I hope Mercygate’s link was helpful.
Yes, the Pope is in a high position: he is the servant of the servants of God. You remember that Jesus told His followers that those who wished to be leaders must serve others, just as He did.
The Pope does not “make” laws. The President of the U.S., or the Queen of England, to give examples, are heads of nations. But neither of them “make” the laws of the country.
To go even further, while the President and the Queen have legislatures, or houses, as well as judges and lawyers etc., who interpret and evolve the laws of the respective country, the Pope has instead the Holy Scriptures (which give us the laws we follow, as Christians) and Sacred Tradition, which gives us much ORAL as well as WRITTEN testimony from those who were there at the very beginnings of Christianity as it has been practiced since the time of Christ.
The laws regarding Christian dogma (the faith and teachings of what we BELIEVE) do not change. There has been no more “revelation” since the death of the last apostle, as far as “teachings” go.
The Holy Spirit guides us to better understand dogma, but never to change it. For example, the Spirit guided us to the dogma of the Trinity (which is NEVER EXPLICITLY STATED in the Bible–you will find no place which says, flat out, that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three divine persons in one God. Most Christians, nonCatholic Christians too, accept that teaching. . .but that teaching is part of Sacred Tradition and the Magesterium–the “teaching part” of the Church. It is NOT some idea that was thought up by a POPE and then IMPOSED upon Christians.
Now. . .there are other things, called “Disciplines”. Disciplines are laws usually regarding Christian BEHAVIOR or how Christians DO things, but are NOT unchangeable. For example, as you point out, woman once wore hats to church and men removed theirs. Going even further back, women wore veils, and men wore robes instead of pants. . .you get the idea). Certain customs can change. But Popes, when they work WITH THE CHURCH (again, these statements do not come out of the Pope’s mind while he is kicking back watching wrestling. . .“Gee, I think it would be neato if women wore hats to church and only unmarried men became priests–yep, I’ll go pronounce this infallible law tomorrow after I torture a few heretics”) in matters to help GUIDE the people, are not speaking for themselves alone and are not autocratically just trying to stomp on a bad behavior or encourage a good one solely.
So, to correct you, the Pope does not “make laws” which people “have to agree to” because He’s got “God behind him”. The Pope guides the people to follow the laws which GOD has given, in which as always people have total free will to obey or disobey (and take the consequences). The Pope does not make up new laws, he enforces the OLD ones.
Again to correct, when the Pope is speaking ABOUT the laws which God has given to Him, which for whatever reason people are questioning, misunderstanding, or whatever, IF and ONLY IF he is either speaking in a very solemn way (ex cathedra) about a specific dogma which people NEED to have made totally clear (we are all, hopefully, pretty sure about the Trinity, for example, but a few of us are shaky on the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation, and the Real Presence, so all of these three, within “modern”–ie, the last 500 years–times have been spoken of, infallibly, by the Pope in order to make sure that all the flock “get the teaching” from the top down. . .or else, IF he is speaking again, say, about those things which we SHOULD know well (the Trinity, again, or the 10 commandments), which are well known to be Catholic dogma, but which some people are misinterpreting. Thus, dogma found in the Catechism, teachings regarding the inability of women to be Catholic priests, and the inadmissability of birth control are all INFALLIBLE TEACHINGS because they have been part of Catholic dogma since the beginning, even if they have not been pronounced infallible, every year, like clockwork.
Gotta go to choir–catch you later, and God bless!