Pope | Papal | Papacy
Why the Church Has a Pope
Why the Church Needs a Pope
Necessity of Supreme Pontiff
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Question / Issue:
Why does the Church
have/need a pope?
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
The Catholic Church
has a Pope because the papacy was instituted by our Lord
Jesus Christ (see Mt. 16:18, Jn. 21:15-17). The Pope is the visible head of
the Church and has supreme authority to preserve doctrine, to teach, and to
sanctify. Since the Church is made up of visible members, is clear that we need
a visible leader. Just as a business or country could not last long without a
visible leader, neither could the Church. Since Christ has ascended to the
Father, he wisely left a visible representative to govern in his name. The Pope
protects dogma and keeps us united in faith. If not for papal
infallibility, there would be no certainty in matters of faith; we would
have no means of knowing what is true and what is not. We could have no finality
of doctrine and each person would be left to believe whatever he or she "felt"
was right (like Protestants). As a result, there would be error, disunity,
rejection of truths, adoption of errors, etc. We wouldn't even have a Bible
since there would be no infallible authority to determine the canon of
Scripture. We could never be sure that our beliefs corresponded with truth, and
we could never be sure we were on a true path leading to salvation. Furthermore,
without the Pope, there would be no preserver of doctrine, no center of unity,
and no supreme authority visible on earth. The Church was literally founded by
our Lord on the "rock" of
St. Peter, and without this foundation, the entire structure would fall.
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