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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The pope is just a man! Why do you Catholics worship the pope?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
         and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

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!"

"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?

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

All of the above reference holy men, so we ought to be able to call them "holy fathers".

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:

Catholics Come Home

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15



    1. Well done. I was introduced to your blog by a friend. Great fortitude and love of God!

  2. No one should worship false idols and those that came before him such as the pope and his predecessors. The Vatican is the wealthiest country in the world. Why?

    1. You are correct. No one should worship the pope or his predecessors. . That is Catholic teaching.

      And can you provide your source for the Vatican being the wealthiest country?

    2. Here is what I found about Vatican wealth. It says nothing about it being the wealthiest country.

    3. This source gives the top 23 wealthiest countries and the Vatican is not mentioned at all.

      So I think you have been duped into believing a lie about the Catholic Church

  3. Why do Catholics pray to, or through saints when scripture says in I Timothy 2:5- "For there is one God, and One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" ? Should you pray through anyone but Christ then? Please back up your opinion with scripture. I have heard a Catholic say that it is the same as asking others to pray for us, but if the "others" we're asking are not alive, isn't that praying to them? I see a big difference in praying for one another and praying to a saint that's gone on to be with the Lord already. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for your question. The Catholic who told you that it is the same as asking others to pray for us is absolutely correct!

      So you can see that this takes care of the One Mediator objection you posed. You don't see it as a problem for others to mediate for long as they are here on earth.

      The problem, it seems, is that you believe that those in heaven are dead and can't hear our prayers.

      Catholicism doesn't believe that those in heaven are dead. They are alive. Alive in Christ. In fact, eye has not seen, nor ear heard, what God has ready for us in heaven--1 Cor 2:9

      So, the saints in heaven are very, very much alive.

    2. Did not Christ Himself show us this when he spoke with the "dead" Elijah and Moses at the Transfiguration?

      And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
      who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
      that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.--Luke 9