A fantastic piece in the Star compares today's pope's attempt to bully politicians into accepting his view of the world to the numerous popes in the past who attempted to usurp temporal control of the world from secular rulers.
"It took centuries of struggle against theocracies of many kinds to establish the modern separation of church and state. Most lay Catholics heaved a sigh of relief that papal delusions of grandeur seemed to have finally been set aside with the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. The council, the Church's highest teaching authority, affirmed the rightful independence of the secular sphere and the primacy of conscience even if it runs counter to Church teaching.It also endorsed the right of lay Catholics to have input into the formation of Church teachings in areas such as politics, where their expertise outweighs that of the clergy. But under John Paul II, aided and abetted by then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Holy Office, hierarchical control of the Church over all spheres of life was reasserted, and the influence of the laity declined. The Vatican then set its sights on undermining the autonomy of secular governments by bullying individual Catholic politicians. Witness the threats of excommunication swirling around U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry, the suspension from the sacraments of MP Charlie Angus and the attempt to bring Prime Minister Paul Martin to heel over the same-sex marriage bill."