I am not sure you ever really addressed my concerns. You did bring up a good example though…You spoke of Women’s Ordination. Now, you say, quite clearly, that women cannot be ordained because the Pope said so. That is essentially your argument and has been for quite some time about papal authority. I think what others would say, however, is that the Pope’s authority only extends as far as the deposit of faith. In other words, he has the authority to say women cannot be priests because that is what the church’s magisterium, or teaching authority, has always taught. His power is arbitrary or absolute; if it were, he could, like a king, rule that virtually ANYTHING is one way or the other. He can’t, however, do this.
Further, I don’t believe the Pope’s primacy is merely one of honor. He occupies a very real office that Peter held. The issue is how much power that office has. You say it’s absolute, and I don’t think the Church as a whole has ever held that and I don’t believe that is an apostolic teaching.
Further, you would have the world separate the papal office from the rest of the bishops, insisting that the Pope’s power is absolute separate from the other bishops, but this is erroneous. It would be like saying Barack Obama’s power would still exist if the rest of the country left him and decided he wasn’t a valid president. You can’t be president of a country that doesn’t exist and you can’t be Pope of a church that doesn’t exist. So if a Pope is out on an island, forsaken by the rest of the world, including all validly ordained bishops, he is no longer the Pope. Why? Because his office essentially ceases to exist. The Pope is the Head of the Church like a CEO is head of a company. No company means no CEO and no church means no Pope. An office cannot exist without an organization. Thus, the Pope’s office, which was established by Jesus at the SAME TIME He established His Church, is indistinguishable from the organization it leads and REQUIRES the rest of the bishops to be a valid post. This doesn’t mean the bishops must all agree for the Pope’s words to be valid (bishops could all be in error). What does it mean, however, is that without the bishops, there is no Church, and without the Pope, you could also argue there is no Church, at least not a universal church. I would argue the Church exists anywhere that Christians exist and especially where bishops are present, but that’s an entirely different matter.