Over the past few months, I have noticed a disconcerting trend amongst those who attend either the Novus Ordo or the traditional Mass, in a general sense. It does not apply to all, but it is disconcerting all the same.
What is this trend? Papolatry.
Papolatry comes in many forms, but all of them give the pope way too much power, more power than he justly deserves. Perhaps the most dangerous of these is treating him like an absolute monarch, holding him to be above the law, above all reproach and punishment.
This need not apply just to our incumbent pope, Francis. It can and does apply to any of the popes throughout history, at least down until the end of the Roman persecutions.
Indeed, as it stands now, the pope can flick away canon law with his finger ... but let me ask you this. Do you think Christ wanted this?
Do you think Our Lord wanted us to exalt the papacy to the point at where it is at now - beyond the limits of power any one man can and should hold? To the point where these limits are extremely liable to abuse by bad men?
Do you think Our Lord wanted us to prove those who split off from His Church - the Protestants - right in their accusations of papolatry?
I can't say with any absolute certainty. But perhaps we have Francis on the seat of Peter to teach us that we should put our trust not in princes nor the pope - indeed, absolute monarchs - but in God first and foremost. Of course, we would need to remain in His Church, but we would need to also remember the Pope is there to serve Christ. Not the other way around. The pope's humanity remains with him his entire life.
Perhaps this is also why He permitted the separation of Church and State, to remind us that what is God's is God's, and what is Caesar's Caesar's.
Remember, man determined the extent of the powers we see in the papacy today, not God.
Let a past Pope, Benedict XVI, speak to us about the dangers of treating the pope like an absolute monarch.