: First of all, the CC has nothing to do with Catholciism; the CC is a bunch of conservative Protestants who oppose religious toleration. Even the current Pope, a rather conservative one, has declared his support for evolution, his opposition to capitalism, and his support for teh idea that all religions have something worthwhile to say. Pat Robertson and his evangelical followers believe in none of this stuff. As a non-Catholic, I have no qualms about saying i don't particularly care for this Pope. However, he's still infinitely better than the Protstant right in this country.
You have a fundamental misconception about the Pope's role within the Catholic Church. His opinion is not the same as the magisterium. His personal opinion, in fact, matters very little. Popes do not have the power to change church teaching. Unless the Pope speaks ex cathedra consider his words as personal opinion.
: Moreover, the Pope only speaks for Catholicism as a whole when he speaks "ex cathedra", isn't that right? It was my understanding that ex cathedra announcements were fairly rare. When John Paul II criticized teh Sandinsitas, then, since he wasn't speaking ex cathedra it doesn't mean all Catholics have to support him on that one. Correct me if I'm wrong, Lark?
You are correct.
: Finally, there are plenty of very progressive Catholic leaders. There was Pope John XXIII in the early sixties, to begin with, then Cardenal in Nicaragua, Father Berrigan in this country, Archbishop Camara in Brazil, Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, and Graham Greene. The Catholic Left is an old and well-established movement.
Not that old, certainly not as old as Scripture and Tradition. As a matter of fact, Pope Leo XIII anticipated these sorts of movements (modernism) as early as the latter half of the nineteenth century.