The Pope

So I was reading a long in my "This is Our Faith" book today and got to the part about the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church. It seems to me that the whole Jesus and Peter and the Pope thing is really the most important thing to "get" in all of this. I mean if I accept that Jesus give Peter the keys to the kingdom and the Pope is the successor of Peter, then everything else pretty much falls into place. I was convinced that the Pope is the successor of Peter and that Peter was given authority by Jesus and I had a pretty decent grasp on the whole thing, but I really "GOT" it today as I was reading.

As an outsider the impression you kind of get of the Pope is that he is totally in charge of the whole church and what he says goes, no matter what. It kind of seems like he has all this authority over everything and can do and say whatever he wants. And then everyone has to just agree with him no matter what. He is the almighty ruler of the Church. When I stop to think about it, I know in my head that isn't how it works, but that is kind of the impression you get.

So I was reading today and I get to this:

The bishops as a group, in union with the pope, teach infallibly when teachin or protecting Christ's revelation concerning belief or morality. The same Holy Spirit who directs the pope and the whole body of the faithful also directs the college of bishops.

Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly. . . This kind of teaching is best exemplified when the bishops meet together and teach with the pope in an ecumenical council.
This really just made in click! The pope isn't just this lone island out there by himself saying whatever he wants. This whole thing is done in community! It is worked out in the community of the bishops, priests, the whole church, the communion of the saints, and most importantly Christ. The pope is surrounded by scholars and advisors and talks to all of these people. He isn't just pulling infallible doctrines out of no where and making them "law." They are based on thousands of years of history and on the council of those around him and on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I suppose this really shouldn't surprise me, I might have even figured it out if I had sat down and thought about it, but it really just all of a sudden clicked today as I was reading. I'm glad since I really do consider this probally the most important thing to get. And now I do!

No comments: