Treating God like the pope

Posted: September 25, 2015 in Life, Me and God

It has been concluded by many who are well versed with official Catholic doctrine, that the pope is in some way “like God” and hence he should be, in some ways, treated like God. Aside from the merits of such argument and whether or not this is doctrinally sound and ultimately trustworthy, or worth abiding to, I have sadly noticed that I (and perhaps many of us Americans) tend to do more the opposite, to treat God like the pope. Please allow me to explain.

The praise: There are a lot sublime-sounding phrases and verbiage to refer to the pope: “Your Holiness”, “Vicar of Christ”, “Vicar of Peter”, “Holy Father”, ”His Holiness”, “The Rock”, ”Shepherd of the Universal Church”, and many other capitalized tittles that echo with designations only given to God in the scriptures. Furthermore, his visit has taken over the news coverage and taken primacy in many conversations –a lot of people who you had never heard talking about faith, seem to be the most faithful believers this week.

The pull: Besides praising the pope’s importance, many emphasize –often quasi-stretching the truth, on how the pope’s views are in line with their own. Many liberal-leaning representatives would say “The pope urged congress with left-leaning message”. Likewise, the conservative side would say something like “Pope reminds us of the value of life before birth”. Everybody quotes and affirms the pope in what they agree; when they can use him to their advantage and to move their political ball against their opposition.

The drift: However, we all know that if the pope were to say “Mr. Obama, ban all abortions!”, or “Republicans! Grant citizenship to all illegal immigrants!”, no action would take place. Suddenly, the clear instructions from “His Holiness”, the great “Holy Father” would be far less than mere suggestions from some international figurehead that doesn’t apply to us necessarily.

 

And that’s how I have often treated God like the pope. I praise God, use his wonderful glorious names and address him with the highest theological concepts I have learned. I even quote Him when His Word helps promote my agenda. However, so often, at the moment He requires something from me; obedience, a sacrifice, repentance, a change in my opinion or actions, I treat Him –God, like if His command were far less than a mere suggestion from some figurehead that doesn’t apply to me necessarily.

I hope it is evident that I am not at all advocating for treating the pope like God. But I did find myself considering this week that verse that states

These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me… (Isaiah 29:13)….

…and I was challenged.

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