This Saint Patrick's Day, on a holiday when everybody becomes Irish without worrying about the burdens, joys, and costs of being Irish in history, let's remember America's great Irish writer, Scott Fitzgerald.
No surprise, transparency has no place in the conclave; all participants must take a pledge of secrecy. Indeed, how can we even expect transparency when many of the cardinal electors stand accused of the very behavior they claim to deplore?
Many Catholics are angry at being told how to vote and at being told to keep quiet if they disagree with the hierarchy. They say it is un-American. Some are quitting churches in disgust. There are yard signs all over that say "Another Catholic Voting No."
I've always felt we religiously unaffiliated "Nones" were a tiny minority. But here we are, surging in an America that's been steeped in religious dogma, where Republican politics has been overrun by zealots hellbent on controlling women's bodies and discriminating against gays.
Catholics know what's at stake, and they're making up their own minds despite the influence the bishops claim, or the relative importance the hierarchy's influence and divisive campaigns garner in the media.
Today's Catholic episcopate seems increasingly marred by a bitter-end spirit of strife and faction. Where's the humble recognition that the political squabbles of this world should not rend asunder the Church of Christ?
The bishops may take some satisfaction in an approval rating of 70 percent, but raising poll numbers was never their goal. The year 2012 still presents challenges, especially in the area of sexual abuse.
Of course, there are Latino libertarians out there. But in general, talking Hispanics into espousing the Ron Paul agenda is only slightly easier than getting the pope to show up at the Stonewall Inn for a drink.