Two Popes, Same Problem

The Two Popes is a film charting the relationship between the current Pope, Jorge Bergoglio, and his predecessor, Joseph Ratzinger. The former is portrayed as forward-thinking, liberal, enjoying the common touch. The latter as conservative and staid, though intelligent and cultured. Parts wonderfully acted by Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins, one gains a warm insight into their minds and backgrounds. The film finishes with them enjoying a televised World Cup football match between their respective national sides, a game that Ratzinger never previously appreciated. 

For many, the film represents the hoped-for shift from conservatism to liberalism, an archaic church coming to terms with twenty-first century thinking. Will Catholicism give way regarding homosexuality, abortion and divorce? The film’s suggestion is that it might- hopefully- with the election of this new pope, a man of the people, a loving father. 

Whatever the Roman Church decides about moral issues, its fundamental problems will continue to plague its adherents. The fact that it’s led by a pope at all- a papa, a father- is its major flaw. He’s not just a fatherly figure, but 

“…the supreme teacher...Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” -Pope Leo XIII, 1890. 

“I alone… am the successor of the apostles, the vicar of Jesus Christ. I am the way, the truth, and the life…” Pope Pius IX.

Popes may modernise, liberalise and revolutionise, but while they claim to be Vicars of Christ on earth, substitutes for God and spiritual fathers, they’ll continue to lead astray 1.1 billion people.

Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

Matthew 23:9 

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

1 John 2:18 

Christ needs no substitute, for He Himself was ours while He hung on the cross.