Pope John Paul II passed away this past Saturday. I was at home playing games with my kids when the announcement came on the news. I can't say I was surprised, needless to say it was inevitable.
While his death is definitely a sad occasion, one thing I must ask, it is something that has weighed in my mind for quite some time. How significant was the Pope to this world in a spiritual sense? I mean, I know he has accomplished great things in the name of peace, as Chuck Colson points out, he is credited with furthering the cause of freedom from communism in Europe, namely his own home town in Poland. He has also been noted for his work in reconciling relationships between the Jewish community and Catholics as well as "unifying" other religions with that of Catholicism. Yet, I still ask, is all of this of God? Was the Pope doing the will of God or of man? Personally, whatever the Pope wrote or stated in the form of doctrine whether political or spiritual never made a difference to me and my convictions. I've never agreed with the notion of one man passing down doctrine to the people who is supposedly getting his instruction from God. If I want or need to know what God agrees with or not I can simply drop down and ask Him myself or open the good book and read for myself.
While I am sure this Pope has done many great things that appear to have advanced the cause of Christ, and for all I know he was one of the most devout of Christian men, I still believe it is dangerous to put so much emphasis on one man for spiritual guidance for it eventually leads to the deification of such a one. Relying on fallible man alone to communicate with God and for the interpretation of scripture is a dangerous thing. I guess my point is merely to be mindful of such things as we hold up such great men as Ronald Reagan, William Wilberforce or Pope John Paul II, in spite of accomplishing great things, being motivated by their convictions and routed in scripture, they were still fallible men. We can raise them up to honor them, but lets not put them above or on equal footing with our beloved Christ our Lord.
I hope I haven't offended any Catholics out there, that wasn't my intention. While I do have many problems with Catholicism on a whole, I do know that there are many practicing Catholics who are true men and women of God. I do believe Pope John Paul II was one of them.
David Limbaugh comments about the Bishop Gene Robinson, of whom I believe is a good example of relying too much on the whims of man rather than the authority of God. I blogged about Bishop Robinson a few months back, responding to a sermon that he gave on the topic of recognizing evil. This man is backwards in his thinking and will only serve to mislead many into the pit of hell in a hand basket filled with razor-blades and alcohol. Now he is somehow arguing that Jesus was gay because he hung around all men and wasn't married. Amazing! By such logic any man is gay if he hangs around his male friends and is un-married. Blatant stupidity! Of course it should be of no surprise, as I pointed out in my previous post on his sermon, this is a natural course, to use the word of God to justify your own sinfulness.
Solatude comments about the next Pope, saying that having a black Pope "would be nothing short of remarkable." I think it would definitely shake things up but I wouldn't hold my breath.