For contemporary Catholics, the election of the Bishop of Rome is treated as an affair of world-historical significance and of immense spiritual conflict whereas the election of ones own Bishop is treated as a largely administrative affair. For over a century, the popes have been presumed saints (eight of the last ten deceased popes – which takes us back to 1846 – have reached some stage toward canonization) but over my lifetime the bishop has been first of all a voice in a pre-recorded sermon, heard once a year for the annual Catholic appeal, and I’ve never related to him as someone who was particularly holy. I’ve read the books of popes with interest and am deferential to them, but I’m frequently suspicious of the bishops and I don’t presume goodwill in their actions or motives. I can’t remember ever grumbling, groaning, or facepalming myself over the press releases, policies, or actions of the popes.
I say all this only as facts and not because I think either attitude is appropriate. Both attitudes have more than one element of order and disorder about them, and I don’t presume that the appropriate attitude towards bishops would be somewhere in the middle.