Religion — any religion — is an ideological tool to achieve political power. In the Western World, we tend to believe that our governments should not be theocracies, but this is a fairly new concept. The longer arc of history indicates there really is no separation of Church and State as the State is simply a tool God uses to enforce universal truths. Objectivism is just a pesky flaw in the human animal created by hubris. God will win out in the end.
Sin v crime
To understand the Catholic Church, we need to understand its view on the relationship between sin and crime. In the eyes of the Church, there is no difference between sin and crime. Crime is where the Church defines secular encroachment. Since the Church is in charge of meting out punishment for sin — and crime is a concept of the secular world — there are really no crimes, only sins for which you can seek absolution by an Act of Contrition and performing penance. Larger sins — like pedophilia by priests — were legislated by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Ratzinger 1981-2005)
The Western media are all over the Pope abdication, saying the legacy of Benedict XVI will be his bravery to step down in admission of his limitations, etc, etc. I thnk they are looking at the wrong story. Benedict (Ratzinger) will retire in the Vatican City and never, ever leave. He can’t. If he does, he will be arrested and prosecuted by a secular court. By staying in the Vatican Cty, he is asserting the political power of the Church. Remember, there is no crime, only sin.
By protecting Ratzinger politically, the Vatican is also sending a message to the faithful that it will not yield to objectivism. Liberal Catholics who are hoping the Church adopts more inclusiveness with a new pope will be disappointed. The moral teachings of the Church are correct; it is only the message that needs to be re-crafted, re-branded to persuade them of their flawed reasoning.
*I am not a theologian, just a scarred-up recovering Catholic. Fire at will. I also think the Tridentine Mass is pretty cool.