I find it difficult to fathom the amount of power the Pope can potentially wield. According to book 2, part 2, section 1, chapter 1, article 1 of the Code of Canon Law the Pope basically has ultimate, irrefutable, supreme power for life. Nothing and no one can remove him from office except for himself if he were to decide to resign.
"The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.." (canon 331, Code of Canon Law).
"If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone." (canon 332 §2).
You obviously don't make it to the position of Pope without being a good guy, but I think any rational individual would agree that there are still serious risks attached to electing one man into a position of supreme power for life. Literally, he can say or do anything without recourse.
"No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff" (canon 333 §3).
It doesn't even matter what state of health the Pope is in, and I assume that also means state of mental health, the Pope maintains supreme power.
"When the Roman See is vacant or entirely impeded, nothing is to be altered in the governance of the universal Church; the special laws issued for these circumstances, however, are to be observed." (canon 335)
There is no way to remove him from office, or question anything he does, no impeachment process, no appeals, no nothing. If the Pope speaks ex cathedrâ, then it's written in stone.
There have been occasions where a Pope has spoken heresy (see Papal Infallibility and teaching heresy?). The church later repudiated the heretical positions under the claim that they were not spoken ex cathedra. This repudiation would have happened after the death of the Pope.
It seems to be commonly agreed that the Pope would never lead the Church astray, and I don't want a series of answers that go into detail about how unlikely it would be for a wayward Pope to abuse his power. From a secular perspective, the potential exists for one man to take advantage of the amount of power that is given to the Pope.
Here is my question:
If the Pope were to start declaring things ex cathedrâ like, the creeds were null and void, and that all Catholics were required to wear a colander on their heads at all times and pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, what would happen? Would every Catholic be required to comply? Would it be binding and irreformable teaching forever? Could the next Pope undo his decree ex cathedrâ? Or could something be done to remove that Pope from power besides pressuring him into resigning?
Other than relying on God or the Spirit to prevent the Pope from abusing his power, what can be done to prevent the Pope from exercising unrighteous dominion?