I expect derision from the press at large, regarding the new Pope. I am fully unsurprised by it.
What I did not expect was the derision of my fellow Catholics, or the vitriol put forth by so many of my friends. Livejournal is unsafe right now; I've accidentally ventured into ugly photoshops, and into discussions of how he's going to "Destroy the Church" or set us back into the "dark ages." There's also a Wikipedia entry depicting him as Senator Palpatine, of Star Wars fame. Okay, I'll admit it, I did giggle at that one. Just for a second.
The man has been Pope for less than a week and the honeymoon is already over.
Let's see... the problems appear to be that he's opposed to abortion, gay marriage, contraception, and the ordination of women. My word- you don't mean to tell me they elected a CATHOLIC? No! I am shocked, I tell you.
Just because the laity has some extreme examples, this does not mean the Church must incorporate them. I'll let you in on a little secret: The Ornithophobe rather believes in Reincarnation. (I like to imagine that is what Purgatory is. God sends you back to repeat a grade.) However, did my Church suddenly appoint Cardinals or a Pope who endorsed this belief of mine, I would be quite uncomfortable. Why?
Because it's not Catholic Doctrine. And the Pope is the final arbiter on doctrine. This is not a democracy; his word is law.
It is exactly as I'd feel if we appointed Supreme Court justices who decided to invent new Constitutional Rights, that aren't in the document they are morally obligated to interpret accurately.
Oh. Wait a minute....