The papacy is not a necessary
part of Christian tradition. And there is no conceivable reason for the
Vatican to be located in Italy. Jesus never traveled to Europe. In
fact, he never left the Middle East. Wouldn't it make more sense for
the Vatican to be located in Israel? The papacy was created by the
Romans. They were interested in consolidating power, and they did not
hesitate to use the Christian religion to do so.
But today, the Pope has little control of the destinies of a billion Catholics worldwide. The Pope of today is merely a spiritual figure. The role of the Pope today appears to be as a sort of guide. He has studied the Catholic faith and doctrine intensively. And he guides Catholics around the world and advises them on how to practice their faith. But then why should their be only one Pope? Why can't there be dozens of Popes in the Catholic Church? Or perhaps hundreds?
In Islam, there is no centralized authority. There is no hierarchy. There is no Muslim Pope who has the sole authority to give a fatwa. Instead there are millions of Islamic scholars who can give fatwa. The Catholic Church needs to get rid of the church hierarchy because it does not serve a real purpose. There is no need for it.
Each Roman Catholic priest that is well-versed in the study of Catholicism should be allowed to act as a guide for Catholics. This would be better than having just one guy - Pope Benedict XVI - act as the only guide for all Catholics. There is diversity of opinion on matters of faith in Islam primarily because of the absence of any centralized authority. This absence needs to be present in Catholicism as well.
Free the Catholics from the papacy!