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Jason Garrison wrote:

Brother Mike,

I received your package today. First let me say thank you so much for including all the extra literature!

I have a few questions off the top of my head that I was hoping you could answer for me:

  • Is the pope Jesus Christ on earth?
  • Is Mary part of God, or A God, or something else?
  • She is called divine; does that mean God?
  • And the saints; are these people "divine"?
  • the New Testament Scripture says, "to call no man Father", but...
    (I think you know where I'm going) : )

I am a very scriptural guy, if you can dig that, and my insistence on referencing every practice, every tradition, and every idea helped to save me from being sucked in to some perfectly awful protestant organizations.

I am sure you will hear from me again in the near future, once I have had opportunity to absorb this material.

Thanks and Peace,

Jason Garrison

  { Questions about the Pope, Mary, the saints and calling priests, father. }

Eric replied:

Hi, Jason —

To answer your questions:

  1. No, the pope is not Jesus Christ on earth, by no means. (It's amazing the wild misperceptions that circulate.) The pope is the vicar of Christ. We in the U.S. aren't familiar with this concept so it seems exotic. It basically means a steward, someone who gets put in charge when the boss goes away.

    For example, our parishes have a pastor and a parochial vicar. When the pastor goes away, the vicar is in charge. The vicar isn't the pastor, nor does he assume his office, but he's a kind of deputy. The perfect example of this is Matthew 24:45-50. The master goes away (this symbolizes the Ascension), and the master puts a servant in charge of his household to feed them (cf. John 21:17) until he returns. So all the pope is the "Servant of the servants of God" (an official title) who is in charge of Christ's earthly kingdom with his authority until he returns.

  2. Mary is not a part of God, or a god. She is the most perfect creature, a sterling symbol of the Church and image of what we strive to become. She is not divine in the way you are probably thinking of it, but like us, she is a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, 4th century champion of orthodoxy, said,

      "God became man so that men might become God"

    and she is the exemplar of that, but I would not go around saying "Mary is divine" or
    "Mary is God". This is a distortion. Like I said, she is an image of what we all strive for.

  3. The same applies to the saints. The concept of deification is a complex one and one that will probably just confuse you, but the essence of salvation is that we become by grace what Christ is by nature, sharers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19, 4:13). There will always be an infinite gap between us and the Most Holy Trinity; we will never become independent gods but we will be transformed by and share in the divine life.

    Do a Google search on theosis, divinization, or deification.

  4. You can find an answer for your last question with a different Google search or read:

Eric

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