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Monday, May 20, 2013

Haven't some popes claimed to be God on earth?

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

A cursory search on google came up with these quotes:

"As to papal authority, the Pope is as it were God on earth"

Pope Nicholas I said that "the Pope, being God, is judged by no man."

Pope Piux X said of himself, "Jesus Christ hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks."

Pope John XXII says that it is heresy to deny the power of "Our Lord God the Pope."

Is this what Catholics believe about our pope?  

Answer:  No.  Catholics believe that Jesus Christ alone is God on earth.

When Catholics are presented with these quotes the best thing we can do is ask for a source.  There will be, of course, some sort of citation that will be provided, but it ought to be from the pen of the pope himself, not what a book or website claims a particular pope proclaimed.

Here is one source from the internet:

but you will note that not a single document is cited that has the actual encyclical or writing from a pope.  No primary sources are provided.

All of the above quotes are second-hand, (or even umpteenth-hand), taken out of context, mistranslated, embellished, fanciful contortions.

Catholic apologist Phil Porvaznik responds:

A Protestant paper, the "Church Review," in England, October 3, 1895, charges Cardinal Sarto, Archbishop of Venice, with having uttered those words at Venice. Cardinal Sarto was elected Pope in 1903. But as soon as the charge was made in 1895 that Cardinal Sarto had said those words, inquiries were sent from England to Venice, and Cardinal Sarto produced the manuscript of his discourse. And this is what he actually did say:

"The Pope REPRESENTS Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love; love, his weapon; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, that is, the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on earth and in heaven."

Pope Nicholas I. said that the Pope, being God, is judged by no man.

REPLY: Never did Pope Nicholas I say that the Pope is God. What he does say is this:
"Since those in higher authority are not judged by inferiors, it is evident that the Apostolic See, than which no earthly authority is higher, is judged by none."

And that is perfectly sound reasoning. Even in civil law, the king is "above the law," and not subject to his own laws. Hence the legal axiom, "The king can do no wrong." Italy itself has acknowledged the justice of the Pope's claim to be independent of all civil jurisdiction, and subject to no earthly authorities.

In the "Extravagantes" of Pope John XXII, Roman Canon Law says that it is heresy to deny the power of "Our Lord God the Pope."

REPLY: That remark is attributed, not to Pope John XXII, but to the Canonist Zenzelinus, in his commentary on Title XIV of the "Extravagantes." But an examination of the original manuscript of Zenzelinus, preserved in the Vatican Library, failed to reveal the words attributed to him; and it has been definitely proved that the reference to God is an interpolation in later copies of his commentary.

Often, a nebulous, vague reference will be given such as, "a distinguished theologian has stated..." or "a Catholic writer maintains..." without any concrete evidence of these claims.

Note:  Even if a Catholic writer did proclaim such nonsense, we ought not confuse the writings of a Catholic with what the Church, as a teaching authority, actually proclaims.  For references to what the Church teaches we look to the Catechism and to the encyclicals of the popes and documents of the various Church councils throughout her 2000 year history.  Those are the writings that we deem to be authoritative.

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. Another beautiful piece, Just had an argument with someone about exactly this. I may have ended up just laughing at their assertation