As secularization picked up speed in the 18th and 19th century and went into overdrive in the 20th, modern liberals militated to secularize and control everything, including the Catholic Church, which they regarded as the only cultural obstacle left to surmount. Enlightenment dilettante Denis Diderot spoke of strangling the last priest with "the guts of the last king."
The Church had smelled a rat before the French Revolution. Pope Pius VI warned that the misnamed "Enlightenment" would destroy Europe's God-centered culture, decimate its moral foundations, and turn government into a pitiless impostor god. For daring to see that the "Rights of Man" would mean eradicating real rights in the name of fake ones, and warning his clergy of the coming culture of death -- "Beware of lending your ears to the treacherous speech of the philosophy of this age which leads to death" -- Pope Pius VI was stripped of his liberty by Europe's new forces of "liberty, equality, and fraternity." He ended up dying in Valence under French arrest. The French later arrested Pope Pius VII. Napoleon, the Enlightenment's favorite strongman, seized papal territories in 1809 and had Pius VII imprisoned in Fontainebleau until 1814.
What's the point? What does any of this have to do with the death of Pope John Paul II and the liberal elite's reaction to it? A lot, actually. The Church remains the single most potent obstacle to the enlightened pretensions of modern liberalism, and the revolutionary children of Diderot still seek to control the papacy, evident in their envy masquerading as admiration and their angling disguised as advice to a "troubled Church."
Read the entire article on the American Spectator website (new window will open).