Miracles and Evidence Index
By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City

Why Does The Pope Remain Catholic
When the Faith of Many Bishops Fails

When King Henry the 8th demanded that the Catholic bishops of England accept him as the head of the Church in England, one bishop, John Fisher, chose death rather than submission. The other 30 or so Catholic bishops caved in. Many, perhaps all, became Anglican bishops, and in doing so left the Catholic Church.

This is only one of many cases where the Catholic bishops have failed in mass to stay within the Catholic Church.

The 266 popes, on the other hand, have not failed in this way. Why is this? The pope is a bishop. In the natural order of things, it is not clear that he should be that much different from other bishops. Yet there is this huge yawning chasm between the fidelity of the popes and the all too frequent heresy and schism of the bishops.

I am a Catholic. I believe God is miraculously protecting the Catholic Church. He is protecting me and other Catholics from the horror of a heretical pope, a pope that would require that I believe something other than God's truth. This is further evidence that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, that Christ founded the true religion, and the Catholic Church is the true Church.

Many non-Catholics and even some Catholics find this confusing because they believe popes commit sins. The Catholic Church agrees, popes sin and they can go to hell for those sins just like anyone else. But that is largely their concern, not mine.

Catholics believe that the pope will not require Catholics on pain of eternal damnation to believe in a heresy. So while the popes may sin and go to hell, they will not force loyal Catholics as a whole to join them.

Once again why in the natural order of things would there be this one line of 266 men who commit just about every sin in the book, perhaps less often than the rest of us, but all too often, and yet century after century they avoid the one sin of heresy, or at least the sin of openly preaching heresy. If the Catholic Church is what it claims to be, this makes perfect sense, if not, it is really strange.

Note that a key element of this argument is that the popes are not much different from the bishops. If I observed a huge difference between the behavior of army privates (the lowest ranks) and generals (the highest ranks) I would not be too surprised. But if I notice a huge difference between four-star generals, the highest peacetime rank in the US Army, and the one, two and three-star generals then that requires an explanation. Similarly, I see no natural reason why popes should be so different from bishops unless God is making it happen. And if God is making it happen, it follows there is a God, and he seems to be supporting and protecting the Catholic Church.


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Last edited August 6, 2014