People worship him
To answer this, you really have to understand the true meaning of the word “worship”, which means literally “worth – ship”, or to give someone the “worth” that is due them. With a proper understanding of the word then it is more clear – we Worship Jesus for who he is, the Son of God, a Divine Person. I suppose you could also say that we give worship, or “worth-ship”, to the pope for who he is, a human being, called to and ordained to be the Vicar of Christ. In other words, the pope is the closest thing to Jesus we have walking on the earth today. But do we worship the pope as we do Jesus? No, we do not. We honor him, we hold him up with great reverence, we acknowledge the office that he holds – a living personification of Jesus Christ! Check out article #881 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
He can say nothing wrong. Everything the Pope says is Church teaching.
This is not true. We have a belief as Catholics called “infallibility”. Infallible means that there can be no error. We do believe that the Pope has this quality, WHEN speaking on issues of Faith or Morals. When speaking on these issues, they are considered definitive acts or pronouncements, and thus church teaching. This does not mean that everything the pope says is infallible. It only refers to definitive statements regarding faith or morals. Check out Article #891 in the Catechism.
Why follow a man, when we should follow God?
One only needs to look at history to see the misconception in this. Throughout history, the Catholic Church has never changed its stance on any issues of Faith or Morals. No Pope, no matter how human, no matter how corrupt has been able to steer the Church off track. With a history of over 2000 years, that is a pretty impressive track record. It helps you begin to see that there is something not quite human at work here – rather there is something supernatural. When the pope is elevated to his office, there are graces at work that empower his leadership. In his office, he is not “just a man”. When you look at it like that, it makes sense to follow him, as HE follows Christ.
The Pope and the Church are anti-woman
Sorry, not true. The Catholic Church is actually one of the truly pro-women organizations still around. It doesn’t look that way, because modern society tells us that to be “for” women means to let them be like men. I don’t mean to be offensive, or trite. But it seems to me that this is the case. Many feminist movements are rooted in the cause that freedom for women means women can do anything a man can do. Though I believe in that statement, I’m not sure the answer is then so then women should everything that men do, just to show that they can. The deeper issue is that men and women are very different – from our emotions, to our thought processes, to even our sexuality. We are different, and are designed to act and react differently.
There are qualities of women that are very needed in the Church. The Catholic Church’s perspective, in my mind, simply desires to see those qualities manifested. If all the women filled the roles of men, then who would provide those unique and much-needed qualities of women?
Why did Jesus pick men to be his apostles? Why didn’t he include women is his institution of the priesthood with Peter and the disciples? I don’t know. You could argue that in those times it would have been counter-cultural to establish women in any positions of authority. Come on! Jesus was so counter-cultural it isn’t funny! He constantly broke the cultural norms, and stood up against the customs and traditions of His time. Why with so many other things would he be like this, yet when it came to establishing the leadership of his Church he would be so influenced by the culture. It doesn’t make sense.
The reality is that Jesus could have broke the cultural barriers and instituted women in the priesthood, but he didn’t. When he instituted the seven sacraments, each included an “outward” sign. Baptism was water, the Eucharist was bread and wine, Confirmation was anointing with oil and laying on of hands, etc. With Holy Orders, the outward sign was a man.
He’s too old to know what is going on, and his last five years of leadership have been irrelevant
For someone to make such a comment, it is clear that they really don’t know the Pope. He is truly one of the most brilliant people alive. He has written more documents, traveled more places, spoken to more people and held more gatherings of the people than any other pope in the history of the Church. He is truly a remarkable leader, and one whose impact on the Church will continue to be felt for many decades. His impact on the world has been acknowledged over and over again, even by the secular media.
So, is he aging? Yes. Is he somewhat fragile? Yes. Is his health vulnerable? Yes. But do not mistake these realities with his capacity to function in his office.
Why call him “holy”? No one is Holy but Jesus. Once again, we need to clear up the terms we are using. There are different levels of holiness. Jesus Christ is all holy. He was perfect in every way. He knew no sin, even though he was fully human.
The Pope is a human being. He is not sinless, as Christ was. I have heard stories about how he goes to confession weekly, and sometimes daily. Though I don’t know if that is true, that fact that he goes to confession at all gives evidence to the fact that even the Pope knows he is a sinner in need of the mercy of Christ. When we call him holy, we are referring to his pursuit of holiness, just like us. And I think most would agree that when it comes to this pursuit, the Pope’s pace is much quicker than most of ours. He is undoubtedly a holy man – he emanates the presence of Christ everywhere he goes.