I left the RCC when I got out of college. I was raised very RC: family background, 1st - 8th grade parochial schooling, CCD, Newman Center in college, etc. There was always something missing though. My only respite was during college with the Newman Center and my friendships with Jesuits. They were the most real and accessible. Everything else became hypocrisy. I acquired from the Jebbies an affinity for Liberation Theology - change would come from the people; god and theology were alive and involved.
The problems with Liberation Theology arose when the terrorists in South America hijacked it and added the violence aspect and a marxist bent to it. It lost its real focus and became political. Added to this was the reactionary, authoritarian, nationalistic regimes backed by the Latin church hierarchy that turned it into a fight. Liberation theology was based on a socio-economic argument between the middle/upper middle classes and the vast numbers of marginalized peasants/lower class in need of a pastoral need to make change. A church in need of listening in a new way was necessary.
John XXIII was the one ray of hope the RCC had. He had his ear to the people and the foresight that change & modernity were difficult to fight and here to stay. Vatican II addressed these anxieties and began moving the RCC to a true world-wide pastoral focus. Unfortunately, John XXIII died and did not have the chance to set in motion a plan to make sure the change would continue to move forward. JPII put in place security well before he died by nominating 95% of the College of Cardinals and installing men he knew would follow his way of thinking. He stacked the deck in advance to make certain his agenda could move forward.
Wojtyla [JPII] had a communist background and Ratzinger [BXVI] had a Nazi background. Their formative years were spend under totalitarian regimes. They could not imagine anything but fascism because they battled with it all their lives. However, all of their thinking is based on living under fascist governments and they don't realize that they stood against it only to replace it with a "fascism of religion." They traded one dictatorship for the dictatorship of the medieval church: unbending, dogmatic, punishment oriented, infallable, etc.
Nietszche was very right when he put forth the idea that God is dead, but JPII, BXVI, and conservatives didn''t, and still don't, understand that to Nietszche God is dead because most religious and fundamentalists believers will not let God be a living entity for the people. They hold onto "belief" unwavering rather than works of acceptance and change. The messages of the gospels get lost in interpretation when they are really very simple in nature. What interpretation can be given to "Love thy neighbor as thyself?" What better implies that God is not dead than words such as these?
The greatest disaster for the RCC was the invention of Guttenberg's printing press, and they knew it and fought it, as they did Galileo. Knowledge is dangerous; it leads people to think for themselves. The printing press was going to make ignorance obsolete, and has. The ignorant follow: they know what they know; they know what they don't know; but they don't know that they don't know 95% of what is in the universe. Sadly, many many people are still locked into this out of fear and refuse to question. It certainly does throw a monkey wrench into free will. Religious fascism wants free will to be "their" idea of free will, hence, the fear of liberation.
god isn't dead; god just left everything behind because (s)he is confused [pissed]...