If we have an immoral pope, should he still be addressed as "Holy Father"?


#1

I’m curious how to answer this question.

Thanks all! :slight_smile:


#2

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]I’m curious how to answer this question.

Thanks all! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Hi Stylteralmaldo!

One addresses the Pope as Holy Father to show respect to the office, not necessarily the man.


#3

Hello Stylteralmaldo,

The Pharisees were the ones who instagated the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Still, Jesus, while of the flesh before establishing His Church in St. Peter, tells the people to obey the Pharisees because they sit in Moses seat. Moses seat in God’s Israelite Church is the equvalent of St. Peter’s seat in Christ’s Church.

It is the position and not the man in the position which is to be elevated and respected. A vicor of Christ, evil or good, still attains a very holy position just as the Pharisees who sat in Moses holy seat did.

Please visit St. Peter’s chair.

**NIV MAT 23:2 **

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” NAB MAT 23

Then Jesus told the crowds and his diciples: “The scribes and the Pharisees have succeeded Moses as teachers; therefore, do everything and observe everything they tell you. But do not follow their example.”


#4

yes, the name holy father shows respect for the office


#5

This is close to Donatism – a heresy that holds the validity of a sacrement is contigent on the state of grace of the celebrant.

A priest or bishop may sin, and still be a priest or bishop. Their acts remain valid. Therefore a Pope who was in a state of sin would still be addressed as “Holy Father.”


#6

just because he’s a bad pope, doesn’t mean he’s not a pope, that’s why we have ‘anti-pope’ term.


#7

Folks forget that Popes are human too. And as humans they are just as subject to temptation and sin as anyone else.

Fortunately, we have had some wonderful Popes over the last century or so. (at least in my opinion) Two or three may ultimately be declared saints and rightly so. Personally I think Pius XI, Pius XII, JohnXXIII and John Paul II should be shoo-ins to be canonized.

While being perfectly human and in some cases (many years ago) quite immoral, we still believe that the Pope, when representing the Church in matters of faith or morals, speaks infallibly.

This may appear to be very illogical, but it is through the power of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s promise that this is possible. So no matter who sits on the throne of St. Peter, no matter how awful their personal lives are, they become Christ’s representative on earth and when speaking as His representative He can not be in error. That’s pretty awesome.

And BTW the same is true about a priest saying a mass. No matter how sinful a priest may be be, when he says the words of Jesus, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

AND it is true EVEN IF the priest does NOT believe that it is so, as is evidenced by a couple of Eucharistic miracles where unbelieving priests transformed the host or wine into real human tissue or blood.

Is this not a great faith or what !!! :clapping:


#8

To be infallible, the Holy Father must fulfill three conditions: he must speak as the Head of the Church, composed of all the bishops of the Church; he must speak on the subject of faith and morals; and he must address himself to the entire Church nand not to any member of it or not to any one country. Many a Pontiff goes through life without making one single infallible decision, not a one. -Fulton Sheen.
The reason for Eucharistic miracles for unbelieving priests is the conversion of their hearts. Not to prove that ineligible priests can perform transubstantiation.They cannot do something that God does not permit them to do. For example, priest who is not priest in the heart. An infiltrator. So really got to to have a weak faith for God to show His love and mercy.


#9

The pope even has his own priest that he would routinely go to recieve confession.


#10

Yes, the title is out of respect to the Office and ultimately, to the Divine Founder, Jesus Christ. Thanks and God Bless.


#11

Thank you all for your responses. I have been thinking about this for quite some time and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable addressing Pope Alexander VI as “Holy Father” had I lived during that time period.

I suppose my approach had been wrong. When I address Pope Benedict XVI as “Holy Father”, I should really be referring to his office as the successor of St. Peter and not to the man of Pope Benedict XVI himself.

Does this sound like a fair assessment?


#12

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]Thank you all for your responses. I have been thinking about this for quite some time and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable addressing Pope Alexander VI as “Holy Father” had I lived during that time period.

I suppose my approach had been wrong. When I address Pope Benedict XVI as “Holy Father”, I should really be referring to his office as the successor of St. Peter and not to the man of Pope Benedict XVI himself.

Does this sound like a fair assessment?
[/quote]

Actually, it is both – you respect the man because of the office he holds.


#13

[quote=vern humphrey]Actually, it is both – you respect the man because of the office he holds.
[/quote]

I have some trouble with that as it applies to some of the more immoral popes we have had in the Church’s history. I suppose I can respect Pope Alexander VI in the sense that he did not lead the Church to err in doctrine.

Not that this is an equally qualified reference, but should I respect every President that the United States has ever had? Can I respect the office the President holds without respecting the man who holds it?


#14

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]I have some trouble with that as it applies to some of the more immoral popes we have had in the Church’s history. I suppose I can respect Pope Alexander VI in the sense that he did not lead the Church to err in doctrine.

Not that this is an equally qualified reference, but should I respect every President that the United States has ever had? Can I respect the office the President holds without respecting the man who holds it?
[/quote]

For people who are duty-bound to offer respect, the principle is well established that you cannot separate the man from the office in cases like this. Catholics are duty-bound to respect the Pope.

To take your example, suppose you were an Army officer, and you said you respected the office of the President, but not the man currently holding it. By that statement you would have commited a military crime, and would be subject to court martial and punishment.


#15

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]Thank you all for your responses. I have been thinking about this for quite some time and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would feel comfortable addressing Pope Alexander VI as “Holy Father” had I lived during that time period.

I suppose my approach had been wrong. When I address Pope Benedict XVI as “Holy Father”, I should really be referring to his office as the successor of St. Peter and not to the man of Pope Benedict XVI himself.

Does this sound like a fair assessment?
[/quote]

To be real honest with you, I don’t lay awake at night and worry about stuff like this because Benedict XVI is a holy and wise man and I don’t see any reason to sweat it. I pray for him as he requested when he became pope and I pray for more vocations and for all the clergy. To me it’s like watchin’ their back for 'em since they are sort of the officers that the enemy will target in the spiritual battle that we are hip (neck?) deep in.

The advice given you by others is correct of course, but I just wanted to touch on this aspect of our life as parts of the Body of Christ. I suspect that most of the scandalous clergy that we’ve had has been the result (at least in part) of the laity failing to watch their backs in prayer as we’ve always been taught. I personally feel that we really are being called to pray all the more for them.
Pax tecum,


#16

[quote=Church Militant]…I don’t lay awake at night and worry about stuff like this because Benedict XVI is a holy and wise man…
[/quote]

Fair enough statement. However, since this is an apologetics site, I wanted to be able to reconcile this particular attack. I couldn’t get my arms around it and everyone here has been very helpful.

[quote=Church Militant]…I suspect that most of the scandalous clergy that we’ve had has been the result (at least in part) of the laity failing to watch their backs in prayer as we’ve always been taught. I personally feel that we really are being called to pray all the more for them…
[/quote]

Great advice! :thumbsup: God Bless!


#17

[quote=Stylteralmaldo]I’m curious how to answer this question.

Thanks all! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Like duh!

We respect the authority of the chair of St. Peter because it came from God. The man may be bad (and has been once or twice!) but the respect ultimately goes to Gods authority in His body, His Catholic Church.

The man may gain or earn our respect. The authority will allways have our respect.


#18

Hey, you got to respect history as it is. Even Malachy list prophesied those who aren’t really qualified to be ‘good’ popes.They need some history too. Respect it as it is, maybe that way life may be easier for you pal. God bless.:tiphat:


closed #19

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