The Popes power!

Does the pope really have the power to speak in the name the Lord?(as suggested in The Last day ).

The Pope is considered the leader of the Catholic Church. While he can set doctrinal policies unilaterally, he usually has to work with the cardinals and bishops to say anything official.

And what’s more, whatever he does say in the name of the Lord is right. Which is a bit of a worry considering he’s a tad senile these days.

When the pope speaks ex cathedra he is the voice of God and as such infallible. As the Roman catholic clergy is directly responsible to him as the heir of St Peter, the elder Apostle, it is more of a question of the cardinals working with the pope rather than the other way around. If that’s your cup of tea.

It only hurts when I laugh.

      • I went into a department/sporting goods store a few days ago and I saw a set of racks with “Pope John Paul” tour stuff (clothes) on them. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone, but somehow seeing the “Pope John Paul” logo printed on the front of a baseball cap seems kinda wierd. - MC

I thought that it was the pope’s ring that gave him magical powers but that those powers were useless against yellow objects and…oops, my bad…that’s the Green Lantern, not the pope. Which superhero is it that has the Mitre of Magic?

That sounds like the Bishop, from the Monty Python sketch.

“Blimey! It’s the Bishop!!!”

A lot of Protestant denominations would debate the fact that the Pope speaks for God and also debate the institution of Pope. My personal belief is that God speaks to all of us, if we care to listen. Granted some people may be better at hearing Him but I don’t think that being Pope gives you some kind of ‘superpower’ especially considering some of the previous popes (Borgias (sp?) specifically) were notorious for behaviour that was distinctly unChristian/unethical/immoral.

Carpe Diem!

The concept of papal infallibility says that when the pope speaks ex cathedra (i.e., from the “seat” of authority) his statements are infallible on matters of Faith and Morals.

There have only been two statements made that have been declared infallible: The doctrine that Mary was conceived without Original Sin (which has the humorous unintended consequence of making Thomas Aquinas a heretic after the fact); the doctrine that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven at her (or in place of her) death.

I have no idea why these two beliefs got elevated to infallible status. Neither is anything closely related to central to my faith.

Another aspect of papal infallibility is that it is only 130 years old. I’m sure that a lot of Mediaeval and Renaissance popes would have loved to have had that power, but it was only made Church Law at the first Vatican Council in 1869 (passing by a majority of votes–but without anything resembling overwhelming support).
The power inherent in this doctrine has been understood and respected pretty well. (Of course, we’ve only had 130 years of fairly ethical popes to wield it.) John XXIII, when asked about infallibility responded “I am certainly not infallible.” Even JP II (whom I do not care for) has declined to use it. When he announced that the subject of the Ordination of Women could not even be discussed, a couple of troglodytes in the Curia jumped up and declared his decree an infallible doctrine, but JP refused to endorse their little game, even though the thought of Women’s Ordination drives him nuts.

I would not give too much credence to movie versions of powers invested by God (whom many people don’t believe in) for Christians (whom many non-Christians figure misunderstand God or god), in the head of the Catholic Church (which not a few Orthodox and Protestants consider to be driven by Satan).
Phone rings. Pope picks it up, “Hello.”
A voice says, “John? It’s the Lord.”
“Really? You have returned to Earth? That’s wonderful! Where are you calling from?”
“Actually, I’m in Salt Lake City.”

The head rabbi is visting the pope and sees a special golden phone on the pope’s desk. The pope notices his interest and says “You like it? It is a direct line to God.”
The rabbi says, “You know, I have a question for Him.”
The pope responds, “Well you are certainly welcome to use my phone.” And he steps out of the room, returning when the call is through.
The rabbi insists on paying for the call, but the pope shrugs it off. The rabbi continues to insist, so the pope figures it out and says the three minute call probably cost about eighty-five dollars which the rabbi pays.
A couple of months later, the pope is in Jerusalem visiting the rabbi and notices an identical phone on the rabbi’s desk. At the end of their meeting, he asks to borrow the phone. The rabbi says “Sure” and steps out of the room. The pope’s call takes five minutes, and when he is done, he offers to pay for the call.
The rabbi asks for about 25 cents.
The pope says “I’m sure I talked longer than you did, how can it be so cheap?”
The rabbi replies, “Local call.”


A person who thinks he speaks to God is a saint. A person who thinks God speaks to him is a lunatic.

What is The Last Day? I think all religions pretty much believe that their leader has the ability to speak for God. I don’t see it being unique to the Pope and Catholics.

So, I think the answer is: if you are catholic, Yes, if not, No.

Cheesehead: except for those religions which do not have one leader (like Wicca), or do not believe in deity (like Buddhism).

I always supposed the Papal “We” meant he had a mouse in his pocket.

The pope does have a mouse in his pocket. He frequently plays pocket billiard with it. :slight_smile:

Sheesh. I need a new straight man.

THe doctrines of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM and of the Assumption of the BVM are the only official “infallible” pronouncements since the official promulgation of Infallibility by Vatican I. However, the official position is that the Pope has always been infallible (speaking ex cathedra, on a matter of faith and morals), and that one or two other instances have occurred, such as the Tome of Leo the Great, which is recognized even outside of RCism as the great refutation of Monophysitism (the heresy maintaining that the Godhood and Manhood of Jesus were blended into a one-of-a-kind Jesushood, as opposed to the orthodox position that Jesus, though only one Person, was both perfect God and perfect Man, and also as opposed to the earlier Nestorian heresy that maintained that the Godhood and Manhood were so separate that – to take the classic example – it would be wrong to call Mary the “mother of God”).

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams