It will not be surprising if those professing Christians who seek to unite Christianity and Roman Catholicism in ecumenical bliss use this statement to bolster their endeavors. Already, pastor Rick Warren called on his many social media followers to fast and pray for the cardinals as they gathered to elect a 'new leader':
Following the announcement of Bergoglio's election, Rick Warren would tweet his congratulations:
For those who are unaware, 'Habemus Papam' is the Latin announcement, 'We have a pope!' Oddly, it was a phrase that self-proclaimed evangelical Christian Rick Warren felt comfortable using, a gesture that ought to be quite enlightening to anyone who may still be wondering just how deep Warren's affinity runs for ecumenism and compromise.
Now the new pontiff is on record as saying that Jesus is the center of the church and not the pope, and one cannot help but think that this quote might end up being used ad nauseam by compromising Christians to defend Pope Francis I and the aberrant, heretical gospel of the Roman Catholic Church. If the pope truly believed that Christ should be the focus of his church, however, then his first act as pope should have been to abolish the office of pope.
What is curious, then, is that Francis I has stated that Jesus is at the center of the church. Yet, Jesus Christ is far more than merely the center of the church, He is the head of the Church. That is, He is head of the true Church, those chosen before the foundation of the world who have been saved by grace and granted repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. These comprise the true Bride of Christ. Jesus Christ alone has authority over the Church. He is not merely the center or the focus of the redeemed, He is their King, their Lord and their Master.
And he [Christ] is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. (Col. 1:18)
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Eph. 5:23–24)In fact, Jesus Christ is far more than just the Head of the Church, He is the Head of all things:
having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:18–23)The Roman Catholic Church denies this biblical truth and instead elevates a mere man to the position of head of the church. From Vatican I:
So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema. (Vatican I, Session 4, Ch. 3)Vatican II further affirms this:
The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. (Vatican II, LG 22)Thus, no matter what pleasing words may be spoken by Pope Francis I, no matter how friendly his themes may sound to weak-willed Christians, the truth is that his very willingness to bear the title and office of 'Vicar of Christ', to dare to allow himself to be revered as the head of the church, means that he is walking contrary to Scripture, and in rebellion to the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a man, unless he repents and turns to Christ, will one day face unspeakable judgment.
The true Church can have only one Head, and that is Jesus Christ. May those who seek to usurp that headship fall on their faces before Him: