Catholicism....don't listen to falsehood about catholics, instead, find the time to research as far back in history as you can. That includes reading the fathers of the early church. Afterall, I'd want to follow the closest people who walked with Christ, his apostles.......to them were given the keys to bind and loose, and so it follows with the lineage of the priesthood on up.
What seems like mere "pomp and circumstance" is Catholics acknowledging with their actions that Jesus is special: Jesus is Lord and Savior. But He is also our Lord and Savior for being Son of David, Son of God, Son of Man, and for being High Priest, Prophet, and King.
Politics and "belief in Jesus Christ." Whenever any Catholic working for a party puts spin on whether or not a candidate "believes in Jesus Christ," turn it back on them: ask them what they even mean by that. Litmus-test key words: Real Presence, Eucharist, Incarnation. Key them back into the Creed that ALL Catholics publicly profess at Mass on Sunday. Don't let anyone let you think they "own" compassion & social justice: the Truth in charity, yes. But always also charity in Truth.
Paraphrasing Chesterton, the Cross is the only symbol that can extend itself in all four directions and not lose its essential shape. It breaks out. Think of what happens when God gets into the nooks and crannies of our life with faith as small as a mustard seed. Catholic orthodoxy is a radical way of bustin' loose: God gets in there and lovingly reorients what's gotten broken and bent out of shape.