Servus Servorum Dei



Virgo Virginum

The Pope is referred to as, inter alia, servus servorum Dei. Literally, this means “the servant of the servants of God”. However, it would be wrong to translate this expression literally.

The expression means, in Latin, “the first of God’s servants”, or “the most eminent of God’s servants”. The Pope is the most exalted figure among those who serve Christ.

This typical Latin usage is known to Christians also from other expressions. For example, the Blessed Virgin is called Virgo Virginum (“Virgin of Virgins”) to express her absolute preeminence among all virgins.

Another example that comes to my mind now is the way Latin described the chamber of the Temple of Jerusalem where the Ark was located: Sancta Sanctorum, “the most sacred (plural) of the sacred” places, again to express the idea that that chamber was the very embodiment of the “sacred spaces”. Some Catholic churches also have the most important chapel called in that way, and in Italian this Latin expression is of common use among the better educated to express this idea of “holy of holies”.

The Pope is, therefore, not our servant. He is not in a more humble position than we are. He is the most preeminent figure among even the successors of the Apostles.

Why do I say this? Because I find it wrong, if perhaps well-intentioned, to try to downplay Francis’ heresies by downplaying the entire institution of the Papacy. The contrary should be the case: the more you consider the Papacy important, the more you will be irate at this Pope’s antics. The more you love the Papacy, the most you will hate the way Francis is raping it. If you love the Church, you cannot but loathe this evil clown.

I think this should be said, and I think you should explain this in your circle of friends. When you criticise Francis – and you should do it very harshly, with the Gatling gun – your interlocutor must leave you with a higher estimation of the Papacy, and with a better understanding of the Pope’s unique, Divinely ordained role. This, in turn, will make it easier for him to understand where your criticism is coming from, and why the love for the office demands that you utterly demolish the man who is, let us say it once again, raping it.

Servus servorum Dei. Think of the honour. Think of the responsibility.

Think of the way Francis is making a pig’s breakfast of the prestige of the Papacy, besides everything else Catholic.




Posted on February 25, 2016, in Traditional Catholicism. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Seems to me that you are responding to Fr. Ray Blake’s post of the same title. I admit when he wrote the following, I scratched my head a bit:

    “Perhaps the great truth that this Pope will teach when he is laid to rest with his Fathers is that although the Papacy is of Divine origin, it actually should not be that important. The unity it signifies is important but is unity with Peter’s faith as the Fathers remind us but after all in the normal course of the Church’s life every bishop, every priest, every Catholic should be speaking infallibly or with magisterial authority all the time, firmly fixed on the Rock. If a Pope is a sower of doubt, if he polarises the Church as apparently a former South American Jesuit Provincial did in his Province we have serious problems.

    The Pope is not world leader, the Church is a Communion its model is some contemporary presidency anymore than it is a feudal monarchy, he is after all servus servorum Dei, he has the least place in the Church…”

    The head scratching bit came my understanding that Our Lord purposely gave us an earthly representative to lead his Church…so I must admit, I was floored about “the least place in the Church”…. your post aligns more with my understanding, which does not mean it is correct of course. But it does explain why I am so upset with this papacy.

    • Just some private reflections, occasioned by what I read here and there.
      Even saying that what the Pope says on the aeroplane is “meaningless” ends up, in the end, in the same direction.

  2. Beautiful Mundabor! I hope more people come to understand this. The modern understanding of the papacy doesn’t even make any sense.

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