G’day! I shall begin with a sip of tea and Harry and Callie, my friends, by my side. I am a Catholic, so of course I have a positive view of the pope. However, my friends have differing views of him. Harry is skeptical of the pope. Callie is okay with the pope but has some concerns regarding the possibility that he is the Anti-Christ.
In Part 1, we will answer the first question Harry has about the pope. In Part 2, we will answer Callie’s understandable concern about the pope. In Part 3, we will continue our conversation with Harry by correcting his misconception about the origins of papacy. In Part 4, I will answer Harry’s final question along with Callie, who will advocate for my side. I will add the links to the other parts of this series as I write them at the bottom of this blog post.
For atheists: If you would like me to talk about Catholicism with James, my friend who isn’t with us right now but is an atheist, let me know.
For readers from other religions: I can make a series for you at some point too!
With that, let’s begin with Harry’s first concern.
Me: “Welcome! I see you have some questions about the pope.”
Harry: “Yes. I observed that you highly respect the pope. You once told me that Jesus made Peter the first pope, but the Bible never said that Peter was the pope. I’ve also heard from the cats around me that papacy was something the Catholic Church invented in the medieval times. Isn’t the pope also considered by many Catholics to be perfect? I know you don’t think he is perfect, but other Catholics do.”
At this point I will stop to say a few things. Harry, while a Christian, has some misconceptions about the pope. He believes that papacy was invented in the medieval times. He also believes that many Catholics think the pope is perfect and never says incorrect things about the faith.
Harry is pretty good at debates. I’ll have to think hard on my counterarguments.
Me: “I will first address your concern about whether Jesus made Peter the first pope or not. One thing you have to be really cautious about is how humans misjudge other humans. As a Cat, I don’t understand how that’s supposed to work, but it’s alright. It’s just like how we sometimes have misconceptions about evolution, Islam, Atheism, Protestantism, and beliefs other than Catholicism!”
Harry: “That’s a mistake I’ve made a lot, too! Like how I used to think Catholics worshipped Mary and weren’t Christians.”
Me: “We need to be careful that we don’t distort what people with different beliefs than us believe.”
I Begin My Argument
Me: “Catholics believe that papacy was established when Jesus said to Peter, ‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’ I referenced that out of my NIV Bible from Matthew 16:18.”
Harry: “I see where you are getting your basis from, but nowhere in the Bible does it mention the word pope. Last Sunday, I heard a great argument from my pastor against what you are saying. In the original Greek that Matthew was written in, Peter’s name was Petros and rock was Petra. Peter means rock. Do you have anything to say so far?”
Me: “Carry on.”
Harry: “Petros means little rock, and petra means big rock. What my pastor said was that Jesus was referring to Himself when He said, ‘and on this rock (petra) I will build My Church.’ He said Jesus was not referring to Peter (petros).”
Me: “I’ve heard that argument too. Would you like to hear something that the pastor didn’t tell you about this?”
Harry: “Sure. It would be interesting to see what you think about this argument.”
Me: “Firstly, Jesus wasn’t speaking in Greek. He was speaking in a language called Aramaic, which few cats (or humans, for that matter!) speak nowadays. Jesus renamed Peter from Simon to Kepha. Kepha is an Aramaic word that means a large rock/massive rock formation.”
Harry: “Huh. I’ve never heard that Jesus actually called Peter Big Rock instead of Little Rock, the same word Jesus uses when He uses the word rock. But why does this contradict the Bible translation? What happened?”
Me: “What happened is what I call Human Error! You see, Greek words have gender. Spanish words have gender, too. The translator humans must had found Petra, the Greek word for Big Rock, unsuitable for Peter’s name because it was a feminine noun! They probably used Petros, which means Little Rock, for Peter’s name because Petros is masculine.”
Harry: “That’s crazy! Such a huge error slipped in the translation with no one noticing it?”
Me: “Yes! This is why you use Cat translators instead of human ones. The problem is, humans are always next to the wrong type of cats, the ones that can’t speak. We Talking Cats are far too civilized to be the pets of humans.”
Harry: “Yes, yes.”
Me: “Plus, Jesus gives Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven in the next verse, Matthew 16:19. Whatever Peter binds on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever Peter loosens on earth will be loosened in Heaven. Sounds like Pope Peter has been promoted.”
I Continue My Argument
Harry: “Your argument has been excellent so far. I still don’t understand why you believe that Jesus made Peter the first pope. Perhaps Jesus just made Peter an authority in the newborn Church, almost like a pastor, rather than the pope?”
Me: “Catholics have genuine lists of the popes going all the way back to Peter. The Church is meticulous with keeping these accurate. The line of popes starts with Pope Peter. Then it goes to Pope Linus, Pope Anacletus, Pope Clement I, and so on until we get all the way down to Pope Francis!”
Harry: “I didn’t know that. I’ll read that list sometime.”
Me: “Another thing I think is useful to consider is the usage of logic. In today’s world, it is hard to figure out if what one church is saying is right or wrong. The Catholic Church, however, has authority. Not that I am saying the pope, priests, or cardinals always say the right thing every time, but I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit would never let the pope teach something which is contradictory to Christianity.
“This is called infallibility, which should never be confused with impeccability. Catholics do not believe the Pope never sins or always says the right thing on TV, but I will get into that further when I answer your other questions. I believe that Jesus would not leave His Church without a leader and an organized system of disciples who would take care of His Sheep.”
Harry: “I think we’re starting to get off topic.”
Me: “It’s good that I went over these things. We can go more into depth later.”
My Brief But Important Note
Me: “It is important that I specify something: the Catholic Church was the first Christian Church. It was the only Christian Church for thousands of years until the Protestant Reformation. This is not an obscure teaching. It is a part of history and is testified as so even by non-Catholics.
“I will write an article about this in the future. Again, it is important to do your own research, so don’t listen to just me! Read other sources and take note of both sides when it comes to things as important as this.”
Harry: “Cat, it’s nice that you are able to give me different perspectives on things while listening to my opinions at the same time. I think this conversation shows the importance of researching before you believe what someone says. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Church.”
Me: “I agree with you. This was a long conversation, wasn’t it?
Harry: “Yes. I’m quite hungry. It’s about noon.”
Me: “Let’s head out to Catnip Café to catch a snack and watch EWTN’s latest shows. In the meantime, I’m going to answer the questions the humans have in the comments. Callie has some questions about the pope, too. I’ll talk to her after lunch.”
Harry: “Your answer to my first concern made a lot of sense. I’m sure that your answers to my other questions will be helpful and easy to understand.”
Me: “Let’s go to the café. I hope I can order a Catgrass Smoothie and Loaf Muffin, but those have gotten popular lately.”
Thank you for reading! I hope it answered some of your questions. Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 are coming soon. When I post those, I’ll link them below.