The word Catholic comes from the Greek meaning "universal". Now more than four centuries after time and the Reformation has proved the lie, I choose to use papist as the word that best characterizes this defunct and medieval appendage, as it circumscribes its power behind the walls of the Vatican where it belongs. When Constantine raised his new banner at the Milvian Bridge, so began one of the greatest confidence games in history.

Since this week his unholiness has deigned to sully his Prada shoes by walking amongst his sheep, I thought this topic was truly germane. However, I am not so much interested in exposing the crimes of an organized syndicate, as I am the hypocrisy of the average American Catholic.

If one wishes to surrender his will to a cult, the country is, as they say, free. However, if you claim to believe in the doctrines of said cult, at least have the courtesy to actually follow them. The American Catholic treats the dictates of its pope more like fuzzy guidelines than actual commands. Perhaps this is just the American character, a nation that has long taken no heed of the dictates of kings---or popes. Indeed, it is only in those countries that are the least affluent that the pope has any pull at all. Which is why quite possibly millions in Latin America and Africa will die in the following few years due to AIDS and/or poverty induced by a church sanctioned ignorance of birth control.

To the Catholic church, the truth is obvious. There is no gray area here. Either you are a good Catholic or you are not, and if you are not, than why be a Catholic at all? Family tradition doesn't cut it as an answer, and one shows their belief's little respect to say it is the comfort they provide, and mutilate them by hanging on out of pure sentiment, like a relic of saccharine childhood memory every bit as mummified as the saints.

So please, next time you lay with your wife, or wives with your husbands, do the Catholic thing, make it unpleasant for both of you, and for reproduction purposes only.