I was raised Catholic, so I can't help but be intrigued and appalled by the bizarre rituals the church still contorts itself through at the drop of a hat.
The thing that gets me about the Catholic church, which is handily highlighted by the political manoeuvring, rumour-mongering and back-scratching that takes place before a papal conclave, is how transparently doublethink the whole thing actually is. The cardinals are just the Inner Party, who seem to simultaneously believe their own bullshit about Catholic dogma and recognise its usefulness in holding onto power, primarily through the manipulation of the church's members.
It's no different from Scientology, on an organizational level. They've just been around longer and have learned how how to hide (most of) their darker secrets, and gained most of their power and acceptance before there was enough easy communication to uncover them.
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to believe that the Catholic church is going to be cured of the pervasive bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and hypocrisy that informs its every action. The election (by old white guys trading favours and secrets, not by divine providence) of another old white guy with a long history of intolerance isn't doing much to make the church relevant for an increasingly connected, informed and accepting world.
The only sad thing is that its death is going to be a slow one.