One thing I left out–that is actually the most important thing–is the fact that the Holy Spirit protects the pope from error in his teachings on faith and morals (papal infallibility) which is the ultimate form of “checks and balances.”
So if the pope says the Holy Spirit protects the pope from error in faith and morals, that’s the “ultimate form ”of “checks and balances”? What’s the check on the underlying claim of papal authority?
Seems less like a system of checks and balances than the pope writing himself a check. Indeed, seems even more like papal check kiting.
“I’m infallible when I say I’m infallible!”
Historically, the pope is better at writing checks than balancing the checkbook. That’s the ultimate form of papal bookkeeping.