In our first reading, the Bible addresses kings and magistrates, saying, “Authority was given to you by the Lord.”
And St. Paul backs that up in Chapter 13 of his Letter to the Romans where he says, “Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed.”
I one time quoted that to a group of twenty-year-old boys and girls; and they agreed in saying, “Well, we don’t believe that!”
We can see where the many misuses of authority would lead young people to say that. One misuse that pops into my head was that of Pope Leo X. In the year that Martin Luther took his stand against Rome, Leo was saying, “Since God has given us this papacy, let us enjoy it.”
In Chapter Two of the Bible after God had created his first human, he said, “It is not good for him to be alone.” In creating us as social beings whose ideas would differ, he was also creating the need for someone who could say, “The buck stops here.”
I am most grateful for three authorities God placed over me.
Every time my father got close to paying off his house, one of us six kids would need a serious operation. It would force my dad to take out a hateful mortgage, but his authority from God forced him to it.
We trusted our seminary rector in every decision he had to make for our lives. He wouldn't sanctimoniously tell us, "I have prayed over this." No, he'd say, “This seems to be the reasonable thing to do.”
Then, we know that Pope Francis, in exercising his authority, does what God wants him to do.