The Pope of Rome is the Roman Catholic bishop and patriarch of Rome, Ruler of the Papal States, and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The claim is disputed by the Orthodox, but Catholics aver that the Pope of Rome is also the true leader of all Christians who hold to the catholic faith, as promulgated in the Creeds, regardless of their actual denomination. The Pope's temporal authority extends over a large area of central Italy -- a territory usually known as the Papal States but officially known as the Patrimony of St Peter.
Roles of the pope
The Pope of Rome has three ecclesiastical functions, each of which is officially exercised within one of three offices. First and foremost, he is the Bishop of Rome, meaning that he holds a diocese like any other diocesan bishop within the Catholic Church. Second, he is Patriarch of the West, which means that he is the leader or chief bishop of all Christians who are aligned with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and is the equal of the other patriarchs of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Lastly, he is also the Supreme and Ecumenical Pontiff, meaning that he is the successor of Peter and leader of all Christians. The term "Pope" (Latin papa: 'father') is used by several Christian churches to denote their most exalted leaders, notably the Alexandrian Orthodox Church. This title as used in Western Europe refers to the leader of the Catholic Church. In his capacity of Supreme Pontiff, he is also the recognized leader of the other Catholic rites: the Cambrian, the Byzantine, and several Eastern rites (Antiochene, Melkite, Chaldean, etc.). There are also several schismatic groups that have become separated from the main body of the Church but who continue to recognise the Popes of Rome as spiritual heads, notably the Vissian congregation of the Azores.
Recent Popes of Rome
|Pontificate||Common Name||Regnal Name||Personal Name||Notes|
|1914 to 1922||Pope Benedict XV||Papa Benedictus Quintus Decimus, Episcopus Romanus||Giacomo della Chiesa||(1854-1922)|
|1922 to 1939||Pope Pius XI||Papa Pius Undecimus, Episcopus Romanus||Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti||(1857-1939)|
|1939 to 1958||Pope Pius XIJ||Papa Pius Duodecimus, Episcopus Romanus||Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli||(1876-1958)|
|1958 to 1989||Pope Gregory XVIJ||Papa Gregorius Septimus Decimus, Episcopus Romanus||(1907-1989)|
|1989 to present||Pope John XXIIJ||Papa Iohannes Vicesimus Tertius, Episcopus Romanus||Tomás Azcárraga||(1920- )|
Some notes for future integration:
|This article is source material
> > [The Pope] doesn't have "supreme power" > > *here* either. There's no micromanagement or rule books from > > Rome. > > I'm sorry I don't quite understand. I thought the Pope was > infallible and his word was law amongst Catholicism. Only in certain rather limited instances. You can read the Wikipedia article on papal infallibility. It only applies to very specific instances of defining church doctrine (faith and morals) and has to be held by the whole Church. It's a rather new doctrine (1870) and, personally, I think is rather dangerous as it can allow a (Catholic) Pope to determine doctrinal matters that the whole Church (the Orthodox) are not on board with, even if the whole Church largely concurs with the principal behind the new dogma. It allows Popes to define dogmas, like the Assumption / Dormition, that in earlier times were not matters of dogma. Not all Popes have been favourable to the doctrine of infallibility and indeed it doesn't mean that a Pope can't sin or can't make mistakes; it doesn't give him vast powers. In IB's CC, the doctrine of infallibility does not exist, nor do any Catholic dogmas that have been defined since that time (i.e., the above mentioned Assumption / Dormition). That doesn't mean people don't believe it and that it's not a part of the faith; all it means is that, like in the Orthodox Church, it is not a matter of dogma taught by the Councils. Some IB Catholics do indeed hold the opinion that the Pope of Rome is infallible, but that is not an official doctrine. > I was > reading through a debate the other day (I did not like what > I saw in some arguements, but that was from the individuals, > not the Religions themseleves) and a point brought up was > that even if a Synod (or is that only a word Orthodox > Christians and Lutheran Christians use?) Generally speaking, it's synonymous with the usual Catholic term "council". It's a gathering of bishops to decide on some matter of doctrine or governance. There are differences of usage among the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran churches that all use the word. For example, in the Anglican Church, elected clergy and laypeople participate together. For the Presbyterians, the synod is a level of administration rather than a periodic meeting of bishops. > amongst the Bishops > of the CC was to be held and if some bishops were to be in > conflict with each other over the issue, the Pope has the > final blessing and can do as he pleases. Is this wrong? I beleive that is not correct. Otherwise, what's the point of the synod of bishops at all? I don't really know the mechanics, but would suspect that the Pope's role is largely to set the agenda and then promulgate whatever it is the bishops have decided. Presumably if they fall into dispute over some matter, the Pope could step in and perhaps do something about that. > Unless you're referring to the use of the words "supreme > power" instead of an alternate phrase like "his word is law" > or "he has the final say" or something else. In IB's CC, I think the Pope's role is less "central administator and ruler" and more "defender of orthodoxy (as understood by the CC) among the bishops of the whole Church who recognise his authority as successor of Peter". So it's not a matter of an imperial pope ruling an empire like we've had at times *here* (and probably *there* as well). I see it more like the old days where local churches in dispute sent to Rome for guidance and the Pope reiterated whatever it was the Apostles taught. Thus, the Cambrian Church largely does its own thing as regards its own governance and traditions. However, if it became an issue that the Cambrian Church was teaching (for example) that Mary was part of the godhead, the Pope of Rome could within rights step in and authoritatively teach the church in Kemr that it's belief is wrong (heretical if you prefer). Ideally, factions within the Cambrian Church would argue the issue out and perhaps a local synod would argue the issue out and settle the matter before the Pope has to step in. I have the feeling that, like *here*, the popes gradually took on more and more power (perhaps beyond those of the earliest popes) until you get to the point where the Pope of Rome really does have all this "supreme power". Some event (perhaps during the Reformation and perhaps rebuked in some way by stronger Catholic patriarchs (Cambria, etc)?) caused subsequent Popes to step back from that power and reëvaluate the role of the Pope. (That might also point towards an explanation for the existence of the Holy Roman Episcopal Lutheran Church.) We know that in modern times, the present Pope of Rome has shucked all but the very last vestiges of temporal power; and we know that roles of the Pope of Rome are pretty well defined (within Catholicism). His primary role is, indeed, "Bishop of Rome". That is, his first concern is for the diocese of Rome and the people that live there. Only after Rome is taken care of does his role look beyond Latium, and then it's as a Patriarch equal to those in Glastein and Toledo and (wherever it is the Byzantine Patriarch resides). And should reunification ever take place (though that now seems pretty much a dead letter!), Constantinople, Alexandria, Moskow, etc. It's only last of all that his role of Ecumenical and Supreme Pontiff is seen. In that role, he can reiterate what the Apostles taught (i.e., like any bishop, he teaches the faith handed down by the Apostles), but can't add to the doctrines or dogmas of the Church. (That, I think, would require a universal synod or council, and I very much doubt that the CC would have historically pushed matters too far when it comes to creating new doctrines in the face of Orthodoxy, especially given the lack of a well defined infallibility doctrine.)