The word for today is – PONTIFICATE – which means – TO ACT IN A POMPOUS OR DOGMATIC WAY.
It has its origin in ancient Roman religion. Generally the dictator or emperor was the high priest of religious ceremonies. Roman priests supervised the sacrifice of animals and the examination of the animal’s entrails especially the liver. They were able to divine the future in this way. The Latin word – PONS – means – BRIDGE, and the word – FACERE – means – TO MAKE, TO BUILD. The Latin word for priest was – PONTIFEX – because he built a bridge between God and man. The highest priest was called – PONTIFEX MAXIMUS. The Pope is referred to as the PONTIFEX MAXIMUS. Hence we have the word – Pontiff.