What Do You Understand About the Doctrine of Papal Supremacy? Essay Example

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According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is an official reference of the teachings of the Catholic Church, Papal supremacy is the divinely instituted authority of the Pope to exercise supreme and universal power in the care of souls. I understand this to mean that the Catholic Church, by God’s authority, has vested in the Pope complete moral responsibility to teach, council, bless and pardon people in the Church and is the spirituality authorized being on earth, standing in for Jesus the Christ.

This suggests that the Pope has the ultimate power over the Catholic Church and its people, as it relates to teaching about faith and moral conduct. With this power, the Pope can single-handedly decide to excommunicate someone, based on what he determines as sin.

From the readings, I understand that, in the Middle Ages, church and state was not separated like they are today. This created conflicts of interest among the royals and early Popes were not very diplomatic about it. Popes of this age wanted to declare themselves above kings and other secular rulers or that time. This was a result of no separation of church and state.

Also, the Dictates of the Pope is an ancient document of Roman Papacy that dictated doctrine and laws to the Catholic people of that time. However, many of the Dictates would not go over well in today’s world. However, there was at least one early Pope, Gregory the Great, who tried to remain true to his Papacy. He was very generous and diligently worked to cultivate Papal States to help feed people when famines came, and he refused to accept lavish titles for himself. He was so humble; it was almost like he didn’t consider himself supreme, as is expected of a Pope.

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