Monday, June 11, 2007

Jesus, The First Pope?

I just found this picture of Jesus on the a Relevant Radio web page that was celebrating June as The Month of the Sacred Heart. I must admit that I don't ever remember seeing this picture before. It just seems a little tacky to have Jesus wearing the pope's crown. As one of the titles of the pope is "Vicar of Peter," does that mean that Jesus is the "Vicar of Peter." Obviously, he is the Vicar of Christ; he speaks for himself. I don't have any problem per say with devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but this painting seems like papal propaganda in the worst sense possible. It says not only that the papacy is extremely important, but that Jesus was the first pope.

Is this painting implying that Jesus was the first pope? Because I'm pretty sure that Catholic tradition states that Peter was the first pope. Though that is disputable, because St. Irenaeus states that Peter & Paul founded the church in Rome, which no scholar takes seriously. Most serious scholars (meanings ones that makes sense and look at more sources than those that back up their pre-established point of view) believe that there were a number of elders/bishops/overseers at the beginning of the early church in Rome. I'm sure that if Peter or Jesus had become the first bishop of Rome, the author of Acts of the Apostles would have said something. I hope this entry is not too cynical or trite.

A Faithful Catholic


Terrence Berres said...

While the image might be new to you, it apparently isn't new.

Faithful Catholic said...

Terrence, I apologize. I didn't mean to imply that I thought it was a new creation, I just had not remembered seeing it before. It seems obvious from its style that it's a pre-Vatican II relic that has outlived its usefulness. If you have some info about its origins though, I would really appreciate it. The page that you linked to only states that it is a poster for sale. It has no info on its origins.

StBlog said...

If you actually look at photos of the papal tiara you'd see that while it may seem to be similar to the crown in this image it is singularly different. I've never heard nor read anything suggesting Jesus was "Pope" in any form or fashion. I think you're carrying your disdain for that part of the Church you don't like a bit too far with this one.
As for being a "pre-Vatican II relic that has outlived its usefulness" I cannot for a moment endorse that any sacred image will outlive its usefulness -- matter of fact we need more of these so-called relics and I believe the young people of today are seeing the emptyness of the "modern" Church and the fullness of what you might call a relic!
Here's hoping your wintertime becomes a springtime!

cantabrigiensis said...

The Papal tiara is three-tiered. That's interesting symbolism in itself. We all apologise on behalf of the Church that pre-Vatican symbols elude you. Some require education, and we all know how effective the Church, particularly at the local level, has been in that department.

Why, just last week I was speaking to a bright seventeen year old, herself a product of the vibrant and spirit-filled catechetical programs offered through her parish's "religious ed" department. She wondered about a couple things. The first was why a statue of St Peter that she'd recently seen had him holding "some keys." She mentioned that she'd seen this before. The other question she had concerned the reredos in her church; amongst the symbols incorporated into it is an anchor. She was baptised in this parish church and has attended it her entire life. Apparently, not one adult in charge of her religious education thought such a thing worthy of explanation (or, sadly, was just as ignorant as she, and was thus unable to enlighten her).

Funny, how when we're unable to "unpack" symbolism (some of it centuries old), we blame the symbol, call it a relic, and quickly dismiss it as having "outlived its usefulness" rather than exert ourselves, flex some mental muscle, and fill the voids in our knowledge.