You might imagine the pope is a paradigm-case of a high-profile Catholic. You might even assume it’s a job requirement that the pope be Roman Catholic. Presumably Richard Dawkins or John Piper lacks one of the necessary qualifications to assume the Pontificate.
But we live in a surprising world. You see, Dave Armstrong has raised the bar for who’s truly Catholic and who’s not.
But back to D'Souza. Why would I deny that he was a "high profile Catholic"? I do so based on his own report in the very article that Hays sent his readers to. He was never firmly in the Catholic camp to begin with...
Moreover, on his own More About Dinesh D'Souza page (from Rosey Grier's book of 1992), he stated that he was a "believing Catholic but a poorly practicing one."
Well, I think devoted partisans of either side think it is a very important question and business and issue (as Francis Beckwith himself noted in a critique article of D'Souza). The fact that D'Souza does not, plausibly gives some indication, I think, of his less than total commitment to theological maters of great importance.
Suppose we apply these criteria to some of the Renaissance popes. Were they real Roman Catholics? Well, to judge by Dave’s criteria, they clearly fell below the magic threshold.
So you don’t have to be Roman Catholic to be the Bishop of Rome. And that certainly widens and deepens the potential pool for the next conclave. Perhaps the Dali Lama or Bill Maher will be the next pope.