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Old 04-20-2005, 08:22 AM   #1
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The Pope and The Hype

Based on curiousity, why is the Pope (any pope) such a huge figure - especially in secular terms?

It's funny that Mark Hanson, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for example, is nothing compared to him as far as popularity goes. Or Clifton Kirkpatrick, head of PCUSA.

Why does he matter as much as he does?
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:24 AM   #2
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Aren't there like 2 billion Catholics worldwide? Maybe it's the numbers. Personally I think it is all about the robes and incense. The Catholic Church invented show business.
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:25 AM   #3
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There are a ton of Catholics, which makes me wonder. Why do his stances and decisions impact them so much?
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:27 AM   #4
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No one tops the Pope's wardrobe. Not even Michael Jackson.
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:47 AM   #5
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It's a roughly 2000 year old position that once had as much power, if not more power, than imperial Europe had. It has also inspired a lot of love and a lot of hate in its direction.

The Papacy's worldly powers may be in decline since the 19th century, since the Papal States were absorbed into the unification of Italy, but the mystique has never died.

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Old 04-20-2005, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
No one tops the Pope's wardrobe. Not even Michael Jackson.
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Old 04-20-2005, 01:39 PM   #7
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From the title of the thread I thought maybe U2 were going back to their roots and playing a special gig with the pope.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:17 PM   #8
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First, the guy is in charge of 1.1 BILLION people worldwide. He's not the head of an American group of churches, he's head of ALL Catholic churches. Of course, this makes me question some Americans who say he is too conservative. He may be too conservative for Americans but probably not for the other 1 billion Catholic, give or take a few.

Second, he is a political leader -- head of the Holy See, the smallest country in the world. He makes political statements such as speaking out against war and for countries to relieve the debt of other countries. In that sense, he is no more religious than any leader of a country with a state religion in some sense.

Third, he is the central force of the church. I have found this interesting -- different rabbis may teach different things, the Episcopal church in the U.S. may differ on issues than the U.K. version, there is no world leader of Islam. The pope is the central figure of a huge church. He's like the Dalai Lama, only bigger.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:27 PM   #9
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I am quite sure the population has something to do with it, there's not a doubt in my mind about that. Yet, there are around 10 million Lutherans in the US alone, and the man is treated like a God compared to the leaders of the Lutheran church. Yes, there have been good popes, but they are imperfect human beings like the rest of us. The pope is not infallable - at least in my opinion. Some of JP2's positions were taken to extremes.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
I am quite sure the population has something to do with it, there's not a doubt in my mind about that. Yet, there are around 10 million Lutherans in the US alone, and the man is treated like a God compared to the leaders of the Lutheran church. Yes, there have been good popes, but they are imperfect human beings like the rest of us. The pope is not infallable - at least in my opinion. Some of JP2's positions were taken to extremes.
Just to clear something up, the pope is really only said to be infallible when speaking "ex cathedra." Though, I think someone already mentioned that in another thread somewhere on here.

I also think they said that the Pope had only spoken ex cathedra three times in the past millenium. Or something of the sort. I'm not sure how many times it's been done, myself.
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:38 PM   #11
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Many Catholics - at least the ones here in America - do not see the pope as one step away from God. The elderly might, but young Catholics see him simply as a person who heads a Church that plays a big part in their lives, whether they're active or lapsed. Its kind of a cultural thing.
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Old 04-20-2005, 06:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
...the man is treated like a God compared to the leaders of the Lutheran church. Yes, there have been good popes, but they are imperfect human beings like the rest of us.
Catholic doctrine doesn't teach that the Pope is perfect.

In my experience, the 'treated like a God' thing is more evangelical Protestant stereotype than typical Catholic reality. I sure didn't see much blind adulation of the Pope or his teachings during the several years I attended a Catholic school, and as a Jew, I certainly had an outsider's perspective. What I did see was a deep commitment to an ancient and well-preserved intellectual tradition that, on the one hand, protects the Church from erosion by secular relativism, yet on the other hand, imposes limits on theological innovation that sometimes threaten to undercut it from the other end, making Catholic doctrine too 'rigid and out-of-step' (as Desmond Tutu said today) for peaceful coexistence with modern institutions. Which I find sadly ironic, especially since Thomas Aquinas--whose 'natural law' doctrines underlie much of today's most inflexible Vatican dogma--was, in his own time, such a controversial rebel that he had to receive his degree under armed guard. (For daring to teach that Christian philosophy could benefit from the study of forbidden pagans like Plato and Aristotle... )

However, Protestantism is certainly rife with similar contradictions. Martin Luther, who objected to the papacy because of its corrupting fusion of spiritual and political authority, would definitely not have approved of the Christian Coalition or the Moral Majority.

Quote:
Originally posted by XHendrix24
Just to clear something up, the pope is really only said to be infallible when speaking "ex cathedra"...I also think they said that the Pope had only spoken ex cathedra three times in the past millenium. Or something of the sort.
Right. The idea is to protect and preserve the tradition through the consolidation of the authority to interpret it. Granted, none of the world's other major religions take this idea that far, but consolidation is (to varying degrees) an inevitable feature of all of them. As is recognition of the individual's ultimate freedom of conscience (whether the authorities like it or not!).
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Old 04-20-2005, 06:23 PM   #13
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Guys I think since the John Paul II the Pope became something like a pop idol...I mean look how the people in Latin America
reacted when the last Pope visited these countries...He even gave his blessings in stadiums that looked like big rock concerts...
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:08 PM   #14
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I am a little bit shocked at the misconceptions I see in here about catholicism......

and I hate thinking I have to defend my former church.....
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