It's really the bishops who do the daily running of things, isn't it? I haven't noticed too much that what the pope or bishops do has too much effect on my life.
Probably the most important function of the Pope is his appointment of bishops. JPII was downright negligent. He appointed lots of TERRIBLE bishops in the U.S. and elsewhere. I have read that he would be presented with dossiers on three candidates for the diocese of Dismal Seepage or wherever, and, without looking at any of them, would take the top one on the stack a sign it.
Benedict’s appointments were generally better.
This Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor seems to be a real piece of work. Cardinal Sean O’Malley—toady to the Kennedys—of Boston is reportedly a close friend of the Pope.