Was it actually blasphemous when people referred to the Pope as “the sweet Christ on Earth”??


I’ve never heard this expression before - where did you see it? Who said it? In what context?


Oct. 10 homily of Bishop Echevarría at St. Eugene’s

A homily given by Bishop Javier Echevarría, Prelate of Opus Dei, at St. Eugene’s Basilica in Rome on October 10, 2002, at the final Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of Josemaría Escrivá.

“Let us try to imitate this love and veneration for the Pope. His dignity as Vicar of Christ, as “the sweet Christ on earth,” is a more than sufficient reason for us to feel wholeheartedly united to the Roman Pontiff, as a consequence of a genuine filial obligation.”



“… we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for “the Lord Pope”,the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called “sweet Christ on earth”…”


Twelfth General Congregation of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops

“This Synod can be read, in this area, as an expression of full communion with and in the Universal Church, and with the Roman Pontiff His Holiness John Paul II “the sweet Christ on earth”.”


So, is this blasphemous or not? To call a mortal man Christ?


Mother Teresa also referred to the poor of Calcutta as “Christs” referring to the 25th chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. The word “Christian” also derives from a term that means “little Christ.”

So, I would think that as long as one keeps in mind that the Pope isn’t actually Christ, but that he is (as we all are) created in God’s image, and regenerated into Christ’s image, the term would be harmless.

I admit it’s definitely startling, though. It’s not one that I would use in everyday speech, for sure.


This is probably a reference to the Pope’s (or any priest’s) role acting in “Persona Christi”. Catholics believe that priests (including the Pope) act “in the person of Christ” during various times such as granting absolution or consecrating the Holy Eucharist. This is not to say they become Christ, but rather act in the person of Christ at His command and with His authority. Some information regarding “in persona Christi” is here. So, in this context, no I don’t think it would be blasphemy, as “in persona Christi” only happens by the power of Christ Himself. As Jmcrae stated, as long as the intention is not to say that the Pope actually is Christ has equality with Christ.

It is not a statement I would use to be sure, even if I was referring to the Pope acting in Persona Christi. Too much room for misunderstanding!


Yes it was.


The phrase is in quotes. The quotes refer obviously to an earlier quote given by St. Catherine, in what, the 14th century? at a time when flowery language and imagery was much more prominent than today, AND without giving the rest of the context of that quote. Not really very fair to make assumptions without having ALL that was said given in context, is it?

The Pope is the representative of Christ on earth. The Vicar, the stand-in on earth of the Saviour in Heaven. All ‘power’ he has comes from the Saviour, not from he himself.

St. Catherine was Italian; Mother Teresa was I believe Romanian. European language and culture and tradition are more nuanced and ‘ornate’ than 21st century ‘English’.

These objections are like those of people who say Catholics ‘worship’ saints because a 3rd century prayer uses a word like divine in a metaphysical or figurative sense–but THEY take worship to mean ‘only for God’. Same with prayer. Funny, though, they don’t object when a British judge is called “Your Worship”. . .


Mother Teresa was Albanian I think, though borders in that part of the world tend to move with time.


Do you really understand what the message was all about? or you just think that somebody say “I am Jesus”, you automatically think it is blasphemy?

We all try to see Jesus in every person, does that mean it is blasphemy to you? maybe you need to try to understand the what the sentence really means before answering.

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