Papacy

                      

Current Pope: Pope Francis

 

    

The Pope

As Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope governs the Catholic Church as its supreme Shepherd. The Pope, as Bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor and shepherd of the whole Church. We believe that the Pope is the successor of Peter, and his bishops are successors of the Twelve Apostles.  The Pope is not the Head of the Church Jesus Christ is King and Head of the Church.

It is clear throughout that it is a question of the bishops acting in conjunction with their head, [meaning Vicar of Christ] never of the bishops acting independently of the Pope. In the latter instance, without the action of the head, the bishops are not able to act as a College: this is clear from the concept of "College." This hierarchical communion of all the bishops with the Supreme Pontiff is certainly firmly established in Tradition. (Lumen Gentium, Note of Explanation)

In the Acts of the Apostles, we come to know Peter is the First Vicar of the early church. When Peter is given the “keys to the kingdom,” Christ is establishing the divine office of leadership over the church. The permanence of the office of the Pope is essential to the everlasting nature of the church.

"The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility [in doctrine and teaching] in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith – he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals…The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself. (CCC 891)

Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it. (CCC 892)

 

 

 

 

Pope Emeritus: Benedict XVI

Emeritus: Retired

Click Portrait for a brief Biography.