The Pope has always been a creature and not the Creator. Our Holy Church has always affirmed this. His title “His Holiness” is a relative term. It means that he is holy in relation to human beings, but before God every human being and as such the Pope is also a ‘sinner’ and not “holy”. But here is the explanation of his title “Holiness”.
Let’s consider these analogies: – If the land on which God revealed Himself, cf. Exodus 3:5, was holy, if Israel and Jerusalem were termed the holy land (in fact trips to Israel are captioned – “pilgrimage to the Holy Land”, again, isn’t Mecca of our Muslim brethren a Holy Land?), how much more the human being – Pope, in whom dwells the Holy Spirit, a man who possesses the Spirit of God?
Over the years, people have heard titles and honour such as His/Her Royal Majesty, His Highness, His Lordship and bestowed on human beings. These men and women have addressed with these titles because they were monarchs, presidents and judges. However, when it comes to “His Holiness,” as used for the pope, these same people who call out queens and kings as ‘lords, majesties etc, would like the heavens to come down, so that fire can devour Catholics because they blaspheme by associating the Pope a mere creature with holiness. Meanwhile, for the kings and queens they got no problems with them. What at all has the Catholic Church done?
Only God is King, Ps 47:7. He alone is Royal. God alone is Master and deserves to be addressed as His Lordship. Only God is in Heaven and as such deserves – His Highness. How do you address men on this ‘lowly’ Earth, as “Your Highness” when the place where they dwell isn’t high? Don’t worry all these are relative terms, I hope by this time you are aware.
Furthermore, do you realise that before God our president is not “His Excellency”, our judges are not Lords, and our MPs are not ‘Honourables’? In fact, what is excellent and honourable about these men and women who hold these positions? Their “excellencies and honour” are in relation to the office they hold and the people they represent – the president as the first gentleman and the MPs as representatives in the various constituencies.
In the gospel of Luke (23:42), a criminal realises that “the man dying is no ordinary man”. A dying man sought relief from another dying man. But remember two criminals were hanged. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said “while his friend was imploring the Lord to take him up – Paradise, he demanded to be taken down”. “Save yourself and us” – he ordered Jesus. I sensed the voice of the tempter (Satan) in this criminal. The tempter had once asked Jesus “if you are the Christ turn these stones to bread”.
Beloved, how do we implore help from our Lord? The same Christ you repudiate and reject, you disappoint and disagree with, disrespect and deride still rules THIS WORLD. He has given a warm embrace to a criminal and sinner like us.
The kingdom of God is close to us but only those with eyes can see it.
Stay blessed Ghana.
By Rev. Fr. Louis Cecilia Adu-Poku