Letter to editor,

It was “headline” news the other day when Pope Benedict stepped down from his post as head of the Catholic Church. There were a lot of people commending him for doing so – recognizing that age brings its own infirmities. Perhaps he will set precedence for this political office.

The Catholic Church is a complex institution, and one who tries to understand may do so, but effort must be extended. Fortunately, those who subscribe to the New Testament don’t have to concern themselves with the complexities of the Catholic Church. The New Testament church is a simple, local, and autonomous institution. The leaders of the local church are the elders (also known as pastors, bishops, and presbyters); their authority resides exclusively with the teachings of Scriptures.

In an article concerning what will happen now that his resignation is forthcoming, this remark was made: “As in recent elections, some push is expected for the election of a Third World pope, with several names emerging from Asia, Africa and Latin America, home to about 40 percent of the world’s Catholics.” This interesting remark points out that man-made institutions have human leaders; the Lord’s church, however, has only Christ at its head.