There's a large segment of the Western world that regards Catholicism as a horrible spawn of Satan. They absolutely denounce the Pope and many of them view him as the antichrist. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is to them an evil they fear and denounce.
Until charismatic John F. Kennedy broke the spell, no Catholic had the proverbial chance of a snowball in hell of becoming president of the United States. I find these mindsets kind of puzzling even though I once shared them in my devotion to the cult from which I escaped.
Here's what I find so puzzling and contradictory. It's based on the historical facts of where the Catholic Church and the New Testament originated and why.
The original Catholic Church was patterned after the imperial government of Rome (it was totalitarian fascist, pure and simple). The Catholic Church was just an extension (really the religious department) of Roman government (the "Beast" to many Protestants), established by imperial edict and intended to foster order in the empire -- everybody thinking, saying and doing the same things. You can read the basics of the history right here: http://www.nexusmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=70. And here: http://www.jovialatheist.com/hmpindex.html.
The New Testament all Christians say they revere wasn't delivered by some divine fax machine. Very little, if any, of it was written by any of the original disciples and followers of a Galilean Jesus. The real authors and editors came along decades and centuries later and a lot of them followed the common practice in that time of writing under famous people's names.
The average believing Christian doesn't spend much time even reading the Bible. Textual criticism and other deeper theological study is a foreign thing and concept. They just assume "the book" is genuine and to be trusted without question. Basically, they believe whatever they were told by their parents and other people with an aura of authority.
Luther rebelled against the religious "Caesar" (pope) but maintained the basic organization and approach and so did the other "reformers." With minor modifications, they're basically religious mafias with a “capo di tuti capi" of varying power at the top and lots of local “capos” and “soldiers” administering set territories and responsibilities throughout the organization. The manufactured catholic canon remains to this day and every time a modern christian bows down to and professes faith in it, he is in effect recognizing and bowing down to the pope in Rome.
This is a real conundrum when viewed in the context of churches that denounce the pope as an antichrist and false prophet. HWA about blew a fuse when a movie glorifying the pope was shown on the stage where he preached as entertainment for the congregation. Yet, he preached from a book that only existed on the authority of the popes and imperial Rome.
All Christians are united in their acceptance of the New Testament as a divinely inspired collection of books and letters. Yet, many of them totally reject the very popes and other prelates that determined and set up that canon. Somehow, the very individuals they denounce and refuse to recognize as legitimate come out as divinely inspired and guided when it comes to the fetish of their beloved Bible.
I used to gloss over this gross contradiction, but no more.
I reject the pope and I reject his book too.