The Pope as a prophet?

I was recently asked if I saw the Pope as a prophet and how could he be one. Now I answered that I did not view him as a prophet because my understanding of a prophet is someone who prophesies things in the future and I dont believe I have seen the Pope do this or claim to do this. Am I right on this? This person was lead to believe that followers of Christ are to be lead by a prophet and that the this prophet must be sent by God to his followers vs. being chosen and “elected”, and she sees the Pope as not being able to fullfil this phrophetical leader. I did explain that the Holy Spirit guides the decision on who will fill the Pope and that they get handed the role like Jesus handed Peter the role. I can see where this question arised in this persons mind since they believe in 7 church ages and that a prophet was sent for each age. Hence the leader needs to be a prophet in their mind.

Biblical prophets were not future forecasters, they were messangers from God. Sometimes the messages may have contained information about the time to come, but not always.

Your friend’s understanding of the Church is quite different from what we believe, and the role of the Pope is probably the least of her misunderstandings. But you could say, quite honestly, that you believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church in electing the Pope as the visible head of the earthly church, and grants to the Pope the charism of teaching infallibly - which is not the same as prophecy, since we do not believe that there is to be new public Revelation, only the ongoing mining of the deposit of faith.

So if I understand you correctly, we believe that there is no prophets this day in age and that there will be no more prophets due to the fact that there is to be no more new public Revelation? Is there any good biblical support for this belief of no new public Revelation? When was the public Revelation over with?

Church teaching is that public revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle - Saint John the Evangelist.

I have seen a prophet defined as one who brings the Words of God to the people. In that sense, the Pope,and the Bishops in union with him, i.e. the Magisterium, are prophets in that they are the infallible source of teaching on Faith and Morals, that is in presenting and interpreting that which is already present in the public revelation - Scripture and Tradition.

Public revelation ended when St. John the Evangelist died, the last apostle. Prophets were not just fortune tellers but were people who were chosen by God to deliver an exact message to his people (as stated already). So could you say there are still prophets even though public revelation has ended? I would say, sure. A prophet is someone who conveys a message from God. I think a lot of people do this, including the pope.

Also, Scripture tells us in 1 Cor 12:28, “God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” St. Paul tells us that God appointed apostles and then second appointed prophets. This makes it sound like there are prophets still after the apostles are gone. Also, it says that God appointed them “in the Church”. Since the Church was founded on Peter, one of the apostles, it would only make sense that the “prophets” mentioned in this verse is referring to prophets in the Catholic Church now and in the future.

A Prophet and a Messenger are different things. The Pope is neither. A Prophet DOES foresee the future. A Prophet comes with a waning of something bad that is to come. They will never come with good news. Unlike a Physic who works from their own power a Prophet gains their knowledge through divine means. A Messenger is someone who comes with word or law from God. Since we have not had new law or word directly from God, no there are no more Prophets or Messengers. The Pope is placed into position to guide Catholics using HIS faith, and morality, unless otherwise stated.

If you read 1 Co 14, you will see that each of us is supposed to seek the gift of prophecy – which is to be able to explain our faith to others.

There is no even obscure requirement for the pope to be a soothsayer, which I think is the term for one who predicts the future.

So at this point I think we need to come to a definition of a Prophet.

With all due respect to you, your post #6 is inaccurate. Prophets also preached good news not just bad news. Prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah for example had good and bad things to say. The catechism defines a prophet as:

PROPHET: One sent by God to form the people of the Old Covenant in the hope of salvation. The prophets are often authors of books of the Old Testament (702). The prophetic books constitute a major section of the Old Testament of the Bible (64, 120, 522, 2581). John the Baptist concludes the work of the prophets of the Old Covenant (721).

could you give me some specifics I would like to bring this up with my religion teacher.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church talks about how Christ was/is Priest, Prophet and King and how Christians, by virtue of their baptism, participate “in their own manner” in Christ’s offices, including his prophetic office, in paragraph 871. So, in one sense all Christians are prophets. The *Catechism * seems to suggests that Church’s hierarchy participates in Christ’s prophetic office in a special way by their authoritative teachings. The Catechism devotes several paragraphs, 904-907, to the laity’s participation in Christ’s prophetic office, mostly by living holy lives in the world and by evangelizing and instructing others in the Christian faith.

Unless I’ve missed something, the foretelling of future events is not mentioned in that section and so is probably not considered an ordinary charism of either the Christian hierarchy or the Christian laity but rather one of those extraordinary charisms, talked about but not named in the *Catechism *in paragraph 2003, which are given by the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Church to whomever he wills whenever he wills, subject to the discernment of the Church’s shepherds. The so-called “private” revelations, mentioned in paragraph 67, come to mind.

See Catholic Encyclopedia:

As the term is used in mystical theology, it applies both to the prophecies of canonical Scripture and to private prophecies. Understood in its strict sense, it means the foreknowledge of future events, though it may sometimes apply to past events of which there is no memory, and to present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason.

Notable examples of non-future oriented Prophecies are the Prophet Nathan’s direction to King David re the Temple [2 Samuel 7] and his condemnation of King David’s sin [2 Samuel 12]

*For you are a people sacred to the LORD, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own. It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations. It was because the LORD loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 7:6-8

And the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. – Isaiah 25:8

The LORD appears to him from afar: With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. – Jeremiah 31:3

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek – Zachariah 9:9*

Prophet means one who conveys God’s message. I wouldn’t run around saying Papa is a prophet cause the evangelicals will freak out. Technically he would be, as every priest that taught would be. (Perhaps not the administrative priests…)

The Hebrew for prophet is “nabi,” which meant “one who sees, seer.” Basically they were supposed to be the eyes and ears of the people, seeing and hearing whatever God wanted to tell the people, and then proclaiming that. It could be about future events, it could be new information, but mostly it was about God reminding people about what God had already said.

The Fathers say again and again that one of the jobs of a bishop is to be a watchman, to look out for danger and to see what God wants to tell the people. He also reminds people about what God has already said.

Prophets sometimes were appointed by God, and sometimes passed down their authority to other prophets. For example, Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha.

Bishops pass on their office to other bishops by laying on hands. They are the successors of the apostles by this continuous unbroken laying on of hands.

There are probably some other good comparisons.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.