Skip to comments.Remembering the Early Church
Posted on 02/09/2014 2:09:50 PM PST by NYer
Virgin and Child from the catacombs
Rome, 4th century
My interlocutor has usually been reading a book by Garry Wills or Elaine Pagels, who view the events of sacred history as power plays by vested interests. If my weekend controversialist hasn't been reading a heterodox best-seller, he or she has been taking one of those smartly put-together adult Bible classes in Manhattan, which let it be known that the Real Presence and the Sacrifice of the Mass, the papacy, and the episcopate are late Roman inventions.
How, over a glass of chardonnay, does one respond? How does one lightly utter the names of Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and the Didache? Or mention Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Augustine, and other early witnesses to the fact that the Church in the first centuries was Roman Catholic?
Before there ever was a canon of the New Testament, there was a Church. And its paper trail is Catholic. In his two anti-papal books, Garry Wills is dismissive of these early non-biblical documents, but they are well worth knowing about.
In 95 A.D., a three-man embassy with a letter from the fourth bishop of Rome arrived at Corinth, where there were dissensions in the local church. In that letter, Pope St. Clement speaks with authority, giving instructions with a tone of voice that expects to be obeyed. The interesting point is that the apostle John was still living in Ephesus, which is closer than Rome to Corinth. But it was the bishop of Rome (at the time, a smaller diocese) who dealt with the problem.
Then there are the seven letters of St. Ignatius, who was martyred in Rome in 106. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch (Peter had been the first) and a disciple of the apostle John. Because these letters, written en route to Rome, are so Catholic, their authenticity was long contested by Protestant scholars, but now they are almost universally accepted as genuine.
Ignatius was the first to call the Church "Catholic." He writes to the Ephesians that "the bishops who have been appointed throughout the world are the will of Jesus Christ . Let us be careful, then, if we would be submissive to God, not to oppose the bishop." And his letter to the church at Smyrna attacks those who deny the Real Presence: "They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins ."
What these documents reveal is a primitive church that is recognizably hierarchical and centered on the Eucharist.
It is noteworthy that in addressing the Church at Rome a less ancient see than Antioch Ignatius's tone changes entirely. He is deferential, praiseful: "You have envied no one; but others you have taught."
There is also the Didache, which was a kind of catechism and liturgical manual written some time between 70 and 150. It is a short document that could be used in RCIA today without changing a syllable.
The Didache (which means "teaching") begins with a number of prohibitions (including abortion). Then, after what is probably the text of an early eucharistic prayer, comes the money quote: "Let no one eat or drink of the Eucharist with you except those who have been baptized . On the Lord's day gather together, break bread and give thanks after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure . For this is what was proclaimed by the Lord: 'In every place and time let there be offered to me a clean sacrifice .'"
The last line is from Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, who talks about how God, displeased with the sacrifices of the people of Judah, will accept the "sacrifice the clean oblation" offered everywhere among the Gentiles. Early Christians considered this passage an anticipation of the Sacrifice of the Mass.
What these documents reveal is a primitive church that is recognizably hierarchical and centered on the Eucharist. Catholics, of course, do not base their faith on these early literary scraps but on the living authority of the Church. Still, it can be fun to broach these ancient names while nibbling an hors d'oeuvre.
That would be, Pope Clement I 92-99
You should post it.
“How does one lightly utter the names of Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and the Didache? Or mention Irenaeus, Chrysostom, Augustine, and other early witnesses to the fact that the Church in the first centuries was Roman Catholic?”
There was no Roman Catholic church as we would understand it today in those days. Nor are the doctrines of all these people (except for the Didache, which isn’t a person) actually Roman Catholic, as they hold them today. Using words like “Catholic” or “universal” or anything else doesn’t prove Romanism. The Eastern Orthodox make the same exact claims, and even believe that THEY are the one true Apostolic church of God on Earth. But all these people are in delusions, because, actually, none of their doctrines are hsitoricaly, but are merely the product of development, often times contradicting what came before them.
Cyril of Jerusalem on Sola Scriptura:
Not even his own teachings, he teaches, if it cannot be shown out of the holy scriptures, should be accepted:
Have thou ever in your mind this seal, which for the present has been lightly touched in my discourse, by way of summary, but shall be stated, should the Lord permit, to the best of my power with the proof from the Scriptures. For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning , but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lecture 4, Ch. 17)
Tradition is the whole knowledge of godliness contained both in the Old and New Testament, not that which is invented by man, transmitted by word of mouth to the illiterate:
But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to you by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures. For since all cannot read the Scriptures, some being hindered as to the knowledge of them by want of learning, and others by a want of leisure, in order that the soul may not perish from ignorance, we comprise the whole doctrine of the Faith in a few lines. This summary I wish you both to commit to memory when I recite it, and to rehearse it with all diligence among yourselves, not writing it out on paper, but engraving it by the memory upon your heart , taking care while you rehearse it that no Catechumen chance to overhear the things which have been delivered to you. I wish you also to keep this as a provision through the whole course of your life, and beside this to receive no other, neither if we ourselves should change and contradict our present teaching, nor if an adverse angel, transformed into an angel of light 2 Corinthians 11:14 should wish to lead you astray. For though we or an angel from heaven preach to you any other gospel than that you have received, let him be to you anathema. Galatians 1:8-9 So for the present listen while I simply say the Creed, and commit it to memory; but at the proper season expect the confirmation out of Holy Scripture of each part of the contents. For the articles of the Faith were not composed as seemed good to men; but the most important points collected out of all the Scripture make up one complete teaching of the Faith. And just as the mustard seed in one small grain contains many branches, so also this Faith has embraced in few words all the knowledge of godliness in the Old and New Testaments. Take heed then, brethren, and hold fast the traditions which you now receive, and write them on the table of your heart. (Ibid, Lecture 5, Ch. 12)
Augustine on irresistible grace, final perseverance, limited atonement, and whatever else I missed which he touches on here:
But of such as these [the Elect] none perishes, because of all that the Father has given Him, He will lose none. John 6:39 Whoever, therefore, is of these does not perish at all; nor was any who perishes ever of these. For which reason it is said, They went out from among us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us. John 2:19. (Augustine, Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints)
I assert, therefore, that the perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life wherein alone there is peril of falling. (Augustine, On the Perseverance of the Saints)
And, moreover, who will be so foolish and blasphemous as to say that God cannot change the evil wills of men, whichever, whenever, and wheresoever He chooses, and direct them to what is good? But when He does this He does it of mercy; when He does it not, it is of justice that He does it not for He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardens. And when the apostle said this, he was illustrating the grace of God, in connection with which he had just spoken of the twins in the womb of Rebecca, who being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. And in reference to this matter he quotes another prophetic testimony: Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. But perceiving how what he had said might affect those who could not penetrate by their understanding the depth of this grace: What shall we say then? he says: Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For it seems unjust that, in the absence of any merit or demerit, from good or evil works, God should love the one and hate the other. Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that there were future good works of the one, and evil works of the other, which of course God foreknew, he would never have said, not of works, but, of future works, and in that way would have solved the difficulty, or rather there would then have been no difficulty to solve. As it is, however, after answering, God forbid; that is, God forbid that there should be unrighteousness with God; he goes on to prove that there is no unrighteousness in Gods doing this, and says: For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (Augustine, The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope and Love, Chapter 98. Predestination to Eternal Life is Wholly of Gods Free Grace.)
But that world which God is in Christ reconciling unto Himself, which is saved by Christ, and has all its sins freely pardoned by Christ, has been chosen out of the world that is hostile, condemned, and defiled. For out of that mass, which has all perished in Adam, are formed the vessels of mercy, whereof that world of reconciliation is composed, that is hated by the world which belongeth to the vessels of wrath that are formed out of the same mass and fitted to destruction. Finally, after saying, If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, He immediately added, But because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. And so these men were themselves also of that world, and, that they might no longer be of it, were chosen out of it, through no merit of their own, for no good works of theirs had preceded; and not by nature, which through free-will had become totally corrupted at its source: but gratuitously, that is, of actual grace. For He who chose the world out of the world, effected for Himself, instead of finding, what He should choose: for there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace, he adds, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 15:17-19)
John Chrysostom on Sola Fide
By what law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. See he calls the faith also a law delighting to keep to the names, and so allay the seeming novelty. But what is the law of faith? It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows Gods power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. (Homily 7 on Romans III)
For this is [the righteousness] of God when we are justified not by works, (in which case it were necessary that not a spot even should be found,) but by grace, in which case all sin is done away. And this at the same time that it suffers us not to be lifted up, (seeing the whole is the free gift of God,) teaches us also the greatness of that which is given. For that which was before was a righteousness of the Law and of works, but this is the righteousness of God. (John Chrysostom, Homily 11 on Second Corinthians, 2 Cor 5:21)
Theodoret, Bishop of Syria, on the same:
The salvation of man depends upon the divine philanthropy alone. For we do not gather it as the wages of our righteousness, but it is the gift of the divine goodness. (On the 3rd chap, of Zephaniah.)
Clemens Romanus, on the same:
Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. Romans 9:5 From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, Your seed shall be as the stars of heaven. All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Letter to the Corinthians)
Ignatius on predestination and final perseverence:
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the beginning of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians, Ch. 0)
Seeing, then, all things have an end, these two things are simultaneously set before us death and life; and every one shall go unto his own place. For as there are two kinds of coins, the one of God, the other of the world, and each of these has its special character stamped upon it, [so is it also here.] The unbelieving are of this world; but the believing have, in love, the character of God the Father by Jesus Christ, by whom, if we are not in readiness to die into His passion, His life is not in us. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Magnesians, Ch. 5)
Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Most High Father, and Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is beloved and enlightened by the will of Him that wills all things (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Romans. Ch. 0)
I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that you also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Ch. 4)
Flee, therefore, those evil offshoots [of Satan], which produce death-bearing fruit, whereof if any one tastes, he instantly dies. For these men are not the planting of the Father. For if they were, they would appear as branches of the cross, and their fruit would be incorruptible. (Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Trallians, Ch. 11)
By the way, about that stupid comment about Ignatius supposedly having a “different tone” in his writing in his epistle to the Romans. This is the same Ignatius who told Polycarp that the head of the Bishop is God (what about the Pope!?) who also wrote by name to every Bishop of every church he wrote to, yet did not write to any Bishop in Rome. The Papists have to go and read their idolatry into a letter, since they literally fail if we take the time to read his direct words.
“Lately, I have been hearing a lot about how the primitive Church was not Roman Catholic.”
While the bishop of Rome is the authority here; he was not yet representing a ‘world wide unified’ universal Christian church under the leadership of the bishop of Rome Catholic church. That entity was created by the Roman Empire emperors Constantine (cirra 324)and Theodosius who declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. It was Theodosius who issued the Edict of 380 that established the state church of the Roman Empire aka, the Roman Catholic Church.
The Early Church Fathers on the Scriptures: The Four Gospels [Ecumenical]
The Early Church Fathers on the Scriptures: The Scriptures are one book in Christ [Ecumenical]
The Early Church Fathers on Scripture: The Nourishing Bread of Scripture [Ecumenical]
The Early Church Fathers on the Scriptures: Reading Scripture with the Early Church Fathers [Ecumenical]
Fathers of the Church
Abortion and the Early Church [Fathers] (Catholic & Orthodox Caucus)
Why do Catholics always talk about the Early Church Fathers (Apostolic Fathers)?[Ecumenical]
The Church Fathers' Marian Interpretation of the Old Testament (Catholic Caucus)
Writings of the Fathers of the Church
THE CHURCH FATHERS: A DOOR TO ROME (fundamentalist warns saying they sound too Catholic)
Were the Church Fathers Closer to Protestantism Than to Catholicism?
The Faith of Our Fathers
The Early Church Fathers on the Assumption [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Look to the Church Fathers to Shed Light on Modern Problems, Writes the Pope
Origen: The Privileged Path to Knowing God Is Love
On Origen of Alexandria: He Was a True Teacher (April 25, 2007)
St. Clement of Alexandria: One of the Great Promoters of Dialogue Between Faith and Reason (April 18, 2007)
St. Irenaeus of Lyons: The First Great Theologian of the Church (March 28, 2007)
Early Church Fathers - Worship on Sabbath or Sunday
St. Justin Martyr: He Considered Christianity the “True Philosophy” (March 21, 2007)
Truly a Doctor of Unity (St. Ignatius of Antioch) (March 14, 2007)
On St. Clement of Rome -The Church Has a Sacramental, Not Political Structure (March 7, 2007)
Quotes from the Early Church Fathers
The Early Church Fathers on Baptism - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Contraception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Justification - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on the Immaculate Conception - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Real Presence - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Intercession of the Saints - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Hell - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Primacy of Peter/Rome (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers on The Mother of God - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Mary’s Perpetual Virginity - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Salvation Outside the Church [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Early Church Fathers on Purgatory - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on Apostolic Succession - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Early Church Fathers on (Oral) Tradition - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
The Early Church Fathers on The Church (Catholic Caucus)
The Early Church Fathers
Even your post concedes too much to the Papists, as not even “Popes” like Gregory the great understood the Papacy as belonging solely to them.
From a post I’ve made in the past on the matter:
In the case of the Papacy, one wont find any theology on the Primacy of Rome in the early church. In fact, the testimony of the Fathers on where Peter even was and when is quite divided amongst them, and contradictory to the scripture account.
We read in the Chronicle of Eusebius, at the year 43, that Peter, after founding the Church of Antioch, was sent to Rome, where he preached the Gospel for twenty-five years, and was Bishop of that city. But this part of the Chronicle does not exist in the Greek, nor in the Armenian, and it is supposed to have been one of the additions made by Jerome. Eusebius does not say the same in any other part of his writings, though he mentions St. Peters going to Rome in the reign of Claudius: but Jerome tells us that he came in the second year of this emperor, and held the See twenty-five years. On the other hand, Origen, who is quoted by Eusebius himself, says that Peter went to Rome towards the end of his life: and Lactantius places it in the reign of Nero, and adds that he suffered martyrdom not long after.
Now it does not appear that either Peter or Paul founded the church in Rome at all, since all the Biblical evidence points to believers already being in Rome, without any mention of their founding pastor. If it were an Apostle who had founded the church in Rome, it is illogical that Paul would not have at least mentioned him or wrote to him if he were the head of all the churches. This is what the Roman Catholic Joseph Fitzmyer concedes here:
Paul never hints in Romans that he knows that Peter has worked in Rome or founded the Christian church there before his planned visit (cf. 15:20-23). If he refers indirectly to Peter as among the superfine apostles who worked in Corinth (2 Cor 11:4-5), he says nothing like that about Rome in this letter. Hence the beginnings of the Roman Christian community remain shrouded in mystery. Compare 1 Thess 3:2-5; 1 Cor 3:5-9; and Col 1:7 and 4:12-13 for more or less clear references to founding apostles of other locales. Hence there is no reason to think that Peter spent any major portion of time in Rome before Paul wrote his letter, or that he was the founder of the Roman church or the missionary who first brought Christianity to Rome. For it seems highly unlikely that Luke, if he knew that Peter had gone to Rome and evangelized that city, would have omitted all mention of it in Acts. [Source: Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993), p. 30].
If what Jerome wrote of Eusebius is correct, then Peter would have been in Rome when Paul had written the epistle to the Romans, which is reckoned to have been written around 58AD. When Paul does write to them, he writes only to the members of the church, some by name, but none about its reigning pastor who was supposedly the head of the church.
Not even the supposed successor of Peter, Clement (or the epistle that has his name) is any reference made either to the primacy of Peter (he is instead listed with the other Apostles as fellow workers) or to his own primacy as Pope over the church!
Ingatius, in his letter to Polycarp, writes to his fellow Bishop greeting him thus: to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnæans, or rather, who has, as his own bishop, God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ (Ignatius, Epistle to Polycarp).
Now this cannot be so if the Pope is the perpetual head of the church, whom all local Bishops must submit to. In Ignatius letter to the Romans, he does not even write to or mention its Bishop, even though he had written to the Bishop of every church he had before written to.
In Irenaeus, deeper into the second century, builds the church of Rome on Peter and Paul, whom he writes ordained Bishops of their own, and not founded upon the authority of only one of them.
Even into the 6th or 7th centuries, when the idea of the Primacy of Peter was more developed, was it even defined in the same way that Rome does today.
According to the Catechism, the Roman Bishop is:
882 ... the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.402 For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.403
883 The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peters successor, as its head. As such, this college has supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.404
It was this same idea of General Father or a Universal Bishop that Gregory condemned in the then Bishop of Constantinople who had taken the title Universal Bishop:
Consider, I pray you, that in this rash presumption the peace of the whole Church is disturbed, and that it is in contradiction to the grace that is poured out on all in common; in which grace doubtless you yourself wilt have power to grow so far as you determine with yourself to do so. And you will become by so much the greater as you restrain yourself from the usurpation of a proud and foolish title: and you will make advance in proportion as you are not bent on arrogation by derogation of your brethren. Wherefore, dearest brother, with all your heart love humility, through which the concord of all the brethren and the unity of the holy universal Church may be preserved. Certainly the apostle Paul, when he heard some say, I am of Paul, I of Apollos, but I of Christ 1 Corinthians 1:13, regarded with the utmost horror such dilaceration of the Lords body, whereby they were joining themselves, as it were, to other heads, and exclaimed, saying, Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul (ib.)? If then he shunned the subjecting of the members of Christ partially to certain heads, as if beside Christ, though this were to the apostles themselves, what will you say to Christ, who is the Head of the universal Church, in the scrutiny of the last judgment, having attempted to put all his members under yourself by the appellation of Universal? Who, I ask, is proposed for imitation in this wrongful title but he who, despising the legions of angels constituted socially with himself, attempted to start up to an eminence of singularity, that he might seem to be under none and to be alone above all? Who even said, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven: I will sit upon the mount of the testament, in the sides of the North: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High Isaiah 14:13.
It wasnt until one of Gregorys successors, Boniface III, that the Roman Bishop petitioned the emperor for the title of Universal that they enjoy today.
Some Catholics can read this letter and say that Gregory only condemned the title, but not the power they claim he still possessed. However, there are other instances where Gregory could have embraced his power as universal Bishop of the entire church. While at this time the idea of the Primacy of Peter was in vogue, yet this same primacy was not translated to a supremacy over the entire church. And, in fact, there wasnt just one person who held the throne of Peter; according to Gregory, it was held by one Apostolic see ruled by divine authority by THREE separate Bishops, which is that of Antioch, Alexandria and Rome. Here is the letter in full, but first I am going to quote the RCC abuse of it:
The link to the whole letter first
Now here are the Roman quotations of this letter, wherein they assert that Gregory is a champion of the Primacy of Rome. Take special note of the clever use of ellipses:
Pope Gregory I
Your most sweet holiness, [Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria], has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors. And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy . . . I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peters chair, who occupies Peters chair. And, though special honor to myself in no wise delights me . . . who can be ignorant that holy Church has been made firm in the solidity of the prince of the apostles, who derived his name from the firmness of his mind, so as to be called Peter from petra. And to him it is said by the voice of the Truth, To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven [Matt. 16:19]. And again it is said to him, And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren [Luke 22:32]. And once more, Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep [John 21:17] (Letters 40 [A.D. 597]).
Who does not know that the holy Church is founded on the solidity of the Chief Apostle, whose name expressed his firmness, being called Peter from Petra (Rock)?...Though there were many Apostles, only the See of the Prince of the Apostles...received supreme authority in virtue of its very principate. (Letter to the Patriarch Eulogius of Alexandria, Ep. 7)
I provide their versions of the quotations only to highlight for you the parts they omit. And, really, there is no reason for them to omit them. The lines they remove are small sentences, and then they continue quoting right after they finish. Its quite an embarrassing display!
In this letter, Gregory is specifically attributing to the Bishops of Alexandria and Antioch the Chair of Peter and its authority that they bestowed upon him. In the first quotation, the Romans omit the sentence which says: And, though special honour to myself in no wise delights me, [they omit here] yet I greatly rejoiced because you, most holy ones, have given to yourselves what you have bestowed upon me. [They rebegin here] After telling them about the special honor that is respectively given to both parties, Gregory immediately goes into a discussion on what that special honor is... which is the authority of Peter they all enjoy:
Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one. For he himself exalted the See in which he deigned even to rest and end the present life. He himself adorned the See to which he sent his disciple as evangelist. He himself established the See in which, though he was to leave it, he sat for seven years. Since then it is the See of one, and one See, over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside, whatever good I hear of you, this I impute to myself. If you believe anything good of me, impute this to your merits, since we are one in Him Who says, That they all may be one, as You, Father, art in me, and I in you that they also may be one in us John 17:21.
Notice how different this reads when one does not omit what the Romans omit! Gregory declares that the See of Peter is one see... but in THREE places, over which THREE Bishops preside, which is Rome, Antioch and Alexandria, the latter of which he was now writing to.
So while the Romans insist that the Primacy of Peter refers to the Bishop of Rome, Gregory applies the Primacy of Peter to ALL the major Bishops of the See. They are, in effect, ALL the Church of Peter, having received the succession from him and possess his chair and authority.
And Gregory, of course, isnt alone in this. Theodoret references the same belief when he places the throne of Peter under the Bishop of Antioch:
Dioscorus, however, refuses to abide by these decisions; he is turning the See of the blessed Mark upside down; and these things he does though he perfectly well knows that the Antiochene (of Antioch) metropolis possesses the throne of the great Peter, who was teacher of the blessed Mark, and first and coryphæus (head of the choir) of the chorus of the apostles. Theodoret - Letter LXXXVI - To Flavianus, Bishop of Constantinople.
In fact, what I have presented here are the principle arguments of the Eastern Orthodox, the other guys who claim to be the One true Holy and Apostolic church of God on Earth.
Yes-—Truth and Knowledge is so much fun!!! Even at parties!
I find that the Dialectic Materialism which has taken over the world-—is one to deceive and promote irrational concepts (especially to children, on purpose) and then our Prussian system of “education” is to really condition/brainwash everyone to accept whatever any authority figure states as “Truth” and to inculcate “group think” (whatever pop culture is promoting controlled by the elite).
Now....we use to be educated in the Classics-—where Good and Evil were made clear, never fuzzy as children so we had a solid foundation of “belief”. The Socratic Method and debate had the truth floating to the top and was obvious when explained well.
Now we have PC and silencing of ideas in the schools -—and actually the demeaning of anything Christian or Reasoned-—in both the school and media.
So people are ignorant of Truth/God. “Without God, everything is permissible”. (Dostoevsky). And I will add-—everything is believed.
We have the systematic erasing of Truth going on now. Only lies/twisted truth is allowed in schools and in the public square.
Thanks. RC propaganda must be posted periodically to please those who are all to willing to believe it. "The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going." (Proverbs 14:15)
As Scripture will not support Rome with her perpetual assuredly infallible magisterium, despite attempts at egregious extrapolation, she made good use forgeries for a time, while later resorting to her specious "Development of Doctrine ." More:
Yet even Catholic sources among others provide support contrary to Peter being the rock of Mt. 16:18, and against the cherished Roman Catholic view of an infallible perpetuated Petrine papacy proceeding from the book of Acts. However, in reality the RC basis for full assurance is not Scripture and history, else they would be like evangelicals, but it is the premise of Rome's assured veracity.
Thus, faced with claims from antiquity by Reformers, no less an authority than Manning, in not denying Rome's claim to antiquity, affirmed that Rome herself is the basis for assurance:
It was the charge of the Reformers that the Catholic doctrines were not primitive, and their pretension was to revert to antiquity. But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine... I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. Its past is present with it, for both are one to a mind which is immutable. Primitive and modern are predicates, not of truth, but of ourselves. Most Rev. Dr. Henry Edward Cardinal Manning, Lord Archbishop of Westminster, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation (New York: J.P. Kenedy & Sons, originally written 1865, pp. 227,28
New Testament scholars agree..., The further question whether there was any notion of an enduring office beyond Peters lifetime, if posed in purely historical terms, should probably be answered in the negative.
That is, if we ask whether the historical Jesus, in commissioning Peter, expected him to have successors, or whether the authority of the Gospel of Matthew, writing after Peters death, was aware that Peter and his commission survived in the leaders of the Roman community who succeeded him, the answer in both cases is probably 'no.
....that does not mean that the figure and the commission of the Peter of the New Testament did not encompass the possibility, if it is projected into a Church enduring for centuries and concerned in some way to to secure its ties to its apostolic origins and to Jesus himself.
If we ask in addition whether the primitive church was aware, after Peters death, that his authority had passed to the next bishop of Rome, or in other words that the head of the community at Rome was now the successor of Peter, the Churchs rock and hence the subject of the promise in Matthew 16:18-19, the question, put in those terms, must certainly be given a negative answer. (page 1-2)
[Schatz goes on to express that he does not doubt Peter was martyred in Rome, and that Christians in the 2nd century were convinced that Vatican Hill had something to do with Peter's grave.]
"Nevertheless, concrete claims of a primacy over the whole church cannot be inferred from this conviction. If one had asked a Christian in the year 100, 200, or even 300 whether the bishop of Rome was the head of all Christians, or whether there was a supreme bishop over all the other bishops and having the last word in questions affecting the whole Church, he or she would certainly have said no." (page 3, top)
[Lacking such support for the modern concept of the primacy of the church of Rome with its papal jurisdiction, Schatz concludes that, Therefore we must set aside from the outset any question such as 'was there a primacy in our sense of the word at that time? Schatz. therefore goes on to seek support for that as a development.]
We probably cannot say for certain that there was a bishop of Rome [in 95 AD]. It is likely that the Roman church was governed by a group of presbyters from whom there very quickly emerged a presider or first among equals whose name was remembered and who was subsequently described as bishop after the mid-second century. (Schatz 4).
Schatiz additionally states,
Cyprian regarded every bishop as the successor of Peter, holder of the keys to the kingdom of heaven and possessor of the power to bind and loose. For him, Peter embodied the original unity of the Church and the episcopal office, but in principle these were also present in every bishop. For Cyprian, responsibility for the whole Church and the solidarity of all bishops could also, if necessary, be turned against Rome." Papal Primacy [Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1996], p. 20)
Roman Catholic scholar William La Due (taught canon law at St. Francis Seminary and the Catholic University of America) on Cyprian:
....those who see in The Unity of the Catholic Church, in the light of his entire episcopal life, an articulation of the Roman primacy - as we have come to know it, or even as it has evolved especially from the latter fourth century on - are reading a meaning into Cyprian which is not there." The Chair of Saint Peter: A History of the Papacy [Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1999], p. 39
Catholic theologian and a Jesuit priest Francis Sullivan, in his work From Apostles to Bishops (New York: The Newman Press), examines possible mentions of succession from the first three centuries, and concludes from that study that the episcopate [development of bishops] is a the fruit of a post New Testament development, and cannot concur with those (interacting with Jones) who see little reason to doubt the notion that there was a single bishop in Rome through the middle of the second century:
Hence I stand with the majority of scholars who agree that one does not find evidence in the New Testament to support the theory that the apostles or their coworkers left [just] one person as bishop in charge of each local church...
As the reader will recall, I have expressed agreement with the consensus of scholars that available evidence indicates that the church of Rome was led by a college of presbyters, rather than a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century...
Hence I cannot agree with Jones's judgment that there seems little reason to doubt the presence of a bishop in Rome already in the first century.
...the evidence both from the New Testament and from such writings as I Clement, the Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians and The Shepherd of Hennas favors the view that initially the presbyters in each church, as a college, possessed all the powers needed for effective ministry. This would mean that the apostles handed on what was transmissible of their mandate as an undifferentiated whole, in which the powers that would eventually be seen as episcopal were not yet distinguished from the rest. Hence, the development of the episcopate would have meant the differentiation of ministerial powers that had previously existed in an undifferentiated state and the consequent reservation to the bishop of certain of the powers previously held collegially by the presbyters. Francis Sullivan, in his work From Apostles to Bishops , pp. 221,22,24
The Catholic historian Paul writes in his 1976 work History of Christianity:
Eusebius presents the lists as evidence that orthodoxy had a continuous tradition from the earliest times in all the great Episcopal sees and that all the heretical movements were subsequent aberrations from the mainline of Christianity.
Looking behind the lists, however, a different picture emerges. In Edessa, on the edge of the Syrian desert, the proofs of the early establishment of Christianity were forgeries, almost certainly manufactured under Bishop Kune, the first orthodox Bishop, and actually a contemporary of Eusebius...
Orthodoxy was not established [In Egypt] until the time of Bishop Demetrius, 189-231, who set up a number of other sees and manufactured a genealogical tree for his own bishopric of Alexandria, which traces the foundation through ten mythical predecessors back to Mark, and so to Peter and Jesus...
Even in Antioch, where both Peter and Paul had been active, there seems to have been confusion until the end of the second century. Antioch completely lost their list...When Eusebiuss chief source for his Episcopal lists, Julius Africanus, tried to compile one for Antioch, he found only six names to cover the same period of time as twelve in Rome and ten in Alexandria.
Roger Collins, writing of the Symmachan forgeries, describes these pro-Roman enhancements to history:
So too would the spurious historical texts written anonymously or ascribed to earlier authors that are known collectively as the Symmachan forgeries. This was the first occasion on which the Roman church had revisited its own history, in particular the third and fourth centuries, in search of precedents That these were largely invented does not negate the significance of the process...Some of the periods in question, such as the pontificates of Sylvester and Liberius (352-366), were already being seen more through the prism of legend than that of history, and in the Middle Ages texts were often forged because their authors were convinced of the truth of what they contained. Their faked documents provided tangible evidence of what was already believed true...
It is no coincidence that the first systematic works of papal history appear at the very time the Roman churchs past was being reinvented for polemical purposes. (Collins, Keepers of the Keys of Heaven, pgs 80-82).
Roman Catholic [if liberal and critical] Garry Wills, Professor of History Emeritus, Northwestern U., author of Why i am a Catholic:
"The idea that Peter was given some special power that could be handed on to a successor runs into the problem that he had no successor. The idea that there is an "apostolic succession" to Peter's fictional episcopacy did not arise for several centuries, at which time Peter and others were retrospectively called bishops of Rome, to create an imagined succession. Even so, there has not been an unbroken chain of popes. Two and three claimants existed at times, and when there were three of them each excommunicating the other two, they all had to be dethroned and the Council of Carthage started the whole thing over again in 1417." WHAT JESUS MEANT, p. 81
American Roman Catholic priest and Biblical scholar Raymond Brown (twice appointed to Pontifical Biblical Commission):
The claims of various sees to descend from particular members of the Twelve are highly dubious. It is interesting that the most serious of these is the claim of the bishops of Rome to descend from Peter, the one member of the Twelve who was almost a missionary apostle in the Pauline sense a confirmation of our contention that whatever succession there was from apostleship to episcopate, it was primarily in reference to the Puauline tyupe of apostleship, not that of the Twelve. (Priest and Bishop, Biblical Reflections, Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, 1970, pg 72.)
Raymond Brown [being censored here], in Priest and Bishop: Biblical Reflections, could not prove on historical grounds, he said, that Christ instituted the priesthood or episcopacy as such; that those who presided at the Eucharist were really priests; that a separate priesthood began with Christ; that the early Christians looked upon the Eucharist as a sacrifice; that presbyter-bishops are traceable in any way to the Apostles; that Peter in his lifetime would be looked upon as the Bishop of Rome; that bishops were successors of the Apostles, even though Vatican II made the same claim.. (from, "A Wayward Turn in Biblical Theory" by Msr. George A. Kelly can be read on the internet at http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Dossier/Jan-Feb00/Article5.html)
Turning to non-catholic scholars,
Peter Lampe (Lutheran)*:
The picture that finally emerges from Lampes analysis of surviving evidence is one he names the fractionation of Roman Christianity (pp. 357408). Not until the second half of the second century, under Anicetus, do we find compelling evidence for a monarchical episcopacy, and when it emerges, it is to manage relief shipments to dispersed Christians as well as social aid for the Roman poor (pp. 4034). Before this period Roman Christians were fractionated amongst dispersed house/tenement churches, each presided over by its own presbyterbishop. This accounts for the evidence of social and theological diversity in second-century Roman Christianity, evidence of a degree of tolerance of theologically disparate groups without a single authority to regulate belief and practice, and the relatively late appearance of unambiguous representation of a single bishop over Rome. Review of Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, by Peter Lampe in Oxfords Journal of Theological Studies, 2005
*Peter Lampe is a German Lutheran minister and theologian and Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Heidelberg, whose work, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, was written in 1987 and translated to English in 2003. The Catholic historian Eamon Duffy (Irish Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Cambridge, and former President of Magdalene College), said all modern discussion of the issues must now start from the exhaustive and persuasive analysis by Peter Lampe Saints and Sinners, A History of the Popes, Yale, 1997, 2001, pg. 421).
Jaroslav Pelikan [Lutheran], The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (New York: Abingdon Press, 1959), also finds:
"Recent research on the Reformation entitles us to sharpen it and say that the Reformation began because the reformers were too catholic in the midst of a church that had forgotten its catholicity..."
The reformers were catholic because they were spokesmen for an evangelical tradition in medieval catholicism, what Luther called "the succession of the faithful." The fountainhead of that tradition was Augustine (d. 430). His complex and far-reaching system of thought incorporated the catholic ideal of identity plus universality, and by its emphasis upon sin and grace it became the ancestor of Reformation theology. All the reformers relied heavily upon Augustine. They pitted his evangelical theology against the authority of later church fathers and scholastics, and they used him to prove that they were not introducing novelties into the church, but defending the true faith of the church.
...To prepare books like the Magdeburg Centuries they combed the libraries and came up with a remarkable catalogue of protesting catholics and evangelical catholics, all to lend support to the insistence that the Protestant position was, in the best sense, a catholic position.
Additional support for this insistence comes from the attitude of the reformers toward the creeds and dogmas of the ancient catholic church. The reformers retained and cherished the doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of the two natures in Christ which had developed in the first five centuries of the church .
If we keep in mind how variegated medieval catholicism was, the legitimacy of the reformers' claim to catholicity becomes clear. (Pelikan, pp. 46-47).
"Substantiation for this understanding of the gospel came principally from the Scriptures, but whenever they could, the reformers also quoted the fathers of the catholic church. There was more to quote than their Roman opponents found comfortable" (Pelikan 48-49).
As regards the oft-quoted Mt. 16:18, note the bishops promise in the profession of faith of Vatican 1,
Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txs/firstvc.htm
Yet as the Dominican cardinal and Catholic theologian Yves Congar O.P. states,
Unanimous patristic consent as a reliable locus theologicus is classical in Catholic theology; it has often been declared such by the magisterium and its value in scriptural interpretation has been especially stressed. Application of the principle is difficult, at least at a certain level. In regard to individual texts of Scripture total patristic consensus is rare...One example: the interpretation of Peters confession in Matthew 16:16-18. Except at Rome, this passage was not applied by the Fathers to the papal primacy; they worked out an exegesis at the level of their own ecclesiological thought, more anthropological and spiritual than juridical. Yves M.-J. Congar, O.P., p. 71
And Catholic archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick (1806-1896), while yet seeking to support Peter as the rock, stated that,
If we are bound to follow the majority of the fathers in this thing, then we are bound to hold for certain that by the rock should be understood the faith professed by Peter, not Peter professing the faith. Speech of archbishop Kenkick, p. 109; An inside view of the vatican council, edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon.
Your own CCC allows the interpretation that, On the rock of this faith confessed by St Peter, Christ build his Church, (pt. 1, sec. 2, cp. 2, para. 424), for some of the ancients (for what their opinion is worth) provided for this or other interpretations.
Ambrosiaster [who elsewhere upholds Peter as being the chief apostle to whom the Lord had entrusted the care of the Church, but not superior to Paul as an apostle except in time], Eph. 2:20:
Wherefore the Lord says to Peter: 'Upon this rock I shall build my Church,' that is, upon this confession of the catholic faith I shall establish the faithful in life. Ambrosiaster, Commentaries on GalatiansPhilemon, Eph. 2:20; Gerald L. Bray, p. 42
"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer. John Rotelle, O.S.A., Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine , © 1993 New City Press, Sermons, Vol III/6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327
Upon this rock, said the Lord, I will build my Church. Upon this confession, upon this that you said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,' I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer her (Mt. 16:18). John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993) Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 236A.3, p. 48.
For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. For on this very account the Lord said, 'On this rock will I build my Church,' because Peter had said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On this rock, therefore, He said, which thou hast confessed, I will build my Church. For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself built. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. The Church, therefore, which is founded in Christ received from Him the keys of the kingdom of heaven in the person of Peter, that is to say, the power of binding and loosing sins. For what the Church is essentially in Christ, such representatively is Peter in the rock (petra); and in this representation Christ is to be understood as the Rock, Peter as the Church. Augustine Tractate CXXIV; Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series, Volume VII Tractate CXXIV (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf107.iii.cxxv.html)
And Peter, one speaking for the rest of them, one for all, said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:15-16)...And I tell you: you are Peter; because I am the rock, you are Rocky, Peter-I mean, rock doesn't come from Rocky, but Rocky from rock, just as Christ doesn't come from Christian, but Christian from Christ; and upon this rock I will build my Church (Mt 16:17-18); not upon Peter, or Rocky, which is what you are, but upon the rock which you have confessed. I will build my Church though; I will build you, because in this answer of yours you represent the Church. John Rotelle, O.S.A. Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993), Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 270.2, p. 289
Peter had already said to him, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' He had already heard, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not conquer her' (Mt 16:16-18)...Christ himself was the rock, while Peter, Rocky, was only named from the rock. That's why the rock rose again, to make Peter solid and strong; because Peter would have perished, if the rock hadn't lived. John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City, 1993) Sermons, Volume III/7, Sermon 244.1, p. 95
...because on this rock, he said, I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld shall not overcome it (Mt. 16:18). Now the rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Hold on to these texts, love these texts, repeat them in a fraternal and peaceful manner. John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1995), Sermons, Volume III/10, Sermon 358.5, p. 193
Augustine, Psalm LXI:
Let us call to mind the Gospel: 'Upon this Rock I will build My Church.' Therefore She crieth from the ends of the earth, whom He hath willed to build upon a Rock. But in order that the Church might be builded upon the Rock, who was made the Rock? Hear Paul saying: 'But the Rock was Christ.' On Him therefore builded we have been. Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1956), Volume VIII, Saint Augustin, Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm LXI.3, p. 249. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf108.ii.LXI.html)
Augustine, in Retractions,
In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: 'On him as on a rock the Church was built.'...But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,' that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven.' For, 'Thou art Peter' and not 'Thou art the rock' was said to him. But 'the rock was Christ,' in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable. The Fathers of the Church (Washington D.C., Catholic University, 1968), Saint Augustine, The Retractations Chapter 20.1:.
Basil of Seleucia, Oratio 25:
'You are Christ, Son of the living God.'...Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it 'Peter,' perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: 'For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' To whom be glory and power forever. Oratio XXV.4, M.P.G., Vol. 85, Col. 296-297.
Bede, Matthaei Evangelium Expositio, 3:
You are Peter and on this rock from which you have taken your name, that is, on myself, I will build my Church, upon that perfection of faith which you confessed I will build my Church by whose society of confession should anyone deviate although in himself he seems to do great things he does not belong to the building of my Church...Metaphorically it is said to him on this rock, that is, the Saviour which you confessed, the Church is to be built, who granted participation to the faithful confessor of his name. 80Homily 23, M.P.L., Vol. 94, Col. 260. Cited by Karlfried Froehlich, Formen, Footnote #204, p. 156 [unable to verify by me].
Cassiodorus, Psalm 45.5:
'It will not be moved' is said about the Church to which alone that promise has been given: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord. Expositions in the Psalms, Volume 1; Volume 51, Psalm 45.5, p. 455
Chrysostom (John) [who affirmed Peter was a rock, but here not the rock in Mt. 16:18]:
Therefore He added this, '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. Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily LIIl; Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf110.iii.LII.html)
Cyril of Alexandria:
When [Peter] wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, 'You are Christ, Son of the living God,' Jesus said to divine Peter: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.' Now by the word 'rock', Jesus indicated, I think, the immoveable faith of the disciple.. Cyril Commentary on Isaiah 4.2.
Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII):
For a rock is every disciple of Christ of whom those drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, 1 Corinthians 10:4 and upon every such rock is built every word of the church, and the polity in accordance with it; for in each of the perfect, who have the combination of words and deeds and thoughts which fill up the blessedness, is the church built by God.'
For all bear the surname rock who are the imitators of Christ, that is, of the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters. Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII), sect. 10,11 ( http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101612.htm)
Hilary of Potier, On the Trinity (Book II): Thus our one immovable foundation, our one blissful rock of faith, is the confession from Peter's mouth, Thou art the Son of the living God. On it we can base an answer to every objection with which perverted ingenuity or embittered treachery may assail the truth."-- (Hilary of Potier, On the Trinity (Book II), para 23; Philip Schaff, editor, The Nicene & Post Nicene Fathers Series 2, Vol 9.
In summation, more can be provided, and while it is expected that RCs seek to negate the contrary testimony these sources provide, the reality is that they provide support against Peter being the rock of Mt. 16:18, and against the cherished Roman Catholic view of an infallible perpetuated Petrine papacy proceeding from the book of Acts.
It’s clear to me that the RC church is a false religion, but how does one reach those that don’t want to be reached? If you can prove something to someone but they refuse to believe anyways, is it a lost cause or do we keep trying?
I know the answer to this I suppose, I’m often just discouraged by the lack of wanting to reason things out among certain people.
You are not refuting the concept of Primacy, for you acknowledge it is there. You are rejecting the definition of Infallibility which was not defined until 1870. Primacy is a necessary condition for infallibility.
One of the posters cited a work by Pelikan from 1959. Pelikans more recent work seems in contradiction to the works you cited. There there are clear examples of the Primacy of the Church of Rome in the late 1st and 2nd century. As Pelikan freely acknowledges in his work [The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition: 100AD to 600AD] that the Church of Rome was chief among the churches in authority and prestige [p. 118].
In volume 2 of Pelikans work [The Spirit of Eastern Christendom], he starts out by stating the schism of Western and Eastern Christianity was one of the greatest calamtities in the history of the Church [I agree] and it seriously undermined the powers of resistance in the Christian East against the advances of Islam and on the other hand, it hastened the centralization of Western Christendom which resulted in many abuses and provoked widespread discontent so that the Reformation itself, which split Western Christendom into two hostile camps, was one of its consequences. [I tend to agree with his analysis here].
He then goes on to discuss the Orthodoxy of Old Rome starting out by saying dominating the discussion between East and West was the massive fact of Romes spotless [or nearly spotless] record for doctrinal orthodoxy. The Popes made use of this record quoting the Petrine text [Mt 16:18-19; John 21-15-17] and Pope Agatho would rely on Peters protection, etc. Pelikan then states that the positive evidence of history was certainly cognent and Pelikan cites his earlier work in Volume 1 noting that the East had to admit that Pope Leo [Church of Rome] had been hailed as the pillar of Orthodoxy and had been remembered ever since [p. 148 of Volume 2].
Pelikan continues on and notes that Rome had been on the side that emerged victorious from one controversy to another, and eventually it became clear that the side Rome chose would be the one that would emerge victorious. Pelikan continues on by referring to the two issues discussed earlier in this work [Volume 2] and states that in the two dogmatic issues that we have discussed thus far, the person o Christ and the use of images in the Church, the orthodoxy of Rome was a prominent element, in the first of these perhaps the decisive element, so that when the relation of East and West itself became a matter o debate, the Latin Case could draw from the record established in the early centuries and the immediate past [p. 150].
Pelikan goes into the Monothelite issue and notes that even though Pope Honorius was said to have fostered it by his negligence [he never defined it, he said nothing in reality], what Rome had sad in local councils in 649 and 680 became the orthodox definition stated at Constantinopile in 681 and states Peter was still speaking thru the Pope.
So in this somewhat long post, there is clear evidence for the Primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Now, what does that Primacy entail and how it has been exercised in the past and how it could be exercised in the future is I think an interesting question. Pope Benedict in Principles of Catholic Theology (1987, p.217) notes that when Patrirach Athenagoros met the Pope in 1963 in Phanar by stating Against all expectations, the Bishop of Rome is among us, first among us in honor, he who presides in love [Ignatnius of Antioch, epistle to the Romans ). It is clear, Pope Benedict writes [then Cardinal Ratziner] that the Patriarch did not abandon the claims of the Eastern Church or acknowledge the primacy of the West. Rather, he stated plainly what the East understood as the order, the rank, of the equal Bishops in the Church and it would be worth our while to consider whether this archariac confession, which has nothing to do with jurisdiction, but does confess a primacy of honor and love might be a formula that recognizes the place of the Church of Rome in the Universal Church.
As then Cardinal Ratzinger noted, Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the Doctrine of Primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium (p.199). Canon 6 of the Council of Nicea is clear Rome has the First place among the Great Apostolic Sees, with Antioch and Alexandria 2 and 3rd. Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon puts Rome 1st again. Rome does not accept canon 28, because Constantinopile put itself ahead of Antioch and Alexandria, which have more ancient claims in Apostolic origin and tradition.
So, in closing, the Primacy of Peter as First among the Apostles and thus the Church of Rome has a basis in history and is supported by NT Text, Church Fathers, and the Councils of the Church, as Pelikan noted in his work. However, how that Primacy is exercised, it seems, is still something that can be adapted, while still holding to the Doctrine of Primacy. Even then Cardinal Ratzinger admitted that as I noted above. So a model where the Pope is the only Bishop that can call a council or if it is called by Other Bishops, the Pope approves their request, and when a council is convoked, the Pope presides over the Council appears, if I am reading Pope Benedict correctly, a model for the Doctrine of the Primacy that would be able to help heal the schism of the Orthodox and the Catholic Church.
The early church fathers taught a lot more than this that is ignored and a lot less then the Catholic Church teaches today. It is safe to say the early catholic church was not the Roman Catholic church.
Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of early Christian history knows the early Church was Catholic and the same sacraments practiced by them, to include the Holy Eucharist, and and REAL PRESENCE of God, is still being practiced by Catholics the world over 2,000 years later.
“Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of early Christian history knows the early Church was Catholic and the same sacraments practiced by them, to include the Holy Eucharist, and and REAL PRESENCE of God, is still being practiced by Catholics the world over 2,000 years later.”
Many, many, many PhD Church history scholars believe no such thing - including “the same sacraments practiced by them, to include the Holy Eucharist, and and REAL PRESENCE of God”.
“Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of early Christian history knows the early Church was Catholic and the same sacraments practiced by them, to include the Holy Eucharist, and and REAL PRESENCE of God, is still being practiced by Catholics the world over 2,000 years later.”
When you say “Holy Eucharist” and “real presence,” you actually mean: Transubstantiation. Obviously, the Lutherans and Presbyterians all hold to a Real Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, they just deny transubstantiation, like Augustine. Luther taught consubstantiation (though the Lutherans don’t like the term), and therefore held to the elements as really being the flesh and blood of Christ; and Calvin’s view was suprasubstantiation. This is different from the pure memorialism of Zwingli (or, at least, what Zwingli allegedly held). In fact, Calvin borrowed extraordinarily heavily from Augustine on this matter:
Augustine - Against Transubstantiation
From Augustines commentary on the verses in John 6 which are traditionally Romes proof texts for the necessity of oral consumption of Christ The body and blood of Christ consumed through faith without eating or drinking. Believe, saith Augustine, and thou hast eaten already.
They said therefore unto Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? For He had said to them, Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto eternal life. What shall we do? they ask; by observing what, shall we be able to fulfill this precept? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent. This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already. (Augustine, Tractate 25)
The fact that Christ may be consumed by faith, even without the eating of the bread and wine, is fatal to Roman Catholicisms teachings on transubstantiation.
Compare with Father John Bartunek, LC., whose interpretation requires the actual use of teeth and stomach:
This was the perfect opportunity for Christ to say, Wait a minute, what I really meant was that my body and blood will just be symbolized by bread and wine. Of course I didnt mean that bread and wine really would become my body and blood. Dont be foolish! The strange thing is he doesnt say that. He does not water down his claim, as if eating his flesh were just a metaphor for believing in his doctrine; on the contrary, he reiterates the importance of really eating his flesh and drinking his blood.
Augustine, writing on his rule for interpreting commands, calls the eating of Christ to be figurative, since otherwise it compels us to do something that is unlawful.
If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence, it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence, it is figurative. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, says Christ, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. John 6:53 This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure, enjoining that we should have a share [communicandem] in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory [in memoria] of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us. Scripture says: If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink; and this is beyond doubt a command to do a kindness. But in what follows, for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head, one would think a deed of malevolence was enjoined. Do not doubt, then, that the expression is figurative; and, while it is possible to interpret it in two ways, one pointing to the doing of an injury, the other to a display of superiority, let charity on the contrary call you back to benevolence, and interpret the coals of fire as the burning groans of penitence by which a mans pride is cured who bewails that he has been the enemy of one who came to his assistance in distress. In the same way, when our Lord says, He who loves his life shall lose it, we are not to think that He forbids the prudence with which it is a mans duty to care for his life, but that He says in a figurative sense, Let him lose his life that is, let him destroy and lose that perverted and unnatural use which he now makes of his life, and through which his desires are fixed on temporal things so that he gives no heed to eternal. It is written: Give to the godly man, and help not a sinner. The latter clause of this sentence seems to forbid benevolence; for it says, help not a sinner. Understand, therefore, that sinner is put figuratively for sin, so that it is his sin you are not to help. (Augustine, Christian Doctrine, Ch. 16)
When the Eucharist is offered, it is ourselves who we receive. (Are we transubstantiated into the bread?) A spiritual lesson is to be received from it, which is the purpose of the sacrament.
How can bread be his body? And the cup, or what the cup contains, how can it be his blood? The reason these things, brothers and sisters, are called sacraments is that in them one thing is seen, another is to be understood. What can be seen has a bodily appearance, what is to be understood provides spiritual fruit. So if its you that are the body of Christ and its members, its the mystery meaning you that has been placed on the Lords table; what you receive is the mystery that means you. (Augustine, Sermon 272)
Take special note for Augustines definition of what a sacrament actually is. Lets continue. Same theme, different sermon:
I havent forgotten my promise. I had promised those of you who have just been baptized a sermon to explain the sacrament of the Lords table, which you can see right now, and which you shared in last night. You ought to know what you have received, what you are about to receive, what you ought to receive every day. That bread which you can see on the altar, sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That cup, or rather what the cup contains, sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. It was by means of these things that the Lord Christ wished to present us with his body and blood, which he shed for our sake for the forgiveness of sins. If you receive them well, you are yourselves what you receive. You see, the apostle says, We, being many, are one loaf, one body (1 Cor 10:17). Thats how he explained the sacrament of the Lords table; one loaf, one body, is what we all are, many though we be. (Augustine, Sermon 227)
(The Catholics will often quote the first part of this sermon, but will not attempt to discuss the lesson of it.)
In fact, throughout this sermon, sacraments are tools to impart spiritual lessons. For example, the sacrament of the Holy Spirit (oil), but it is not actually the Holy Spirit:
Then came baptism, and you were, in a manner of speaking, moistened with water in order to be shaped into bread. But its not yet bread without fire to bake it. So what does fire represent? Thats the chrism, the anointing. Oil, the fire-feeder, you see, is the sacrament of the Holy Spirit. (Same as above)
Another, the sacrament of the kiss of peace:
After that comes Peace be with you; a great sacrament, the kiss of peace. So kiss in such a way as really meaning that you love. Dont be Judas; Judas the traitor kissed Christ with his mouth, while setting a trap for him in his heart. But perhaps somebody has unfriendly feelings toward you, and you are unable to win him round, to show him hes wrong; youre obliged to tolerate him. Dont pay him back evil for evil in your heart. He hates; just you love, and you can kiss him without anxiety. (Same as above)
The Eucharist, which symbolizes both the entire church and Christ, not really consumed. The Eucharist signifies an invisible reality, and is not that reality. Christians should take the spiritual lesson of unity from the Lords supper. Also from sermon 227.
What you can see passes away, but the invisible reality signified does not pass away, but remains. Look, its received, its eaten, its consumed. Is the body of Christ consumed, is the Church of Christ consumed, are the members of Christ consumed? Perish the thought! Here they are being purified, there they will be crowned with the victors laurels. So what is signified will remain eternally, although the thing that signifies it seems to pass away. So receive the sacrament in such a way that you think about yourselves, that you retain unity in your hearts, that you always fix your hearts up above. Dont let your hope be placed on earth, but in heaven. Let your faith be firm in God, let it be acceptable to God. Because what you dont see now, but believe, you are going to see there, where you will have joy without end. (Augustine, Ser. 227)
To believe in Christ is to eat the living bread. This cannot be so if transubstantiation is true.
Wherefore, the Lord, about to give the Holy Spirit, said that Himself was the bread that came down from heaven, exhorting us to believe in Him. For to believe in Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes eats; he is sated invisibly, because invisibly is he born again. A babe within, a new man within. Where he is made new, there he is satisfied with food. (12) What then did the Lord answer to such murmurers? Murmur not among yourselves. As if He said, I know why you are not hungry, and do not understand nor seek after this bread. Murmur not among yourselves: no man can come unto me, except the Father that sent me draw him. Noble excellence of grace! No man comes unless drawn. There is whom He draws, and there is whom He draws not; why He draws one and draws not another, do not desire to judge, if you desire not to err. (Augustine, Tractate 26)
The body of Christ not held by any believer, even in the sacrament. Christ is held in the heart, and not in the hand. This cannot be so if transubstantation is true.
Let them come to the church and hear where Christ is, and take Him. They may hear it from us, they may hear it from the gospel. He was slain by their forefathers, He was buried, He rose again, He was recognized by the disciples, He ascended before their eyes into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of the Father; and He who was judged is yet to come as Judge of all: let them hear, and hold fast. Do they reply, How shall I take hold of the absent? how shall I stretch up my hand into heaven, and take hold of one who is sitting there? Stretch up thy faith, and thou hast got hold. Thy forefathers held by the flesh, hold thou with the heart; for the absent Christ is also present. But for His presence, we ourselves were unable to hold Him. (Augustine, Tractate 50)
Christ must be understood spiritually, not carnally.
It seemed unto them hard that He said, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you: they received it foolishly, they thought of it carnally, and imagined that the Lord would cut off parts from His body, and give unto them; and they said, This is a hard saying. It was they who were hard, not the saying; for unless they had been hard, and not meek, they would have said unto themselves, He saith not this without reason, but there must be some latent mystery herein. They would have remained with Him, softened, not hard: and would have learnt that from Him which they who remained, when the others departed, learnt. For when twelve disciples had remained with Him, on their departure, these remaining followers suggested to Him, as if in grief for the death of the former, that they were offended by His words, and turned back. But He instructed them, and saith unto them, It is the Spirit that quickeneth, but the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Understand spiritually what I have said; ye are not to eat this body which ye see; nor to drink that blood which they who will crucify Me shall pour forth. I have commended unto you a certain mystery; spiritually understood, it will quicken. Although it is needful that this be visibly celebrated, yet it must be spiritually understood. NPNF1: Vol. VIII, St. Augustin on the Psalms, Psalm 99 (98)
These things cannot be so if transubstantiation is the historical Christian interpretation.
In another place, he tells us that it is weakness to interpret the sign as being what it signifies:
To this class of spiritual persons belonged the patriarchs and the prophets, and all those among the people of Israel through whose instrumentality the Holy Spirit ministered unto us the aids and consolations of the Scriptures. But at the present time, after that the proof of our liberty has shone forth so clearly in the resurrection of our Lord, we are not oppressed with the heavy burden of attending even to those signs which we now understand, but our Lord Himself, and apostolic practice, have handed down to us a few rites in place of many, and these at once very easy to perform, most majestic in their significance, and most sacred in the observance; such, for example, as the sacrament of baptism, and the celebration of the body and blood of the Lord. And as soon as any one looks upon these observances he knows to what they refer, and so reveres them not in carnal bondage, but in spiritual freedom. Now, as to follow the letter, and to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage; so to interpret signs wrongly is the result of being misled by error. He, however, who does not understand what a sign signifies, but yet knows that it is a sign, is not in bondage. And it is better even to be in bondage to unknown but useful signs than, by interpreting them wrongly, to draw the neck from under the yoke of bondage only to insert it in the coils of error. (Augustine, Christian Doctrine, Ch. 9)
In still another place, he calls referring to the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ as only a certain manner of speaking, the act itself obviously being non-literal, but spiritual only:
You know that in ordinary parlance we often say, when Easter is approaching, Tomorrow or the day after is the Lords Passion, although He suffered so many years ago, and His passion was endured once for all time. In like manner, on Easter Sunday, we say, This day the Lord rose from the dead, although so many years have passed since His resurrection. But no one is so foolish as to accuse us of falsehood when we use these phrases, for this reason, that we give such names to these days on the ground of a likeness between them and the days on which the events referred to actually transpired, the day being called the day of that event, although it is not the very day on which the event took place, but one corresponding to it by the revolution of the same time of the year, and the event itself being said to take place on that day, because, although it really took place long before, it is on that day sacramentally celebrated. Was not Christ once for all offered up in His own person as a sacrifice? And yet, is He not likewise offered up in the sacrament as a sacrifice, not only in the special solemnities of Easter, but also daily among our congregations; so that the man who, being questioned, answers that He is offered as a sacrifice in that ordinance, declares what is strictly true? For if sacraments had not some points of real resemblance to the things of which they are the sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all. In most cases, moreover, they do in virtue of this likeness bear the names of the realities which they resemble. As, therefore, in a certain manner the sacrament of Christs body is Christs body, and the sacrament of Christs blood is Christs blood. (Augustine, Letters 98)
>>>”There was no Roman Catholic church as we would understand it today in those days. “
Of course not, everybody knows they were all Southern Baptists.
“One of the posters cited a work by Pelikan from 1959. Pelikans more recent work seems in contradiction to the works you cited. There there are clear examples of the Primacy of the Church of Rome in the late 1st and 2nd century.”
On the contrary, it’s hard to tell whether Rome even had any Bishops at all during the first and second centuries. I recommend checking Daniel’s post on the matter.
As for “evidence” of a Primacy of ROME in the first 2 or 3 centuries, it exists mostly in the minds of Catholics. But not in reality.
” It is clear, Pope Benedict writes [then Cardinal Ratziner] that the Patriarch did not abandon the claims of the Eastern Church or acknowledge the primacy of the West. Rather, he stated plainly what the East understood as the order, the rank, of the equal Bishops in the Church and it would be worth our while to consider whether this archariac confession, which has nothing to do with jurisdiction, but does confess a primacy of honor and love might be a formula that recognizes the place of the Church of Rome in the Universal Church.”
To be clear here, the East does not understand the term “primate” as being “Universal”. They understand primacy in terms of honor, and this same honor may be undone if such a church were to fall into heresy, which they also believe the Roman Catholic church to be in on a wide range of issues. Benedict is just stuck in the wet-dream Papists have of one day ruling all the churches, but that will not happen any time soon. The EOC deny Roman Catholic claims that the Primacy of Peter fell on Rome exclusively, but only honor Rome for the same reason Constantinople was to be honored, because of its place as the seat of government.
Such a view is utterly incompatible with Roman Catholic claims, which do not understand Primacy as a thing of honor, nor do they share it with other Bishops as in Antioch and Rome, nor do they base it on the importance of Rome as a city.
“Of course not, everybody knows they were all Southern Baptists.”
That’s impossible. That denomination, like Romanism, was not invented until a long time later.
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