Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Role of the Pope

There is a good article here on the role of the Pope. I think the best part of the article is here:
What more could we expect from the bishop of Rome than that, like Peter, he
strengthen the whole church’s faith in Christ’s resurrection? How could he
better serve the unity of an Easter people than by proclaiming insistently the
event that brought the church into being: the resurrection of the crucified
Jesus? The pope must also lead the church with the loving authority of a chief
pastor and be a model for all worshipers in celebrating the sacraments. But his
great task for all the world is to announce that Christ is risen. Nothing can or
should ever count against the power and joyfulness of that unique message.
Who else can proclaim this most important message to the world? Sometimes the world needs to hear someone speak for all of Christianity. No one can do that besides the Pope. The world today needs to hear from the successor of Peter and we Protestants should be grateful to Catholicism for providing this voice.

2 comments:

Desmond said...

Hi MHL,

I've been lurking at your blog from time to time. I thought I'd send a comment because I've just noticed the article you linked to in this post was written by a professor at the college where I am at this moment, i.e. St Mary's University College, Twickenham, London ( - I'm here on a Saturday evening trying to make some progress with an assignment for my MA; there's hardly anyone else around, it being a Saturday evening.) Regarding Benedict, I suppose he's the obvious candidate to be a spokesperson for all of Christianity. As a Catholic, I must say I've been very edified by the way he has conducted himself as Pope and by his homilies and his impressive intellect. It amuses me to think of the consternation his election caused in some Catholic circles. I just hope age doesn't catch up with him too soon.

By the way, in connection with your last post (Four Catholic Teachings etc.) are you aware of Al Kimel's blog at pontifications.wordpress.com ? He has been blogging recently on theological understandings of the Eucharist. Be warned, it's serious stuff. His post on 22 March linked to some relevant articles. One of these is by Herbert McCabe OP who makes this comment early in his article:

"The Council of Trent did not decree that Catholics should believe in transubstantiation: it just calls it a most appropriate (aptissime) way of talking about the Eucharist, presumably leaving open whether there might not be other, perhaps even more appropriate ways of talking."

Personally I tend to avoid the term transubstantiation when I'm talking about the Eucharist (- I'm a lay catechist involved in RCIA) because I feel it's excessively philosophical. I content myself with affirming the fact of the Real Presence and the mystery of that. The Catholic Church has found Thomist terminology useful in the past and transubstantiation is a concept that a lot of people obviously find helpful, but the Church is not permanently committed to any particular philosophical way of analysing its doctrines.

Regards,
Desmond

MHL said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm certainly no theologian, but I guess my position on the Eucharist is this: Something really big and important is happening. Something more than a mere symbolic reenactment of the last supper. I'm not sure exactly what that is, but I'm willing to accept on faith what Catholicism teaches and that transubstantiationism is as good a way of explaining it as we're probably ever going to be able to come up with in this world. I certainly acknowledge that our description (like our description of all miracles) probably doesn't capture the full and exact nature of what is happening. We are, after all, human and we are attempting to explain the divine. But as for me, I'll defer to Thomas Aquinas.

Oh, and thanks so much for letting me know about Al Kimel. I was not aware that he had begun posting again. Good for him and good for us who get to read what he writes.