how important is the papacy to U.S. Catholics? not as important as it used to be, according to the recent new york times poll. even as the world awaits a new pope it is possible to remain impassive about who he is and what his teachings are. it seems that so many of the “difficult moral questions” at stake aren’t those to which the pope can ultimately answer.
many Catholics reject much of the dogma. the church’s stance- whether on gay marriage, birth control or female priests- doesn’t matter to those Catholics that prefer to pick and choose. according to the poll, sixty three percent of Catholics are in favor of legalizing gay marriage which is interestingly higher than Americans as a whole- only fifty three percent.
there must be something said of the practicing of religion at the convenience of ones own conscience but still considering oneself among the faithful. i have heard the term loyal opposition but to me it just seems to reflect mild indifference. and who can blame them? people adapt to their societies, knee deep in the trenches, so to speak. and they view the pope as an ancient, distant figure on a paternal throne, dictating lives of which they have no experience living.
where exactly do holy Catholic values meet with with american moral rights? where do religious teachings intersect with modern issues? where does the church end and the state begin? and to what model of bridging the gaps can the faithful rely on when love thy neighbor turns into abuse young boys?