The Pope | Vicar of Christ
The word vicar comes from the Latin word vicarius meaning substitution. The on-line version of the Pocket Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon, S.J. defines the Vicar of Christ as, “The Pope, visible head of the Church on earth, acting for and in the place of Christ. He possesses supreme ecclesiastical authority in the Catholic Church…”
In the Scriptures, however, we clearly see that the Lord sent His Holy Spirit to substitute on His behalf. The Lord Jesus Christ left the supreme, full, immediate, and universal care of souls in the safekeeping of the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus had been on earth the Master, the Counselor and the Guide to the believers. On His passing, He promised to send the Holy Spirit that He might abide with them forever. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (John 16:7). …the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name…(John 14:26).
Thus the Holy Spirit continues among believers until the end of time to carry on Christ Jesus’ work of convicting, teaching, comforting, advising and defending. The following contrast shows that the true and only Vicar of Christ is the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit
The Catechism Says:
#882 “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”
The Bible Says:
Colossians 1:18 And he (Christ)is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
The Catechism Says:
#936 “The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. The bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church on earth.”
#2034 “The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are ‘authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice.’ The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.”
The Bible Says:
I Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church…
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:14 In He [Holy Spirit] shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. John 17:17 “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.”
The Holy Spirit, as the Vicar of Christ, is the supreme promise and the key relationship of every true believer to Christ Jesus. This glorious Person never fades away, He alone remains as the true Vicar (substitute) of Christ. If there is such a thing as fellowship with God and Christ Jesus, and if there is such a thing as being born again unto eternal life, it is abiding in the Holy Spirit, “for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17).
The Lord did not come to establish an ecclesiastical empire of worldly glory; He came to bring His very presence in His true Vicar, the Holy Spirit. In Roman Catholicism, the glory of the incorruptible God has been changed into the glory of a corruptible man. The issue at stake is both the glory of Christ Jesus the Lord and the salvation of souls since both depend on the office of the Holy Spirit as the true Vicar of Christ.