In layman’s terms, who or what is the Pope?

bfriendly

Bigfoot friendly
I am not a catholic and I mean no disrespect to anyone in anyway. But who or what exactly is the pope? Simple terms please. I grew up in a Baptist church with an Amish dad and Mennonite mom. I was baptized at 13 and consider myself a Christian.
So, I really am ignorant on the subject. I have mixed thoughts on the subject when it comes to the Vatican the pope etc…. can someone tell me in a nutshell who this person is?
 

bfriendly

Bigfoot friendly
The pope, as the bishop of Rome, is the head of the Holy See, the Roman Catholic Church's central government, which in turn is assisted by the various departments of the Roman Curia. He thus makes decisions on issues of faith and morality for Catholics throughout the world, a population of about 1.3 billion.

i got this off of Wikipedia. Would you say this is accurate? I guess I could have just googled it, but I’d rather ask here. The italics were highlighted on the Wikipedia page Like an emphasis. Is this statement accurate?
 

gordon 2

Senior Member
"He thus makes decisions" is often misunderstood in my view.

Some might think that the pope is like a king or a dictator, a lone ranger and makes decisions on all and every subject due to some all knowing power that the office gives him. This is a caricature in my view. Many of the official statements the pope makes have been studied and considered by the office sometimes for serious periods of times---sometimes centuries.

Also it is my understanding that the pope can say and have personal opinions outside of his function as pope, or outside of official business, on all kinds of things but they have no official clout. If he's not acting in his office he's just another guy from so and so with his ideas on things.

Rather the Pope has more of an authority we would give to a president or that we know a president to have rather than the authority of a king ( which we also caricature ).

The pope's authority in office is somewhat like Pres. Truman's statement " The buck stops here." Yet, the pope even in official capacity has had his declarations reversed in history. So much for absolute authority. So the pope is not perfect, but his office has absolute authority in the Catholic Church.

I like to think the pope's authority is due to his office having advisers, a civil service, bishops and lay people's study and input. And anything the pope declares that might be new must be considered from the perspective of processes the office provides him before he opens his mouth or publishes anything with papal authority. Which is why things move very slowly in the Catholic Church.
 
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gordon 2

Senior Member
The pope, as the bishop of Rome, is the head of the Holy See, the Roman Catholic Church's central government, which in turn is assisted by the various departments of the Roman Curia. He thus makes decisions on issues of faith and morality for Catholics throughout the world, a population of about 1.3 billion.

i got this off of Wikipedia. Would you say this is accurate? I guess I could have just googled it, but I’d rather ask here. The italics were highlighted on the Wikipedia page Like an emphasis. Is this statement accurate?
So yes it is accurate. He is president of the Church central government. He is nominated and elected by the world wide council of Bishops out of a number of candidates who they have equally nominated.
 
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brutally honest

Senior Member
From the catechism:

882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."

 

gordon 2

Senior Member
I've always thought he was sort of like the king of England in the sense that he is the head of the Vatican state but delegates his authority the President of the Vatican state.
I've always considered the CC and the pope with the perspective being as a down up graph. The pope is "delegated" by the body to his position in the church. It would look like the shape of a living conifer tree.

It is interesting that you seem to have a up down concept, that is from head of state delegating downwards! It is interesting, very interesting. I suspect history and our experiences account for the differences.
 
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