Father Robert Barron does such a fantastic job of describing the role and importance of the Pope in his series “Catholicism.” With all the media attention and discussion of the Papacy, it seemed a fitting time to post on that topic. The Pope provides the Church with a living voice of authority, to allow the life of the Church to evolve without turning into bickering over slight matters. Just as an umpire serves a pivotal role in a baseball game, so does the Pope. A baseball game would quickly spiral out of control if onlookers, players, or coaches were allowed to call the baseball game. The game would turn into bickering and fighting and little would be accomplished. The umpire has the voice of authority and keeps things moving fluidly. The Papacy functions in the same capacity, in which the Pope functions as the living voice of authority so as to prevent the Church from quickly evolving into bickering and fighting and little being accomplished.
Saint Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom by Jesus, and the Pope is called to maintain that position of authority. Certainly we have heard many discussion being had on the rigid nature of the Church and her “failure” to conform to modern society. Father Barron has a great way of describing this lack of flexibility in falling prey to the “whims” of society. Saint Peter was given the key to the Kingdom. Think for a moment about how you would describe a key. A key is not flexible and changing, otherwise it would no longer serve its purpose in being able to open a particular lock. A key must be strong and rigid in order to maintain its form and function to be able to open that lock. The same can be applied to the Church. While ideas change and evolve based on changing perspectives, the key must still maintain its original form and function. While the Church must be a light to the nations, it cannot allow itself to fall prey to the ever changing whims of society and social norms.