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Church Authority Doesn't "Peter" Out
Catholic Hour ^
| August 13, 2010
| Leon Suprenant
Posted on 08/13/2010 2:48:50 PM PDT by NYer
Let's recap what we have discussed so far in this brief series on Peter's confession of faith in Matthew 16.
Peter confessed his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus not only blessed him profusely, but also gave him a new name and a special mission as the "rock" on which He will build His Church. We then looked at the "keys" that were given to Peter, which established him as the "prime minister" of Christ's kingdom, with the authority to "bind and loose."
Clearly Peter had a preeminent role as the leader of Christ’s kingdom on earth. But where do Catholics get the idea of an ongoing papacy?
First, let's look again at Isaiah 22 from the standpoint of the transfer of office from Shebna to Eliakim. The authority is tied to the office (whoever is given the "keys" and raiment of the prime minister), and not to the individual.
Sports fans call Lebron James "King James" because of his basketball prowess. Yet this title, or nickname, is attached to Lebron personally. There is no "office" that Lebron holds, and when he retires there will not be a "King James" on the court. That title will not pass to his children or teammates.
That's not how it works with an office, such as president, senator, judge, or school principal. When one person's tenure is finished, another is chosen to take his or her place. We also see this principle at work in the Acts of the Apostles, where Matthias is chosen as an apostle explicitly to fill the office vacated by Judas (see Acts 1:15 and following, especially v. 20).
In the case of St. Peter, drawing upon the historical precedent of the prime minister in the kingdom of Israel, the very concept of keys implies an office that continues from generation to generation.
Second, let’s turn to the final verses of Matthew (Mt. 28:18-20). St. Matthew concludes his Gospel with Jesus handing over His own divine authority to the Church through the office of Peter and the apostles--the first Pope and bishops.
But, as a practical matter, how could they carry out the command to baptize and teach until the end of the age (at least 2,000 years)? They didn't have a written and universally accepted canon of Scripture until after we've had dozens of popes. The fact is that the apostles were to have successors--and early Church history clearly bears that out.
So when Jesus gave Peter the keys, He was entrusting His authority not only to Peter, but also to all his successors.The keys of the New Covenant kingdom are transferable--just as the keys were passed on from prime minister to prime minister in the Davidic kingdom of old.
This is why the Catholic Church has always taught that Peter’s successor--the pope--serves as the “Vicar of Christ” and as the preeminent shepherd of God’s people.
As the modern-day successor of Peter and bearer of “the keys,” Pope Benedict XVI stands as the current prime minister in Christ’s kingdom (266th!). It's not a position of power so much as a position of service. As Pope St. Gregory the Great said around the year 600, the Pope is Servus Servorum Dei: The Servant of the Servants of God.
In Isaiah, the prime minister is a "father" to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Is. 22:21). So too is Pope Benedict our Holy Father.
You can read the initial installments here.
TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History
posted on 08/13/2010 2:48:51 PM PDT
To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; ...
posted on 08/13/2010 2:49:27 PM PDT
("God dwells in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar." St. Maximilian Kolbe)
Maybe not, but you’re Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, and lower echelon folks have disgraced you... Maybe it’s time to get a bit more belligerent and expect a bit more from them.
posted on 08/13/2010 3:14:35 PM PDT
To: Deagle; NYer
The Church leaders are human beings subject to all the frailties and imperfections that we all have. There was Judas, one of the original Apostles that betrayed Jesus.
Are you trying to be the one to cast the first stone? Have your political leaders disgraced you?
Yes, we need accountability and participation by the church members to follow a Christ-like life.
If we are to follow Christ, we need to do the best that we can and ask for God's help and fully participate in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in-spite of the imperfections of its members and leaders.
Let us follow Jesus and his commandments to Love Him with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength. And to Love your neighbor as yourself.
posted on 08/13/2010 5:30:08 PM PDT
(Democracy works when citizens get involved and keep government honest.)
First, a disclaimer: I’m tired and had a miserable day, so please be patient.
In the first centuries of the Church believers were faced with a mounting rise in heresy. This was very early in history, in the 200s and 300s AD. To combat these heresies the Church needed a way to claim that their teaching was the correct position.
The argument they came up with was positional authority: “I was laid on hands by So and so, who was laid on hands by So and so, who was laid on hands by Peter himself... and therefore our teaching is right.” This gave the Church in the first centuries the claim that the mantle of the Apostles fell on them, that they had the sole authority of the Church, and the doctrines of God.
This line of reasoning did help keep back totally errant theologies from entering the mainstream of Christian thought in those first centuries. But in doing so, it started something far worse — the notion of *positional* authority as being dominant over *personal/spiritual* authority.
By the 400s AD, receding was the notion that someone who held a position in the Church needed a vital, spiritual daily walk with the Holy Spirit in order to have spiritual authority. Authority was something you had by occupying a position. If you were made a Priest or a Bishop, automatically you had spiritual authority because you had a new office. And this authority was, in their eyes, granted by God simply on the basis of the position. To have X position meant you had X authority given by God.
This automatic conveyance of authority, regardless of spiritual walk, was never a part of the teachings of Jesus, Paul or Peter. True authority is a thing of the *heart*. It is living with the Lord every day, talking with Him, sharing with Him, loving and being loved by Him, being forgiven and rejoicing in that forgiveness.
Fast forward to today. I am not anti-Catholic by a LONG shot. Catholics have a much better understanding of the awesomeness and holiness of God than most of my fellow Protestants. And there are Catholics, such as Mother Teresa was, who are absolute jewels doing fantastic ministry in some of the worst hell-holes on Earth. And Catholics have done a bang-up job protecting babies from abortion.
I will plead with you, however, to consider that righteousness isn’t something that can be earned or conferred. Only Jesus can make us righteous by His suffering and death; “it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.” (Romans). Salvation is a gift, it’s an “asking” thing, and it’s personal. And so is service in the Body. And so is position in the Body.
Spiritual authority cannot be gained or granted on the basis of the title in front of someone’s name. God is no respecter of men, so why would He set up His Church like that? He didn’t.
Now, before I inadvertantly start a Reformation in the middle of a nice, peaceful Catholic thread, let me add that Catholic and Protestant Freepers are united in our common causes here: pro-God, pro-life, pro-Constitution, pro-freedom. On those matters, we are one.
God bless you, and thank you for your patience.
No, but these fallen leaders need to be gone. Simple as that. Unfortunately, the hierarchy tends to protect them instead of the people they serve. That is a major problem!
posted on 08/13/2010 5:38:38 PM PDT
Yes this is sad but true... and our 1st Pope (Peter) denied Christ 3 times.
I wish I could find the statitisics I saw that showed that despite the flaws and abuse, children were much more likely to be abused outside of the church (little consolation for the victims, but many of them are only going after the supposed big target in the Catholic Church)
posted on 08/13/2010 7:27:25 PM PDT
posted on 08/13/2010 8:02:53 PM PDT
("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
Remember Saul or St Paul who persecuted the early Catholics.
Sometimes, good things happen because of past experiences.
I would like to live in a perfect world, yet I place my trust in the Lord and His Church, and understand that the Church members and leaders are sinners also.
In my younger days, I also lost faith in the leadership of the Church and felt that there was not a Holy atmosphere in the Church. Now, I have embraced a a relationship with God and I am trying to lead a Christ-like life. I see the Church and its leaders like a family with its crazy uncles and aunts. We need to endure and accept them but not always their deeds. When we as individuals lead a Christ-like life, then more will follow.
posted on 08/14/2010 10:07:45 AM PDT
(Democracy works when citizens get involved and keep government honest.)
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