At any rate, I noticed today an article on their homepage entitled, "Why Do Catholics Have a Pope?", by Sarah Jennings (Crosswalk.com Family Editor). Of course, that sparked my interest, so I gave it a read. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it was THE most accurate explanation of the papacy by a Protestant that I had ever read! What a relief!!
Honestly, I expected the usual misunderstandings: Catholics worship the pope, the pope thinks he is Jesus on earth, the pope replaces Jesus as head of the Church, everything the pope says is inspired by the Holy Spirit, the pope can do no wrong, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. Thankfully, Jennings didn't use Jack Chick or James White as her sources. Instead, she consulted the Church's own Catechism and Her own apologists. Check out her bibliography:
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition. 1997. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm
- Ray, Stephen. 1999. Footnotes in Upon This Rock, 32-40. San Fransisc Ignatius Press.
- Joyce, G.H. 1910. “Pope,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm
- Toner, P.J. 1910. “Infallibility” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm
- Wikipedia.org, 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope.
- Archdiocese of Lincoln’s wesbite, 2008. “Ask the Register,” http://www.dioceseoflincoln.org/purple/pope/index.htm
- St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church website, Picayune, Mississippi, 2008. “I’m Glad You Asked!” http://www.scborromeo.org/glad/c5.htm
- Rodriquez, Pedro, “The Papacy and Primacy of Peter,” reprinted on www.ewtn.org from “The Primacy of the Pope in the Church,” from Catholic Position Papers, September, 1981 -- Japan Edition (http://www.ewtn.org/faith/teachings/papab1.htm).
- Mirus, Jeffrey, Ph.D. “Papal Infallibility” posted on www.ewtn.org, (http://www.ewtn.org/faith/teachings/papac2.htm)
- Kellmeyer, Steve. 2000. Bible Basics, 107-111. Steubenville, OH: Basilica Press.
- the basic role of the pope,
- the Catholic interpretation of Mt 16:13-19,
- the primacy of Peter,
- the significance Peter's inspired response to Jesus,
- the significance of the name change,
- the proper understanding of Peter as "Rock" in relation to Christ,
- the meaning of the keys in light of Isa 22 (as well as the binding and loosing that comes with them),
- the nature of papal infallibility, and
- the pope as "The Servant of the Servants of God."
Unfortunately, the comments left by readers of the article are a return to business as usual:
- "the Pope does think that he represents Christ on the earth and that he takes the place of the Holy Spirit in the Spiritual life of every Catholic."
- "The Pope as taught in Catholic schools is the actual representation of Christ here on earth...the actual visible head of the Church because Jesus is in heaven...making him-the Pope equal with Jesus."
- "do they truly believe in Him-having that personal relationship...I say no...they have more mention of Mother Mary rather than about Jesus [...] Are you not then saying that Christ and Peter are of the same level? well in fact a stone will never become a Rock..."
- "The whole theology of the Catholic Church and the Apostolic sucession of the Popes of Rome is a lie. It has no Biblical foundation as the Catholics would have us believe. The Bible does not reveal that Peter ever went to Rome."
- "Believe what you will. It is true the Pope is not God - he only thinks he is. Sacramentalism and the Eucharist will not get you to heaven. Belief and trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God will."
Despite the glowing example of Jennings, we still have a lot of work to do.
[UPDATE: Come to find out, Sarah Jennings is a Catholic! This I think makes the article even more amazing b/c it shows the courage of the Crosswalk editors (all Protestant) who decided to publish it]