Is it Wise to Have Hope in the Pope?

pope francis
Image found on wikimedia

Pope Francis has been making his rounds the last few weeks in the United States of America.

In St. Peter’s Square today, he gave a speech about the Three Gazes of Jesus concerning wealth and faith, implying that one cannot live the faith attached to material things.

Now that is some great teaching.

But who is Pope Francis and should we treat him as the cure to the world’s ills?

Pope Francis 2015

Basic Facts:

  • He is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church.
  • According to Wikipedia he was born in Buenos Aires.
  • Worked briefly as a chemical technologist and nightclub bouncer before attending Seminary.
  • He’s been noted for having concern for the poor, his humility and his commitment to interfaith dialogue.

Catholicism and the Rise of a Pope

Thankfully, after a little digging around. I learned some fascinating things about the introduction of the papacy.

Around late 4th century(?) political differences and unrest as well as geographic expansion caused the division of the Western Church which then led to Roman Catholic Church.(Morgan, G.R., 2012, p.23:World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day)

Second, during a particularly tumultuous time in church history, the churches began appointing emperors and running political systems which led to a “decrease in spiritual fervor”(p.27).

It was only around 500-1500A.D. that the Bishop became known as the Pope. At this time he declared authority over all Christians and the church became catholic or “universal”, as the term means.

Papa?

The term pope means “papa”

The pope, according to some sources is biblical. He is like how Peter, Paul and James were. Someone to look up to for hope and wisdom.

The word catholic means “universal” or “all embracing”.

Pope John XXIII, eventually held a council and declared that protestants and orthodox were also Christians.

Again, I ask. Should we put hope in the pope?

I don’t think it wise to put hope in any man. Put your trust in God.

Certainly Peter, Paul, and James were revered for their power and advice and I suppose the pope garners the same respect.

But the pope is not God.

If he is all he claims to be, then he is a vessel. That is what the saints were in the bible. Humble, willing vessels of the Lord.

I don’t have anything against the pope. In fact he seems to be teaching the things all churches should teach every day. Let us continue to teach about faith, hope, love and building communities.

Kudos to him for doing that.

_______________

Reference(s)

Morgan, G.R.,(2012) World Religions in 15 Minutes a Day. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House

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