Define "Vicar of Christ

A friend told me today that she cannot understand someone converting to orthodoxy if they believe that the Pope, as “Vicar of Christ” is one and the same as the Eucharist and the Precious Blood. She was saying that our Pope is simultaneously Jesus’ Body and Blood" by virtue of being the “Vicar of Christ”. Please tell me this is NOT what the church teaches, is it? I have never heard of ANYTHING like this. What is she talking about…how is her logic derived? I sure hope some of you out there can help me because frankly this sounds like heresy to me.

Um. This is surely novel.

By saying that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ we mean that he is Christ’s official representative on earth. Not that he is Christ.

As for where she got it from… beats me. It’s truly… creative.


I’ve never heard of this.

The Pope is part of the Body of Christ, just like you and I are a part of the Body of Christ.

As the Vicar of Christ, the Pope is simply acting as the Prime Minister of the Church until Jesus returns in glory. Israel had a prime minister in the king’s absence. What he opened, none could shut, and so on.

Egypt had a grand vizier. One of them was a Hebrew named Joseph. He was as powerful as the Phaoroh, save the throne (paraphrasing).

The Pope, as Vicar of Christ, helps to lead the kingdom on earth until the King returns.

Your friend has gotten a few things twisted around. Perhaps she is thinking of the priest being “persona christi” which is in the person of Christ.
All the Popes even B16 are men with human souls, sinners and are NOT Jesus. Jesus has two natures one divine, one human called the hypostatic union, both being united together. Vicar means one who is a steward, majordomo, agent of someone else, in the case of the Pope, he is the steward of the King [Jesus] who has gone away for a time and has entrusted His kingdom to his “vicar” on Earth shepherding the flock (Mt 16:15-19)
The Eucharist is Jesus’ body blood soul and divinity under the appearences of bread and wine and a great blessing, the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

Here’s the Catechism on “Vicar of Christ”:

882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.”[402] “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”[403]

894 “The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but over and above that also by the authority and sacred power” which indeed they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that of their Master.[426]

From the Glossary at the back of the Catechism:
Vicar of Christ: A title given to St. Peter, head of the Twelve Apostles and to his successors;, the Popes; “vicar” means one who stands in for or acts for another.


Use this misunderstanding as an opportunity. Explain to your friend that there are many things that are misunderstood about Catholic teaching and that this is simply one more example. If more people knew what the Church really taught they would be friendlier to the Church and would look at what the Church teaches with an open mind. Let her know just how damaging erroneous ideas can be.

Vicar means in place of or a replacement for. As when someone lives “vicariously” through someone else that is where the word vicariously was derived.

“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”- Pope Leo in an Encyclical Letter, dated June 20, 1894.The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII on page 304.

As we see here pope Leo was claiming the place of God:(

Nice try, praise, but the Pope simply represents our Lord Jesus until His return. Just as the Prime Minister Hezekiah stood in the place of the King of Israel until his return.

NOBODY tries to replace God. Do you honestly believe that Catholics look at the Pope as God? How dense do you think we are?!?

You must not be Anglican, praise. . .look at all the vicars they have attending to churches, and they’re PROTESTANTS, imagine that!

“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty”–even pulled out of context like that, does this say 'we hold instead of or in addition to or as a replacement?

When the prime minister of, say Great Britain, comes to a funeral of an American President, he is coming ‘in the place’ of his Queen. He is fulfilling his ‘vicar’ role in representing his Queen. He certainly is not himself the queen, but he ‘holds the place’ in this context.

A Vicar is someone who represents and has been given the authority to act for someone else.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has a short article on the meaning of “Vicar of Christ.”

To me…
The Vicar of Christ as the wise and faithful steward whom his Master (Jesus Christ) has set over His household (the Church on earth) to care for His other servants (Christians) in until His return (Second Coming). (Luke 12:41-46; Matthew 24:45-51)

The Vicar of Christ is the man to whom Jesus Christ entrusted the feeding and tending of His lambs and sheep (Christians). (John 21:15-17)

As another poster has already mentioned, the Vicar of Christ is the man to whom Jesus Christ entrusted the keys of His Kingdom. (Matthew 16:18-19; prefigured in Isaiah 22:15-24.)

NotWorthy wrote

"Nice try, praise, but the Pope simply represents our Lord Jesus until His return. Just as the Prime Minister Hezekiah stood in the place of the King of Israel until his return.

NOBODY tries to replace God. Do you honestly believe that Catholics look at the Pope as God? How dense do you think we are?!?"

I didn’t write this quote Pope Leo did.

““We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”- Pope Leo in an Encyclical Letter, dated June 20, 1894.The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII on page 304.”

This book is readily available and can be purchased for about $10 at amazon. God bless !


Does this encyclical have a name - for those of us who do not have the book (or an extra $10)?

You didn’t write it but you feel quite comfortable stripping it of its Catholic context. The Catholic Church, her Bishops, Popes, and laity have never understood these kinds of statements in the way you do. Is there a reason for that?

Vicar of Christ: RC Church the Pope as Christ’s** representative **on earth

The Catholic church teaches that the pope is a **representation **of Christ,

Gods word, aka the Bible says:

Exodus 20:4-6:
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Definition of idol:
1 : a **representation **or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god

We’re not suppose to make an idol, or representation for ourselfs, and thats exactly what the Catholic religion claims the pope is. For our God is a jealous God, He is the only one who should be praised, and no one, NO ONE, should be compared to such perfection, not even the pope.

God Bless.

Dear praise Him,

You probably don’t care about the teaching of someone who was taught directly by the Apostles themselves, but here it is anyway:

"I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assemply of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me."
St. Ignatios of Antioch, Epistle to the 106 A.D.


I think it’s fairly obvious that the verse in Exodus is talking about creating idols – either creating gods to worship, or creating an image and claiming that it was the God of Israel or what God looks like.
It’s not saying that God can’t designate reprentatives to do His work on earth.
Moses, the prophets, the angels, all match up with the definition of “representative”.
"3. to stand or act in the place of, as a substitute, proxy, or agent does: He represents the company in Boston.
4. to speak and act for by delegated authority: to represent one’s government in a foreign country.
5. to act for or in behalf of (a constituency, state, etc.) by deputed right in exercising a voice in legislation or government: He represents Chicago’s third Congressional district. "

The pascal lamb, Adam, David, the manna in the desert, and all the other types of Christ in the old testament could be said to represent (in a different sense of the word) Christ. The husband in a marriage represents Christ, the wife represents the Church.

"1. to serve to express, designate, stand for, or denote, as a word, symbol, or the like does; symbolize: In this painting the cat represents evil and the bird, good. "

You might not even realize it, but you are taking the passage in Exodus and applying it to the Pope, not because it fits, but because you don’t like the Pope.

I also think that you might be misunderstanding how Catholics view the Pope. When you say “NO ONE, should be compared to such perfection, not even the pope.” it shows that you aren’t quite understanding. Being the Pope in no way means that he’s any “more perfect” than any of the rest of us. He’s not a “replacement god” but simply a man with a unique role doing the work of God. Think “Prime minister” because that’s exactly what Christ suggests when he refrences Isaiah chapter 22 15-25 in Matthew 16:19.

First off, not once did I say that I didn’t like the pope, did I? No. I dont know the pope, how would I know if I like him or not, much less YOU know whether i like him or not…?

Second, the pope may have a unique role in God’s plan, but then again, so do you, so do I, and so does some homeless man living in a box on the street. Just because he has an unique role in God’s plan doesn’t mean he should recieve praise for it, instead God should be the one getting the praise for using him. And true, to the Catholic beliefs the pope has a very “important” role, but every part of God’s plan is important.

Also, I’d love to know just exactly how the pope is appointed by God, when they actually hold an election, with the vote of a hundred and some odd number cardinals deciding the outcome. Especially since the cardinals are put in place by previous popes…? can you explain that to me?

God is going to use each individual uniquely, and amazingly. Every little bit counts. No man should be raised of higher power than another just because God’s will for his life is different.

Plus, if catholics don’t view the pope higher than others, or is not viewed to be more perfect, then why exactly when the pope visits a place, do the people fill the streets, screaming and cheering? As if he were some celebrity…
Do you see people in the streets on a daily bases screaming for you? I doubt it. The pope is a normal human being, just like the rest of us. There is no reason for the praising of the pope, or the confession of sins to a bishop, or priest either, for that matter.

On a side note, why in the world would someone believe that only a priest, bishop, or the pope can correctly interpret the Bible?!? Do catholics depend on those men to tell them what you need to know?

She is simply confused by terms.

The Pope is the Vicar of Christ in that he “stand in the place of” Christ, but this is not the same as “being” Christ.

Peter’s Role as Vicar of Christ Church Proved from Scripture

In John 21:15-19, the resurrected Christ, commands Simon Peter three times to “feed my lambs” and “tend my sheep.”

15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed (bosko)* my* lambs.” 16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of (poimanao) my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, "Feed (bosko)my sheep.

In this passage, we can see that Jesus leaves Peter in charge of feeding, tending and caring for His sheep. Who feeds, tends and cares for sheep? A shepherd!

Unfortunately, many non-Catholics object to the Catholic understanding that Peter was given this unique leadership position, and they cite a passage from earlier in this same Gospel wherein Jesus presents Himself as the Good Shepherd, and says there is to be but “one flock and one Shepherd.” (John 10:11-16) Therefore, the immediate question springs to mind: If Christ is the Good Shepherd, why can’t He “feed” and “tend” His own sheep?

Of course, Jesus is God, and He is clearly capable of taking care of His own flock – even after He ascends to heaven. So, why does He appoint Peter to this role? Obviously, all sheep belong to Christ, and they do not cease to belong to Jesus after the ascension. Yet, Peter is told to “feed” and “tend” them. Jesus commissions Peter to act as His “stand-in” or “vicar” after the ascension. Jesus will remain the one Shepherd, yet Peter will “feed” and “tend” the sheep, in the sense that Jesus will not be physically present to do it. Thus, Peter will be the visible, vicarious shepherd of the flock.

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