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However many 'models' of Church are put forward today, the Church has been founded by Christ as a hierarchy. The Pope has supreme power and authority, after Christ, in the Church, and guides us with the other Catholic Bishops. They are assisted by the men they have ordained as priests, and by the Deacons in Holy Orders. Then we see the laity, living out their union with Christ in the world.
Christ told me that the whole world will learn of His delight in the Traditional form of the Mass, recently promoted by Pope Benedict.
God invites us to kneel in adoration. The Pope is right to encourage us to offer reverent praise to God the Father, Who is Creator of the whole Universe, greater than the Universe, and awesome in His attributes, and in the beauty of His loving nature. We owe the same praise to Christ His Son, Who is Present in every Catholic Church, and yet often receives praise that is banal, vain, irreverent, frivolous or mundane.
The eternal truths expressed in the writings of generations of Popes are for all people. The Lord has enlightened the Popes ever since St. Peter. Two great works that the Lord wants people to examine are the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and 'Of Human Life' by Pope Paul VI - and then, in recent days, the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church'.
St Peter, like Pope Paul VI, was fearless in teaching the truth. Christ chose Saint Peter to be the first leader of the Apostles: the first Pope. Christ intended the Church always to have a leader; and all through the ages, the teaching of the Popes had been of paramount importance - including the 1968 Encyclical entitled 'Humanae Vitae', about the wrongness of contraceptive use.
Some people trust in their own opinions instead of the Church's teachings. In God's eyes, Pope Paul VI is a great hero of the Church who re-stated, in 'Humanae Vitae', long standing truths and principles about married love and sexuality. Catholics who oppose his teaching are opposing the teachings of generations of Popes - and, indeed, the Will of God, Who teaches us through those in authority in the Church.
In our struggle for perfect charity, it can help us if we picture Jesus Christ as being the invisible witness of our every thought, word and deed; or, if that fails, we can imagine the Pope here, in our own kitchen, and learn how to weigh our words, in his presence!
Christ spoke about 'a city, set on a hill' which cannot be hid. That city is the Papacy. It is the Pope who, in fulfilment of Christ's plan, guides and steers the Church, and with the other Catholic Bishops hands on the faith. If the whole world accepted the teachings offered by the Pope it would be a better place. Catholics who reject the Pope and his authoritive teachings are opposing Christ.
It is to the Pope and the other Catholic Bishops that we look for an authentic interpretation of Sacred Scripture. The Church gave us the Bible. The Church guards and opens it. There are thousands of other people who, sad to say, prefer their personal interpretations.
We have the Pope to guide us on modern problems as well as well-known evils. Society is being damaged, as abortion becomes more and more commonplace, just as scientists are confirming what God has told the world through His prophets, His Son, and His Church, for millennia, that each human being, however tiny, is a unique individual. Each deserves to live all the life that has been given, from conception, in the manner decreed by Almighty God.
Just as a man's pride can prevent him forgiving his wife her sins, if he asks: "Why should I forgive her when she has betrayed me?" - so a person's pride can prevent acceptance of the Pope's teaching on marriage, handed on since Christ and the Apostles, if she asks: "Why should I accept the Pope's teaching, when he has never been married?"
It is Christ Who has given the Church Popes to guide us, and has confirmed through Pope John Paul II that only men are called to be Sacred Ministers in the Church. There are only male priests; and this can never change.
Not infrequently, some Catholics raise their voices to contradict, in public, the sure teachings of the Church, and so to disturb the faith of fellow-Catholics and spread confusion. Just as Pope Pius X wrote about this problem, so a Pope in another age needs to be just as brave in speaking the truth about dissent.
Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II, each suffered greatly in earthly life, but did so without grumbling; rather, they accepted and offered up their pains in union with Christ, to save souls and to help the Church; and, through their faith in Christ, and His grace, they are now being embraced by Him in Heaven. They are immensely joyful.
Very few Catholics accept the truth: that it is Christ Who teaches us through His Church; and that she teaches the truth about faith and morals. It is with pride that many speak, when they say, in effect: "On the subject of contraception, I know better, what is right and wrong, than all these Patriarchs, Prophets, teachers, Popes, Bishops and Saints."
A priest should lead his people upwards towards Heaven, on a sure path. If he teaches them to ignore the Pope's teaching, and says that we should dispute Church teachings, and that there is plenty of time and no need to repent, it is as if he leads them into a comfortable house in a cul-de-sac. It was built by Satan, as a trap, so that they might sit there discussing moral issues and never make up their minds to obey God and to do His Will, made known through the Church.
Although the Pope hands on the truth, there is a cancer at the heart of Europe, which consists of disbelief in God and His laws, which leads to the promotion of wicked laws, and the encouragement of immoral acts and attitudes. It is not so elsewhere, in some societies called poor or primitive, but which live a vibrant, full-bodied Catholic Faith.
In God's sight, without the Pope, civilization is lost. He is the 'Rock', the reminder for the world of the existence of God, and the importance of God's laws, as people in many council chambers in Governments or international organisations deliberately leave out all mention of God, and even enact wicked and immoral laws.
Many Catholics like to appear strong, to fit in with the world. We must not do wrong, to please a secular or atheistic government. When there is confusion or near-panic amongst Catholics about dealing with the world and organising medical or surgical care, or schooling or Catechesis, in ways which fit in with the guidelines of a secular government, the Pope, and Christ Himself, serve as exemplars. If we do what is right, and do nothing wrong, willing to accept the consequences, we will please God and have peaceful consciences.
Christ wants everyone to see what He sees: that many people are ignoring what is good and embracing evil; but of those who have stepped onto His path to Life, a large number are making little progress. They argue so much about the teachings of His Church, disagreeing with His chosen teachers - the Pope and other Catholic Bishops; and Christ cannot ask them to do great work.
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