Tuesday, March 04, 2014

NLM: The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts: Guest Article by Dr. Kyle Washut

The Pope as Universal Teacher

One of his roles that is in dispute by the Orthodox, and not something that was definite in the first several centuries, though papal claims to this authority were made in the 400s (according to Wilken; I'll have to look up the reference). The exercise of this function does seem to contribute to the personality cult surrounding the pope (especially the current pontiff, Francis) and to certain understandings of the papal office (an interpretation of Vatican I and the like) - one brand of ultramontanism.

Would all of this communication be possible without the mass media, a staff of translators, and cheap energy to sustain both? Will it always be possible to have translators would be sensitive to the nuances of another theological language? And is there any guarantee that a pope will know another theological language well enough (e.g. Greek) so as to effectively communicate with a different ecclesial culture? Or other languages to evangelize every non-Christian in the world? Are "universal" languages even possible? (MacIntyre would claim no.)

A pope may be a polyglot, but knowing every language necessary to teach every single human being effectively? Impossible, without a gift of the Holy Spirit, and we have seen in the normal "operation" of the Church, such a gift has not been given, except at Pentecost?

Now it may be necessary for someone to address a concern affecting the Church Universal, during some time of emergency or crisis. But as an 'normal,' everyday exercise? Would that be possible in an energy-constricted world?