I grew up in a Roman Catholic setting, and all my friends were of that faith. I went to CYO dances, church picnics, raffles, fish fries, etc. Later in life I received a Master's degree from a Jesuit university. Still later in life I was the Vice President of a Catholic college. I have known bishops and archbishops. I have sat in on theological and ecumenical meetings and discussions with Catholics and Episcopalians. My entire life has been filled with a variety of events and experiences with the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore I make no apologies for the following comments.
As people in the United States become fixated on events taking place in Vatican City to select a new Pope, it is quite apparent how this major Christian denomination has evolved into something far more materialistic than what was founded by a very humble and poor Jesus of Nazareth.
Whether you believe that the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was an act of Divine intervention or historical happenstance, we know certain things about this divine or historical character and his environs and actions. He was born to a carpenter and a girl in her early teens. He was born in a manger in a cave or farm building. He was inspired by a man we now call John the Baptist, who lived the life of a hermit/recluse who ate locusts. As Jesus became a young man he surrounded himself with 12 disciples who were asked to give up all material possessions and follow him. Jesus wore a simple robe and sandals. There was nothing made of expensive metal such as gold in his surroundings. In fact, Jesus himself spoke against materialism and the love of possessions. He lived a simple life, conducted his ministry in very humble surroundings, and had no complicated liturgy in his gatherings. Compare that to today's Vatican and the edifices and liturgical garb and gold trinkets resplendent in Catholic circles, international and local.
Jesus gave no support to lavish dinners, fund raising events, purchases of golden jewelry and adornments, and actually entered a temple and over-turned the money-changers of his day and chastised them for their material actions. Compare that to the way the Catholic church conducts itself today. Compare the simple robe and sandals worn by the Nazarene and the expensive and presumptive robes worn by today's clergy. He wanted leaders who were "fishers of men." Today's clergy do not look as though they are fishing for men, they look as though they are promenading in adornments.
I could go on and on. But there is silence on this subject. It is ironic that the simplest of religious founders has current representatives who act and look nothing like his example. Materialism not only abounds in the current proceedings to select a leader in a Jesus-inspiried church, but everything about the leader in the Holy See in Rome is the antithesis of the humble son of a carpenter and a young girl. All this was unknown to Jesus, as is the Latin language which was totally foreign to him. Religion always seems to rear a strange face when it grabs power, money, and members. Let us hope that by some miracle, a true follower and example of the Nazarene is chosen in the Sistine Chapel.