3.) "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty"-Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter of June 20, 1894This one is a classic case of "cherry-picking a quote out of context." The Encyclical mentioned here is Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, which called for the reunion of Eastern and Western churches into the "Unity of the Faith". What then, does the actual Encyclical say?
...A great deal, however, has been wanting to the entire fulness of that consolation. Amidst these very manifestations of public joy and reverence Our thoughts went out towards the immense multitude of those who are strangers to the gladness that filled all Catholic hearts: some because they lie in absolute ignorance of the Gospel; others because they dissent from the Catholic belief, though they bear the same name of Christians. This thought has been, and is, a source of deep concern to Us; for it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from Us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief.But since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and now that Our advanced age and the bitterness of anxious cares urge Us on towards the end common to every mortal, We feel drawn to follow the example of Our Redeemer and Master, Jesus Christ, who when about to return to Heaven, implored of God, His Father, in earnest prayer, that His disciples and followers should be of one mind and of one heart: "I pray...that they all may be one, as thou Father in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us."And as this divine prayer and supplication does not include only the souls who then believed in Jesus Christ, but also every one of those who were henceforth to believe in Him, this prayer holds out to Us no indifferent reason for confidently expressing Our hopes, and for making all possible endeavors in order that the men of every race and clime should be called and moved to embrace the unity of divine faith.1.) If the Pope identifies himself as God, then why does he refer to the Lord Jesus as "Our Redeemer and Master?" Surely God cannot have a master as that would imply that there is someone superior to him.
Pressed on to Our intent by charity, that hastens fastest there where the need is greatest, We direct Our first thoughts to those most unfortunate of all nations who have never received the light of the Gospel, or who, after having possessed it, have lost it through neglect or the vicissitudes of time: hence do they ignore God, and live in the depths of error. Now, as all salvation comes from Jesus Christ--for there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved--Our ardent desire is that the most holy name of Jesus should rapidly pervade and fill every land.
2.) The phrase is interpreted in the wrong sense by many here. In the Catholic point of view, "we hold upon this Earth the place of God" makes perfect sense, as Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar (i.e. Representative) of Christ. What does a representative do? He "holds the place" of the person he represents! Far from claiming that he is God in the flesh, Pope Leo is just reaffirming his position as Christ's representative (like a Prime Minister) on Earth.
4.) Pope Nicholas I declared that "the appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who being God, cannot be judged by man." (Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para)This is quite similar to an argument Frs. Rumble and Carty answered:
2-311. Pope Nicholas I said that the Pope, being God, is judged by no man.If I might add, the citation "Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para" is obscure. I checked his opera omnia (whole works) here (based on Migne's Patrologia Latina) and found no document similar to the one above.
REPLY: Never did Pope Nicholas I. say that the Pope is God. What he does say is this:"Since those in higher authority are not judged by inferiors, it is evident that the Apostolic See, than which no earthly authority is higher, is judged by none."And that is perfectly sound reasoning. Even in civil law, the king is "above the law," and not subject to his own laws. Hence the legal axiom, "The king can do no wrong." Italy itself has acknowledged the justice of the Pope's claim to be independent of all civil jurisdiction, and subject to no earthly authorities.
UPDATE (2010/10/03): After a bit of research, it now seems to me that the "Gratian Primer Para" refers to the Decretum Gratiani; for those curious about Gratian, see this page; a full text of his Decretum is available here. Lo and behold, after a bit of tweaking I finally found the source of our little quote (courtesy of the Internet ;)): it's from his Decretum, pars prima (Part One), Distinctio XCVI, Canon 7.
Satis euidenter ostenditur, a seculari potestate nec solui prorsus, nec ligari Pontificem, quem constat a pio principe Constantino (quem longe superius memorauimus) Deum appellatum, cum nec posse Deum ab hominibus iudicari manifestum sit. Sed et Theodosius minor sanctae sinodo scribens dixit Ephesinae primae. "Deputatus est igitur Candidianus, magnificentissimus comes strenuorum domesticorum, transire usque ad sanctissimam sinodum uestram, et in nullo quidem, quem faciendae sunt de piis dogmatibus questiones seu potius expositiones, communicare. Illicitum namque est eum, qui non sit in ordine sanctissimorum episcoporum, ecclesiasticis intermisceri tractatibus." (Et post pauca:) §. 1.EDIT: Continue on, brave reader, to part 2!
His itaque manifestis repertis aparet conministrum Ignatium per inperialem tantummodo sententiam nullo modo potuisse prorsus expelli. In cuius dampnatione quia presulum quoque assensus est subsecutus, aparet fuisse patratum id causa adulationis, non legitimae sanctionis.