What do we believe about the Pope?
We call the Pope “Father”, just as Catholics call their priest “Father”, because the Pope represents God as our Father, who loves us, who made us, and who sent his Son to die on the cross for us. The Pope represents God our Father in a special way, because like a good parent he guards the truth of the revelation which Jesus Christ handed on to his apostles (followers), the chief of whom was Simon whom Jesus called in his own language Cephas, meaning “Rock”. We believe that the present Pope is the successor of Peter, the Fisherman.
During his lifetime, Jesus made Peter the leader of his church on earth, to take over when Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and went to be with his Father in heaven. He said to Peter, after Simon had named Jesus as “the Son of the Living God”:
“Simon, Son of John, flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I say that you are Peter (the Rock) and on this Rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell will not triumph against it. Whatever you shall bind on earth you shall bind in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. [Matthew 16:17-19] (CATEW FAQ)
2. What is the Pope’s responsibility?
As successor of St. Peter and head of the college of bishops, the Pope is the source and guarantor of the Church’s unity. He has the supreme pastoral authority and the final authority in doctrinal and disciplinary decisions.
Jesus gave Peter a unique position of preeminence among the apostles. This made him the supreme authority in the early Church. Rome - the local Church that Peter led and the place of his martyrdom - became after his death the internal reference point of the young Church. Every Christian community had to agree with Rome; that was the standard for the true, complete, and unadulterated apostolic faith. …
Only in this capacity is the Pope "Christ's Vicar on earth." As the highest pastoral and doctrinal authority, he watches over the transmission of the true faith…Unity in matters of faith and morals, which is guaranteed by the Church's Magisterium, or teaching authority, with the Pope at the head, is one reason for the remarkable resilience and influence of the Catholic Church. (YOUCAT 141)
What is the biblical basis for calling the Pope “Vicar of Christ”?
Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, told Peter “Feed my sheep, feed my lambs.” (Jn 21:15-17) It was upon Simon Peter alone that Jesus after his Resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of chief pastor and ruler over all his fold. (Pastor aeternus)
4. What is the mission of the Catholic Church led by the Pope?
The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. (Compendium 150)
The Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. (CCC 775; italics in the original)
5. What are the best attitudes towards the Pope?
a. See Christ in the Pope. Love for the Roman Pontiff must be in us a delightful passion, for in him we see Christ.
b. Love, obedience, affection. Your deepest love, your greatest esteem, your most heartfelt veneration, your most complete obedience and your warmest affection have also to be shown towards the Vicar of Christ on earth, towards the Pope. We Catholics should consider that after God and the most Holy Virgin, our Mother, the Holy Father comes next in the hierarchy of love and authority.
c. Know his thought and live it. Faithfulness to the Pope includes a clear and definite duty: that of knowing his thought, which he tells us in Encyclicals or other documents. We have to do our part to help all Catholics pay attention to the teaching of the Holy Father, and bring their everyday behavior into line with it.
d. Pass on his words. Welcome the Pope’s words with a religious, humble, internal and effective acceptance. And pass them on. (Replies a-d, from St. Josemaria)
By Dr. Raul Nidoy.
Doctor of Theology. Permission to copy is granted. Please generously share
with others. Online copy: http://primacyofreason.blogspot.com/2014/11/l