T Nation

Pope's Been Given Last Rites

yes, the lank haired paddy was the only person who i could think of at the time. it must be that “vertigo” was just on the radio.

damn it.

I see the error of my ways.

what about bob geldoff?

[quote]dond1esel wrote:
Al Shades wrote:
“The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” - Uncle Joe Stalin, upon recieving word of the Vatican’s disapproval of his policies.

There were days when the Pope essentially had divisions, and it’s too bad we’re not in them. You would be burned at the stake using the pages and pages of aggresively ignorant crap you’ve posted as kindling. Then again, as annoying as you are, I think the Pope could still get that done if he asked.

I was going to let other posters smack you around, but then you had to stick your nose where it didn’t belong and make fun of someone who has done more for humanity than your wildest dreams or those of the hacks to whom you are a faithful intellectual bottom.

People like you should have their air supply prorated according to how much of an ass they make of themselves.

[/quote]

does this mean, more ass, more air then!

an exactly what has he done for humanity. i dont believe he invented anything, made breakthroughs, added intelectually to the world (something new, not mass, calls for peace or aiding a religion to accept gays in their priesthood…oh, i dont think he did that).

[quote]miniross wrote:
why, what the hell has he done other than pontificate over things?

now i’m asking for it.[/quote]

Let’s not forget the man survived assassination attempts! Not only that, but he then went to the prison where one of the gunmen was serving time, and FORGAVE him for doing it! That alone is sign of a strong soul.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
Al Shades wrote:
“The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” - Uncle Joe Stalin, upon recieving word of the Vatican’s disapproval of his policies.

would that be good kind uncle joe who never wanted to do anything in the world until the evil US forced him to try and take over the whole damn thing?

Al, you bother me.
Go away.
Please.
[/quote]

I believe this post is completely uncalled for, just because you don’t agree with his other misguided posts, does not mean he cannot contribute anything on any subject. Somehow I find the presumptuous ignorance of Joe’s posts more irritating than Al’s pedantic megalomania, how is that?

This post was pointless. It had nothing funny or constructive to add to the thread subject, other than to tell someone to ‘go away’, and a sad attempt to make fun of a pretty good quote. The guy is only 17 for God’s sake, let him stick around and learn.

[quote]miniross wrote:
yes, the lank haired paddy was the only person who i could think of at the time. it must be that “vertigo” was just on the radio.

damn it.

I see the error of my ways.

what about bob geldoff?[/quote]

It’s not exactly the Pope’s job to “do” this stuff though.
I understand what you’re saying (I think…that’s always risky with you! Oh and I really liked “lank haired paddy”…that was good).

[quote]dond1esel wrote:
There were days when the Pope essentially had divisions, and it’s too bad we’re not in them. You would be burned at the stake using the pages and pages of aggresively ignorant crap you’ve posted as kindling. Then again, as annoying as you are, I think the Pope could still get that done if he asked.

I was going to let other posters smack you around, but then you had to stick your nose where it didn’t belong and make fun of someone who has done more for humanity than your wildest dreams or those of the hacks to whom you are a faithful intellectual bottom.

People like you should have their air supply prorated according to how much of an ass they make of themselves.

[/quote]

thank you for cutting through the full blown ignorance seen on this thread. people should take a quick history lesson and educate themselves on a subject… before they let their mouth makes an ass out of them.

“what has he done?” that question is a disgrace and is a sign of pure ignorance. that man’s accomplishments speak for themselves. anyone with a sense of history (religiously biased or not) could see that.

that is all.

[quote]mfowler wrote:
miniross wrote:
why, what the hell has he done other than pontificate over things?

now i’m asking for it.

Let’s not forget the man survived assassination attempts! Not only that, but he then went to the prison where one of the gunmen was serving time, and FORGAVE him for doing it! That alone is sign of a strong soul.[/quote]

He shold thank him for having a bad shot. And it’s not like he launched a full blown attempt to get the man releaes. forgiving him did nothing to change the shooters situation.

[quote]Orbitalboner wrote:
I believe this post is completely uncalled for, just because you don’t agree with his other misguided posts, does not mean he cannot contribute anything on any subject. Somehow I find the presumptuous ignorance of Joe’s posts more irritating than Al’s pedantic megalomania, how is that?

This post was pointless. It had nothing funny or constructive to add to the thread subject, other than to tell someone to ‘go away’, and a sad attempt to make fun of a pretty good quote. The guy is only 17 for God’s sake, let him stick around and learn.
[/quote]

so my asking him to butt out if he was going to do here what he’s done in every other thread is somehow worse than someone else suggesting how sad it is we don’t live a few hundred years ago so he could be burned at the stake?
Wow. Talk about out of whack perceptions!

Now, I suggest you brush up on reading comprehension, because I didn’t “tell someone to ‘go away’”, I asked nicely, and even politely.

And if you’ve been reading any of his other stuff, you’d know he has no interest in learning, because in his mind he’s already smarter than everyone here. In fact, he’s said so. I’d go find it and copy it here but I don’t feel like it.

I also dare you–challenge you, in fact–to come up with good examples of my ‘presumptous ignorance’ in any place where I’ve been serious and where it hasn’t been my opinion and only my opinion.

Just because you don’t agree with my opinions doesn’t mean they’re ignorant on their face.
Or does that escape you as well?

juice

Please feel free to educate me on this. Persuade me that i am wrong, and demonstrate his accomplishments. i have a sense of history, i am english!

[quote]miniross wrote:
Please feel free to educate me on this. Persuade me that i am wrong, and demonstrate his accomplishments. i have a sense of history, i am english![/quote]

English people have a sense of ENGLISH history from the ENGLISH perspective .

It’s okay though. I still love ya.
Well…maybe not love. There’s too much Scots/Irish blood flowing in these veins to truly love an Englishman.

But I don’t want to blow you up with a suitcase bomb, how’s that?
!

The question should never be “What has HE done for anybody”.

We should all ask ourselves “What have I done for anybody?”

God Bless the Pope and all his accomplishments for humanity. He filled the shes very well, and is a true example of what a follower and student of Jesus should do.

Please remove all anger anf frustration from this thread, some people just don’t know or believe the ammount of good that has happened through him. He presents out religion the way it’s meant to be presented. It’s based on forgiveness and acceptance and i don’t want to hear about current political turmoils with gays/sex in the Church. Don’t judge the government by the people, or the people by the governmant.

I have nothing but respect for the man, you will be hard pressed to find a better further reaching religious icon in today’s world. His destiny was to be a Pope, it was said when he was just a young priest in his early life that this would happen. And it came to pass, for the first timein thousands of years we had a non Italian Pope and he was one of the best this planet has seen.

He is the true embodiment of Jesus’s spirit.

God Bless him.

hijack alert. yanks would say that. who exactly captured the enigma machine by taking control of a german u boat?

i rest my case!

As it stands, there is more than likely plenty of welsh/irish and scot blood in me, along with germanic, nordic and french (boo)

[quote]Gregus wrote:
God Bless the Pope and all his accomplishments for humanity. He filled the shes very well, and is a true example of what a follower and student of Jesus should do.

Please remove all anger anf frustration from this thread, some people just don’t know or believe the ammount of good that has happened through him. He presents out religion the way it’s meant to be presented. It’s based on forgiveness and acceptance and i don’t want to hear about current political turmoils with gays/sex in the Church. Don’t judge the government by the people, or the people by the governmant.

I have nothing but respect for the man, you will be hard pressed to find a better further reaching religious icon in today’s world. His destiny was to be a Pope, it was said when he was just a young priest in his early life that this would happen. And it came to pass, for the first timein thousands of years we had a non Italian Pope and he was one of the best this planet has seen.

He is the true embodiment of Jesus’s spirit.

God Bless him.[/quote]
I have not got much good to say about this, so i wont.

no, i will say this. anger and frustration…catholicism turning its head away from 1000’s of abused children that were in the care of the catholic church’s priests, and they ignore it. that is anger and frustration.

It is about dogma.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
The question should never be “What has HE done for anybody”.

We should all ask ourselves “What have I done for anybody?”

[/quote]

This is a good point.

However, when an individual is raised to heady height (i am sure that he as an individual baulks at this almost deification) then expectation is high.

What did i do for anyone. smiled, said hi, complemented and gave someone i didnt know a flower and that is what i did today.

Hopefully this made the smallest bit of difference, it certainly made me feel great.

If every single one of us does 1 small thing like that, it only takes a little courage, we would have more effect than any one individual, pope or not, could ever have.

and i could be presumptuous, but i am sure that he may just agree.

I believe they prefer the car bomb!

[quote]Gregus wrote:
God Bless the Pope and all his accomplishments for humanity. He filled the shes very well, and is a true example of what a follower and student of Jesus should do.

Please remove all anger anf frustration from this thread, some people just don’t know or believe the ammount of good that has happened through him. He presents out religion the way it’s meant to be presented. It’s based on forgiveness and acceptance and i don’t want to hear about current political turmoils with gays/sex in the Church. Don’t judge the government by the people, or the people by the governmant.

I have nothing but respect for the man, you will be hard pressed to find a better further reaching religious icon in today’s world. His destiny was to be a Pope, it was said when he was just a young priest in his early life that this would happen. And it came to pass, for the first timein thousands of years we had a non Italian Pope and he was one of the best this planet has seen.

He is the true embodiment of Jesus’s spirit.

God Bless him.[/quote]

well said.
I didn’t know that it was predicted he’d become Pope. That’s pretty cool.

[quote]miniross wrote:
juice

Please feel free to educate me on this. Persuade me that i am wrong, and demonstrate his accomplishments. i have a sense of history, i am english![/quote]

If you have a “sense” of history, then you should be smart enough to go to www.google.com and read a little about the man.

The ignorance of this thread runs deep. Pick up a book, search the internet, do ANYTHING, but don’t be ignorant. Pope John Paul II achieved more before he became pope than most people do in their entire lives. What have you done?

[quote]miniross wrote:
juice

Please feel free to educate me on this. Persuade me that i am wrong, and demonstrate his accomplishments. i have a sense of history, i am english![/quote]

A history of intellectual cosmopolitanism perhaps.

Hasn’t it got you Brits in enough trouble over the years.

The man lived an accomplished life. Trying to tarnish it with silly comments diminishes you, not him.

http://groups.msn.com/AGFMessageBoard/religionbeliefs.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=185628&LastModified=4675512234187101246

“The Legacy of Pope John Paul II”
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.,
Retired Professor of Theology and Church History,
Andrews University

              Pope John Paul II's  current precarious physical conditions,  should not obscure his political, social, ecclesiastical, and ecumenical achievements of the last quarter century. John Allen, a Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and the author of Conclave-a book that examines how the next pope will be elected-rightly notes: "There are a lot of people who believe that John Paul II will be remembered as John Paul The Great. And there are very few popes who have received that appellation. We are talking about Gregory The Great, Leo The Great. It's not a very long list."  What makes the present pope great in the estimation of many people, are especially his achievements in three distinct areas: political, ecclesiastical, and ecumenical. Let us take a look at each of them.

THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

              The political achievements of John Paul II are well-known. He played a major role in the collapse of Soviet Communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Eastern and Western Europe. Hywel Williams, writes in The Gardian of London: "John Paul II is a political activist who knows that the world can be changed as long as you are well organised and mentally sorted. Not for him the cultivated pessimism of some Catholic intellectuals. He has a powerful record of opposition to totalitarianism in both its fascist and its communist form. And from that struggle he has learned the central lesson of his life: evil only seems to triumph, but faith-driven politics can win through."

              John Paul has condemned, not only the totalitarianism of communism, but also the materialism of capitalism. In his article on "The Future of the Papacy," William H. Shannon observes that John Paul's  "influence has been global. He was a major factor in breaking the power of Communism, but he has also been quick to point out the evils inherent in a capitalistic system devoted to consumerism, greed and profit. He has spoken out vigorously against what he rightly calls a culture of death: a culture in which rampant violence breeds war and genocide, abortion and euthanasia, poverty and homelessness-all these and so many other crimes against the inalienable dignity of human persons. In many ways Pope John Paul II has been the conscience of a troubled world."

              Today the Pope is revered by many as the man who embodies the political and spiritual aspirations of mankind. Hywel Williams notes that "When it comes to the need to defend the rights of nations as well as individuals against the rule of might, Wojtyla has been a Catholic hero. From the defence of Polish independence rights through to the condemnation of American aggression in the Middle East, the papal words are always a powerful reminder that the very notion of international order is rooted in Catholicism."  The role of the papacy as an international power-broker, has prophetic implications to be examined shortly.

THE ECCLESIASTICAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II

              The ecclesiastical achievements of John Paul II can be seen in his tireless efforts to save the Catholic Church from disintegration by reaffirming the commitment of its members and leaders to the historical teachings of Rome. Noteworthy are his efforts to stem the decline of Sunday observance through his Sunday homilies and his two historical Pastoral Letters, designed to revive Sunday observance. His worldwide travels have brought the papacy to the people in an unprecedented way.

               An important lesson that John Paul learned in the hot battle he fought against Nazism and communism in his own country of Poland, is that the church can survive only if it is rigorously disciplined and strongly united in essential doctrines and piety. Consequently a major goal of John Paul's pontificate has been to forge a united church, updated in its external forms, but strongly traditional in its adherence to church discipline and teaching.  

              One of the first steps he took to achieve this goal, was to revive the Sacred Congregation for Doctrine of Faith-formerly known as the Inquisition.  This watchdog organization, presided by the German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger-a possible papal candidate- has pressed charges against such theologians as Edward Schillebeeckx of Holland, Jack Pohier of France, Bernard Hasler of Switzerland.  It has stripped Hans Kung of his post as teacher of Catholic theology at the University of Tubingen, and has suspended Father Charles Curran from his teaching post at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C.

John Paul’s Impact on the Future of the Catholic Church

       Another step taken by Pope John Paul has been to gradually build up a Vatican curia with a core of tough disciplinarians who will support his conservative program.  The same is true of the bishops and cardinals that he has handpicked every year on the basis of their conservative views. All but 5 of the 135 cardinals who will elect the new pope, have been appointed by John Paul.   By changing the makeup of the hierarchies, John Paul has ensured that long after his death, the Catholic Church will remain loyal to her traditional teachings that he has fought hard to defend. The Catholic Church of the future will be to a large extent the church that John Paul has forged.

       "Wojtyla's instinct," writes Hywel Williams, "is that the 21st century will be the great Christian century-a real springtime for Catholic humanity, despite all the present evidence of a decline in communicants and vocations. For vision and consolation he turns away from western Europe-populated for him by bourgeois and parochial wimps.  Africa and Latin America are where the action lies: continents of peasant vitality and all signed up for the voyage on that ark of salvation."

       Catholic revisionists and feminists accuse John Paul of being out of touch with the reality of the Catholic Church, especially in America.  The truth of the matter is that it is these Catholic dissenters who are out of touch with the reality of the Catholic Church in Rome.  These fail to realize that John Paul is not running a democracy, but a pyramidal hierarchy whose head is the pope and whose center is Rome. John Paul believes in a centralized form of church government, ruling the church top down from the center.  The paradox is, as Hywel Williams puts it, that "He [John Paul] decided to fight totalitarianism in the secular world by cultivating a corresponding totalitarianism on Peter's throne."

       To genuine Catholics the Pope speaks with the unique authority of one who claims to be the vicar of Christ on earth. He embodies the teaching authority of the church which, Catholics believe, was given to the Pope by Christ through the power of the keys bestowed upon Peter and his successors.

       This high Catholic view of the Pope as the impersonation of Christ on earth, makes the words of his speeches, encyclicals, and pastoral letters,  the final word that any true Catholic must and eventually will accept. While most Catholics may publicly express their disagreement with their Pope's teachings, privately and inwardly they welcome his word of authority. It gives to them a sense of assurance, certainty and stability, amidst the confusing and conflicting teachings and values of our time.

The Revival of Sunday Observance

       A significant landmark of John Paul pontificate is his tireless effort to revive Sunday observance by encouraging the participation in the Sunday Mass, known to Catholics as the Sunday Eucharist. He strongly believes that the decline in the attendance to the Sunday Mass, must be reversed, if the Catholic church is to survive as a viable institution.

       To accomplish this goal, John Paul has not only repeatedly  reminded Catholics of the importance of the Sunday Mass during his Sunday homilies from his Vatican residence,  but he has also promulgated two historic Pastoral Letters devoted specifically to the revival of Sundaykeeping.

       The Pastoral Letter "Dies Domini-The Lord's Day. The first Pastoral Letter "Dies Domini -The Lord's Day," was issued on July 5, 1998, in anticipation of the Year of Jubilee (2000). In this 30 pages historical document, John Paul  makes a passionate plea for a revival of Sunday observance, by appealing to the international community of nations to promulgate a Sunday legislation to facilitate its observance.

       The appeal is based on the Pope's conviction that Sundaykeeping is a moral imperative rooted in the Sabbath commandment that must be defended by civil legislation. Contrary to the traditional view of Sundaykeeping as a Catholic institution establish by the authority of the church, in his pastoral letter John Paul attempts to make Sunday observance a biblical institution, rooted in the Sabbath commandment, and to be protected by civil governments.

       A lengthy 50 pages analysis of the Pastoral Letter Dies Domini, is found in chapter 1 of my book The Sabbath Under Crossfire.  Incidentally, this analysis has been favorably reviewed in major newspapers like Washington Post. The latter's article "When is the Lord's Day? Adventist Says Pope Unfairly Promotes Sunday Sabbath" (Jan 23, 1999), acknowledges that John Paul's attempt to promote Sunday as the biblical Sabbath, poses biblical and legal problems.

       The conclusion of my study is that John Paul has legitimate reasons for making a passionate plea for a revival of Sunday observance at a time when church attendance is dwindling at an alarming rate. But, the solution to the crisis of declining church attendance must be sought, not by making Sunday the biblical Sabbath, or by calling upon the international community of nations to promulgate Sunday laws, but by summoning Christians to "REMEMBER," what they have long forgotten, namely, that the seventh day is Holy unto the Lord our God.

              Unfortunately, Pope John Paul fails to realize that the essence of the Sabbath Commandment, is not the Sunday Eucharistic celebration, but giving priority to God in our thinking and living during the 24 hours of the seventh day.   The biblical vision of the Sabbath as the consecration of the seventh-day's time unto the Lord, is missing in the two pastoral letters.

              The Pastoral Letter "Mane Nobiscum Domine- Stay with Us, Lord." The second Pastoral Letter "Stay with us, Lord," was released on October 8, 2004, to inaugurate THE YEAR OF THE SUNDAY EUCHARIST, beginning  on October 2004 and ending on October 2005. This Pastoral Letter is less known than the first one, yet it is equally important. In many ways it represents the culmination of John Paul's burning desire to revive Sunday observance by encouraging the faithful to participate in the Sacrament of the Sunday Eucharist. He appeals to Catholics "to rediscover the celebration of the Eucharist as the heart of Sunday" (#7). He urges Catholic bishops "to stress particularly the Sunday Eucharist and Sunday itself, experienced as a special day of faith" (#8).

              The Sunday Eucharist is fundamental to Catholic Sunday worship, because, as John Paul puts it, "under the species of the bread and wine, Christ offers Himself to the Father in the same act of sacrifice by which He offered Himself on the Cross"  (Dies Domini, #43). Catholics believe that when the priest elevates and consecrates the Eucharist, the wafer is miraculously transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus. This miracle is known as transubstantiation.

              This view of the Mass as a reenactment of Christ's atoning sacrifice before God and on behalf of the faithful,  makes attendance to the Sunday Mass "a grave obligation."  By participating in the Sunday Mass and by partaking of the Eucharist, Catholic are nourishing themselves with the physical body and blood of Jesus and are promised the immediate benefits of Christ's sacrifice which is reenacted on their behalf before their eyes.
             
              Theological  Problems. This sacrificial and sacramental view of the Lord's Supper poses theological and practical problems.  Theologically,  the Scripture invites us to partake of the Words of Christ, not of the Body of  Christ. Christ explained what He meant by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, saying:  "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63).

              In ancient Israel sacrificial offerings took place at the Temple on the Sabbath (Num 28:9-10), but Sabbath observance did not entail participating in the sacrificial rituals of the Tabernacle or of the Temple. Jesus or His followers did not go to the Temple on the Sabbath to watch the priestly sacrificial liturgy.  Instead, they went to the synagogue to participate in the study of Scripture, to pray, and to sing praises to God.

             Paul explains that the Lord's Supper is a "proclamation," not a reenactment of Christ's death. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26). The verb "proclaim-katangellein" is used in the New Testament for heralding the Gospel (1 Cor  9:14) and for making known one's faith (Rom 1:8). This suggests that the celebration of the Lord's Supper is a proclamation of the Gospel directed manward, not a reenactment of Christ's sacrifice directed Godward, as taught by the Catholic church and nowpopularized by Gibson's movie on The Passion of the Christ.

              Pope John Paul and the Catholic dogma ignore that the essence of the Sabbath commandment, is not participating in a sacrificial liturgy but consecrating the Sabbath time to God.  The Sabbath commandment invites us to offer to God not sacrifices, but our time, which for many is the most precious commodity to sacrifice.  By giving priority to God in our thinking and living on the Sabbath, we show in a tangible way that God really counts in our lives.
             
              Practical Problems. Practically, by making the Eucharistic (the Lord's Supper) celebration the core of Sunday observance, the Pope is  facilitating the secularization of Sunday-the very trend he is trying hard to reverse.  The reason is that many sincere Catholics believe that once they have fulfilled "the Mass precept"  by watching the priest celebrating the Eucharist, they are free to spend the rest of their Sunday time as they wish. 

              The problem is compounded by the provision of Second Vatican council which allows for the anticipation of the first Sunday Mass (Eucharist)  to Saturday afternoon or evening-a practice which has been adopted worldwide by all the Catholic churches. By attending the Sunday Mass on Saturday evening, Catholics are free to spend their Sunday seeking for pleasure or profit, since they are relieved from the obligation of Sunday church attendance.

              The preceding observations serve to highlight the problems that the Pope has created by changing the Sabbath to Sunday in early Christianity.  It was not just a change of numbers or names, but a change of meaning, authority and experience. It was a change from a divinely established Holy Day into what has become a man-made holiday. For the Pope to reverse today the trend of declining church attendance, is a monumental task, because most people today want holidays, not Holy Days.

ECUMENICAL UNITY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE POPE

              The achievements of John Paul extend beyond the parochial concerns of the Catholic Church, to include people of all Christian and non-Christian religions.  Thus, a major goal of his pontificate has been to enhance his role as the moral and spiritual leader of mankind.  John Paul sees himself as a man called by God to serve as the spiritual leader not only of his own church but also of mankind.

              The global vision of John Paul is evident in his important encyclical, entitled "Ut Unum Sint-That All May Be One,"  issued on May 25, 1995.           He addresses himself to all the Christian churches asking them what changes need to be made in the papal office in order for the pope to become a source of unity, rather than division, among Christians.  He sees this as an immensely important issue that requires the cooperation of all Christians. Thus, he invites Church leaders and their theologians to engage with him "in a patient and fraternal dialogue on this subject, dialogue in which, leaving useless controversies behind, we could listen to one another, keeping before us only the will of Christ for his Church and allowing ourselves to be deeply moved by his plea that 'they may be  one.'" (#96).

             The aim of the dialogue is "to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation" (# 95). In this bold statement, John Paul to suggests the "new situation"  in which Christians live today, call for discovering new ways of exercising his primacy. The implication is that the present role of papacy needs to be modified to meet the new challenges.  What is "the new situation" to which the papacy must adapt itself.

              The "new situation" John Paul has in mind, is most likely the longing that has arisen in the hearts of many Christians to overcome divisions and become one visible Church of God. He writes: "In recent times,  The Lord of the Ages has begun to bestow more generously upon divided Christians remorse over their divisions and a longing for unity. Everywhere, large numbers have felt the impulse of this grace and among our separated brothers and sisters also there increases from day to day a movement, fostered by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the restoration of unity among all Christians" (# 7). 

The Need to Return to a More Collegial Role of the Papacy

               In his encyclical John Paul suggests the direction in which the papacy needs to move in order to promote Christian unity without compromising the essence of the primacy.  He says: "For a whole millennium [the first millennium] the Churches [of the East and the West] were 'linked in a union of faith and sacramental life?if disagreements in belief and discipline arose among them, the Roman See acted by common consent as moderator'" (# 95).

              In this startling statement John Paul suggests that today for the pope to exercise his primacy over all Christians, it is necessary to return to the role of the Bishop of Rome during the first millennium, when "the Roman See acted by common consent as moderator."  During the first millennium the Bishop of Rome saw himself as a bishop among bishops, with the special responsibility of maintaining the unity of the churches, protecting Catholic teachings, and serving as the spokesman of the church at large.

The Emergence of Papal Supremacy in the Second Millennium

              Until the ninth century the Bishop of Rome was chosen by the local clergy and laity living in the city. The election in 882 of Marinus from Tuscany, was a significant departure, because he was the first bishop of another see.  Drastic changes occurred in the power of the papacy during the second millennium, especially during the Pontificate of Gregory VII (1073-1085) and Innocent III (1198-1216).

              Gregory VII described himself as the "universal pastor" and claimed the right to appoint and depose not only bishops, but also emperors and kings.  Similarly Innocent III  saw the pope as "set midway between God and man, below God, but above men, given not only the universal Church but the whole world to govern."  He changed the designation of his office from  "Vicar of Peter" to "Vicar of Christ." He said of himself: "Although successor of the prince of the apostles, we are not his vicar or that of any man or apostle; we are vicar of Christ himself."

              The culmination of the development of the power of the papacy came in the nineteen century when the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility and of the supreme papal authority. In its constitution on the church, Pastor Aeternus, Vatican I declared:  "We teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman church possesses a preeminence of ordinary power over every other Church and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful?are bound to submit to this power?."  The council proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility, by claiming that the Roman Pontiff possesses divine assistance in defining truths ex cathedra, that is, when speaking in his official capacity.

              This understanding of the power of the papacy dominated the Roman Catholic church until the 1960's Second Vatican Council. This Council attempted to establish a balance between the power of the pope and that of the bishops. In its constitution on the Church, Vatican II affirms that the bishops govern the church, not as papal delegates, but as Vicars of Christ. "They are not to be considered as vicars of the Roman pontiffs, because they exercise a power that is proper to them."

end pt. 1