin color or her gender. In the same breath that a liberal will invoke the phrase "the separation of church and state" to suit his anti-theist stance, he will declare the election of a "conservative" pope to be regressive.
The definition of Catholicism, or religion in general, in terms of political alignment is disingenuous at best. To call a pope "conservative" is to manipulate. Popes are not United States activist judges, but men who have dedicated their lives to the service of God, including teaching Catholic dogma and reinforcing the morals of the Bible amongst their followers.
You already know why you are not a Catholic. You certainly know why you are an atheist or an agnostic. You choose not to be a Catholic, so why do you think you should have any authority to foist your liberal ideology on a religion as old as history?
Times change because people dissent from the church. The church is not a political tool, least of all for United States liberals, to use in order to mold some sense of pseudo respect for religion because it has been changed to suit their political preferences. In fact, the whole purpose of the Establishment Clause, the one that is often referred to as dictating a total "separation of church and state," was included in the Bill of Rights in order to prevent the government from perverting religion. How can a liberal in one breath declare that religion is a private matter and that despite the Free Exercise Clause, a person should not follow his religious mores nor dictate them from the will of the people in a democratic process, yet declare that the Catholic Church should support such notions as abortion, homosexual unions, or a female priesthood?
If the liberal has such a distate for doctrinal principles, then the liberal should not call himself a Catholic. The liberal should mind his place, as a non-Catholic, and not pontificate that the church needs to change when society has gone astray. Changes that are considered "progressive" by a minority of United States citizens are certainly not the religious dictum for social order, nor would they be the political one if the power of the people had not been usurped by the judicial branch in the 1960s. But I digress.
The point is, it's not your faith, so leave it the fuck alone.