The Biblical Boots of the Papacy
Do you remember that one scene in Toy Story when Sheriff Woody, unsure of his vocation, doubts his authority over the rest of the gang? Woody’s been insulted and abandoned, his motives have been questioned, threats to domestic security are only getting scarier, and he’s feeling very, well, very human. It’s been a long story, a toy story. Frustrated, Woody sighs and leans over to look at his boots. On the bottom of his right boot, scrawled in permanent ink, is the name Andy. Suddenly, he remembers his purpose. Woody’s deepest identity, his special role among Andy’s other toys, ultimately rests in…Andy.
The metaphor breaks down, as all metaphors do, but I invite you to have fun with it. For some two thousand liturgical years the pope has been insulted and abandoned, his motives have been questioned, the threats to domestic security are only getting scarier, and all the while he’s been feeling very human. It’s been a long story, a salvation story, and how often has the good pontiff doubted his authority over the rest of the gang? How often has he sighed and leaned over to look at his boots? And when he does, he remembers his purpose. For on the bottom of his right boot, so to speak, is the name Jesus. The pope’s deepest identity as St. Peter’s successor, his special role among Christ’s other apostles, ultimately rests in…Jesus.
It’s always a good time to remember the biblical boots of the papacy. Much has been written against the pope—most of it clouded by exaggeration and fabrication. But when we open our Bibles, Peter’s role in salvation history begins to make sense. It comes alive in a way that makes the story more Christ-exulting and soul-nourishing, and we are invited to worship the triune God with grateful and obedient