Other Names for the Pope


saint-peter-the-apostleThe Pope, a.k.a Papa, Vicar of Christ, Vicar of Peter, Holy Father, Bishop of Rome, Servant of the servants of God, Supreme Pastor, His Holiness, The Rock, Supreme Pontiff, Father of Kings, Governor of the World, Successor of St. Peter, Shepherd of the Universal Church, etc.

Which ones did I miss?

His office is often referred to as the papacy.

Holy See and Apostolic See refer to the Pope’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

His authority in the Church has been passed down to him, in a direct line of succession, from the apostle Peter. Peter was given this authority to lead the Church by Jesus Christ:

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’” (Matt. 16:18-19).

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:15-17).

Note: It is important to remember that the Pope is especially revered by virtue of his apostolic authority and position in the Church as established and given by Jesus Christ. So any act of respect or title given to the Pope is done so directly out of respect and obedience to Christ and His work.

25 comments Add comment

Manly Rash March 18, 2009 at 9:48 am

He is also known as the Patriarch of the West. I enjoy your blog very much.

Darth Apathy March 18, 2009 at 9:56 am

No one doubts that one bit. I know I don’t.

However, it was the popes that came after and thier rather odd decisions that led to the Protestant reformation itself. It was losing what was truly important as a priority. Which is the faith itself, not money and power.

Taylor Marshall March 18, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Benedict dropped “Patriarch of the West” a year or so a go as one of his titles.

e January 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

i dare say, in the whole Bible through, the rock is always a reference to Jesus Himself. songs sing “Jesus is the rock of my salvation” and the like. read it for yourself; the rock in the Bible is always a representation of Jesus…

that being said, in this particular conversation, could it be that Jesus, pointed to Himself, and told Peter “on this rock….” – meaning Himself? its highly possible. after all, nowhere else in the Bible does God indicate that anyone except the Christ is the Rock. :) build your house upon the Rock. read the Word. its never wrong. humans are. someone made a mistake with this verse, and its no one’s fault, but its something to think about.

Matthew Warner January 19, 2011 at 12:26 am


Actually, I disagree that this is “highly possible”. In fact, the idea that Jesus pointed to himself when saying this, yet the Gospel writer decided to write it down so that it would seem to mean something entirely different (that Peter is the Rock) is simply not plausible. And I don’t think I’ve heard any serious historian or biblical scholar (protestant, catholic or otherwise) make any such claim (that Jesus pointed to himself here while clearly indicating verbally that Peter is the Rock).

Read the verse. It’s extremely clear. It takes a lot of twisting and people not really meaning what they say for it to mean anything other than Peter being the Rock. It really does. And yes, Jesus is ultimately the Rock. Catholics agree with you there. But before he ascended back to Heaven, he left leaders of His Church. And he made one in particular (Peter and his successors) to be His human representation on Earth in the meantime. Right after that He uniquely gives to Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of heaven. It’s actually pretty cool.

Additionally, if we look at history and how the earliest Christians interpreted this, we see that they believed Peter to be the Rock.

Here is some further reading if you’d like:
Peter the Rock
Origins of Peter as Pope
More links to early Christian understanding

Peace be with you and thanks for your thoughts!

Em November 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

You forgot to include the scriptural title for the Pope…from 2Th 2:3…that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Matthew Warner November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Em – I don’t follow? All of that sounds like the exact opposite of the pope. *confused*

Rodger October 4, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Upon this rock means the revelation of who Jesus is, if you read the discussion between Jesus and Peter, Jesus was asking Peter who He Was! (Not who Peter was) it was very important for Peter to get the revelation of who Jesus was! When Peter finally answered right and said You are the Christ that’s when Jesus said Upon this rock (REVELATION OF WHO JESUS IS)! will I build My church (It’s simple not confusing at all)

Matthew Warner October 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Roger, that’s a very confusing way to understand what would have to be a very confused way of saying what you claim it to mean. You are also having to rearrange the words in a way that they are not put together in scripture in order to come up with your “simple” explanation of it.

If you read it the way it is written, it is very clear for a number of reasons. Jimmy Akin addresses some of the obvious ones in a video here.

There is more on the linguistics involved here.

And then the argument from history is clear, too, even among protestants. The “simple” interpretation that you are claiming is correct is a really very new interpretation. So somehow Christians have gotten it wrong for thousands of years and now only in the past 50 years (when your argument has started showing up) a few like yourself have figured out the really simple interpretation of it? Even the protestant reformers believed the passage is referring to Peter as the rock, including Luther. And for hundreds of years since they believed the same thing. But now that people are realizing that this passage makes a strong case for the Catholic Church having been given authority by Christ, now we see the twisting of it into a new interpretation that is really quite a stretch from the basic grammar of the passage.

Cathy March 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm

The Pope is called God in the veil of Human Flesh, also Our Lord and God.
Seems like blasphemy to me, allocating divinity to Man!

Matthew Warner March 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

Cathy – that sounds a bit wonky to me. Show me where the Church calls the pope “God in the veil of Human flesh” and I’ll show you how you’re misunderstanding it.

The Mystery of the Incarnation may come into play here. After all, Jesus is God. And are we not a part of his Body? Is the Church not the Body of Christ? Do we not all partake in God’s nature in our communion with Him? If we are open minded to this reality here, I think we could read such descriptions much more charitably (and helpfully) than you are here (calling it blasphemy).

Here is more on the subject here. God bless you.

Cathy March 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Yes, we are the body of Christ, and he is the head. I realize that men coined that phrase, but Our Lord our God….come on that elevates Man to the level of God!

Cathy March 15, 2013 at 12:37 am

OK, I found where ” the Pope is God under the veil of flesh”………
It was the words of :
Pope Pious X
I would appreciate a response.

Matthew Warner March 15, 2013 at 11:34 am

Not sure what you’re saying, still. Nobody has elevated the Pope to the level of God. One of the main titles for the Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God. A servant of a servant. There is nobody on the planet more aware of the fact that they are not God than the Pope. And the Church does not teach that the Pope is divine. At all. Anywhere.

As far as I can tell, the quote you are looking at is a figure of speech for how God works through us, that we are his hands and feet. If we are God’s hands and feet (a very biblical image) that is pretty much saying exactly what that quote seems to be saying. The pope is just so in a very unique way, in a way that Christ himself appointed the earthly leader of His Church to be.

And of course, if you could provide a source and context for the quote, I’m willing to bet it becomes more clear what he was saying. What is the source/context of the quote you are referencing? Please provide.

Cathy March 15, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Mr. Warner,
You are an excellent RC Apologist. Pious 10th certainly centralized the Modern Catholic Church…that is why his statement is so powerful!
Look at how the Office of the Inquisition became the Holy Office in the early 20th Century, and how it finally became the Office of Faith & Morals!
Well, I will back to you, on more of that pompous statement of the Veil Of God!
Baptized and Raised Roman Catholic….I have no horse in this race, but the Truth!

Cathy March 15, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Here is the phrase for Pope Pious X:

“The Pope is not simply the representative of Jesus Christ:
On the contrary, he is Jesus Christ himself, under the veil of flesh.”

Where in the NT was a Pope ever mentioned?
I am sure your answer will be : the Bishop of Rome won out over Alexandria, Anteoch, Jerusalem, Patriarchs. Even though all good Roman Catholics don’t ever want to mention Emporer Constantine, he played a HUGE Part in formation of the RCC (Universal Church!) You will refer me to extrabiblical writings of Church Fathers…I say they all had agendas, some good and some from the occult. Thus, the phrase “Baptized Pagans!”

Matthew Warner March 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Cathy – First of all, a lot of your assumptions here seem very disjointed and rooted in a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches and what has happened in history. Here is a good list of resources explaining the papacy that I think you might find helpful. I encourage you to read them with an open mind: Questions about the pope?

But just for starters, just because a pope says something doesn’t mean it is infallible or that it is church teaching. This is Catholicism 101. So there seems to be a severe misunderstanding of just what the implications would be even IF a pope did say this quote (and meant what you’re implying).

And again, you have yet to provide a source and full context of where you got this quote. Which is a red flag and a fairly good sign that perhaps you’ve just heard this claim from somebody else or read it somewhere that did not provide any source (which is shameful and unchristian if it was making these kinds of accusations without providing any kind of source check). However, with a little research into this particular quote…I quickly found that it’s extremely questionable and clearly been used by anti-catholics in an immoral way to twist the truth and to deceive people.

Here’s just one blog post I found analyzing some of it. But here’s the gist on the shadiness of this particular quote you are asking about:

A Protestant paper, the “Church Review,” in England, October 3, 1895, charges Cardinal Sarto, Archbishop of Venice, with having uttered those words at Venice. Cardinal Sarto was elected Pope in 1903. But as soon as the charge was made in 1895 that Cardinal Sarto had said those words, inquiries were sent from England to Venice, and Cardinal Sarto produced the manuscript of his discourse. And this is what he actually did say:”The Pope REPRESENTS Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love; love, his weapon; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, that is, the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on Earth and in Heaven.”

1.) The quote is said to have appeared from an English Protestant publication (October 3, 1895), not a Catholic one. As an aside, that quote had also appeared earlier from another Protestant magazine entitled Evangelical Christendom in January 1 of that year.

2.) The actual words of Cardinal Sarto (later Pope Pius X; he only became Pope in 1903) says that the Pope represents Jesus Christ, not that he is Jesus Christ, as this misquote (and those who use them) loves to say.

3.) I haven’t been able to find anything about Catholic National. There is however, a Catholic publication which have the names National Catholic Register which is the oldest Catholic newspaper in the United States; however, this publication was begun in 1927.


I’d encourage you to get better sources, or at least provide them here, if you are going to make such scathing accusations about something that you seem to not sufficiently understand. God bless you.

Cathy March 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Thank you Mr. Warren,
You have presented much in your argument. I will look over your citations, because I know there are ” Catholic Bashers” out there defending Reformation!
Infallibility became an issue with Pope Pious the IX? This is done Excathedra on Doctrines of Faith & Morals! OK, it has been done Amen

How can anyone argue against the Most Powerful institution on Earth? The RCC is the Universal Church, that will be the One World Religion, when Christ returns! She fulfills Prophecy, in both the OT & NT!
The World is embarking to Rome….look for the false Signs & Wonders….Delusions!
Believe in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords! Put your Trust in God and NOT your confidence in Man!
Remember Christ is our only Mediator—Timothy 2:5 don’t look to anyone else to Save you…we are justified by the redemption of Christ Jesus by faith in his “precious blood!” He has given us (Believers) the perfect “Free Gift” …How I Love My Saviour!
Bless you

Gabriel Castillo June 21, 2013 at 9:38 am

Remember Matthew 23:9 “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”

There is only one mediator between God and men, and that is the man Christ Jesus! (Timothy 2:5)! No OTHER MEDIATOR! NO POPE, NO BISHOP, NO PRIEST can rid us of sin! Only Jesus can!

Much love! and please read the prophecies of Daniel 9 and Revelations 13, and 17 to really find out what the RCC really is!

God bless you all!

Matthew Warner June 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm

*sigh* This is not only a misunderstanding of the scripture, but a misunderstanding of what the Catholic Church teaches and is. I encourage you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the early Church fathers (along with scripture of course) if you want to understand what the Catholic Church really is and teaches. Another good place to start online might be catholic.com.

God bless.

Cathy June 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I have studied Revelation 17, and have seen the RC Defense! The RCC fulfills the Criteria, of the Woman Who
Rides The Beast( Harlot/Mystery Babylon! She is Spiritual Babylon, and we know what what happens….Babylon has Fallen, Babylon has Fallen!
Daniel, mentions the “Little Horn” which grows stoutly, aftter the fall of the Roman Empire, the Holy Catholic Church, which took the place of the Roman Empire. She ruled and had Temporal power, over Europe.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, particularly verse 3 & 4
This describes the Papacy?
People today, have dismissed, the Early Reformers view of the Son of Perdition, Man of Sin. Nobody, reads the Bible, in this Secular World, anymore. Ecumenism, has taken over, offering Mysticism for all!
Many Blessings!

Gabriel Castillo June 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm

God bless you Cathy!

Cathy May 11, 2013 at 5:05 pm

The Catholic National 1895
Look on this site!
It just came upon me today, and I forgot the name of your site….but, here it is!
Please reply
Thank you
In Christ,

25 comments Add comment

Previous post:

Next post: