Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who wants to be a Pope?

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day and naturally the subject turned to what happens when the Pope is elected. I explained that the new Pope is asked if he accepts, and then asked what name he will take, and then goes to the "Room of Tears." Mt friend asked me why it is called the "Room of Tears" - why would anybody cry over winning? I explained that the newly elected Pope is usually someone who doesn't want the job (as was the case with Pope Benedict XVI).

According to Rome Reports
It's called the Room of Tears because the newly elected Pope, overwhelmed by the joy and burden of his new office, is known to shed tears here, just moments after being elected Pope and before introducing himself to the world before St. Peter's balcony.
Personally, I imagine the burden of the office is more the cause of tears than the joy. But my friend couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want the "job" of Pope. All that power, wealth, prestige!

So I wanted to set a few things straight. The "job" of the Pope is not to boss people around, but to be the "Servant of the Servants of God". He doesn't own all those fancy clothes, he just gets to use them. He doesn't have the run of a palace, he has a small apartment within it. He cannot go where he wants or do what he wants; he is subject to the needs of his people.

It seems everybody is calling for the new Pope to "change the Church's rules" on women priests, contraceptives, gay "marriage" etc. Get a clue people. The Pope has no power to "change the rules". The job consists of trying to effectively communicate the message of the Gospel to the world.

In the Old Testament, God proclaims that priests must be males of the tribe of Levi. This was not in keeping with "the culture" since virtually every religion at the time has priestesses. In the New Testament, Jesus extends salvation from the Jews to the whole world, and extends the priesthood to males of any ancestry. We seen numerous examples of ordination of priests and bishops in the New testament, but they are all male. To claim that Jesus "meant to" ordain priests, but forgot is absurd. Likewise claims that Jesus was "restricted" by the surrounding culture. If these things were true than surely Jesus would not be God, and the whole notion of the priesthood wouldn't exist.

The Church, lacking any examples of Christ or the Apostles ordaining women, cannot claim to have the authority to do so. The Church has only the authority of the Apostles, as declared by Christ Himself. So forget about a Pope changing the rule that only men can be priests.

Contraceptives are also banned as sinful in the Old Testament, and in fact the first commandment issued by God (to Adam and Eve) is "be fruitful and multiply." Jesus affirms this teaching in the Gospel. Again, the Church and the Pope have no authority to reverse the teachings of Christ.

Homosexual acts are perhaps most strongly condemned in the Old Testament. For instance, we have the destruction of Sodom because of its eponymous acts. In the New Testament homosexual acts are also strongly condemned. As for marriage, Jesus confirms that "from the beginning" it was to be a lifelong union of one man and one woman. The Church and the Pope cannot redefine it.


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