I don’t know if this issue was ever discussed here, but I thought about it, it seemed plausable, gave me a splitting headache, but thought I would throw it out for discussion. So, here it goes!
I have about some questions about the Pope, The Bishop of Rome, and Peter’s Successor. I had a discussion about this with my pastor and the discussion revolved around Christian unity and the fact that the Church in the Holy Land is being devastated either by persecution or an exodus of Christians from the area.
My question is this: What precisely gives the pope his authority? Is it the fact that he is the successor of Peter or the Bishop of Rome? My pastor’s answer was both. However, I rephrased the question in the following context. Peter was not always the Bishop of Rome. He traveled, not to the extent that Paul did, but wherever he traveled, his authority went with him simply by the fact that Christ chose him. His situation at the time warranted him to travel to Rome where he helped establish a church, and eventually led to his martyrdom.
Now, in today’s church - the Petrine office’s focus is far too vast for me to contemplate. I think it would be safe to say that the Pope concerns himself with the Church as a whole and not just the Church in Rome. Today, if situations warranted, could the Pope essentially move to another Diocese? One could brainstorm for hours as to why he would want to leave Rome, but for now, lets say the validly elected successor of Peter decided that he wanted to leave Rome. Would he still be the Pope?
I believe that Christ had a plan for Peter going to Rome. It was truly instrumental in spreading the faith, given the vastness of the Roman Empire. Is it still necessary for his successor to be there? Given the Church’s desire for unity, the desire to become the church of the upper room, and the desire to have peace in the Holy Land, could God be calling the successor of Peter to move back to Jerusalem? Is it just a coincidence that the current Pope is a German?
I know it is reaching, but it sure is fun to think about! I would like to hear people’s thoughts on this issue.