Vicar of Christ or Bishop of Rome?
Pope Francis keeps referring to himself as the Bishop of Rome. Where has this term come from since the term Vicar of Christ has been used since the 15th century? The answer comes from Vatican II and a priest liberal theologian Fr. Yves Congar. In his book Congar he states, “…….there is the thesis that affirms the power in the Church, even the power of the Pope, would always be collegial. The Pope would always act as ‘head of the College.’ He could not act by his own power as ‘Vicar of Christ’ (I place the last words between quotation marks because I am not comfortable with this expression, which I personally avoid using). ….
“I am strongly favorable to a collegial power that can be exercised by the College of Bishops as well as by the Pope himself as its head, representing the whole body.”
To support the usage over all these centuries of the term Vicar of Christ we have Matthew 16, “…..And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; 19 and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
St. Peter was the only apostle that was given such power, the power from Christ himself. The question that one is bound to ask is, “if the pope does not believe he has this power, does he have the power to use it”? It is like grace from God, if we have it, but do not believe in it, does it benefit us?
You might also consider Congars last phrase. In this paragraph the pope is representing the whole body of bishops and the members of the church. This is a total flip of theology. Congar, and apparently the pope, want the keys to go to all the bishops and only have the pope as their representative. Did they not read St. Matthew?