| Quote #13
Here the pope claims two powers that Catholics traditionally regarded as belonging to the church, as represented by its priests, cardinals, and/or popes. The first is the pope's power to decree infallibly in his papal office. What does this mean? Whatever he decrees officially, as pope, is totally and absolutely true. The other power belongs to all priests (including popes and cardinals). This is the power to forgive sins, here called the power to "bind or loose, lock fast, condemn or judge." With this power, the church controls an individual's access to salvation, since only when his sins are forgiven by a priest can he hope to enter heaven. Corresponding with this power is the "dreadful curse," meaning the ability to excommunicate someone, prohibiting that person from receiving the sacraments. But the Pope uses this power selfishly, to make the whole world "stoop," when that is presumably not what God intended it for.