the pope


do you consider him to be like god on earth? the closest thing to god on earth? and the highest of all of us bar christ?

you do think there can be better christians in the world than him so he can’t necessarily be the closest in any sense of the word can he?


No, all of the Pope, including Peter, have been sinful men, just like us. There have been several who were corrupt, greedy jerks.

But they had one thing that we do not have, the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, temporal Authority over the Church on Earth.

And along with the Keys came a protection that they could never bind the Church to a teaching that was untrue.

Are there better Christians than Pope Benedict in the world today? . Certainly, Benedict himself would wholeheartlily agree :p.

But no one else has the Authority that Christ gave to Peter.


The Pope’s role has nothing to do with whether or not he personally is sinless. Look at the New Testament - neither Peter nor Paul were sinless, far from it, both before and after their conversion to Christ.

What the position of Pope DOES mean is that he is given special guidance by the Holy Spirit in his teaching capacity. That is he can’t TEACH anything wrong, even if he DOES occasionally, as we all do, what is wrong. Even the worst Popes, who stole or murdered or tortured, always TAUGHT officially that stealing or murder or torture were sins! To a lesser extent this authority is shared by all Bishops and priests, when they teach in accord with the Pope’s guidance.

To believe anything else would be to ignore Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit would guide the Apostles (and his church) in all truth in its teaching. And that Christ gave Peter special commissions in terms of the church being built upon Peter’s faith, Peter being supreme shepherd and keeper of the Keys of Heaven, and Christ’s prayer uniquely for Peter that he would strengthen the others in the faith.


thanks that’s really helpful.

so does that mean you see him as like god at all? i’ve heard the expression ‘like god on earth’. never god on earth but ‘like god on earth’ and i don’t get it. is that an official teaching or a simple misuderstanding?


Gross misunderstanding.



could you explain a bit.



What’s to explain? He’s not God on earth, he’s not LIKE God on earth. He has certain authority, exactly the same which was given to the Apostles, which comes from God. And special guidance from Him. That’s all.


if the pope has special authority given to him by god, and is the head of the church, is he higher than other catholics in a heirarchy of which god is at the top? this is from the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church:

“On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman pontiff,” states that (s.1) “the definition of the Ecumenical Council of Florence, which must be believed by all faithful Christians, namely that the apostolic see and the Roman pontiff hold a worldwide primacy, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, true vicar of Christ, head of the whole church and father and teacher of all Christian people,” that (s.2) “by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a preeminence of ordinary power over every other church, and that the jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate” and that “clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the church throughout the world.”

and it goes on to say

“if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord Himself (that is to say, by Divine Law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.”


I think you might be confusing impeccability (the inablility to sin) with infaliablity. The first one, the Pope does NOT have. The second one, he does.


What do you mean by ‘higher’? If you mean his authority is greater, absolutely. Just as the President of the US has greater legal authority than anyone else in that country. If you mean he’s somehow a better or more moral person - of course not. Just as, again, the President of the US isn’t. You may think Bill Clinton was personally a scoundrel, or Bush at the moment, doesn’t mean these men didn’t have valid authority!


i dunno but i’m asking if he is part of a hierarchy made by god does that mean he is in fact closer to god than everyone else on this earth?


If he has authority given to him by God, then he has authority given to him by God. Make of it what you will.

Was Peter closer to Christ than anyone else on earth? Were the Apostles collectively? Maybe so, more likely not. There were others who you could say were just as close or closer - Mary Magdalene, Mary Jesus’ mother, Lazarus. But they weren’t given teaching authority or the power to bind and loose heaven in the same manner Peter and the Apostles were.


No. Lots of people are closer to God than the Pope. There are lots of little Grandmas and Grandpas out there who spend their whole day praying and doing good works - these people are closer to God than anybody.

The Pope is the guy in charge of the administration of the Church - kind of the “boss” of its earthly, temporal affairs.

For example, he could say, “Hey all you little Grandmas out there, here is a new prayer that you can say,” (or words to that effect) and he would authorize a new prayer that people can use. (Pope John Paul II did that when he brought out the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.)

Or if people are arguing about something, he could gather up a group of theologians and say, “Study this until you have an answer,” and they would do that, and then the problem would (hopefully) be solved, and if not, he would just say, “We don’t know, really.” That sort of thing happens a lot.

He is also in charge of making sure that the Catholic Church never officially teaches any kind of heresy - that is, anything that causes people to misunderstand who Jesus is, or who God is, or get them mixed up about other things that we know to be true. He is given special protection by the Holy Spirit to make sure that he never makes any kind of mistake with regard to that. The Holy Spirit has done that before - for example, He protected all the people who were writing the Bible from writing down anything that wasn’t really true, too.



Do you mind sharing where you got these ideas?

Just curious…


We hope that we, & all Christians, him included, will be Christ-like. So we pray for him, & for ourselves, as well as for others, at the Mass.

One does not pray for God :slight_smile:

Closeness to God is measured by grace, & love. Not by position in the world - nor in the Church. :slight_smile:



the closest thing to god on earth?


and the highest of all of us bar christ?

NO, in fact I consider him to be the servant of all…

you do think there can be better christians in the world than him so he can’t necessarily be the closest in any sense of the word can he?

Of course… THere have been many individuals that have been better than the pope… Mother Theresa was for sure better than JPII… and Definitely Saint Francis of Asisisi was a better Christian than Pope Inoncence who was the Pope during his time.

Many blessings,



Jesus Christ came to “serve”. The Pope is to do the same. Probably a better idea is to see him on the bottom of the heap, along with Jesus, trying to keep us from hell. I have read some refer to the Pope as “The sweet Christ on Earth”. He has been anointed for the role he has. Has to be the heaviest, lonliest role on earth.


but in terms of mortal hierarchy it’s god then the pope?


1. No :slight_smile: Because the Pope is a creature - just as we are; & angels, & atoms.

God, by contrast, is no creature, but the Unique & Eternal & All-Glorious Creator of all things, visible and invisible: He has neither beginning nor end, & is the Almighty Preserver of every creature, Who has no need of any of them, while none of them is anything without Him. They are nothing - whereas He is infinite in every excellence.

All creatures, without any exceptions, are “different” (for lack of a better word) from God. God is not one of them - He is infinitely “other” than any or all created things. God is IOW not a member of a series of things - no creature is like Him in nature, for He alone is God, the Uncreated One. There is no series into which God can fit, because He is incomparable. As He is Unique, it is meaningless to think of Him as first, and of the Pope as second.

2. All Christians are answerable to God - the Pope included. This does not prevent some having authority over others: & the Pope has - as Pope - supreme & full & universal authority in the Church, over all other Catholics. He has this authority by the Will of Christ, the Eternal Lord & Head & Shepherd of the Church.

3. He has a number of other responsibilities as well - the Pope is Bishop of Rome, for example; & these are more limited than his calling as Pope: for that is a service to the entire Catholic Church. Because it is a service to the entire CC on earth, sufficient authority to serve is needed; he needs to be equipped for it.


Heaven is described in the bible as a “kingdom” (i.e., the Kingdom of Heaven)

Christ structured His church on earth to reflect the heavenly kingdom.

All kingdoms are hierarchical: God on the throne, Jesus at His right hand, elders, angels, saints, and so on. (Mary is queen!)

The church has a hierarchical structure also.

The Pope

Eph 2:19 - 22

19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,
20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
21 Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord

Is the Pope closer to God than anyone else? That completely is subjective to God’s will. In the case of John Paul II, I would say yes definately. But that is my opinion.


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