WHY OBEY THE POPE?

Why must we obey? Jesus gave us the Church to protect us and guide us. It is our obedience to the Pope and the Church that protects us from spiritual harm—from being spiritually killed by the world in which we live. There are many dangers in the world that can lead us away from our friendship with God. Through obedience to the teachings of the Church, we stay on the path that protects us from harm. Without obedience to the Church we lose touch with God and with His commandments.

There are those, however, who through much selfish pride imagine they are superior to God and the teachings of His church (It is interesting to note that pride and disobedience go hand in hand). It is the individuals who disagree with the teachings of the Church who plant the wicked seeds of disobedience in the hearts of others. In some cases, there are those who do not know what the church teaches and they do not know the consequences of their disobedience to God, but chaos and destruction are nevertheless the result.

The result of disobedience is clear in the Bible. Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise (Gen. 3:23); Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:26). Obedience is made the basic social commandment of the Ten Commandments (See Ten Commandments).

We have reviewed some cases of disobedience in the Bible, now let us look at obedience. Who was the perfect model of obedience? We of course know this answer--it was Christ! Our dear Lord and Savior prayed, "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22: 43). Jesus did not want to die (we sometimes don't want to follow what the church teaches on abortion, female ordination, etc.) but Jesus knew that He must obey His heavenly Father. In the same way we must obey the Pope and the church. (Phil 2: 6-11) Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Another model of obedience is the Blessed Mother--Mary. Her obedience resulted in the birth of our Lord and Savior, her son, Jesus. In Mary's day, pregnancy out of wedlock resulted in being stoned to death. Unlike Zechariah who did not believe the words of the angel Gabriel (Lk. 1: 18), Mary believed and obeyed the angel Gabriel.

(Q): Why must Catholics obey the Pope and the teachings of the Catholic Church?
(A):
In order to understand the reason of why we must obey, we must understand the authority behind the command; let us review a few facts from the Bible. Once upon a time, there were three men, Abram, Jacob and Simon (Peter)…ABRAM It was God's desire that Abram (a shepherd) should become the father of the Jewish nation. God changed his name from Abram to Abraham (Gen 17:5). Why? With this name change God also changed his mission from "shepherd" to "Father of the Jews." In Is. 51:1-2 Abraham is referred to as the "rock" (Old Testament). Why obey? In obedience to God, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son.JACOB God had a mission for Jacob. He wanted Jacob to be the founder of the twelve tribes of Israel. Because of the greatness of this mission, God changed Jacob's name to Israel. (Gen. 32:28)SIMON There was a man named Simon. Simon was a fisherman. Jesus, who knows all things, realized ahead of time that He would need someone to lead His new church. Jesus looked upon Simon and said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas" (Jn 1:42) (which means "rock" and translates into Peter). (NOTE: Cephas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic word "rock or stone". Simon was destined to be the "ROCK" of the church. The Greek word for "rock" is "kephas," ).One day after Simon Peter reveals that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus then responds:(Mt 16:17-19) "And Jesus answered him. "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter [kepha, petros]," and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of Hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven".

(Q): How do we know that Peter had authority?
(A):
It is clear to see that Jesus has an important role for Peter—to lead His church. Peter is given the authority directly from Jesus. When Jesus gives Peter "the keys to Heaven" he is giving this authority. Jesus quotes directly from Isaiah 22:22 when God gives Eliakin the "Key of the House of David." Then again In Rev. 1:18 we see Jesus' authority in heaven. It is quite obvious in these verses that "keys" are used as a tool of authority.

(Q): Why did Jesus give Peter authority on earth?
(A):
Jesus knew that He would leave the earth. Jesus also knew the weakness of humans and that without a leader, His flock would disperse and be open to attack. For this reason, Jesus assigns Peter as his representative.

(Q): What type of authority does Jesus give Peter?
(A):
Jesus gives Peter the authority to give direction to the church on earth that will be recognized in Heaven. Jesus then goes on to say, "what ever you BIND on earth shall be BOUND in heaven and whatever you LOOSE on earth shall be LOOSED in heaven." What does this indicate? When Jesus gave Peter the keys, He also gave Peter a share in His power here on earth. How does Jesus do this? By giving Peter the power to make decisions that are binding through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus goes on to say that "NOTHING" not even Hell, will destroy His Church.Jesus appeared to the apostles after his death. He questioned Peter as follows:(John 21:15-19) When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." (16) A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." (17) He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep". Jesus makes it quite clear when he asks Simon Peter to feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his lambs. He is asking Peter to lead the people of his new church.

(Q): How do we know that Peter had authority is there any proof from the Bible?
(A):
The following verses show that it is Peter who speaks on the behalf of the apostles

(Lk 22:32) - "…but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren."

(Acts 15:7) - "And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, 'Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe."

(Acts 1:15) - "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said…"

(Acts 2:14) "But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, 'Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.'"

(Acts 4:8-12) - "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, 'Rulers of the people and elders, …'"

(Q): Was Peter a Bishop?
(A)
: According to Lumen Gentium Peter was the first in a line of leaders or Bishops. We call the head Bishop the Pope.The Roman Pontiff—The successor of St. Peter as the bishop of Rome and head of the Church on earth--has full and supreme authority over the universal Church in matters pertaining to faith and morals (teaching authority), discipline and government (jurisdictional authority). (Taken from Lumen Gentium)

Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Pope as:
The successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the universal Catholic Church. The pope exercises a primacy of authority as Vicar of Christ and shepherd of the whole Church; he receives the divine assistance promised by Christ to the Church when he defines infallibly a doctrine of faith or morals (880-882).

 


copyright © 2002-2010. All rights reserved

We are concerned Roman Catholics who are obedient
to the Pope and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church