The pope’s position is a unique one since he is head of state but he is also head of a denomination as well. There have been many head of states speak with the Executive branch but not our Legislative branch. It is simply not necessary; we have supposedly voted a group of leaders that should be smart enough to figure out the issues of our country and do not need a foreign head of state to help give us a moral compass. I will state it again there are so many political angles as to why this is wrong but I will be focusing on the religious angle from a Christian world view.
The pope is looked at as infallible and the head of God’s church. In fact from the book, The Faith of Our Fathers by James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, Forty Seventh Edition 112th printing p.57 states that; “The Church has authority from God to teach regarding faith and morals, and in her teaching she is preserved from error by the special guidance of the Holy Ghost.” When speaking on the scriptures the author states, “for an infallible book is of no use to me without an infallible interpreter”. (Gibbons p.58) In fact it is believed that, “the church is the divinely appointed Custodian and Interpreter of the Bible. For, her office of infallible Guide were superfluous if each individual could interpret the Bible for himself.” (Gibbons p. 67) How is it that the papacy came to this conclusion that the church is infallible and the guide to the scriptures? The idea comes from a twisted interpretation of scripture,
. . . we have positive evidence from scripture that the Church cannot err in her teachings. Our Blessed Lord, in constituting St. Peter Prince of His Apostles, says to him: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18) Christ makes here a solemn prediction that no error shall ever invade His church, and if she fell into error the gates of Hell have certainly prevailed against her. (Gibbons p. 58)
Their thought is that Christ said that the church will be built upon Peter claiming that Peter was the first pope. When in fact Jesus is not calling Peter a rock nor is He saying that the church will be built on Peter. The scripture reads: (emphasis added is mine)
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this (meaning Christ “himself”) rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
The Greek meaning for Peter is: Πέτρος Petros pet'-ros, a piece of a rock while the rock that the church will be built on is called πέτρα petra pet'-ra, meaning a mass of rock. So Peter is a piece of rock while Christ is a mass of rock. We do not need to know Greek or Hebrew to understand the scriptures for the word of God explains itself. When you study the Bible like the Bible says the scriptures become clear and you do not need a guide to tell you what they mean. When placing line upon line (Isaiah 28:10) or scripture upon scripture we will have many answers to the question is Peter the Rock that the church is built on or is it Christ?
First the scripture says that the Lord is the rock:
1Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
2Samuel 22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
(See Also: 2 Samuel 22:2, 47; Psalms 18:2, 31, 46; Psalms 28:1)
Scripture also says that it is Christ who is head of the church:
Eph 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
(See also: Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:13-18)
Since Christ is the Chief Cornerstone (Acts 4:10, 11; 1 Peter 2:6) and Christ is the Rock, it is upon Him (Christ) not Peter (a man) that the church is built on. The word infallible is in the Bible once and it refers to Jesus. (Acts 1:3) There are many cases in the Bible where God uses man as a guide but how do you measure them? How do you know if they are a false teacher or a true?
Isa 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Scripture says if they (the guide or teacher) are not speaking according to the word of the law of God and the testimony of the prophets then there is no light in them. If an individual contradicts the law of God and/or the other prophets then they are a false teacher or guide and there is no light in them. Therefore if you follow this false teacher then you will stumble in darkness. Man is not infallible and the pope is only a man. The scripture does not support their claim to be a guide in religion or moral. So what what was it that congress was hoping to gain by having the pope speak?
Here is a video that gives a little history: