[T]he rise, consolidation and definition of papal power is an historically very complex issue; and, indeed, as scholarship advances, the story becomes more, not less, convoluted and subversive of papal claims. For some converts to Roman Catholicism, papal authority is somehow seen as an obvious riposte to problems with the perspicuity of scripture. In other words, it is the answer to an epistemological/authority problem. For those of us who have spent the best part of our lives reading late medieval and early modern history, however, papal authority is not an epistemological solution to much of anything at all; rather, it is first and foremost an historical problem and, until that problem is solved (which would be a result going somewhat against the flow of play at this point), I find that I can barely work up the energy to address all the other tricky issues that must be faced by real, full-blooded, baby-and-bathwater Roman Catholics (as opposed to the consumerist eclectic RCs) — from Honorius to the purgatorial myths to the cult of Padre Pio and beyond.
Just a short quote from here – but good stuff.