When a pope dies


#1

According to Catholic theology, the pope is Christ’s vicarious Head of the Church on Earth, but I was wondering if this persists through death. Does the office just “pass on” or does the pope retain some of the honour that went along with it?

And not just popes, also priests, bishops, cardinals etc. An “indestructible mark” is put on them when they are ordained… how indestructible is it?

Are there priests in Heaven :wink:


#2

One hopes there are priests in Heaven! :wink:

But I do not think that was your question. I think your question is “In Heaven, do those people who were priests, bishops, etc. on Earth continue in this role?”

I believe the answer is no. That is because the Church is the corporeal manifestation of God’s Kingdom on Earth. Priests, when performing certain activities, act in Persona Christe, the Person of Christ.

In Heaven, we are in God’s Kingdom so the Church and her hierarchy are not needed. In addition, Jesus, who is also the High Priest, is present and omni-present and so we no longer need men taking on this role.

However, those priests, bishops and popes that are in Heaven now help here on Earth by making intercessory prayer for us, just like all those in Heaven, including lay people and angels.


#3

The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on Earth. When he dies, he is no longer on Earth. The Pope will be judged like all the rest of us – it isn’t the office that counts, it’s how he lived his life (and some Popes have been pretty sinful.)

The priest stands in for Christ at the Mass. After death, there will be no reason for anyone to stand in for Christ – we will see Christ, Himself.

There is a priesthoold of the laity, and we all share in that. Presumably, that will persist after death.


#4

The word for the mark is indelible, but indestructable will do. The only Ordinations that are indelible are those of Deacon, Priest and Bishop. Beyond that all things are not specific ordinations so much as roles within that one


#5

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.