Religious wars were Baptists bitching at Presbyterians and Lutherans and those three being oh so catty about the Episcopalians. It was the South. The only things people cared about were Who's Your Daddy and What Church Do You Belong To. If you were an ax murder, and had good answers to those two questions, you could join a country club and dine with the finest folks in town. If your answers weren't good, your chances were nil no matter who or what you were.
When I was a teenager, we went to on a Grand Summer Trip to Europe. Part of that was Italy and part of that was Rome and part of that was The Vatican. Daddy had a Catholic friend who had some pull and we had an audience with the Pope. I was all hyped about it cause in pictures he had cool outfits but then I learned that 'audience' meant church service - yawn.
It wasn't a great pope - John the 23rd, made famous in my history classes by Kennedy - was dead and this was Paul VI (I had to look that up - all I remember was that he was a minor Pope).
It was actually kind of fascinating to watch the other people in the 'audience'. The Catholics - it was a BFD for them. I was particularly taken with the nuns. I knew a lot about nuns cause I had seen them in lots of movies. It was weird and interesting to see live non-movie ones all done up on their nun duds.
For me it was more like field trip to a strange cult. My Parents bought us rosary beads to take so they could be blessed by the Pope. When I learned we could not wear them as necklaces, I was totally baffled.
All this pope talk in the news is transporting me back half a century!