I don’t get the whole pope thing

I’m sorry. I don’t disrespect religions. Well, I don’t approve of those religions that deem it necessary to marry off 50-year-old men to 14-year-olds or those that think it’s OK to kill people in the name of a god…wait…those scenarios may very well represent most religions at some point in history….(I digress).

 As I’ve said before, I love that bumper sticker that says “God is too big to fit in one religion” so I don’t really feel like I, or anyone for that matter, can dictate how a person should worship or test their faith. But what I have always had trouble understanding is the pope.

When Pope Benedict XVI came out to the U.S. recently, it was beyond a big deal. And I guess it should be at this point because that is the nature of Catholicism. He is a key figure of their beliefs. He warrants the popemobile. But I’ve always wanted to ask why a man is exalted to this near hero-worship, well not near at all. It is exactly like hero-worship. I guess I thought that holding that much sanctity for a human was against what God wanted. But is the pope like the apostles or prophets of years before? So is he like the direct connection to God?

I’m sincerely asking this question. If you are Catholic, consider this an opportunity to teach a person who doesn’t understand as oppose to being offended.

11 responses to this post.

  1. I’m right in their with you Jenice.
    I get the impression that since he is more guaranteed to go to heaven than most of us hes the one who can put in a good word for you when he gets there.


  2. I know you asked for the Catholic perspective. But I’m a former Catholic and here’s mine for what it’s worth. The pope visited Baltimore in 1995. I was a teenager at the time. I was a life-long Catholic, but questioning the religion. The pope’s visit was a turning point for me. I saw people crying and trying to reach him and touch him. They treated him like Jesus! Pope John Paul II was a good man, but he was NOT Jesus! I think that the belief and emotional investment in this man as the 2nd coming is misguided and false. It saddens me when people get caught up in hype and forget the truth. The pope is a preacher, an administrative figure head and a head of state. He’s not Jesus.


  3. Jenice, seems like pope worship to me instead of God worship. . .do not get it.


  4. If this is the Information Age, why is there so much misunderstanding in the world?

    But seriously, Jenice, I’d be happy to answer your question. However, you might not understand the answer. That’s only because non-Catholics have no sense of the historical connection with the Church. I’m not talking about like America’s history. That’s only 232 years. I’m talking about 2,000 years of continuous history and development and the Catholic Church is the only institution that exists that has that kind of history.

    I’m going to try to condense that into just a couple paragraphs. So it can’t be complete, and for that I apologize before I even begin.

    Believe it or not, it really does all start in the Garden of Eden. God established a covenant with the first people. Basically, that means He adopted them. This covenant got expanded with Noah, Abraham, Moses and King David. But none of these covenants were completed for a variety of reasons.

    Jesus came to fulfill all those covenants and to establish a New Covenant, a new way of belonging to God’s family. But this does not mean God abandoned Plan A for Plan B. Jesus had to be the fulfillment of all that had gone before and incorporate that into His new covenant.

    That’s why Jesus talked so much about the Kingdom of God. In the Old Testament the reign of King David was called the Kingdom of God. Jesus had to re-establish that kingdom and fulfill it by making it last forever, like God promised David in 2nd Samuel Chapter 7.

    Ever notice how Jesus avoided all attempts to kill Him, and then He suddenly walks right into it on purpose? That’s because something had changed. That something is recorded in Matthew Chapter 16. There Jesus makes Peter the rock on which He built His Church – His Kingdom. Once Jesus knew He had passed on the keys of the kingdom He was ready to face the cross.

    All of the Kings from the line of David had a steward over their “household.” It’s kind of like a Prime Minister today. This person was over the day to day affairs of the kingdom in the king’s name. It was a very important position. In Isaiah chapter 22 God promises to take that position away from an unfaithful steward and give it to someone better. In verse 22 it tells us the sign of that office. It’s the keys of the kingdom, just like Jesus gave to Peter. It also says the new steward will be a father to the people of Jerusalem.

    Well, eventually Peter was martyred for the faith in Rome. The Church chose a successor to replace Peter in his office. That office is the Bishop of Rome. Peter was the first.

    Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Bishop of Rome. He is the steward of the Kingdom of God. He administers the Kingdom in the King’s (Jesus’) absence and in His Name. So, no, he is not Jesus. But he is Jesus’ personal representative who comes in the Name of the King.

    So the Pope is the living connection to Jesus and the Apostles. No other church has that 2,000 year old direct connection. He comes here, not as the head of the Vatican, but as Jesus’ representative over the Kingdom of God. That’s why he gets so much attention, even from world leaders.

    Now I know that’s a lot to digest all at once. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at paul-joseph@depositofthefaith.com
    I would be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

    In Christ’s love,



  5. Wow. Thanks for the history lesson, Paul Joseph. But I still don’t completely get it because I still see it as Rhea said–pope worship. I suppose I see your point here about the direct connection but why to people treat him as if he was Christ himself???

    Seems everyone else here (Micky, Rhea, Linnea) as well as I see it as a worship of a person…not the religion.


  6. Good thing I’m not trying to win an election, huh? 😉

    It’s not worship of the man, before he was Pope Cardinal Ratzinger visited the U.S. before without all that attention, it’s not the man, it’s Who the man represents. Just like when a foreign leader comes here and is honored. It’s not for him personally, but the people of his country that he represents.

    The Pope represents Jesus Christ, the true King of the World.

    But it brings us a really interesting question: What is worship? You say it “looks like worship.” What does worship look like? There are lots of people who say that Catholics worship statues. Does that “look like worship” too?


  7. The problem I have with this is that its incredibly pompous and elitest for anyone to think they could represent Jesus except for God .
    Especially when we have some denominations of Christianity that claim to know the true meaning of the gospel and the word of God


  8. That should say ” all denominations”


  9. The first I heard about the Pope’s US visit was a news story on how they were preparing for his security. They had a secret service guy climbing out of a mock air-force-1, dressed like him.

    I think that says something about our culture, but I’m not sure what.


  10. Its just to avoid confusion


  11. Well, sans history lesson… I am also Catholic. I’m not going to try and bullshit you or dazzle you with my extensive knowledge of the subject because things differ from parish to parish as well as from state to state. Not everyone is going to agree on the particulars of what they believe.

    I can tell you that Pope John Paul II was MY Pope. He was elected while I was in (an all-girls Catholic) high school. We had a retired nun whose sole job was to watch CNN and see if the smoke turned colors. Regardless of how I feel about the Catholic church, Pope John Paul was everything a Pope should be. He brought people together. People of all ages LOVED the man. I cried when he died though it’s been years since I’ve been to mass/confession/etc. I am uncomfortable with Pope Benedict XVI though I can’t really pinpoint why. I have my thoughts on the matter and they’ll stay mine.I can’t and won’t speak for anyone else – but I believe he is the leader of the church, but still a MAN.


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