October 23, 2005

Being "A Good Catholic" Without the Pope?

I was not raised a Catholic, so I apologize if the answer to my question is obvious to those who were. Still, maybe you can help me understand a recent conversation that has left me puzzled.

While having a discussion with S, I asked about a mutual friend, M. I commented that M must be happy with the Supreme Court becoming more conservative because Roe would surely be overturned. S informed me that M was pro-choice.

vjack: What? She's Catholic - how can she be pro-choice?

M: She is Catholic, but she also happens to be pro-choice. In fact, she's become quite an advocate for a woman's right to chose and for supporting the GLBT community.

vjack: If she's pro-choice and supportive of homosexual individuals, I guess she's not a very good Catholic.

M: Actually, she is a good Catholic. She attends mass regularly and is very active within the church.

vjack: How does she reconcile her progressive social values with the Pope?

M: Oh, she doesn't think too much of the Pope. She thinks he's out of touch and not especially relevant.

So let me get this straight...M is "a good Catholic" who thinks the Pope is full of it, supports abortion rights, and is an advocate for the GLBT community. Does this make sense? I fail to see how characterizing her as a Catholic is either accurate or even possible. What am I missing here?