the pope

Does the pope stay in office till he dies?

Does the pope determine the sermon for all catholics churches every week.

thanks for your answers

BIC

The pope usually stays in office until death. No one can remove him, but he can retire. JPII was asked once if he was going to retire but he said he didn’t know who to hand his resignation in to. :slight_smile: There have been very few popes who ever retired. I think it’s in the range of like 2.

Pax

[quote=BIC]Does the pope determine the sermon for all catholics churches every week.

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The Bible readings for each Sunday Mass and each weekday Mass, are set out in the Lectionary for Mass that has been promulgated by the pope. So, the pope determines what Bible readings are read at all Catholic churches every week, in fact, every day of the week. Sunday readings are on a three-year cycle; there are different readings for each Sunday over the course of three years and then the readings repeat. Weekday readings are on a two-year cycle. Here’s a link to today’s readings.

Catholics usually refer to the sermon at church as the homily. The sermon is usually determined by the individual priest or deacon giving the sermon.

“As a rule, the sermon develops some point of the Bible readings. Indeed, the congregation may rightly expect that the priest will be well acquainted with Biblical theology and prepare his sermons carefully, so that he may apply the Bible message to the life situation of the congregation.” (New…St. Joseph Sunday Missal, p. 5)

Normally a pope remains in office until death. In the past, popes have resigned or been deposed. However, it’s unclear whether the depositions were in fact valid. For example, the reign of Benedict IX is very confusing because he apparently served as pope on three different occasions. He was deposed, resigned in favor of his uncle for a monetary payment, and was deposed again. Another immoral pope, John XII was deposed by the German emperor and restored himself to office through violence. Pope St. Celestine V resigned after about 6 months in office. He was elderly and an incompetent administrator. It’s possible that Pope St. Martin I may have resigned in exile. His successor, Eugene I appears to have been elected pope before Martin died. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in A.D. 1415 in order to end the Great Western Schism that had resulted in the election of three popes in Rome, Avignon, and Pisa.

[quote=luke2219]The pope usually stays in office until death. No one can remove him, but he can retire.
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What would happen if a pope became seriously mentally unstable?
I’m sorry if thats a horrible question to ask, but I’m curious. Surely there must be a contingency for this?

[quote=veryconfused]What would happen if a pope became seriously mentally unstable?
I’m sorry if thats a horrible question to ask, but I’m curious. Surely there must be a contingency for this?
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There is nothing wrong with your question. It’s a good one. I don’t really know, but I know that he can’t be taken out of office. He could be encouraged to resign I guess, and all the assistant type clerics at the Vatican would take over administrative duties as needed. If he became a tyrant or otherwise very immoral, he still can’t be removed. All we can do is pray that he would resign or have a happy death.

[quote=luke2219]There is nothing wrong with your question. It’s a good one. I don’t really know, but I know that he can’t be taken out of office. He could be encouraged to resign I guess, and all the assistant type clerics at the Vatican would take over administrative duties as needed. If he became a tyrant or otherwise very immoral, he still can’t be removed. All we can do is pray that he would resign or have a happy death.
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Thanks for your reply.
I don’t really know how the Vatican works, so the following may be ridiculous.
Lets say that a pope made a decree, or whatever the proper phrase is, that Catholics should not eat chocolate.
Could a pope make such a binding policy, or would it have to go to some sort of commitee to be ratified?
If a pope COULD make such a policy, and the pope was deemed to be ‘medically unfit’ for office, would the policy be valid?

Hmm, not eating chocolate? When the pope is making an official decree, he is protected by the Holy Spirt that he will not be in error. This protection is only in regard to official statements, on faith and morals, that apply to the universal church. Eating chocolate would be a matter of dicipline. They can neiter be fallible or infallible, but rather prudent or imprudent. There is no ratification. If the pope says it, then there it is. We would be bound in obediance to not eat chocolate in this case. As long as the diciplinary rules he would make are not contrary to the Christian faith, we’d be bound to them. Now, if the pope were to define a fourth person of the Trinity or an eight sacrament, if it was an official decree and promulgated for the entire church, then we would have evidence that he is an imposter and not the real pope. On matters such as these, the pope is protected by the Holy Spirt with the charism of infallibility. “The gates of hell will not prevail against” the Church and this kind of thing simply cannot happen. If there were development of doctrine, say the pope officialy declares Mary as the Medeatrix of All Graces, in that case, Christ would have spoken though Peter and we’d be bound to belive it (since that means it must be true.) Hope that doesn’t confuse you more. I’ve had to real a lot of explinations on this to understand it. I understand it to my own satisfaction, but I still have trouble explaining it.

Pax et bonum

By the way, don’t appologize for your questions. There is nothing wrong with them. I asked the same kind of questions when I was comming back to the faith. The one that set me off was by Karl Keating, What Catholics Really Believe-Setting the Record Straight: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Catholic Faith. I’d been a Catholic all my life, went to CCE for 12 years and was always told how well I did there. Some even called me a future priest. But of the 52 misconceptions Karl listed in his book, I had 48 of them! I was reading all kinds of books for two years after that falling more in love with Jesus and His Church. I’m still however working to forgive my parish that pretented to teach me the Faith didn’t. Enough about me. Sorry. I just don’t want you to feel silly about your questions even if you’re afraid they may sound critical of the Church. Those are exacly they type of questions many people ask on their way Home. Keep praying and learning!

Pax et bonum

[quote=luke2219]Hmm, not eating chocolate? When the pope is making an official decree, he is protected by the Holy Spirt that he will not be in error. This protection is only in regard to official statements, on faith and morals, that apply to the universal church. Eating chocolate would be a matter of dicipline. They can neiter be fallible or infallible, but rather prudent or imprudent.
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Fair enough, but for the purposes of argument I’ll push the issue on somewhat.
Suppose that a 'medically unfit. pope said that abortion was OK. What then?
That doesn’t seem like a matter of discipline.
I think that what I’m trying to ask is…‘is there any sort of vetting process in regards to a papal decree’? Do the Bishops have to give consent before a decree becomes ‘legislation’?
The bottom line here is that I’m showing my total ignorance of how the Vatican actually works.

[quote=luke2219]Sorry. I just don’t want you to feel silly about your questions even if you’re afraid they may sound critical of the Church. Those are exacly they type of questions many people ask on their way Home. Keep praying and learning!

Pax et bonum
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Thanks for that reply.
I think that the awkward questions do more to strengthen an individuals faith than the easy questions, IF there are any ‘easy’ questions :slight_smile:

The Church government is a patriarchy, not a democracy (republic) like the US. There are no checks or balances the way we are used to. A valid pope could not issue an official decree saying that abortion was okay. This is where the faith part comes in. Christ has promised us that it is just not possible. It is possible that the pope could give an opinion or a remark, even a public remark, that abortion was okay, but he’d clearly be wrong and eligible for the millstone award of all time. All the faithful would know he was wrong and after we all stopped foaming at the mouth, we’d kick our prayers into high gear.

It looks like we need to make clear what are matters of doctrine (faith and morals) and what are matters of discipline (laws, customs, and norms.) Doctrine is the teachings of Christ, the same always and everywhere. These are revealed to us in many ways, primarily by Jesus through His Church and Vicar, the pope. This never changes, although at times it is further explained or explained in new ways. Discipline would be the Code of Canon Law, the liturgical rites (how to celebrate mass, etc.), and the hierarchy and government of the Church. These things can change and do all the time. These could and sometimes do change to the detriment of the Church.

You gave the example of a pope rubber stamping abortion and then asked about it becoming legislation. Doctrine is not legislation. If a pope promulgated false doctrine, the faithful bishops would start trying to find out who the real pope is or electing a new. (They wouldn’t be replacing the imposter since he was never pope; they would be electing the successor to the last valid pope.) As far as discipline (legislation) goes, if the pope says it, then it goes. There is no veto, or voting or anything like that. But, the pope does establish committees and get advice and counsel from all types of people at the Vatican and even other places. But he’s never bound to follow what they say. He’s completely the final authority.

You’re perfectly welcome to keep asking questions here and there are many people who will help as best they can. If you want more solid and straightforward answers though try the Catholic Answers tracts. You can find them here:

Church and Papacy.
The Authority of the Pope Part 1
The Authority of the Pope Part 2

I also highy reccomend this book by Patrick Madrid. It should answer a lot of the questions you are asking here in a very clear and reasonable way. Click on the book for more information.

shop.catholic.com/online-store/scstore/graphics/popefiction.jpg

[left]Pax et bonum
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To dear luke2219.

I thank you for your detailed and lucid reply.
I admit to ignorance in these matters, but I feel that you have answered my questions fully.
If I have understood you correctly, then there are some ‘issues’ which are ‘not up for discussion’. I would think that these are Biblical/Scriptural issues with solid and indesputable foundations.
I have also taken due notice of the links that you provided me, from catholic.com. This is the site which lead me to these forums.
Once again I thank you for your reply.
:blessyou:

[quote=luke2219]. On matters such as these, the pope is protected by the Holy Spirt with the charism of infallibility.

Pax et bonum
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What does charism mean?

bic

[quote=BIC]What does charism mean?
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Gift. In this case, gift of the Holy Spirt. The charism of infalliblility means that the pope is prevented from preaching error on matters of doctrine (faith and morals). It doesn’t mean everything he says of does will be right. Only when he is using his official capacity to teach to the entire church on matters of doctrine. It doesn’t mean the he will says the right things at the right times, just that he won’t be in error.

[quote=luke2219]It doesn’t mean the he will says the right things at the right times, just that he won’t be in error.
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This sentence is confusing? can you clarify it more

BIC

[quote=BIC]This sentence is confusing? can you clarify it more

BIC
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From Catholic Answers Tract: Papal Infallibility

[Some people] think infallibility means that popes are given some special grace that allows them to teach positively whatever truths need to be known, but that is not quite correct, either. Infallibility is not a substitute for theological study on the part of the pope.
What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as “truth” something that is, in fact, error. It does not help him know what is true, nor does it “inspire” him to teach what is true. He has to learn the truth the way we all do—through study—though, to be sure, he has certain advantages because of his position.

The bolded sentence is a better statement of what I was saying earlier

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