Should the Pope be worshipped? Should the Pope be bowed down to and praised? During the recent papal visit to the US, I saw images on TV of people dropping to their knees before the Pope and kissing his ring. This is a very familiar image and another of many that we have grown accustomed to. But please think about it; in the eyes of God is this proper behavior?
The tendency to praise someone you are grateful for is certainly natural. The Roman Centurion was very grateful that Peter went out of his way to come see him. “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.” (Acts 10:25) Did Peter see this as proper behavior? After all, Peter was one of the pillars of the church. If any living person deserved such praise, it was Peter…
“But Peter made him get up. ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.'” (v.26)
Okay, so maybe Peter was not worthy of having someone fall to their knees before him. But certainly angles, the spiritual agents of God are worthy. As the apostle John prepared to fall on his knees before the angle who had shown him so many things…
“But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!'” (Revelation 22:9)
Is the Pope above Peter? Is the Pope above the angles? Are any of us? We may not have much in common with Peter, but like Peter we are all only men and women, and as the angle told John, only God is to be worshipped.
What might Jesus say to the Pope, or any of us who seek praise?
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low.” (Ezekiel 21:26)
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)