Now I have no interest in reopening a wound put a certain person made the statement on our show that she tries very hard to love the Catholic people but she defiantly is against, and will attack the Catholic Pope. I am paraphrasing, lest I be accused of not giving a direct quote. I am not even going to argue the obvious incongruity of the statement, nor condemn her for her opinion.
However, it does strike me as odd.
There have been a few bad Popes. This article puts it at 10, so let’s go with that. 10 out of 266 indicates a batting average of .962 which I will gladly put up against any Protestant church that has ever stood. Nevertheless, the sin of scandal caused by the worst of the lot is probably responsible for the Protestant revolt. His name was Rodrigo Borgia and infamy will remember as Alexander VI.
It might surprise some that Catholics do not hide from the sad history of these few men. It is right there in the open in our recorded history, just as no history of the Apostles is complete without Judas.
Now, I certainly have no intention of making a defense for Alexander VI, nor for his promiscuous daughter, but I think anti-catholics do have to examine something that is quite worthy of reflection, in my view.
You see, this is 2012, not 1503 and Benedict XVI is in the chair of Peter, not Alexander VI. Truth be told, how could any Christian possible be against this guy? Most (though not all) protestants are social conservatives. This is especially true with Evangelicals. There has been no stronger voice in the world for life than Benedict XVI. There has been no stronger voice for the sanctity of marriage than Benedict XVI. Even on the issues you may disagree with him on- the death penalty, war and a strict, market-based capitalism, you cannot question his motivation is mercy based.
Exactly the same is true of his predecessor, John Paul II, who brought the message of Christ to more people than any other man in human history. The living example of gregarious love and patient suffering. John Paul II was a living saint. Billy Graham once called him the moralist man on earth and I will be so bold as to say that never in protestant history has there been produced a man or woman who can stand next to him. That is not an attack, it is simply a fact.
John Paul II had the 3rd longest pontificate in history behind only Pius IX at #2 and the Rock upon which the church was built- Peter.
I thought surely his predesessor, (whose name he took) was the shortest at 33 days. Yet, believe it or not, that doesn’t even put him in the top 10 (He is #11). The shortest reign was Urban VII, who reigned for 13 days. John Paul I is an open question, then . We cannot call him a good pope nor a bad pope.
What about Paul VI? No Pope did more to try and heal religious divisions. John the XXIII, his predecessor, was a modern day prophet on issues of sexual sin, abortion and contraception. Pius XII, the man before him, was called the singular voice against Hitler’s madness, saving some 860,000 Jews from the Holocaust.
So, it goes. One must go all the way all the way back to 1534 and the end of the reign of Clement VII to find a Pope who can be plausibly called bad. That is 478 of a scandal free papacy. An broken line of 45 Popes who cannot be plausibly accused of any scandal since the last bad Pope. An unbroken line of 113 Popes before the first bad one (Stephen VII). At least the first 33 of those Popes were martyrs for Christ. That is every Pope from Peter to Pope Saint Sylvester I who died in 335 AD.
Even among the years of the Bad Popes (896-1534), there were these 10 bad Popes and 94 good Popes. This means that even during it’s very darkest years- the dreadful middle ages- less than 10% of the Popes were bad ones.
This is according to recognized historian Russell Chamberlain.
There has never been a Protestant denomination that can claim that only 9.6% of it’s leaders have been corrupt. So, even our worst history cannot plausibly be compared to their best. 76 Popes have been canonized Saints meaning that their place in heaven is confirmed by documented miracles. John Paul II will join the list soon as #77.
Even that list drarfs the record of the bad Popes.
Looking at the history of the Papacy is to judge it in it’s totality. I will take that case any day.
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