Maybe I'm confused, but I always thought the deal with being Pope was that you were God's own spokesman for all matters of Christianity here on Earth. Is birth control moral in God's eyes? Abortion? Eating meat on Fridays? Ask the Pope, and he'll ask God, and the answer that comes back is absolute – it becomes a sin when the pope says it's a sin, and nobody can contradict the Pope. After all, that would be the same as contradicting God himself, right?
If the Roman Catholic Church is trying to maintain this claim, then it's hard to understand how the Pope could rescind the excommunication of an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier. Surely the Pope doesn't approve of Bishop Williamson's beliefs. Which can only mean one of four things:
- The Pope prayed for guidance, and God tricked him.
- God hates Jews and wanted a Holocaust denier in the Roman Catholic Church
- The Pope prayed for guidance, but didn't listen to what God said, or
- The Pope makes decisions just like the rest of us, using the facts at hand, which are sometimes flawed.
But, realistically, the more boring conclusion that the Pope is really just an ordinary CEO of a big corporation, and sometimes he gets bad advice from his staff. He makes mistakes, just like the rest of us. And while he's praying, he might be hearing something, but it's just his own brain talking to him.
To Pope Benedict XVI's credit, he did the right thing in the end: He is demanding that Bishop Williamson recant his outrageous claims and admit that the Holocaust did happen, before the Church will lift the excommunication. I applaud the Pope and the rest of the Church's leaders for admitting the error and quickly correcting it.