Undoubtedly, the Catholic Church stands out as the largest Christian denomination in the world today. It boasts of over one billion members worldwide. Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church. “The Pope” means “Father.” This is because this figure represents God the Father who is loving, the creator of Man and sent his only son to die for sinners. What a great love God has for his people. The Pope represents God in a special way. He guards the truth. He leads the numerous Catholic faithful according to the will of God. The Catholic denomination believes that Pope is the successor of Simon Peter, the fisherman.

According to the Catholic tradition, Jesus chose the leader of the apostles, St. Peter, to be his earthly representative. Jesus did this as he founded the papacy during the first century. The Bible in the Matthew chapter 16 declares that Jesus will build his church upon the ‘Rock’, which he was suggesting was peter. The book also says that Jesus will give Peter the keys of Heaven. These words serve as the main biblical mandate for the papacy. At St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, these words circle the dome. It is important to note that Popes are considered the symbolic descendants of Peter. Traditionally, they are believed to hold “Peter’s Chair.”

Since time in memorial, more than 260 occupants have graced the papal office. There is no doubt that this institution has had its fair share of difficulties. Some of the defining moments in the European history, the office of the Pope has had to grapple with include rise of the Italian Renaissance, split of the Roman Empire and bloodbath of crusades. More recently, these Catholic leaders have struggled to reconcile the always strict doctrine of the Catholic Church with modern life’s realities. This includes defending its firm stances against matters abortion and the death penalty.

The Pope is the single leader of the Catholic Church. He has the authority to teach without or with the consent of members of the Church. He is the Bishop of Rome. The Pope heads the state of Vatican City. This is a sovereign city state that is entirely enclaved within Rome.

The most recent Pope is Francis I. Born in December 17, 1936, Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina. This Argentine Cardinal chose the regnal name ‘Francis’ after St. Francis of Assisi Bergoglio.