A Pope for the Time to Come:
Bishop of Rome and Universal Pastor
Preface: Now is the Time
"Now is the acceptable time" (2 Cor. 6) for Catholics throughout the whole
world to reflect on what type of leadership, indeed what model of church,
we need for the new millennium.
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) invited all of us to read the signs
of the times in the light of the gospel. It called our faith community to
perpetual renewal. We have tried to be faithful to that call as we
examine the life of our church and our need for a Bishop of Rome who can
lead our faith community in a "universal agapé," or assembly of
The millennium now passing away has been an age of division among Christians.
It is our hope that the third millennium will become an age of reconciliation
In this spirit, Pope John Paul II invited all Christians to reflect on the
future of the Papacy "…that we may seek - together, of course - the forms
in which this ministry [of Peter] may accomplish a service of love recognized
by all concerned…to find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in
no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to
a new situation." (Ut Unum Sint, No.95).
At the same time, voices within the World Council of Churches are calling
all Christian churches to commit themselves in the year 2000 to begin preparation
for a Universal Christian Council.
We join our voices with these calls, and declare our readiness to renew our
faith community in light of the signs of our times, and to dialogue and work
with other churches on the basis of equality.
To realize these dreams, we offer our reflections on the qualities needed
by our age in the next Bishop of Rome. We share our thoughts
in the spirit of the woman in the gospel who mixed yeast with flour so that
her bread might expand and nourish a community. This is our "yeast."
A Model of Church for our Times: Ever Ancient, Ever
The Next Bishop of Rome
To build a vibrant church in the new millennium, we need to listen once again
to Jesus and his first disciples who preached the equality of all persons
(Matt. 23; 11-12; Luke 22: 24-26; Gal. 3:28).
We need to build structures in our church which reflect that equality so
that we may live, pray and minister to one another as a "discipleship of
equals." Only then will we follow the example of Jesus who sends the
Spirit, not to a small group, but to the whole community of faith.
Only then will we live out the teaching of Vatican II which recognizes us
all as the People of God, co-responsible for decision-making in the life
of our church.
We need to restore a church that values dialogue and justice in its internal
life as well as its approach to the world.
We need to reestablish a church that respects and celebrates our worldwide
diversity, a church in which there is freedom to live our faith in different
ways in different cultures.
We need to resurrect a church that recognizes the importance of local churches
where the Word is preached in ways that local cultures can hear it.
The building of this restored church is the work of the whole People of God,
not only the Bishop of Rome, other bishops and the clergy.
We begin by urging that we restore the practice of the early church and develop
structures that permit the People of God to participate in a prominent way
in the election of all church leaders. This would include the election
of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. This renewal of an ancient tradition
will acknowledge the action of the Spirit in community of the faithful.
We would be greatly helped in renewing our church by a leader who reads the
"signs of the times" in concert with the people, a collaborative Bishop of
Rome who can listen as well as preach, and dialogue as well as teach.
We need a leader who truly embraces and consults the sensus fidelium (sense
of the faithful).
We especially need a leader who recognizes the awakening of women's consciousness
as a significant "sign of our times." Women, more than half of our
church, have grown conscious of their dignity and equality with men.
They are calling our faith community to respect and implement that equality
in its own life.
We need a Bishop of Rome who respects the differences among us as well as
challenges us to live the gospel.
We need a Pope who distinguishes between his pastoral ministry as the Bishop
of Rome, and the ministry of Peter in which he is in dialogue with the universal
church. As Bishop of Rome, he serves the faithful of Rome as any bishop
serves a diocese. He would retire at the age established for
all bishops. As president of the worldwide agapé, he would act
as a brother bishop who invites the world's bishops to share leadership with
him and with other members of the People of God who are called forth by the
faithful. In that spirit, he would reform the Curia (papal cabinet)
so that it might serve, rather than dominate, other bishops and the church
But most of all, we need a Bishop of Rome and a Universal Pastor who is:
What we need in the new millennium
is a Bishop of Rome who is a Universal
a visionary leader who promotes a profound discernment on church ministry
by all the People of God and calls them to consider the possibility of welcoming
into ministry all those qualified whatever their gender, marital status or
a respecter of the consciences of Catholics who calls forth a genuine public
dialogue on the theologies, moral teaching and policies in the church so
that our faith community might share experiences, begin to heal its alienation
and resurrect a sense of unity and enthusiasm for the faith;
a pastor who encourages academic freedom for theologians and other scholars
in order to foster a healthy diversity of opinions in the church;
a reconciler who welcomes "liberals" and "conservatives" to share the same
a leader who recognizes the cultural pluralism of the church and celebrates
the diversity that flowers in different parts of our world;
a collaborator with a sense of history who is willing to restore the tradition
of full participation of the people in church and who invites all Catholics
to share governance and decision-making, including the election of church
a pioneer who encourages initiative and experimentation and calls Catholics
to develop an adult sense of responsibility for their faith community;
an ecumenist who engages in serious dialogue with Christians of the
Reformation and Orthodox traditions in an effort to bring about the dream
of Christian unity;
a brother to the Jewish people who will work to dismantle any vestiges of
anti-Semitism and build strong bonds of spiritual kinship that recognize
our common heritage flowing from Abraham and Sarah;
a student of religious traditions other than Christianity and Judaism who
welcomes interfaith dialogue, and seeks to learn from the rich diversity
of insights in these traditions;
a lover whose arms embrace the world and whose policies express a special
solidarity with the poor and oppressed;
a prophet who is tireless in promoting justice, equality, peace and nonviolence
in our world and in our church;
a lover of the earth who recognizes and promotes the integrity of all
a gentle soul with a sense of humor; and
a Brother Bishop who can happily shed the trappings of the powerful of this
world (Luke 22: 25-26) and walk with us as we together re-create our community
of faith to make the Spirit of Jesus come alive in the third millennium.
"A POPE FOR THE TIME TO
List of Popes
Election of the Popes
The List of Popes
What is a Pope?
Abbreviations Used in the
Canons Of The Councils Of Ancyra, Gangra, Neocaesarea, Antioch And Laodicea
- 314 A.D. - 381 A.D.
|The First Ecumenical Council
First Council Of Nicea -
of Nicea: 325 A.D.
SITE Nicaea (in N.W. Asia Minor) POPE St. Sylvester I, 314 - 335
EMPEROR Constantine I, The Great, Western Roman Emperor 306-337; Sole Emperor
ACTION: Called by the emperor and ratified by the Pope, this council condemned
the heresy of Arius (priest of Alexandria, d. 336) by defining the
CONSUBSTANTIALITY of God the Son with God the Father. The Son is of the "same
substance," homo-ousion, as the Father (St. Athanasius); not merely a "like
substance," homoi-ousion (as with the semi-Arians); nor is He (as Arius taught)
some sort of super-creature.
NOTE: St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), Bishop of Alexandria,
was present as deacon and peritus at Nicaea; exiled five times and excommunicated
by the Arians. St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church (d. 373), deacon, was also
present at Nicaea as peritus.
Canons Of The Synods Of Sardica, Carthage, Constantinople, And Carthage Under
St. Cyprian: 343 A.D.
Ecumenical Council at Constantinople : 381 A.D.
Second Ecumenical Council -
First Council of Constantinople
SITE: Constantinople (near Bosporus, a strait in today's Turkey).
POPE: St. Damasus I, 367 - 384 - EMPEROR: Theodosius I, the Great, 379 -
ACTION: It appears that Pope St. Damasus I was not contacted in regard to
this council attended by about 186 bishops. Called by the emperor, it was
not attended by the pope or his legates or any bishops from the West.
Nevertheless, it is listed as a General Council of the 4th century by papal
decrees of the 6th century, by which time its doctrinal definitions were
accepted throughout the Church (Murphy, pg. 41). This council condemned the
heresy of Macedonius by clearly defining the divinity of the Holy Ghost:
He is not created like the angels no matter how high an order is attributedto
such a "creature." The council also reaffirmed the faith of Nicaea.
NOTE: St. Gregory Nazianzen, Doctor of the Church (d. 389), was the bishop
presiding. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church (d. 386), was also
|Synod of Hippo
- 393 - New Testament Proclaimed
Ecumenical Council at Ephesus: 431 A.D.
Third Ecumenical Council - The
Council Of Ephesus - 431 A.D.
SITE: Ephesus (S. of Smyrna in SW Asia Minor). POPE St. Celestine I, 423
- 432 - EMPEROR Theodosius II, 408 - 450
ACTION: Called by the Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, influenced by his pious
sister, St. Pulcheria (Emperor in the West was Valentinian III, 425 - 455),
and ratified by Pope Celestine I, council condemned the heresy of Nestorius
by clearly defining the Divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There
are two natures in Christ (Divine and Human), but only one Person (Divine).
Mary is the Mother of this one Divine Person, the eternal Second Person of
the Blessed Trinity. Nestorius was deposed as bishop of Constantinople. This
council also briefly affirmed the condemnation of the Pelagians (see local
Council of Carthage, A.D. 416).
NOTE: St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church (d.444), was the bishop
Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon: 451 A.D.
Ecumenical Council - The Council Of Chalcedon - A.D. 451
SITE: Chalcedon, (north of Constantinople) POPE: St. Leo I, the Great, 440
- 461 - EMPEROR: Marcian, 450 - 457
ACTION: Called by Emperor Marcian, spouse of the chaste and noble St. Pulcheria,
and ratified by Pope St. Leo the Great, the council condemned the heresy
of the Abbot Eutyches, MONOPHYSITISM, which claimed that there existed only
"one nature" (the divine) in Christ from the Incarnation onward. Though the
council had approved the assertion that Constantinople should be ranked first
after Rome ecclesiastically, Pope St. Leo did not. The primacy of the See
of Rome was due to it's possession of the Chair of Peter, not to any political
power. In his "Dogmatic Epistle," read by his legates at the end of the second
session of the council (Oct. 10, 451), Pope St. Leo I also declared invalid
all that had been done at the "Robber Synod of Ephesus" (a false Ephesus
II): ".... we see no Council, but a den of thieves (Latrocinium)." In the
greatest testimony of the Eastern Council to the primacy of the Pope, the
bishops cried out: "Behold the faith of the fathers, the faith of the Apostles;
thus through Leo has Peter spoken!" Eutyches was excommunicated.
NOTE: Pope St. Leo I, Doctor of the Church (d. 461), was called the "Soul"
Canons of the Council of Orange: (529 AD)
Ecumenical Council at Constantinople: 553 A.D.
Ecumenical Council Constantinople : 553 A.D.
Council of Constantinople: 553 A.D.
Second Council of
Constantinople: 553 A.D.
Sixth Ecumenical Council: The Third Council Of Constantinople A.D.
Third Council of Constantinople
: 680-681 A.D.
Canons Of The Council In Trullo; Often Called The Quinisext Council - A.D.
Ecumenical Council: Second Council of Nicaea: 787 A.D.
Second Council of Nicaea
- 787 A.D.
|Fourth Council of
Constantinople : 869-870
|First Lateran Council
|Second Lateran Council
- 1139 A.D.
|Third Lateran Council
- 1179 A.D.
|Fourth Lateran Council
|First Council of Lyons
- 1245 A.D.
|Second Council of Lyons
|Council of Vienne 1311-1312
|Council of Constance
|Council of Basel 1431-45
|Fifth Lateran Council
Canons of Dordt: 1618
Belgic Confession: 1618
Westminster Confession of Faith: 1646
|Decrees of the First
Vatican Council - 1869
of Pope Pius XII - September 30, 1943
Containing Canons And Rulings Not Having Conciliar Origin But Approved By
Name In Canon II. Of The Synod In Trullo
And Catholics Confusing The Gift Of Salvation
Misunderstood, Exposed & Corrected -Pope Leo XIII
from Henry IV to Pope Gregory VII, (1076)
Roman Catholic Model of Christianity
Or Sinners? In Medieval Europe - The Trials
The Age Of The
Reformation in Germany and Scandanavia
The Catholic Stand On
The Council Of 2000
And The New Third Millenium
Council Of Trent Penance and Extreme Unction
of Trent Canons and Decrees
of Eucharistic Adoration
Principles of the Orthodox Faith - The Nicean Creed
Struggle to Save the Church's Soul
What is the Historical
Teaching of the Christian Church on Contraception? The First Council
is the Devinition of Contraception?
Are the Different Definitions of Abortion?
is the General Definition of Abortion?
Why All The
The Lebanese Maronite
Christian Classics Ethereal Library - On
Saint of Missions - 1506
Franciscan Order of Divine Compassion
The Catholic Encyclopedia
DREAMS AND VISIONS ABOUT
GREATDREAMS MAIN INDEX