Interesting questions regarding the Papacy


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! :smiley:

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.


Actually, nine popes, Clement V to Benedict XIII, lived outside of Rome in Avigon, France in the 14th century. It was St. Catherine of Sienna who persuaded the Holy Fater of her day to return to Rome, and since that time Rome has been the permanent residence of the pope. And the popes do take their duties as the Bishop of Rome quite seriously. It’s not just a title or a privilege with no commitment to them.

As to setting up the papacy in Jerusalem, that would create far more problems than it would be worth. I’m sure the orthdox Jews and Muslims would have something to say about that! Besides, Rome is where God apparently wants the popes to be. Italy is centrally located and relatively free from controversy (as to who ought to be there and who shouldn’t, etc.). I think it’s best to leave it there for now.


I thought about Catherine of Sienna and Avignon but asked myself whether she objected to the Pope being in Avignon because he simply belonged in Rome, or he did not belong in Avignon. The French were essentially using the Papacy for their own self interests.

I also thought about the difficulties, but wondered if it could be done as a way of bringing about peaceful solutions to the conflicts between Jews and Muslims. Christianity, in today’s world has been essentially the middle man between the Jews and the Muslims. And given the persecution of Christians in the area, I wonder whether the Pope should move to Jerusalem, because that is where the Church is being persecuted. Just as Peter moved from Jerusalem to Rome, I wonder if everything will ever come full circle and the Pope would move from Rome to Jerusalem.

Also, the eschatalogical(sp?) implications of such a move both scare me and give me peace.


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