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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Visible and Invisible Popes

I was listening to some discussions on the relationship between popes and the world of the people and popes who have spoken primarily to the clergy.

Benedict was a clergyman's pope. He wrote and taught the clergy, as popes in the past had done, in order for them to take the good knowledge he was sharing at the theological and liturgical level. The clergy appreciate clear guidelines and the insights of such as Benedict (at least most do) and want to be taught the real deal

Francis and Bl. John Paul II are/were popes of the people, and by this, I mean even non-Catholics. A Mormon mentioned that the Pope serves as a symbol of religion in a non-religious world, even for himself and other non-Catholics.  A celebrity pope takes the burden on himself, like a celebrity soccer manager, who is in the press all the time and says a lot, while the players are ignored, letting the players get on with it. Gregory the Great, in early days, was a great example of the visible, pope of the people.

Most popes were invisible and worked through their cardinals, bishops and priests, rather than the people.

That we have had celebrity popes in the late 20th and 21st centuries indicates, perhaps, a need for the world, to have someone most people can relate to when it comes to Faith and Morals.

However, those who were discussing this favored the Benedict style of leadership, as they said it gives the clergy much more confidence in their weekly preaching to have a brilliant, yet clear, teacher as Benedict has been.