In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asks, "who do men say that I am?"
The response? "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Then, Jesus asks, who do YOU say that I am.
Peter, the first of the apostles, speaks up. "You are the Christ."
In four short verses, we see the absolute necessity of having a clear, authoritative voice to which men could turn instead of wading through the morass of public opinion. And so Jesus turns to Simon and says "You are Kepha and on this Kepha I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."
You are Christ. You are Kepha. The pope leads us not as another talking head in the arena of public opinion. Rather, it is the Head, Jesus, that guides His body through the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit who protects most especially Christ's vicar on earth, to whom are passed the keys of the kingdom, that ancient Davidic symbol of royal succession and authority (see Isaiah 22:22).
Just like public opinion had no idea who Jesus was, public opinion to this day has no clear idea about virtually anything pertaining to Christianity.
Take, for instance, this sample of thoughts related to the sign of the cross.
Jesus has a plan to save us from ourselves. The key (excuse the pun) can be found in Matt. 16.
As G.K. Chesterton once said, "The Catholic Church saves us from the degrading slavery of being children of our times." It also saves us from the degrading slavery of being held captive within the severe limits of our own darkened imaginations.