chapter  3
19 Pages


In the previous chapter we have looked at where authority is located within the Catholic Church. This chapter will describe the people who exercise this authority (and, at the end of this chapter, those whom the authority is exercised upon!). And there is noone more evident in this authority structure than the Pope. In fact, perhaps nothing is more distinctive of Catholicism than the papacy. The person known as the Pope is whoever is elected to be the Bishop of Rome. Catholics certainly acknowledge the Pope as head on the Roman Catholic Church on earth. That is the easy bit. On the other hand, exactly what authority the Pope can exercise over the Church by virtue of his office is a topic hotly debated within Catholicism.