Garry Wills: The pope shouldn’t be king

Garry Wills doesn’t mince words when it comes to the papacy. “It’s a crime,” he told On Faith’s Sally Quinn … Continued

Garry Wills doesn’t mince words when it comes to the papacy. “It’s a crime,” he told On Faith’s Sally Quinn in a recent interview. Why?

Says the author of a new book, “Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition” about the legitmacy of the Vatican:

“Well, my wife stopped going to the Vatican because it is a great fortress, a great palace, containing wonderful treasures, but huge coats of arms of all the aristocratic popes. And, after all, the church was built with money the pope got by pretending to let people out of purgatory.

“It’s the remnant of a medieval monarchy, and the idea that the church of Jesus should become a monarchy … you know when Pilate asks Jesus, ‘Are you a king?’ He says, ‘No, not of this earth. If I were a king I would have followers, and they would fight for me, but I’m not a king of this earth.’ The pope has been made into a king of this earth.

“As a matter of fact, when the Romans mocked Jesus, they crowned him as king. That kind of insulting thing is what Christians, in­cred­ibly, came to do themselves. They crowned the pope as king. And, of course, for centuries the king had armies, countries, spies, prisons, torturers, killed masses of people. He was a powerful king, but he was also a spiritual leader and decided that if your Jesus is not my Jesus, I will kill you, so he killed them … Huguenots, Albigensians, in vast numbers for the sin of not worshipping him as king.

“So Lord Acton, who was a Catholic . . . [his] most famous saying, ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ was said precisely about popes.”

About

Sally Quinn Sally Quinn is the founding editor of OnFaith.
  • Dick Diamond

    There are several things I would like to observe: 1) The very opulence of the Vatican and the Cardinals in it and the very wealth of the Vatican Church are the reason there came a Martin Luther and the Protest ant movement (separation of the word on purpose. 2) The message of Christ is not the mesage of the leadership of the Roman Catholics. The message of Christ is far more modest and aimed at the people. 3) The leadership of the Vatican resembles the leadership of the Jewish church at the time of Christ. That’s why there was a movement to Christianity 4) Jesus the Christ was a spokesman for the poor, the oppressed. He hated the rich. The gospels tell us so. The Church today worships wealth (mammon).

    The time has come for another Protest ant movement.

  • Dick Diamond

    Jesus was a community organizer. He was a revolutionary as John the Baptist. He was anti-establishment. He would not be accepted in churches named for him in today’s world. He would be an apostate and heretic.

  • Dick Diamond

    We have institjutionalized faith and religion with the institution known as “The Church.” Our problem is not with religion and faith. Our problem is with the human contrivence known as “The Church,” a human contrivance. Yes, “Upon Peter (Petras = rock) I build my church.” But not like the gilded vanity of the present insitution.

Read More Articles

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

concert
Why I Want to Be Culturally Evangelical

I’ve lost my faith. Do I have to lose my heritage, too?

shutterstock_37148347
What Is a Saint?

How the diversity of saintly lives reveals multiple paths toward God.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.