An interesting post by Amy Welborn, "Against Popesplaining" (Charlotte Was Both, February 21, 2016). A few excerpts from passages highlighted by the author (i.e., Welborn):
This is pretty crazy, but it’s also predictable. Students of religious movements and even students of sociology and mass psychology could predict it: When you strip principles away, personalities and emotional connections step in to fill the vacuum.[Hat tip to JM]
... Do you see what I’m saying?
I’m saying that the Pope, as an individual, is not supposed to be that important.
All popes have their individual priorities and areas of expertise. Sure. But…
Which is why it’s all the more important that they humbly submit those interests and priorities, those particular charisms, to service of the life of a complex, deep, broad Church that belongs to Christ, not to them.
... But perhaps it is also fair to ask…
..knowing the role of the Pope, and understanding how easily misunderstood the role of the Pope is by most people today, is it a mark of humble leadership to allow your own words to become the dominant public face of Catholicism – on a daily basis?
So here’s the paradox. No, the contradiction: to brush away certain external expressions of papal authority while actually doubling down on the authority. Communicating in one way the supposed diminishing of the role while at the same time using the role to speak authoritatively to the entire world out of your own priorities on a daily basis.
... Any servant leader must be a listener, be open and engaged. We meet Christ in each other and by loving others. But the current discussion – that doesn’t begin with the present papacy, and goes, rather, back to John Paul II – that we know Jesus better because the Pope tells us he gets us and he loves us and carries his own briefcase! – is not healthy, feeds into the equating of emotionalism with faith, and is borderline idolatrous.