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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Symbols of Pope’s Reign Destroyed


CATHOLIC cardinals have destroyed the late Pope John Paul II’s ring and seal in a symbolic end to his authority before secluding themselves from the world to elect his successor. The cardinals will begin their conclave this week, and the Vatican said smoke signals would pour from a chimney above the Sistine Chapel twice a day to tell the world whether or not a new pope had been elected.

Overnight, the cardinals watched an ancient ritual marking the transition between two popes – the destruction of John Paul’s Fisherman’s Ring and his lead seal, two symbols of his authority.

During John Paul’s 26-year pontificate and his many trips around the world, countless pilgrims kissed the gold signet ring.

At 4.30pm Monday (Rome time, 12.30am Tuesday AEST), the 115 cardinals under the age of 80 with the right to choose a new pope will file in solemn procession into the Sistine Chapel, with its Michelangelo frescoes, where voting takes place. They come from 52 nations.

The cardinals will hold up to four ballots a day – two in the morning and two in the afternoon – until they elect the 265th pontiff.

Smoke signals above the Sistine Chapel – black smoke for an indecisive vote or white for a new pope – are expected around noon (8pm AEST) and 7pm (3am AEST) each day.

by Philip Pullella and Claudia Parsons in Vatican City
April 17, 2005,


A simple reading of this news report, which refers to the Pope’s “authority” and his “reign” show how very different the Catholic pattern is from the pattern revealed in God’s Word. Consider the following passages, contrasting the authority of Jesus with that of a bishop:

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'” (Matthew 28:18).

“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).

God never intended for any man to have the authority or to experience the adulation and worship that is experienced by any man who is appointed as Pope in the Catholic church. A new Pope will be elected within a few weeks, but his reign and authority will not be ordained by God.