“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt
Prayer for our Holy Father Pope Francis:
O God, shepherd and ruler of all the faithful,
look favorably on your servant Francis,
whom you have set at the head of your Church as her shepherd;
Grant, we pray, that by word and example
he may be of service to those over whom he presides
so that, together with the flock entrusted to his care,
he may come to everlasting life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Question: The pope is just a man! Why do you Catholics worship the pope?
My initial reaction, when I hear questions like this, is:
During this historic month after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church has been front and center in the news media. While the world took interest in this surprising and newsworthy event, much negativity has been proffered by some Christians regarding the papacy.
And lots of, frankly, really dumb things have been said about Catholicism.
On Facebook I've read these comments, (in addition to the one mentioned in the subject line):
1. "The pope doesn't save you. Only Jesus saves you!" (followed by about a million "likes" from lots of uninformed people)
2. "I would never bow down before a man!"
3. "Anyway we all know the next pope is going to be a.) A hypocrite.... b.) probably instrumental in 'cover ups' of child abuse by Priests.... and c.) Embezzlement!!!!"
4. "I know of only One Holy Father and He reigns in heaven, not in the Vatican!"
What's the Catholic response?
In response to the question "The pope is just a man! Why do you Catholics worship the pope?" the answer is, of course: we don't. We worship God alone. The pope is given great honor and respect, but we don't worship him. And is there any Church teaching that proclaims that the pope is anything other than a man? Sheesh!
As far as the comment #1 about the pope not saving us, (only Jesus saves), our response is, "True, dat!" Except we ought to point out that we all participate in the salvation of the world by our actions. Even St. Paul says that he (Paul) saves (but we understand it to mean that he saves only by his conformity to the atoning death of Christ). St. Paul states: To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some.-1 Cor 9:22. Note that St. Paul says that he saves "at least some"!
Regarding #2 about not bowing before a man, there's numerous examples in Scripture of people bowing before someone other than God. That's simply an age-old custom of respect. It doesn't necessarily mean worship.
And he came and stood near where I stood: and when he was come, I fell on my face trembling, and he said to me: Understand, O son of man, for in the time of the end the vision shall be fulfilled.—Daniel 8:17
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.—Joshua 5:12-15
#3 is too ludicrous to even make an attempt at a response. But it's insulting nonetheless and bothersome that this sentiment is out there.
#4 opposes calling the pope "Holy Father" because only God is our Father. Yes, God is our Father, but all men who participate in spiritual fatherhood can be called "holy father", right? The Bible has numerous examples of men being called "father". And if these men are righteous and saintly, then we are justified in calling them "holy fathers", yes?
In that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.–Isaiah 22:20
They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”—John 8
I(Paul) became your father in Jesus Christ through the Gospel -1 Cor 4:15
as well as the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised, but also follow the path of faith that our father Abraham walked while still uncircumcised.—Rom 4:12
Despite comments like the above from uninformed folks, it's a great time to be Catholic! It just really bothers me to read things like that because sooo many people hate what they think the Catholic Church teaches, but hardly anyone objects to what we truly do profess.
For more in-depth study visit these websites: