Nothing brings the kooks out like a conclave.

The Catholic Church is unique in so many ways. In the the silly season that is the weeks leading into a conclave, the Catholic Church is a unique target for its detractors and their cohorts in a willing media.

Barely 48 hours after the announcement of Pope Benedict’s retirement and the approach of a new conclave, the progressive kooks have come out of the woodwork. In 2005, after a generation of John Paul II and watching their 70s progressive dreams stall and slowly lose favor, aging dissident Catholics had hope that finally they would have the progressive Pope of their dreams.

Op-ed pages across the country and the globe were filled with impious lectures from those hold neither the tenets of the faith or understand what the Church is telling the world what the Church really needs. Of course, what the world really needs, it turns out, is a Pope just like them. Instead, to their (laughable) shock, they got Joseph Ratzinger.

So again, with the approach of a conclave, the silly season begins again. Just yesterday we had what essentially amounts to anti-Catholic screeds from media institutions and disaffected Catholics on the evils of Ratzinger and patriarchy, and the wonders of condoms and women priests.

CNN gave us this piece of silliness.

The Catholic Church has continued to march backwards under Pope Benedict, seeming at times to be in a state of perpetual denial, whether the issue be that of child abuse, birth control, homosexuality or the role of women.

At the heart of the church there lies a deep chauvinism that seems to have infected the whole edifice.

The New York Times gave us this (disguised as actual reporting)

The resignation sets up a struggle between the staunchest conservatives, in Benedict’s mold, who advocate a smaller church of more fervent believers, and those who believe that the church can broaden its appeal in small but significant ways, like allowing divorced Catholics who remarry without an annulment to receive communion or loosening restrictions on condom use in an effort to prevent AIDS. There are no plausible candidates who would move on issues like ending celibacy for priests, or the ordination of women.

Then the NYT times gave op-ed space on this critical day to an unquestioned authority on the Catholic Church, playwright John Patrick Shanley.

POPE BENEDICT XVI quit. Good. He was utterly bereft of charm, tone-deaf and a protector of priests who abused children. He’d been a member of the Hitler Youth. In addition to this woeful résumé, he had no use for women.

The Roman Catholic Church, which in so many ways has been a great boon to the City of New York, has been choked and bludgeoned into insignificance by a small group of men based in Italy.

Priests cannot marry. Why? I will tell you why. Priests cannot marry because they would have to marry women. Women cannot be priests.

Why? Women cannot become priests because of a bunch of old men. These old men justify their beliefs with a brace of ridiculous arguments that Jesus would have overturned in a minute. “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” What about that is hard to understand? If you can become a priest, I can become a priest. Period. Equality.

All this silliness amounts to nothing other than anti-Catholic screeds from a bunch of know-nothings determined to build a Church the re-affirms them in their perversion and who cannot abide one that doesn’t.

It is hard to imagine CNN and the NYT giving such space to anti-Muslim screeds during Ramadan or any other time for that matter. Cowards, all.

But let them have their moment of silliness. When it turns out that the next Pope is just as Catholic as the last ones, I shall cheerily toast to their continued disappointment.

*subhead*Anti-Catholic wishful thinking.*subhead*