Many people think that Vatican II’s primary vision of the Church as a communion was summarized in the phrase, “The People of God,” but the Old Testament roots for that phrase, “People of God,” “am’ Yahweh” actually has as its primary meaning, “Family of God.” That term “people,” am’ literally denotes kinship, so it could be translated “kinsmen” or “Family of God,” and that’s how most Old Testament scholars translate it. So when we look at the Pope, as we will this morning, we are going to be looking at him, not as some tyrant, not as some authoritarian “know-it-all” and not as some magician who can just kind of concoct a new revelation to satisfy all parties, or anything like that. We are going to be looking at a father figure that Christ has established over the family that He has purchased with His own blood.
Now, there are many misconceptions that people have. They sometimes think that the teaching of the Church is that the Pope is infallible; therefore, he can’t sin. That’s nonsense, although the present Pontiff goes to confession, I understand, at least once a week. He’s got to have something to confess for it to be a valid sacrament administered to him. Others think that he always says the best thing at the right time. No, the Church has never insisted upon the fact that the Pope will always say the best thing at the right time. Rather, the teaching of the Church would allow for the Pope perhaps to postpone out of cowardice, a right thing. Or when he says the truth, when he teaches the truth, he might do so in a way that includes an ambiguity.