Catholic Church plays a bigger role
Pope Benedict XVI's retirement proceeded through the news media like a second-rate story. I don't believe most people understand the power of the pope. While the Vatican only occupies a small piece of Italy, their influence controls not only people but governments around the world.
Sure, there are countries today that would like nothing better than to have the Vatican disappear. The Vatican is still able to act as an intermediary between countries and philosophies which no other entity could do. Not being Catholic I understand the role of the Catholic Church and its ability to do good around the world.
Pope John Paul II will go down in history as a single man who could have prevented World War III. When Pope John Paul II entered Poland and started the downfall of the Soviet Empire, he knew the Soviets had a bullet with his name on it.
Sure, the Catholic Church and their priests have done things that were wrong, from Revolution theology to pedophilia. Over the last seven years the Catholic Church has succeeded in cleansing itself of some of the elements that has cost the church some of its effectiveness.
Not only Europe but America is going to go through some trying times in the near future, and I believe there will be a role the Catholic Church can play to help us through this trying time.