Is the Pope a Prophet?

Hello all, I have a question? I have a Mormon friend at work. We have already talked about our different theological views and I have really stumped him with some good questions. I have to give these forums thanks of course for all the great information. Today he asked me if the Pope is a prophet. I told him…

  1. I would get back to him with the definitive answer.
  2. I do know he is infallible in the teachings of Faith and Morality

Then he asked me " But is he a prophet". I remembered a topic here…a Protestant ( I wont mention names ) was so adamant about the Pope not self interpreting and prophesysingthe end of times in the book of Revelation and how the Catholic Church was keeping us in the dark. I told my friend that we(the CC) can not make self proclaimed prophesies about the end of times because then that would make us like all the other false prophets and we would be in error. It seems to me that some Protestants want the Catholic Church to do this so they can finally say the we are in error but I know that our Church will never do that, anyways my friend walked away rather perplexed about what I told him. How can I explain this in its fullness.

Looks to me like he’s going to come back with an assertion that Joseph Smith was.

Most Christians would alter that to say that Smith was a false prophet, and you can point out that many of his chosen followers later retracted their testimony supporting him.

As for precisely what personal charisms His Holiness happens to have…You might point out that he hasn’t seen fit to share them all with the world at large due to something called Christ-like humility.:shrug:

Thanks for the quick reply. I have questioned him on why Joseph Smith can not be a prophet as well as all the others they claim to be. He can never back it up.

What is his definition of “prophet”?

All Christians are prophets. From the CCC:

A priestly, prophetic, and royal people

783 Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.

785 “The holy People of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office,” above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People, lay and clergy, when it “unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for all delivered to the saints,” and when it deepens its understanding and becomes Christ’s witness in the midst of this world.

Participation in Christ’s prophetic office

904 “Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word”

To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.

905 Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, “that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life.” For lay people, “this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”

This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful.

906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media.

907 "In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other

Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons."

– Mark L. Chance.

Thanks for that info Mark.

Prior to reading that my knee jerk answer would be to say “no” since I was under the impression that the “Prophets” were the ones who foretold the coming of Christ and that with the death of the last Apostle the age of active revelation came to a close hence there are no more prophets. (Sort of the way Moslems would call Mohammed the “Seal of the Prophets”)

But I guess I was working with the wrong definition of “Prophet”

Learn something every day

Here’s a definition of the term for puposes of this discussion:

The biblical term “nabi” means one who spoke, acted, or wrote under the extraordinary influence of god to make known the divine counsels and will. Yet commonly associated with this primary function to proclaim the word of God, a prophet also prophesied by foretelling future events. His role, then, was to both proclaim and to make the proclamation credible. From All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary

When the pope speaks ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals–then he is speaking with the divine guarantee that his words will be error-free. This is rather a negative guarantee–he will speak no error–than a positive guarantee–that he will speak all truth.

I don’t see this as quite fitting with the definition of prophet. Further, we don’t refer to the pope as prophet.

And my understanding is that Joseph Smith proclaimed himself both prophet and apostle.

I believe the Mormon sense of what a “prophet” is is rather different than the Catholic or even Christian sense.

I have always thought a prophet was a teacher with special graces from God that help his teaching be somehow more effective. With this very broad definition, then yes the Pope is a prophet.

However, I do not think that is the Mormon sense of “prophet”. While I may wrong here, and invite charitable correction, I think when Mormons think “prophet” they this of a special elect from God. A person who may see visions, hears the audible Voice of God and may have other supernatural gifts. In addition, a prophet can make or change doctrine.

I have not heard any reports that our Holy Father can do any of these things. So in that case, I would say no.

I would also add that using that definition, the last prophet who lived was the Apostle John, traditionally the last Apostle to die.

I think you hit the nail on the head, my friend (the Mormon) usually tries to reason things out through his faith and always falls short. I know he meant “prophet” as in their kinds of prophets. I did tell him the Pope does not have those type of gifts like the Mormons claim to have. Thanks all for the info.:thumbsup:

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