"But there is another criticism that stands out as particularly pernicious: That the prayer life of Christians isn't important enough for the Pope to waste time on."
Here is a voice of reason. Personally, I love that the Pope is interested in our prayer life. He probably sees much better than we do that bishops come from the ranks of priests, priests from holy parents, and holy parents from prayer. He's aiming for the root cause instead of just lopping off the whole American bishopry. One can't legislate holiness.
I think the current helplessness we tend to feel with respect to our society, culture and leadership can be turned around into a blessing...the times I feel truly humble and reliant on God are when I am helpless.