Watching the Pope greet the English queen and parade along Princes Street today I was struck by how reverential people were towards him and how smarmy the commentary was. The
I followed his car through Edinburgh (on the TV, not in person like) and found myself wishing I was back there. Possibly this has more to do with the lack of gray clouds and driving rain than anything else. To see Edinburgh without such weather is indeed a miracle! Two or three things stood out for me and they are not all good. The commentators, all of them, were at their oleaginous best throughout. (OK, I did use a Thesaurus smart guy!) Enthusing about the 'enthusiasm' and the 'huge excitement,' and 'atmosphere,' all the usual flannel from commentators either truly impressed or sticking to the usual tried and true words for such an occasion, whether they fit or not! Language at such occasions is important as during a state funeral it is important not to say "Now comes the main body of the parade." The fact the Pope had a tartan scarf draped around him drew much acclaim (hooray!) and Scots pride was to the fore. The Saltires waved by the kids naturally drew comment, although Tony Blair would have replaced them with English flags had he been in power. Nonentities in the background spouted platitudes for this man, speaking of how wonderful, important and marvellous the visit was. (Whoopee). He brought one said, a message of 'Hope,' but what hope did she mean? Others spoke, with dripping tongues, of 'peace' and 'interfaith dialogue,' but what do they expect to get from that? People of faith (whatever that Labour spin word means) meet daily living their lives. What end does such 'dialogue' lead to? Flannel abounded this morning, alongside smiles and cheers. Prince Philip noticing all the tartan asked the female leader of the Tory Party (Who she?) "Are you wearing tartan knickers?" Diplomacy was never something ex sailors were asked to perform.
Who is the Pope and what is the Roman Catholic Church?
From a Christian viewpoint the Pope is of no importance whatsoever! The church based in Rome was doing very well until the third or fourth century when things began to go wrong. With other major elders (The word 'Bishop' is best translated 'Elder' or 'Presbyter') around the Mediterranean world, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria to mention just three, Rome was no more important than anyone else, indeed much of the time it was of little importance to the rest of the world. There were constant theological disputes of course, some important some not, and eventually one elder at Rome decided to use the Apostle Peters death, believed to be in Rome around 64 a.d. and the line "You are Petras (Rock) and upon this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys of heaven." (I am afraid I have forgotten the precise verse and which Pope this was 'Leo' I think. Google them!) However he was chancing his arm and this was a claim never made before. In the first century no church took precedence and none should do so today.
The Reformation arose because the Roman church had long forgotten the creator and had become a mere political power base. Christianity was attempted by many but the theology was often confused. Luther, Calvin, Knox and others brought about a split between those who wished to know God and make him known, and the Roman church which sadly refused to change its ways. The fact that this is the 450th anniversary of the Reformation and the Pope comes to Edinburgh, one of the centres of this event through the work of John Knox has been noticed. Deliberate perhaps? During his speech the Pope did mention Margaret of Scotland, but appeared to forget our man John, absent minded maybe? The RC church has deviated far from Apostolic Christianity and sadly appears to be showing no wish to reform itself even now. Therefore from a Christian point of view the Pope is of no consequence. The bible, the revealed word of God, is the only guide.
There are many problems within the RC church. People forced into the role of nun or priest by family pressure fail to live according to their duty, and who can blame them. I have known some such and their troubles are many. Celibacy has destroyed many lives and requires to be dropped for humanity's sake if nothing else, it has no biblical foundation. The huge size of the organisation has allowed homosexuals and paedophiles to find places to hide themselves. Clearly the desperation to avoid scandal has led to cover ups a plenty, and of course many guilty men have wormed their way into top positions. Will they, I wonder, will they ever be revealed? A return to biblical truth, the end of the priesthood, (Jesus is the Great High Priest, and no man should stand between you and God bar Jesus the sacrificial offering and priest himself!) An honest clear out of criminal men is urgently required before the RC church can put this shady past behind them. Difficult though it may be and I suspect the next Pope will be the one who will have to finish this work.
There are many good people amongst the Catholics. Many who work very hard for others throughout the world, often with little praise. These will always be ignored while the majority live a nominal faith and others hide behind the church and abuse the vulnerable. Such sin is of course found in other denominations, in large and small businesses, and possibly in the street where you live. Businesses and others also cover up their wrongdoers but when a church denomination does this it is a dreadful failure. The desperation of some to meet the Pope, for a 'blessing' or just to meet the famous was indeed sickening however. The reverence for the man, the brown nosing by some, the lack of knowledge of biblical truth made me despair. Will this visit recharge the RC church? maybe. Will it be forgotten next week? Definitely!
An 'off the ball' slant on the visit....
The Pope comes to Glasgow and asks "Anyone with 'special needs' who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar."
With that, wee Brendan got in line, and when it was his turn, the Pope asked, "My son, what do you want me to pray about for you?"
Wee Brendan replied, "Your Holiness, I need you to pray for help with my hearing."
The Pope put one finger of one hand in Brendan’s ear, placed his other hand on top of his head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed a great prayer for Brendon, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.
After a few minutes, the Pope removed his hands, stood back and asked, "Brendon, how is your hearing now?"
Wee Brendan answered, "Ah don't know. It's no' 'til next week....."