What is the Letter of the Law on Loyalty to the Holy Father.
As Catholics, we are obligated to listen and follow the teachings of the Holy Father on matters of faith and morals. We also must recognize his supreme universal authority over the Catholic Church and all its practices. In fact, to become Holy Father, the man must surrender a part of his free will, so that God can guarantee the infallibility of his teachings on faith and morals. Thus obedience to the Pope's teachings in faith and morals is direct obedience to God.
Under the Fourth Commandment, we are commanded to honor Church authorities and show them the proper filial respect due their position. This means we have an obligation to honor the Vicar of Christ with great respect as a child honors his loving father.
What is the Spirit of the Law on Loyalty to the Holy Father.
The Holy Father, as a loving servant of God, is entrusted with the spiritual welfare of all of God's children on Earth. This is a very large and difficult task that the Pope has. We as his spiritual children, have an obligation in love to give him our loyalty and prayers in his great endeavor.
If we, as children, have a problem with something the Holy Father has, is, or will do, we can in love bring it up with the proper authorities in a loving and non-divisive manner. A number of the saints have lovingly written privately to the Holy Father when they felt his actions were not those of God's will.
Let us considering the Spirituality of Loyalty to the Holy Father.
In the scriptures, we see that Jesus makes Simon Peter the Rock (a term that was in the old testament applied to God), the visible head of the Church and allowed Peter to speak for Him (What you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven. What you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven.). Jesus is the Head of the Church and the Church is his bride. So in a mystical way Jesus is united with the Pope in his role as Head of the Church. We see this also in the Acts of Apostles where people died for lying to the Holy Spirit when they lied to Peter as Pope.
In the Holy Father as Vicar of Christ, we can see the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the love and wisdom displayed by the Holy Father. The more the Holy Father opens himself (through his free will) to God, the more perfect the unity of God in the Holy Father. The holier the Pope, the more we can sense God's presence in his person.
The Holy Father in his role is granted special charisms by God to serve and love God's people. We often do not know or understand the true situation that is occuring and must give the Holy Father all benefit of doubt or uncertainty in all that he does. We should be open to following his teachings and example in all things, like a loving adult child follows his loving father.
In loving the Holy Father as Vicar of Christ, we are loving God as well as the Lord of our lives. In supporting the Holy Father, we are doing are filial duty. We are all called to show the deepest respect to the office of the Holy Father and the person who holds the office.
Loyalty to the Holy Father is Loyalty to God.
Prayer for Increased Loyalty to the Holy Father
Dear Loving God,
You have granted us Your Vicar, the Holy Father, as Your visible leader on Earth of Your people and have granted him numerous graces and gifts to serve Your people. Thank You for the Holy Father. Bless the Holy Father in everyway possible and let everyone see in him You. Bring him to Holiness.
Grant, me, o God, your loving child, to see the Holy Father as my Spiritual Father giving him my loyalty in all matters spiritual and my deepest respect in all things. Encourage me to keep the Holy Father always in my prayers and grant that I might support him in serving You. Grant me a deep love for the Holy Father and use me as You see fit to aide the Holy Father in whatever ways You wish. I offer up my sufferings that I endure in life for the Holy Father and for the missions You give him.
Help all peoples understand the role of the Holy Father and grant them all a deep love for him, a profound respect for his office, and a strong loyalty to him.