Parish politics can be terrible. My wife converted to Catholicism and the pettiness she deals with is very difficult. And there is a terrible history of sausage-making throughout church history, as everyone knows. But the loss of temporal power, followed by the infiltration and exorcism of demonic forces has yielded an amazing purification, which is the hope of those of us who have been too stubborn to let the devil win.
I’m not one who’s going to tell you that some minority has made the rest of the priests look bad. The fact is that the bad bishops have been such a sizeable majority that it made a frontal, legalistic assault by the good guys impossible. In 1962, Pope John XXIII ruled that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed into the priesthood, and the disobedience was so rampant that scarcely a handful of American bishops heeded his warning. In 1965, Pope Paul VI discovered a black mass in the Vatican. In 1968, he reasserted Catholic sexual morality in the age of birth control, and most bishops dissented and all but formally entered schism. That year, the guy who probably presided over the black mass became, unknown to Paul VI, the unofficial pope of the American de-facto schism.
But there is good news. In 1978, an exorcist, one of the very, very few bishops who were exorcists became pope. In 1982, he placed another exorcist bishop at the helm of the papal inquisition, which by then had been renamed the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. By 1990, according to the 2005 John Jay study of the Johns Hopkins University, they had reduced the abuse rate by 97%, before anyone in the press knew of the problem. In 2005, that exorcist became pope. He is now resigning, but he will continue to live and conduct spiritual warfare from within the Vatican.
Whatever the latest homosexual scandal to rock the Vatican, it is a big one. We’ll never know what it is, but the gay-media-lobby-led speculation that Benedict is gay doesn’t fit the facts: why would he appoint an investigation to discover and tell him he’s gay? And he’s the very guy who’s asserting that gays can’t make good priests; does anyone really think he thinks he should never have become a priest? But the last two elections have shown that the institution can rise above venial nature of the people who fill the offices.
There have been brilliant reforms. The cardinals shun anyone who campaigns for being pope as corruption. 2/3rds votes are necessary, and the conclave takes place in complete silence. Given that Benedict and the runner-up were both conservative non-Italian reformers, what are the factions or coalitions? How did they horsetrade past the 2nd round when John Pau started to emerge, if they couldn’t talk?
I also would add that, at diocesan and national conventions, voting strategies for candidates and resolutions were/are worked out in advance, including rehearsal of contingency plans and instructions where to place votes on each round of balloting. Done by both the liberals and the traditionalists. Votes in the conclave can occur in silence, but possible outcomes will have been worked out in advance.