I remember back when I was a child that I was awestruck by the notion of the president. If the president were on television, I would be wide-eyed thinking, oooh, that's the president, and he's talking. I had no idea what a political party was. I had no opinions on issues that matter. I just looked at him and thought, wow how cool would it be to take a picture with him.
I felt that to an extreme about the pope. We were taught that the pope was Christ's figure-head on Earth in the modern day. We discussed his infallibility and what that meant. So if he's infallible, how can he retire and have a successor named? What if those two living men disagree? How can you no longer by Christ's figure-head on Earth, no longer fallible because you've retired. Infallibility doesn't seem to be something you can give up.
Now as an adult, if the president were to come to my blue state, I'd be more inclined to protest loudly against him than be awed by any possibility of seeing him and honestly shiver in rage at the very thought of being photographed with him. If the pope were to croak tomorrow, I can't say I'd pray for his soul, given all he's done throughout the global spread of AIDS to oppress safer sex education, all he does to impede the rights of women, equality and acknowledgment of the humanity and naturalness of homosexuality, the realities of our sexual existence, and the closing off of the church from all but the most closed-minded of followers who would rather make excuses for the establishment in the name of their faith than work strongly and loudly for change within it.
Mr. Pope, Mr. President, you don't impress me like you did when I was 8. I could say more if you want...