Thursday, April 17, 2008

Analyzing the pope

I founda few more websites offering some interesting reaction and insight on the pope.

The Washington Post/Newsweek blog On Faith, gives a broader perspective with commentary from ardent supporters to anti-pope ex-Catholics.

Thanks to beliefnet's David Gibson, I just found the American Papist -- another young Catholic blogging about the church. He had a particularly cool entry of photos of popes and presidents.

And somehow in all this I forgot about the ever-insightful John Allen of National Catholic Reporter, who has been covering all things Vatican for years.


Matt said...

One rule you must remember to distinguish the National Catholic Register from the National Catholic Reports is:

Reporter, distorter.

John said...

Good Morning Diane:

Please forgive me from the start for this post. Not only is my curiosity running in overdrive, but my ire is quite elevated at the picture on the front page of the paper this morning.

For the record, I was raised Roman Catholic. I was RC for some 12 years. But NEVER have I been so appalled at the attire and worship of the pope!!

Does that picture on the front page of The Times not cause you to stop and ponder why a MAN would wear such clothing, why he would dare adorn such a crown, and why he would allow himself to receive such adoration and worship??

Does he think he DESERVES it?

Do the people think he deserves it??

Yes, I know the Bible says to "give honor where honor is due" (Romans 13:7), but this is verging on, if not past, ridiculous.

You know, I can only find one MAN who is worthy of such honor and worship. I can find in the Bible where this Man accepted such, too. Why not? He was the LORD of Glory! He was God in flesh!

But......even He didn't ride into the city in gold and jewels wearing a crown!!

Please help me with this, Diane. I am truly not trying to bash Catholicism, but doesn't this smack of idol worship?

I sign this quite sad,

Diane Haag said...


I don't take offense -- I can understand how it would look like idol worship from the outside. I don't know a lot about priestly vestments, but I do know they are rooted in ancient Jewish practices. In Exodus 39:1-30, the priests garments are described as made of gold and fine linen, with precious stones mounted in the breastplate. Unfortunately, the scripture doesn't say why, but I can guess its was to symbolize the priest's connection to God. What the pope was wearing is actually toned down from that and from what earlier popes wore. Previous popes did wear a crown, but Pope Benedict XVI's mitre is similar to any other bishop's.

As far as the adoration and affection for the pope, it is just that -- affection not worship. We show a similar sort of deference and excitement to secular leaders. Think about the pomp and circumstance surrounding a visit from the president. I do believe that the pope has been called by God to a special office as shepherd of God's people, and he deserves a certain amount of respect in that regard. From what I have seen of this pope, he doesn't seem to relish in the spotlight, but he goes along patiently with his celebrity in hopes of using it to spread the gospel message.

I hope that helps, and thanks for your honest questions.