So, for the people out there like Chris Matthews and all the other "experts" and "insiders" the secular media has been trotting out of the woodwork, those people (with and without a collar) who are hoping for a new pope who will "modernize" the Church, prepare to be disappointed because the papacy is the assurance that the faith will be preserved. This is because Christ established a Church with St. Peter as its earthly shepherd (And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven). For a direct explanation of the papacy and the college of bishops, please read paragraphs 880-887 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This will explain why the papacy (and the bishops in communion with Peter) assure us of the continual passing on of the orthodox Catholic faith (for a more extensive exploration of the wisdom behind Christ's hierarchical design for the Church, I suggest reading the document Lumen Gentium). For a fantastic audio series that dispels many of the popular rumors, confusion, and lies about the papacy, please check out Patrick Madrid's, Pope Fiction for free download.
This is the whole purpose of the papacy and the hierarchy - not to change the faith with each passing whim of society, but to preserve the faith from heresy and confusion. Even the worst popes in Church history have never taught heresy as part of the faith. So, those of us who reject Catholic teaching - prepare to be disappointed. And for those of us who are devout Catholics, trust in the Holy Spirit and prepare to be joyous, for the faith shall be preserved once again, just as it's been for 2,000 years.