Originally posted by Joshi
"Sounds awfully like a dictatorship to me."
Being that you have a choice whether or not you want to be a part of that faith it doesn't seem to be a dictatorshisp. It is like marrige. If you get married you should probably not cheat on your wife. That is the bond you share. Religious or not. If you join the Catholic faith then it is sorta like a marrige. You have a bond with the Church now and you have to follow those rules. If you don't like it leave. If you hate your wife get divorced.
As for the Pope. He is dead. Most of the mourning has passed. I don't know what happened in your countries/states, but here we had the flag at half mast. They do that for important people.