[Orthodoxy] Papal Authority

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    BTW, if I didn’t respond to your questions it was either because i agreed or because I am leaving them for later.



    [quote:1jkq57zj]There is no denying that the east had it harder then the west. With most all the invasions happening in the east, it is easy to see why most of the theology was coming from there. Although there was a moment of silence since the Turks invaded in 1453. Which is thought by many to be the official separation of the east from the west. Why such silence since it’s separation from Rome? The reading I’ve done thus far has lead me to believe that BOTH sides had some fault in the schism. One of my questions is a schism ever justified? I’m sure both sides will say no. But the most crucial question is whether Peter was simply has a primacy of honor or does it go beyond on that and does he have a primacy of authority?

    To show Peter’s primacy of authority I will open with a commentary by Catholic Answers:

    At every juncture where Jesus speaks of Peter’s relation to the other apostles, he emphasizes Peter’s special mission to them and not simply his place of honor among them.
    In Matthew 16:19, Jesus gives Peter “the keys to the kingdom” and the power to bind and loose. While the latter is later given to the other apostles (Matt. 18:18), the former is not. In Luke 22:28‚Äì32, Jesus assures the apostles that they all have authority, but then he singles out Peter, conferring upon him a special pastoral authority over the other disciples which he is to exercise by strengthening their faith (22:31‚Äì32).

    Listen to what some of the fathers had to say about Peter’s office:

    [b:1jkq57zj]St. Peter Chrysologus[/b:1jkq57zj]
    “In all things we exhort you, honorable brother, that you obediently attend to the things which have been written down by the Most Blessed Pope of the city of Rome, since Blessed Peter, seated and presiding in his own see, offers the truth of the faith to those who are seeking it. For we out of zeal for peace and for the faith cannot hear cases regarding the faith without the consent of the bishop of the city of Rome” (Letter to Eutyches, 2, A.D. 449).

    [b:1jkq57zj]St. Fulgentius of Ruspe[/b:1jkq57zj]
    “That which the Roman Church, which has the loftiest place on the earth, teaches and holds, so does the whole Christian world believe without hesitation for their justification, and does not delay to confess for their salvation”

    [b:1jkq57zj]Pope Victor (A.D. 195)[/b:1jkq57zj]
    “And he says to him again after the resurrection, ‘Feed my sheep.’ It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church’s) oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is (thus) made clear that there is but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? This unity firmly should we hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcopate itself to be the one and undivided.”

    [b:1jkq57zj]Council of Sardica,Canon V (A.D. 343/344)[/b:1jkq57zj]
    “Bishop Hosius said: Decreed, that if any bishop is accused, and the bishops of the same region assemble and depose him from his office, and he appealing, so to speak, takes refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he be willing to give him a hearing, and think it right to renew the examination of his case, let him be pleased to write to those fellow-bishops who are nearest the province that they may examine the particulars with care and accuracy and give their votes on the matter in accordance with the word of truth. And if any one require that his case be heard yet again, and at his request it seem good to move the bishop of Rome to send presbyters a latere, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as he judges it to be good and decides it to be right that some be sent to be judges with the bishops and invested with his authority by whom they were sent. And be this also ordained. But if he think that the bishops are sufficient for the examination and decision of the matter let him do what shall seem good in his most prudent judgment. The bishops answered: What has been said is approved.”

    Does this sound like just honor?

    You say that the See of Rome did not recognize Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council. That’s fine, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Council, in Chalcedon, did elevate Constantinople to a Patriarchate…I don’t think the Holy Fathers would have done this if the “legend” as scholars have now rejected, didn’t have any bearing. Aside from that, there is no scholarly proof that St. Peter was ever in Rome for the 10+ years that Catholics suggest he was, but that doesn’t stop Roman Catholics from making the claim. The Church has always taught it, the bishops of Constantinople, and later Patriarchs, are enumerated from the Apostle Stachys, to the present day. Surely, a Roman Catholic who doesn’t like the idea of some supposed “usurpation” is going to reject this. Realistically, there was no USURPATION. New Rome never claimed to be taking over Rome, Constantinople never made a claim to the first honorary seat. Rome’s honorary primacy was never challenged by Constantinople’s elevation to a Patriarchate. This is something that Roman Catholics don’t seem to understand, for some strange reason. [/quote:1jkq57zj]

    Perhaps individual catholics don’t understand, but this is recognized Ted. The New Catholic Encyclopedia says, [i:1jkq57zj]”The consummation of the schism is generally dated from the year 1054, when this unfortunate sequence of events took place. This conclusion, however, is not correct, because in the bull composed by Humbert, only Patriarch Cerularius was excommunicated. The validity of the bull is questioned because Pope Leo IX was already dead at that time. On the other side, the Byzantine synod excommunicated only the legates and abstained from any attack on the pope or the Latin Church.”[/i:1jkq57zj]

    I will await your response.


    Well put, man. *claps*



    There is something I’ve been meaning to share with you. This came to me a while back while driving on one of Southern California’s busiest freeway (the 5 freeway). Come to think of it, this is actually where I have some of my deepest thoughts. I completely block out the noisy world around me and dwell in my thoughts.

    The question that popped into my head was: Is it unusual for God to give a single man authority over the whole of His people? Or is it more common to see that authority is equally dispersed within a group of men?

    These questions are important to me because God did many things to shape the way or prepare His people for what was to come; such as circumcision for baptism, bread from the desert to bread of life (The Eucharist), and stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son so God can sacrifice His Son (Christ). There are several examples of this that I’m sure you will see and agree with. This parallel also exists with Peter, being the strongest, one that I’m sure you’re aware of; the keys in relation to the keeper of the palace in the Old Testament. (Isaias 22, in which “the key of the house of David”.)

    But you can take this even further and look at several examples where God gives authority to one man over His people. This last statement doesn’t prove the supremacy of authority given to Peter, but it sure shows God functioning in such a way. Most all major doctrines that we both believe in, Ted, have some sort of parallel in the OT. But it appears that the Orthodox Church seems to either minimize or misunderstand the parallels with Peter. The misunderstanding is much easier to deal with because an honest conversation with plenty of clarification may help the Orthodox see the office of Peter in the OT. But when assuming an Orthodox said, “Well I can see how God gave authority to Moses, for example, but that doesn’t mean Peter had such authority.” This is difficult for me to grasp because with every doctrine we both believe in God elevates what was (mana in the desert, circumcision, Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice, etc.) to what is (bread of life [Eucharist], baptism, Christ’s sacrifice, etc.) We do not see Him minimizing practices like circumcision, but rather He elevates them to a supernatural state. He makes them even more special, from a physical circumcision to a circumcision of the heart, for example. Either God decided to not give Peter authority over the whole of His people like He did in the OT (Moses, Abraham, etc)…OR He does address it by giving Peter supremacy of honor with equal authority shared with the rest of the bishops, as you say this is the case. Which means He did not elevate it like He did everything else. He simply mimicked the OT, with no change, no elevation. Why would He not do it with Peter but do it with everything else like what I noted above?
    Only the Catholic position seems to satisfy God’s way of doing things in the OT. Did God ever give more than one person authority? Of course He did, but my only point is that God consistently appears to like going through one person and uses him as final authority on matters that deal with His people. As an example we can look at the OT in Exodus 4:14. Here we begin to see God’s method of hierarchically positioning men. He tells Moses “You will be as God.” Positioning him directly above Aaron and all the people. We see God doing things like this all through out the OT with different men. Did He drop the ball in the NT and decide “I’m going to make all equal”. It seems to me like God knows us too well. He understands the power behind using one person vs. using the college of bishops alone. Not that the college of bishops can’t produce an infallible proclamation for the body of believers. For history shows they have done this. But history also shows the college of bishops disagreeing right down the middle. 50% say one thing and 50% say another (the numbers are not accurate.) My point is that they couldn’t come to a conclusion, just like they couldn’t in the council of Jerusalem in Acts. Peter spoke and everybody stayed silent and he settled the matter. If you’re honest about it, Ted, you’ll at least conclude that God did use one person often in the OT. So my questions to you are: Why do you think God would stop using the Moses’ of the OT in the NT? If God just intended for Peter to be honored, where is the elevation in that, just like He did all the other doctrines in the NT? Maybe Peter was just the exception, or maybe Catholics are right to view him as they do.



    Thank you for both your eloquent and well-written posts. I’ve had a little hiatus from the internet, and the truth is, like my own huge posts, i really don’t have the time to answer to your posts just yet. Thank you for posting them, and I’ll get back with an answer as soon as I can.


    For the record, I didn’t mean to suggest that your posts were anywhere as long, nor as tiring as mine. I just thought I’d clear that up. I’ve put my foot in my mouth far too many times to not overlook a post (as Jon so aptly suggested) before submitting it. Hope everyone posting on the forum is doing well.


    No problem Ted. Take your time, I’m just glad to have you here. I really do appreciate it.



    Well, I was going to attempt a meaningful reply but there’s [i:37mp3hyl]WAY[/i:37mp3hyl] too much information here. All I would like to say is this: we can argue history as much as we like but it will not change the fact that no eastern See [i:37mp3hyl]ever[/i:37mp3hyl] accepted Papal jurisdiction over them – Rome may have claimed such an authority, but it was certainly ignored in the East.

    This is not to say that Rome held no primacy at all, but that it was not one of direct authority and it was certainly not the case that being out of communion with Rome meant being out of the Church (again, this may have been the view of the Papacy but wasn’t that of any eastern Patriarch). Nor, however, was Papal primacy the empty title that so many RCs seem to read into the phrase ‘primacy of honour’. Many Orthodox may wish it were so, but it is not the case.

    In a reunified Church (if we ever have one) the Pope will retain his primacy but will not have direct jurisdiction over the other Sees. He will have no powers to appoint or depose any bishops outside of the See of Rome, and certainly not other Patriarchs. He will have the right to call and preside over an Ecumenical Council but will be bound by all decisions of said council regardless of personal views and his agreement will not be required to make a council ecumenical. Unless the RCC can agree to such a model of Papal primacy (and the internal affairs of the See of Rome would remain just that – internal), then no reunification will ever happen.

    And I can’t see that we’ll ever accept RCC doctrines developed after the Schism, so no Papal Infallibility, no Purgatory, no Immaculate Conception and no dogma of the Assumption. It’s quite possible that I’ve missed some, but those are what springs to mind.



    Actually, Eastern Churches DID accept Rome’s primacy, I need to go find the proof of that…


    James, once again greetings and we hope to have you share your thoughts further in this forum. I suggest you read over the material in this thread to get a further understanding of where we are at. As I commented to Ted that there are several early church writings before the Great Schism to indicate the primacy of authority of Peter and not just a primacy of honor. I quoted a few fathers earlier in this thread. I can quote some Eastern fathers if you wish as well. Althougth at the time they weren’t really aware of an Eastern and Western as we think of it. This is something that the Orthodox Church needs to address if they plan to unite with the RC. It is difficult for me to ignore X father or X father throughout early church history talking about Peter in an authoritative manner. The language used is not just in an honorable way, but also authoritative.

    Let me know your thoughts.



    James, check out Jesus, Peter and the Keys. In it you will find PLENTY of references to the primacy of Rome by early Church fatehrs, including Eastern Church fathers such as St. John Chrysostym.


    Firstly, I [i:3ri5chq7]said[/i:3ri5chq7] that there was a Papal primacy – I am not of the extremist almost Protestant persuasion you find in some Orthodox circles, OK? Primacy is not the issue, it is the kind of monarchical authority claimed by the Pope. Such never was, and never will be accepted by any of the Sees Rome split with. I have to ask here, what diference this even makes to you? Why do you care? Why must your bishop have the ability to sack mine? It makes no sense to me at all and I tried asking Scott this in another forum but he declined to answer.

    For almost a thousand years no Pope ever directly interfered in the affairs of an eastern See. When Rome did interfere with Constantinople all the other Sees rallied to the EP’s side (as they did when Rome excommunicated the EP) and not the Pope’s. Clearly they didn’t think the Pope was in the right here. Yes you can find examples of the Pope being viewed as an authority – however this was the kind of elder brother, moral authority of a chief servant not the tyrannical authority of an absolute monarch. The former I would accept, the latter never. Many of the Patristic quotes I’ve seen before are not read in at all the same way by Orthodox as by Rome so, as with all proof-texting, we’d be merely arguing opinions, but by all means bring some up for discussion.

    Now, if I am being asked to read RC apologetic books then I must ask that you read at least one thing from our side of the argument, this one written by a Roman Catholic who later became Orthodox. Let me know if you are up for the challenge. You can find it here:


    I would note that I am a layman but I am not ignorant, I do have some knowledge of Patristics, Church history and theology and I am certainly not the Protestant I once was who hated all things Roman. Many, many RCs have tried to convince me of the Patristic case for the current Papacy and none have come close to succeeding. I actually considered the RCC when I was returning to Christianity and it was this issue above all others that convinced me it was NOT the Church Christ founded. By all means, though, have another try. Don’t get your hopes up about a reunification any time soon, though, because hell will freeze over before I or any other Orthodox will accept a Papal monarchy.



    That is funny because in 519, all the Eastern Bishops as well as the Western Bishops signed the Forumla of Hormisdas.


    Sorry, but the “honor” thing just doesn’t stand up. When Jesus told Peter he was the Rock upon which He would build His Church, Jesus meant what He meant. He gave ONLY Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven–not the whole college of Apostles.


    [quote:3n4d2o8d]Firstly, I said that there was a Papal primacy – I am not of the extremist almost Protestant persuasion you find in some Orthodox circles, OK? Primacy is not the issue, it is the kind of monarchical authority claimed by the Pope. Such never was, and never will be accepted by any of the Sees Rome split with. I have to ask here, what diference this even makes to you? Why do you care? Why must your bishop have the ability to sack mine? It makes no sense to me at all and I tried asking Scott this in another forum but he declined to answer.[/quote:3n4d2o8d]

    I guess I’m failing to see exactly what Peter’s primacy is exactly for. Do you see it as a Primacy of honor only?
    As I noted in one of my previous post James. God does indeed like working thru one person. As a matter of fact, this was mostly how he did things. This makes a huge difference James. As Acts 15 shows that the early Patriarchs were not in agreement with circumcising Gentiles. Peter settled the matter. Here let me post it:

    [b:3n4d2o8d]The Jerusalem Council[/b:3n4d2o8d]
    6Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7And when there had been much dispute, [b:3n4d2o8d](Doesn’t sound like they were agreeing)[/b:3n4d2o8d] Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, [b:3n4d2o8d](talking about himself)[/b:3n4d2o8d] that by my mouth [b:3n4d2o8d](who’s mouth? Why not OUR mouth?) [/b:3n4d2o8d]the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. [b:3n4d2o8d](At this point he begins talking about the whole group)[/b:3n4d2o8d] 8So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”
    12Then all the multitude kept silent and listened….[b:3n4d2o8d](Why were they not doing this before? What is it about Peter that they had to keep silent and listen?) [/b:3n4d2o8d]

    James, you seem agitated and a bit cocky if I may say. Perhaps you aren’t really seeking for a union. Or are you? Did you read much of the posts James?
    Some of what you cover is mentioned in other posts. I will answer the rest later.





    I’m sorry if you think I came across as cocky – I’m not – agitated, yes. I just cannot understand why RCs always seem to be so black and white about this. Even in the 19th century the Papacy did not have the monarchical authority it has now, so how can anyone suggest it did in the 10th century or earlier? It’s nonsensical. I admit that some Orthodox go too far the other way, but I am not one of them which is why when I get accused of doing so I get annoyed. Sorry, I’m only human. I pray for reunification but I am not optimistic and of one thing I am certain – the Great Schism will never be healed while the Papacy claims autocratic power. It is not either total authority or honour only. The truth of the matter is that the primacy of honour gave the Pope authority somewhere between these two extremes. Orthodox (despite a long history of denying all authority even to the EP) seem to be willing to accept this, why aren’t RCs? I feel the biggest stumbling block to our unity is the Papacy’s arrogant inflexibility on this issue, but then that’s what caused the Schism in the first place.

    [quote:ji6smnr3]I guess I’m failing to see exactly what Peter’s primacy is exactly for. Do you see it as a Primacy of honor only?

    Peter’s primacy? I don’t see a primacy of any sort for Peter. You should understand that we (and the vast majority of Church Fathers) see the Rock as Peter’s confession, not Peter (in fact, I’m told, reading the original Koine makes this pretty explicit, though my Greek’s not up to such subtleties). Papal primacy is a different matter entirely. Let me put it this way: Peter founded Antioch well before Rome, so if anyone is his successor it’s the Patriarch of Antioch. I would even dispute that Peter founded Rome at all as I’ve seen good evidence that it wasn’t until Clement that a pope was ordained by Peter, but this is irrelevant. Read the canons of the Ecumenical Councils. Rome was not granted primacy because the Pope was successor to Peter but because Rome was the capital city and was honoured by Peter and Paul’s martyrdoms. The councils refer to said primacy as a custom, not a dogma, and later when Constantinople was raised to second place (not accepted by Rome until after a puppet Latin Patriarch was thrust on us, I know), this was again due to the importance of the city. I don’t believe Peter had any primacy of any sort over the Apostles, but merely believe he was a type of all the others and an example, but even if he had it would be completely irrelevant as the only thing about Peter that was even considered in Rome’s favour when primacy was granted was that he died there.



    If Peter had no primcay, why was he to “feed [Jesus’] sheep”? Why do the Early Church Fathers unanimously agree that the Bishop of Rome had a primacy, and not just of honor? For instance, Irenaus in his “Against Heresies”:

    “…by pointing out here the successions of the Bishops of the Greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the Tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been annoucned by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, [i:3vffsq09]all Churches must agree[/i:3vffsq09], that is, the faithful in the whole world…”

    This is not made up, James. And passages such as these could be multiplied. All Church history goes against the ideas you are promulgating. And you do not think the Papce had its complete power before the [i:3vffsq09]nineteenth century[/i:3vffsq09]? Truly, you must have one very little research on the matter. Before the nineteenth century, the Dogma of infallibility had not been infallibly defined, but the Pope had ALWAYS had this. I do not even KNOW how many mounds of evidence could be brought forward to support that.


    This will be my last post on this subject as it is very clear that neither side is going to back down. If this is how Pope Benedict sees things as well then I’m afraid his vow to end the Schism will prove to be nothing but hollow words, but so be it.

    On the ‘feed my sheep’ issue, the near unanimous view of the Fathers is that this has absolutely nothing to do with Peter having authority over the other Apostles, sorry.

    I’m quite familiar with Irenaeus words and I agree with them. At his time all churches were ound to agree (not submit, note) with Rome because she was the bastion of orthodoxy. Surely you can’t believe that Irenaeus was saying that then and for all time, even if Rome were to fall into heresy all Christians must agree (no, you’d rather use submit here I’m sure) or cease to be Christian? That’s purely mad. Besides which even if, for the sakes of argument Rome did have a primacy of authority by reason of the Pope’s Apostolic Succession from Peter, deserting the True faith renders said succession meaningless – you cannot have Apostolic Succession without the Apostolic Faith.

    But no, wait, you believe the Pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra. You also apparently believe this was true before 19th C (how you can understand this is beyond me, but never mind), so was it true for Honorius. Was this heretic Pope condemned by the entire Church including his successor infallible? Did all the Church have to agree with him? If so then I can only assume that the Church ceased to exist during his reign, but that violate’s Christ promise doesn’t it?



    The belief is that Rome won’t fall into heresy. “The gates of hell shall never prevail” is a promise that Jesus made to the apostles. So, while even a particular pope may turn heretical the original deposit of faith will remain intact.


    True, Jon, we believe the Bishop of Rome CANNOT teach error, so your argument falls apart, James.

    But even more than that, NO POPE IN HISTORY has been a heretic, even though that is not a requirment. A Pope actually can have heretical beliefs, he simply cannot promulgate them as infallible.


    Vic, you talk to me, quite rightly of prefigurations in the Old Testament, that are leading us to the New Testament. I agree with you, and Orthodox Christians believe that there is great prefiguring in the Old Testament indeed that the Old Testament cannot be adequately understood without the New Testament. You tell me that St. Peter, “being the strongest” was prefigured in Isaiah 22, “the keys of the house of David”. Well, we know that the keeper of the key of David, prefigured in Isaiah 22 is Christ Himself (Apocalypse 3:7). In Isaiah 22:22 it is a messianic reference to someone who may judge in God’s name and admit or exclude from the City of David. In fulfillment, this is a prophecy of Christ the Lord. The Lord is clearly referring to Himself as keeper of the key. It’s unfortunate that Roman Catholics feel that Orthodox in denying this, try to minimize St. Peter. St. Peter, together with St. Paul, is called PROTOCORYFAIOS in our Church, that is PRE-EMINENT. We laud and herald the blessed St. Peter. It’s funny that Roman Catholics think that just because we don’t believe all the extras that they have tacked on to the blessed saint, that we seek to minimize him.

    You say God always worked through one man in the Old Testament. We see in the Old Testament books of His prophets, this doesn’t mean that God was necessarily working through one man. These are testimonies of His Prophets, which the Comforter spoke through. However, when the Son had incarnated, He certainly did not leave all His authorities on St. Peter, nor did He only call St. Peter. He called the Twelve, who the New Testament tells us are the foundations of the Heavenly City, the Heavenly Jerusalem (Apocalypse 21: 14). God consistenly likes going through one person when it comes to authority, you argue. How does God elevate that in the New Testament. By protecting against inflated egos and titles. He introduces collegiality. All the Apostles, all have the same authority. This is our Lord Who taught whoever wishes to be first, let him be last. What of the Apostles, do we think that they would have taken kindly to a claim that one of them was above the other? Did the ten not rebuke the sons of Zebedee when they asked the Lord to permit them to sit on their right or left? Did St. Paul not rebuke the Corinthians for beginning conversations of who was a better Apostle or greater, Paul, Apollo or Peter? Did not the laudable St. Paul say IS CHRIST DIVIDED? Who is our cornerstone? Always has been, and always will be Christ!

    You say that God knows us too well, and He knows the power of using one over using the college of bishops. Really? That’s interesting, Vic, and you’ll pardon me for saying it, but Orthodox theology has not changed, and it has maintained collegiality from the very beginning. However, the Roman Catholic Church’s malleability, in theology, in “development”, in masses, in innovations, certainly is a strike against the one. Realistically, the argument of the RCC that “you need the Pope to anchor the faith” is horribly compromised when you look how staunch Orthodox belief has been and how constant, DESPITE COLLEGIALITY, while the Roman Catholic Church has seen things stated and revoked, restated, and changed, Pope ruling, then Councils as Supreme (esp. after the Split Papacy, and the Three Popes), back to papal supremacy and a denouncement of past decrees. There is literally so much overturn on what past popes have said that THAT ALONE HORRIBLY COMPRIMISES CLAIMS OF INFALLIBILITY. Because a statement that is INFALLIBLE, without error, is supposed to be IRREFORMABLE. If there is reforming, and changing, TO OPPOSITE VIEWS, who is this infallible and irreformable faith? It is rather, developed, contrived, and then arrived at, under the auspices of THE ONE. You’re right, God knows us too well. He that wishes to be first, let him be last. Let no one approach with triumphalism and think he’s running the show. Let no one be SELF SEEKING, but seeking the common good, the good of the Church, that it abide in Truth.

    Vic, you mention the Council of Jerusalem was St. Peter settling the matter. You say “Why was it chosen that the Gentiles should hear it from St. Peter’s mouth” (v. 7). Because God called him to it. This does not mean that God called only him to it, as God clearly says of His Apostles that ALL are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts. 1). You do make the mistake of arguing that verse 8 is where St. Peter starts talking about the others, when he refers to “them” and that he is calling himself “us”. The “them” in this passage is the Gentiles, whom God acknowledged the sincere faith in them (like the faith of Cornelius for instance) and gave them the Holy Spirit, and God purified the hearts of the Gentiles “them”, from defilement. V. 9 He made no distinctions between us (of the circumcision, the Apostles) and them (the Gentiles), and purified their hearts by faith [We know that God is not a respector of persons, and allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike]. Peter was talking of the Gentiles, not of the remaining in the group, Vic. And those Gentiles who are purified in heart will be saved in the same manner as those faithful Jews, the first Christians. After all, WHAT WAS THE COUNCIL ABOUT? Vic, I must admit, I was a bit alarmed how you cut off v.12, “Then all the multitude kept silent;AND LISTENED TO BARNABAS AND PAUL DECLARING HOW MANY MIRALCES AND WONDERS GOD HAD WORKED THROUGH THEM AMONG THE GENTILES”. Surely the Apostles listened to Peter, but in context, surely you did not think you could just chop the passage in half and attribute to St. Peter that silence that was caused by the testimonies of Ss. Barnabas and Silas amongst the Gentiles??. The silence was obviously to hear them, the Scriptures are clear on this.

    Vic, why did you stop at v. 12? Why not v. 13, where St. James, who the Tradition of the Church tells us was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, speaks and all are silent. V.14 St. James sums up what has been spoken in the Council, what St. Peter has told the council, and St. James points out how what St. Peter has said is in agreement with what God said through the Prophets (v. 16-17). V.19 THEREFORE I JUDGE, says St. James? Who? The PRESIDING BISHOP, who speaks in the end of all the council. No, this is not St. James saying “I think” or “In my opinion”, but after hearing each other, St. James is summarizing the consensus that THE COUNCIL HAS REACHED. V.20 Even as president of the Council, St. James says WE should right to THEM (same words St. Peter used earlier). V.22 It pleased THE APOSTLES and ELDERS, with THE WHOLE CHURCH (certainly it pleased St. Peter also, but it was a decision that was arrived at with all of these early Fathers). The Decree that was sent, was not sent in the name of St. Peter the INFALLIBLE TEACHER, but THE APOSTLES, THE ELDERS and the BRETHREN (v.23) What does the DECREE SAY? “It seemed good to Peter? Or rather IT SEEMED GOOD TO US, BEING ASSEMBLED WITH ONE ACCORD (PETER CANNOT HAVE ACCORD SOLO, to be in ACCORD, he must be with his brothers) (v 25). FOR IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, and to US[the APOSTLES, ELDERS, and BROTHERS].

    This illustrates THE COLLEGIALITY OF THE CHURCH, something that ORTHODOXY has always maintained, and something that down the road, ROME replaced with PAPAL MONARCHY. St. Peter was part of this COLLEGIAL hierarchy, and maybe the Orthodox are right to see him as the honoured first [PROTOS] but not cause or source [ARCHE] of the others. There is no elevation in being the honorary first? Was Peter expecting His Lord to give him something that He would not give the others? Is a valedictorian not elevated amongst graduates of that same class year, although he is still just a spokesman of that same class, and still just one of many graduates? I’m sorry Vic, I really disagree with your logic here. Truly, St. Peter was elevated, but that honorary elevation doesn’t NEED to mean that St. Peter rules with an ironfist, and his successors do too, while everyone else obediently listens. St. Peter never made this claim when he was rebuked to the face by St. Paul.

    “NO WORD speaks John here, NO WORD the other Apostles, but held their peace, for JAMES WAS INVESTED WITH THE CHIEF RULE, and I think it no hardship;Peter indeed SPOKE MORE STRONGLY, BUT JAMES HERE MORE MILDLY: for thus it behooves one in high authority, to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part” ‚ÄìSt. John Chrysostom, Homily XXXIII on Acts

    The error comes when PRIMACY OF HONOUR BECOMES SUPREMACY OVER THE WHOLE CHURCH. Roman Catholics who look back to the early Church always do so with the preconceived notion of PAPATUS. Before the Germanic Popes, the Gregorian Reform, it was PRIMATUS, first honorary of equal Sees. The Rome of the early Church was NOT the Rome of Gregory VII or Innocent III or Boniface VIII.

    “It is not the case that there is one Church at Rome and another in all the world beside. Gaul and Britain, Africa and Persia, India and the East worship One Christ and observe one rule of truth. If you ask for authority, the world outweighs its capital. Wherever there is a bishop, whether it be AT ROME or at ENGUBIUM, whether it be CONSTANTINOPLE or at RHEGIUM, whether it be at ALEXANDRIA or at ZOAN, HIS DIGNITY [THE BISHOP’S] IS ONE AND HIS PRIESTHOOD IS ONE. Neither the command of wealth nor the lowliness of poverty MAKES HIM MORE A BISHOP OR LESS A BISHOP. ALL ALIKE ARE SUCCESSORS OF THE APOSTLES. ‚ÄìSt. Jerome, Letter CXLVI (146) to Evangelus

    “The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head and do nothing of consequence without his consent; BUT EACH MAY DO THOSE THINGS WHICH CONCERN HIS OWN PARISH AND THE COUNTRY PLACES WHICH BELONG TO IT. But neither let him who is the first do anything WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF ALL For so there will be ONENESS OF MIND and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit. ‚ÄìApostolic Canon XXXIV

    We know from Eusebius HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, as he quotes Clement’s Book 6, that St. James the Brother of our Lord, by his virtue, was chosen to lead Jerusalem as bishop.

    Matthew 16:18 the basis and the defense of the PAPACY. Such a sweeping opinion, that it was just St. Peter and St. Peter alone to rule, that should have been pretty straight-forward. Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical SATIS COGNITUM, says it is a venerable and constant belief held always and everywhere by all, that the Papal claims are DIVINE LAW, which means that the Bishop of Rome enjoyed INFALLIBILITY FROM THE BEGINNING. To be sure, Pope Leo XIII excludes even the modern theory of development, stating that “in the decree of the Vatican Council as to the nature and authority of the primacy of the Roman pontiff, no newly conceived opinion is set forth, but the venerable and constant belief OF EVERY AGE”. This statement of Pope Leo XIII doesn’t change the fact that most the early Church interpreted the rock as St. Peter’s confession, his confession of Christ.

    “See what praises follow THIS FAITH. ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build this Church’. What meaneth ‘Upon this rock I will build My church’? UPON THIS FAITH; upon this THAT HAS BEEN SAID, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God. ‘Upon this rock’ saith He, ‘I will build My Church’. ‚ÄìSt. Augustine, Homily X on John V. 1-3)

    ” ‘And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church’, that is, ON THE FAITH OF HIS CONFESSION.” ‚ÄìSt. John Chrysostomos, Homily LIV on Matthew XIV. 13)

    “Faith is the foundation of the Church, for it WAS NOT THE PERSON BUT OF THE FAITH OF ST. PETER that it was said that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, it is THE CONFESSION OF FAITH that has vanquished hell. Jesus Christ is the Rock. He did not deny the grace of His name when He called him Peter, because he BORROWED FROM THE ROCK THE CONSTANCY AND SOLIDITY OF HIS FAITH. Endeavor then, thyself to BE A ROCK THY ROCK IS THY FAITH, AND FAITH IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH. If thou art a rock, thou shalt be in the Church for the Church is built upon the rock. ‚ÄìSt. Ambrose, On The Incarnation

    “Rock is THE UNITY OF FAITH, NOT THE PERSON OF PETER” ‚ÄìSt. Cyprian of Carthage, De Catholicae Ecclesiae Unitate, cap. 4-5

    “Christ is the ROCk who granted to His Apostles that they should be called rock. God has founded His Church on this rock, and it is from this Rock [Christ] that Peter has been named” ‚ÄìSt. Jerome, 6th Book on Matthew

    “I believe that by the rock you must understand THE UNSHAKEN FIATH OF THE APOSTLES”. ‚ÄìSt. Hilary of Poitiers, 2nd Book On The Trinity

    “The word ‘rock’ has only a denominative value it signifies nothing but THE STEADFAST AND FIRM FAITH OF THE APOSTLES” ‚ÄìSt. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexnadria, Of The Trinity, 4th Book

    “Peter and John WERE EQUAL IN DIGNITY AND HONOUR. CHRIST IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL the unshakeable Rock upon which we are all built as a spiritual edifice” ‚ÄìSt. Cyril of Alexandria, Letter to Nestorius

    ” He HAD NOT THE PRIMACY OVER THE DISCIPLES BUT AMONG THE DISCIPLES. His primacy among the disciples was the same as that of Stephen among the deacons” ‚ÄìSt. Augustine, Sermon X on Peter and Paul

    “As soon as Peter heard these words, ‘Whom say ye that I am’? remembering his place he exercised primacy, a PRIMACY OF CONFESSION, NOT OF HONOUR; A PRIMACY OF FAITH, NOT OF RANK”. ‚ÄìSt. Ambrose of Milan, De. In. Som. Sacr. 4:32)

    “But observe how Peter does everything WITH THE COMMON CONSENT; NOTHING IMPERIOUSLY.” –St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12

    “To ALL THE APOSTLES AFTER HIS RESUURECTION HE GIVES EQUAL POWER [PAREM POTESTATEM] and says, “As the Father sent Me, so I send you’. ‚ÄìSt. Cyprian of Carthage, De Unitate, 4

    “FOR NEITHER DID PETER, whom FIRST the Lord chose;when Paul disputed with him afterwards about the circumcision, CLAIM ANYTHING TO HIMSELF INSOLENTLY, NOR ARROGANTLY ASSUME ANYTHING, SO AS TO SAY THAT HE HELD A PRIMACY, AND THAT HE OUGHT TO BE OBEYED BY NOVICES AND THOSE LATELY COME”. ‚ÄìSt. Cyprian, Epistle LXX, concerning the baptism of heretics

    “The Church is built upon THE ONE WHOM PETER CONFESSED when he said, ‘You are the Christ , the Son of the Living God’. That is how Peter came to be called the rock, and he REPRESENTED THE PERSON OF THE CHURCH WHO IS BUILT UPON THIS ROCK AND WHO HAS RECEIVED THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Indeed, Christ did NOT say to Peter, ‘You are rock (petra)” but ‘You are Peter (Petrus). For THE ROCK (PETRA) WAS CHRIST whom he CONFESSED, as does THE WHOLE CHURCH, and he Simon, received the name of Peter” ‚ÄìSt. Augustine, Retractationes I, XXI, 1)

    “For whoever is united to Christ BECOMES PETER” Origen, Commentaria in Evengelium Secundum Matthaeum, PG 13, 997-1004

    “So that the Church if founded UPON THE BISHOPS, and every act of the Church is controlled BY THESE SAME RULERS. Since this, then, is founded on divine law, I marvel that some, WITH DARING TEMERITY, HAVE CHOSEN TO WRITE TO ME AS IF THEY WROTE IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH”. ‚ÄìSt. Cyprian of Carthage, To the Lapsed, Epistle XXVI (2).

    “Would Peter have been ignorant of anything, he who was called the rock on whom the Church should be built? [THIS IS NORMALLY WHERE ROMAN CATHOLICS FINISH THE QUOTE, BUT TERTULLIAN CONTINUES]. Would something have been hidden from JOHN?” ‚ÄìTertullian , De Praescriptione 22, PL 2, 14 **What initially looks like St. Peter alone, is Tertullian defending the apostolic authority of all the Apostles, and not just Peter.

    “Remember that the Lord left the keys to Peter, an through him to the Church, [AGAIN, MOST RC’S WOULD END HERE, BUT TERTULLIAN CONTINUES] keys which each one carries with him if, when asked, HE CONFESSES THE FAITH”. ‚ÄìTertullian, Scorpiace 10, PL2, 142)

    “Whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called UNIVERSAL PRIEST, is in his elation THE PRECURSOR OF ANTICHRIST” ‚ÄìPope St. Gregory the Great, Epistle XXXIII to Mauricius Augustus

    When do the more obtuse statements begin to come? When Rome already begins overstepping her bounds, and the West begins to claim altogether too much, more than is her due. We see this with Pope St. Victor, who you quoted, Vic. We see this with St. Peter Chrysologus, who was Bishop or Ravenna in the West. We see this with St. Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe.

    Rome was always considered the city of Ss. Peter and Paul. In fact, Church historians attribute the finding of a Christian community in Rome, not to St. Peter, but to St. Paul. To be sure, both Eusebius and St. Irenaeus name St. Linus, one of the Seventy and a Disciple of St. Paul, as first bishop of Rome. However, as the claims became less based on the honorary primacy of the imperial city and site of the martyrdom of the two blessed Apostles, but on Matthew 16:18, the mention of St. Paul with Rome began to fade away.

    As for the quote of Adversus Haereses 3.3.2, that Uncertain quoted, there is much debate over the translation of what St. Irenaeus wrote in the original Greek. Unfortunately, the only surviving copies were Latin translations. Uncertain posted a typical Roman Catholic translation. The passage in its Latin, says:

    Ad hane ecclesiam propter potentiorum principalitatem necesse est omnen CONVENIRE ecclesiam hoc est, eos qui sun undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea quae est ab apostolis traditio. Catholics often translate CONVENIRE as MUST AGREE. Other translations of the same passage state: “For it is necessary that every church COME TOGETHER with this Church on account of its great antiquity”.

    To translate CONVENIRE as MUST AGREE is erroneous. Translations have often stated, ” to convene”, “to come together”, “to have recourse to” but this is in line with collegial belief always taught in the Church. The MUST is certainly NOT SANCTIONED, it illustrates a NEED, that is missing from the passage.

    F. W. Miller, in his book “Primitive Saints and the See of Rome”, studies St. Jerome’s Vulgate, where the word CONVENIRE appears in 26 passages, and contextually always means TO HAVE RECOURSE TO, and NEVER ONCE APPEARS AS AN IMPERATIVE NEED. He writes: “It would perhaps be rash to lay down a universal negative and to say that CONVENIRE AD never means “agree with”, but as far as I’m aware of NO SUCH PASSAGE HAS EVER YET BEEN PRODUCED” (pg. 26).

    So why should it be translated thus in Irenaeus? So that it can give Rome’s supremacy claims more weight. Realistically, St. Irenaeus is quite clear that recourse to the oldest churches is certain to heal rifts he is making a statement for apostolic authority (Adv. Haer. 3.4.1). To be sure, St. Irenaues says that accord with Rome, but also with other Ancient Apostolic Sees, keeps one in accord with the gospel faith (Adv. Haer. 3.3.1-2). IT IS NOT A SECRET THAT ST. IRENAEUS ACKNOWLEDGES OTHER APOSTOLIC SEES. Let’s not forget, there were 44 Apostolic Sees in the East, and 1 in the West. Rome. Why is it that Roman Catholics see Rome as the center of the Church? Because their roots lie in Rome, but the Early Church, as I have mentioned before, her theology, her language, the language of the Councils (Greek) was all Eastern. This is not a secret.

    Was Pre-Nicene Rome’s Jurisdiction limited? YES IT WAS! St. Ignatius, in his letter to Roman Christians, writes: “to the Church that is in charge OF AFFAIRS IN ROMAN QUARTERS”. Surely, this is not the view of the Papacy today.

    I think that’s more than enough for one night. I’m sorry, yet again for the long post. Oh, and Uncertaindrummer, the 6th Ecumenical Council condemned Honorius, Pope of Rome as a heretic. So yes, the history of the Church tells you, and me, and all of us, that Popes are not beyond heresy.

    Everybody have a good night.
    The least in Christ,


    Geesh Ted, you should stop and breath man. I’m gonna have to answer in sections. No way am I posting a book. Thanks for the reply Ted.


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