Of course the Pope is Catholic otherwise we’re all going to have to go back to watching for white smoke over the Vatican. It’s just a dull retort which has been overshadowed by the more cosmopolitan “duh”. As a recovering Catholic I can honestly tell you that Catholics won’t have to take a mortal sin hit for not expressing acrimony over that one. There are other more lame albeit funnier things afoot.
Long, long ago, The first head of the Catholic Church, the Pope, was St. Peter (Catholics love saints) and Popes have continued this legacy up to present day. The early Christians were generally from the working classes and had moderate incomes. Christian worship was barely tolerated and sometimes not at all, especially by Nero. In year 325 Roman Emperor Constantine set in motion tolerance for the Christians to worship. As the popularity increased, Christians could be found in upper socioeconomic classes. In rolled the wealth.
In the middle of the 5th century, the Roman Empire in the West had collapsed and the Church picked up the slack. During the Middle Ages the Church had become quite wealthy having acquired some of its wealth from buying and selling positions in the Church.
The Church practiced “Reaganomics” by employing artisans and craftsmen to build churches, cathedrals, universities, etc. For centuries the Church was the religious and secular authority in much of Europe. The Church was a government that had to levy taxes, coin money and all the duties in which a government participates. That included defense of the Papal States and the people in them. Several Popes are known to have led their armies in battle.
I won’t go into the Reformation or the Byzantine Empire or the relationship the Church had with the Holy Roman Empire of the Franks, or the Papacy of Avignon— for brevity’s sake.
In 1929, the State of Vatican City was formed when the Pope renounced the bulk of the Papal States to Italy in exchange for sovereignty. The papacy had run the Church like an empire, initially out of necessity after the Fall of the Roman Empire. The Church and the Pope, his Cardinals– might look peculiar from the outside, yet, Sovereigns from other countries still have their traditional trappings. They just may not wear them as often. The British hold fast to their Sovereigns for reasons of tradition– as evidence of an important role in the history of civilization. And let us not forget, England’s Sovereigns have been the titular head of the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII. The Queen of England and the Pope are not very different. They both lost their empires.