Every once in a while my biblical and protestant hackles are roused. So I need to remind you that the tourist in the U.K. Joseph Ratzinger, (a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI), is no more, and no less than the Bishop of Rome, (and a brother in Christ).
All of his other titles (viz:
Vicar of Jesus Christ; Successor of the Prince of the Apostles; Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church; Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province; Servant of the Servants of God, are either bogus or un-biblical.
“Servant of the Servants of God” sounds good, except that all Christians are called to this ministry of service, (and the “Popes” who bear this title act more like masters than servants!)He is also entitled “Sovereign of the State of Vatican City”. I cannot dispute the legality of this title because the “Lateran Treaty” between Mussolini’s Italy and the Vatican established Vatican City as an independent state. I can only regret that countries such as the U.K. and the U.S.A. recognised this bogus state and accredited Ambassadors to the Vatican. (Vatican Ambassadors to these and other nations are called “Papal Nuncios”. All well and good I suppose, but I do remember that Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world.
None of what I have written should be construed as being “anti-Catholic”. I adore my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, even as I abhor the un-biblical systems under which they minister.
At the same time I also adore my Anglican sisters and brothers, but I lament the multiplicity of titles, and gradations of authority which are given to our hierarchy.
I also lament those efforts which are being spearheaded by the Bishop of Canterbury (a.k.a. the Archbishop of Canterbury), which, if adopted, would lead to the establishment of an international Anglican Church, e.g. a “sorta” softer and gentler alternative to Rome.
A plague on both houses!
During his visit to the U.K. Bishop Joseph Ratzinger plans to “beatify” John Henry Newman (a.k.a. Cardinal Newman). The British and American press seem to accept without question that the “Pope” has this power and authority to beatify - a step before naming someone as a “saint”.
As we used to say in England, this is nothing but “tosh”.
The Gospels according to Luke and Matthew are far more reliable in this matter. Their “beatitudes” have nothing to do with papal sleight of hand. They have everything to do with humble people who love God and God’s world with a crazy passion.