I do believe this. I was in a convent for seven years. The brainwashing was intense. It seems that the imprinting of beliefs over time becomes so entrenched that it can be difficult to reverse. Couple that with ritual and power and you have an unshakable ideology.
If any pope actually believed in the Christian principles they are supposed to avow the Vatican would be bankrupt in a week.
The last time there was a pope who was anywhere near sincere, he was found dead in bed reading, a few days after his accession.
What if I were to ask you if you Dawkins or Hitchens really believe there are no gods, no heavens, or life after death? That they built their empire promoting that belief and thus if they actually stated that they believed, it would all crumble down.
Is there use or merit to that assertion?
Unless you have evidence that the pope doesn't believe or that Dawkin's does believe, to claim otherwise is to basically just hold a mirror up to yourself and promote your own bias, your own belief, your own view.
In other words, you assertion that a person says one thing but means another says nothing about the honesty of that person's belief but everything about your willingness to project your beliefs onto others without a shred of evidence.
Some do. Some don't.
The Pope's from the 15th through 17th century were all rich land owners who were only in it for the money from the collection plate, the cushy digs and all the free pussy they could bang.
Post 1800, I think most of the Pope's have at least half way believed their own bullshit.
For previous popes I would venture that this the 'party line' they would push, but the current pope appears to be willing to 'shift the goal posts', at least as far as he will be permitted to do so. Without evidence to support my view, I would suggest that he might even go further, but knows if he did he would probably meet an untimely end, as have earlier popes who got a bit too far out of line.