Ciao, Roman Catholicism:
Ahh, there's nothing worse than long break-ups, the lingering, inevitable death of a long-term relationship, where you've tried to keep your demanding partner by compromise after compromise, hoping against hope that at some point your partner will see it your way, maybe not be so suffocating, when, deep in your aching gut, you know, you know, that the break-up has to happen or everyone's life is just going to be a long slog through misery and recrimination.

And now we can all look forward to a fond farewell to Roman Catholicism in America. Oh, c'mon, now, Roman Catholicism, don't cry. It's not you, it's us. See, here in America (and most of the developed world), we desire simple things like sexual freedom, women's rights, and lack of molestation. We've changed, not you, and if a relationship can't evolve, it has to die, right? Right?

Time and time again, we looked to you for some inkling that you might change your ways. But time and time again, you had to say something that just wrecked our self-esteem, like, ten years ago, when you said, "[T]he negative values inherent in the 'contraceptive mentality'-which is very different from responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act-are such that they in fact strengthen this temptation when an unwanted life is conceived." And then, in the same document, this - this: "The various techniques of artificial reproduction . . . are morally unacceptable." What did you think? That we'd just say, "Well, okey-dokey, Roman Catholicism, let's toss those years of medical research to give childless couples a shot at parenthood out the window - abort it, if you will"? Sorry, sorry . . . we thought we could do this without getting angry.

The straw that broke the camel's back was the election of this new Pope, Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, who looks like Bela Lugosi's Dracula on a blood bender. Not only is he an ex-Nazi (who gives a rat's ass if his heart wasn't in it - just think of how it looks for us to go out with someone of whom it can be spoke, "He's an ex-Nazi." Did you even think of our feelings?), but he promises to take you even further away from beliefs that might make us both happy. You're already bitch-slappin' Spain over gay marriage and adoption. Spain - which did all those wonderful bone-crushing inquisitions for you. You think you'd cut it some slack, but, no, and that says a lot about you.

Now you're represented by a man who was the enforcer for the most conservative policies of the Church, including declaring that if we believe in abortion we should be denied communion (which affected the Presidential election, of course). And he thinks that the church's condemnation of Galileo was "reasonable and just." And let's not even get into his opinions of gays and contraception, except to say that "eeeevil" is a big term there. Oh, and that little problem with sexual abuse by a Vatican official that Ratzinger covered-up? Nice. No women priests, no married priests, and sexual abuse cover-up. What's the laundry bill like on the wash cloths at the Vatican? Sorry. We know. Saracasm never makes anything easier.

So what are we gonna do, Roman Catholicism, huh? Oh, you had a chance, a big one. Hell, you've even pissed off Latin America, and if you had elected a darker-skinned Pope, oh, you'd've had a good couple of decades of warm-fuzzies with some continents, even if that Pope had declared cannibalism instead of eucharists. But, no. You won't change. You just retreated, further and further. In fact, you named a Pope who was the complete opposite of what you needed and then presented him as if he was exactly who was needed. It's as if Karl Rove advised you who to choose.

We know that because of the wall-to-wall coverage of JPII's death and the 24-hour-a-day smokestack-cam you have an inflated sense of your self-worth with us. And sure, sure, we may give Benedict a little time, but, as you know from history, break-ups can happen overnight.

Hey, over 200 years. We've had a good run. And some part of you will always be with us. But it's time to move on. And we were lying before. It's not us. It's you.