The Pope and hierarchy, why is that Catholic Church based on hierarchy?
We were at Kingdom Bound (a big Evangelical music festival) where the "Newsboys" played. The non-denominational Evangelical lead singer Peter Furler said, "we should not have 'lone wolf' Christians evangelizing, it creates chaos, every person should be under the authority of a pastor and every pastor under the authority of other pastors ... there should be a structure of authority." Here was a non-denominational Christian basically describing the structure of the Catholic Church as a model for evangelization.
Authority and hierarchy are hard concepts to sell these days. Businesses are adopting horizontal organizational charts. Kids are swearing at their school teachers. The public is pulling apart politicians. Perhaps these are all progressive ideas, but Catholics think this age has authority-phobia. We heard a sermon on the radio by a gifted Evangelical minister Dr. Tony Evans. He took us on a biblical tour or the hierarchical and structural authority in the heavens among the angels and heavenly creatures.
- Seraphim (Is 6:2)
- Cherubim (Gen 3:24)
- Thrones (Col 1:16)
- Dominions (Col 1:16)
- Virtues (Eph 1:21)
- Powers (1 Pt 3:22)
- Principalities (Rom 8:38)
- Archangels (1 Thess 4:16)
- Angels (Rom 8:38)
He quoted the Bible chapter and verse to show that Angels only activate under authority, when they are told what to do by their superior. (Job, 38:7, Gen 3:24, 19, 21:17, 22:11, Acts 7:53, Ex 23:20-23, Judg 13, 6:11-24, Isa 6:5, 1 Kgs 19:5, Jude 1:9, Rev 12:7 etc.) It was a powerful testimony to the Catholic approach to Church (although We don't think Dr. Evans knew that). It showed that God is not at all afraid of structural authority. Catholics think the Hierarchical Structure of the Church was divinely inspired by God and revealed to those who formed it in the early centuries of Christianity.
The Magisterium consists of the Episcopal College and its head, the Pope. It is based on the 12 apostles. Peter and the rest of the apostles made up a single apostolic college. So in like fashion the "The Roman Pontiff," Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another." (Catechism 880). It is the teaching office of the Church. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. This is where the infallibility thing comes into play. Most often these infallible declarations happen at an ecumenical Council. There have been 21 councils since the time of Christ. This magisterium is the glue of the Church. It is what keeps us all going in the same direction theologically. It is where we turn to find out what the Church really believes about something.
Quite often the media will say stuff like, "55% of Catholics believe that gay marriage is OK" and similar such things. The media is often talking about people who don't go to Church anymore, who are not reading the Bible, who don't identify themselves as Catholic except when asked if they are Catholic for a newspaper poll.
Thank God that the Church is not a democracy. The early Church was not a democracy either. Democracy works well for politics but not for faith and morals because people in general want to make things easy on themselves.
Modern society thinks that the pathway of spirituality should be decided by the common people, that is why the New Age is so popular. Anybody can be a Guru and lead people down dark alleyways of Spirituality. In the New Age, everybody can believe whatever they want, can do whatever they want while still claiming to be God centred. That is part of the reason books like the Da Vinci Code that try to mix up Christianity with Gnosticism have become so popular. Gnosticism was a great heresy that was defeated in 300 A.D. but has resurfaced in the "New Age". Catholics don't believe that is Christ's way. Jesus please help us.
The Church does not exist to be evangelized by society. It exists to evangelize society.
It is in light of the Bible and the history of the early Church that Catholics are totally fine with having a Pope.
(1) Scott Hahn, A Closer Look at Christ's Church, Answering Common Objections