Wednesday, July 11, 2007

On the Catholic Church

(MORE WILL COME ON BAPTISM -- JUST TAKING A BREAK)

Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a statement clarifying the ecclesiology of the Roman Church. Nothing new in the statement. The Roman Communion is the Church Catholic in its fullness. Other groups are Christian by virtue of Trinitarian baptism, but not full members of the Church.

I am struck by many in the blogosphere who are taken aback by this. This has always been the teaching of Rome. In fact, this is one of the lynch pin issues in the question of crossing the Tiber. Is the Church of the Rome THE Church by virtue of the Petrine ministry? Rome answers yes. Other communions answer no. That's the way it has been since at least 1054.

What is very helpful about the statement is that it brings into focus the notion that being Catholic is not about having some liturgy and wearing a robe -- it is about deep ecclesiology. Being Catholic in the broad sense -- whether Orthodox, Anglican or Roman -- is about much deeper issues than saying the Daily Office or liking to go on silent retreats. It has to do with the marks of the Church.

I am not Roman by choice. I believe Rome's view of the Petrine office is incorrect. I do not believe the Roman Church is evil and I do not believe Romans Christians are not Christians. But I cannot give fealty to the Roman Church because of its claims that, in my view, go beyond the Catholic consensus of the undivided Church (see my masthead above).

Pope Benedict's writing is great by the way. His book on the Liturgy is very helpful.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pope Clement I



"Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy" (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).


Hermas



"Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty" (The Shepherd 2:4:3 [A.D. 80]).


Ignatius of Antioch



"Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

"You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force" (ibid., 3:1).


Dionysius of Corinth



"For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying" (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).

"Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement" (ibid., 4:23:11).


The Martyrs of Lyons



"And when a dissension arose about these said people [the Montanists], the brethren in Gaul once more . . . [sent letters] to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia and, moreover to Eleutherius, who was then [A.D. 175] bishop of the Romans, negotiating for the peace of the churches" (Eusebius, Church History 5:3:4 [A.D. 312])

"And the same martyrs too commended Irenaeus, already at that time [A.D. 175] a presbyter of the community of Lyons, to the said bishop of Rome, rendering abundant testimony to the man, as the following expressions show: ‘Once more and always we pray that you may rejoice in God, Pope Eleutherius. This letter we have charged our brother and companion Irenaeus to convey to you, and we beg you to receive him as zealous for the covenant of Christ’" (ibid., 5:4:1–2).


Irenaeus



"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).


Eusebius of Caesarea



"A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia [Minor], as from an older tradition held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world . . . as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of the Savior [Sunday]. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the Lord’s day and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only. . . . Thereupon [Pope] Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the community the parishes of all Asia [Minor], with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox. And he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace and of neighborly unity and love. . . . [Irenaeus] fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom" (Church History 5:23:1–24:11).

"Thus then did Irenaeus entreat and negotiate [with Pope Victor] on behalf of the peace of the churches—[Irenaeus being] a man well-named, for he was a peacemaker both in name and character. And he corresponded by letter not only with Victor, but also with very many and various rulers of churches" (ibid., 24:18).


Cyprian of Carthage



"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

"Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church" (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).

"Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting ... You wrote ... that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church" (ibid., 55[52]:1).

"Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men ... when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church" (ibid., 55[52]:8).

"With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source" (ibid., 59:14).


Firmilian



"[Pope] Stephen ... boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. ... Stephen ... announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:17 [A.D. 253]).


Pope Julius I



"[The] judgment [concerning Athanasius] ought to have been made, not as it was, but according to the ecclesiastical canon. It behooved all of you to write us so that the justice of it might be seen as emanating from all. ... Are you ignorant that the custom has been to write first to us and then for a just decision to be passed from this place [Rome]? If, then, any such suspicion rested upon the bishop there [Athanasius of Alexandria], notice of it ought to have been written to the church here. But now, after having done as they pleased, they want to obtain our concurrence, although we never condemned him. Not thus are the constitutions of Paul, not thus the traditions of the Fathers. This is another form of procedure, and a novel practice. ... What I write about this is for the common good. For what we have heard from the blessed apostle Peter, these things I signify to you" (Letter on Behalf of Athanasius [A.D. 341], in Athanasius, Apology Against the Arians 20–35).

Council of Sardica



"[I]f any bishop loses the judgment in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew . . . let us honor the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgment write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters and the judgment may be made again by the bishops of a neighboring province" (canon 3 [A.D. 342]).

"[I]f some bishop be deposed by the judgment of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood, and if he declare that he will seek further redress, another should not be appointed to his see until the bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgment" (canon 4).


Optatus of Milevus



"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).


Council of Constantinople I



"The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome" (canon 3 [A.D. 381]).


Pope Damasus I



"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).


Synod of Ambrose



"We recognize in the letter of your holiness [Pope Siricius] the vigilance of the good shepherd. You faithfully watch over the gate entrusted to you, and with pious care you guard Christ’s sheepfold [John 10:7ff], you that are worthy to have the Lord’s sheep hear and follow you" (Synodal Letter to Pope Siricius [A.D. 389]).


Jerome



"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).


Augustine



"There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 5 [A.D. 397]).

"[On this matter of the Pelagians] two councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See [the bishop of Rome], and from there rescripts too have come. The matter is at an end; would that the error too might be at an end!" (Sermons 131:10 [A.D. 411]).


Pope Innocent I



"If cases of greater importance are to be heard [at a council], they are, as the synod decrees and as happy custom requires, after episcopal judgment, to be referred to the Apostolic See" (Letters 2:3:6 [A.D. 408]).

"In seeking the things of God . . . following the examples of ancient tradition . . . you have strengthened . . . the vigor of your religion with true reason, for you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us, and have shown that you know what is owed to the Apostolic See, if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged. Following him, we know how to condemn evils just as well as we know how to approve what is laudable. Or rather, guarding with your priestly office what the Fathers instituted, you did not regard what they had decided, not by human but by divine judgments, as something to be trampled on. They did not regard anything as finished, even though it was the concern of distant and remote provinces, until it had come to the notice of this See [Rome], so that what was a just pronouncement might be confirmed by the authority of this See, and thence other churches—just as all waters proceed from their own natal source and, through the various regions of the whole world, remain pure liquids of an incorrupted head. . . ." (ibid., 29:1).


Pope Celestine I



"We enjoin upon you [my legates to the Council of Ephesus] the necessary task of guarding the authority of the Apostolic See. And if the instructions handed to you have to mention this and if you have to be present in the assembly, if it comes to controversy, it is not yours to join the fight but to judge of the opinions [on my behalf]" (Letters 17 [A.D. 431]).


Council of Ephesus



"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members, by our holy voices, you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle. And since now [we], after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, [have] arrived, we ask that you order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).


Pope Leo I



"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine religion. . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery. . . . [You, my brothers], must realize with us, of course, that the Apostolic See—out of reverence for it, I mean—has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops even of your own province [Vienne]. And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by long-standing custom" (Letters 10:2–3 [A.D. 445]).

"As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy apostle Peter" (ibid., 110).

"If in your view, [Anastasius of Thessalonica], in regard to a matter to be handled and decided jointly with your brothers, their decision was other than what you wanted, then let the entire matter, with a record of the proceedings, be referred to us. . . . Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen [to be apostles], but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one see of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).


Peter Chrysologus



"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome" (Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).


Council of Chalcedon



"Bishop Paschasinus, guardian of the Apostolic See, stood in the midst [of the Council Fathers] and said, ‘We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman city [Pope Leo I], who is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed to sit in the [present] assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat, he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out" (Acts of the Council, session 1 [A.D. 451]).

"After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!’" (ibid., session 2).


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 Peter’s chair, who occupies Peter’s 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]).

Anonymous said...

Tatian the Syrian



"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).


Tertullian



"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).


The Letter of Clement to James



"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).


The Clementine Homilies



"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).


Origen



"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).


Cyprian of Carthage



"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

"There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are
secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another" (ibid., 66[69]:8).


Firmilian



"But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).


Ephraim the Syrian



"[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).


Optatus



"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).


Ambrose of Milan



"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).


Pope Damasus I



"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).


Jerome



"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).


Augustine



"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. ... In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).


Council of Ephesus



"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).


Sechnall of Ireland



"Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]).


Pope Leo I



"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles. . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).


Council of Chalcedon



"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

Peter said...

Wow anonymous -- do you keep Patristic prooftexts readily available for posts like this?

By the way - one cannot read the present view of the papacy back into the Patristic literature -- it is anachronistic and poor historiography. The Bishop of Rome was the western Patriarch and the given a place of honor and first among equals status. This is much different than the present status of the Papacy.

Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Matt. to Rev. - Peter is mentioned 155 times and the rest of apostles combined are only mentioned 130 times. Peter is also always listed first except in 1 Cor. 3:22 and Gal. 2:9 (which are obvious exceptions to the rule).

Matt. 10:2; Mark 1:36; 3:16; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:3; 2:37; 5:29 - these are some of many examples where Peter is mentioned first among the apostles.

Matt. 14:28-29 - only Peter has the faith to walk on water. No other man in Scripture is said to have the faith to walk on water. This faith ultimately did not fail.

Matt. 16:16, Mark 8:29; John 6:69 - Peter is first among the apostles to confess the divinity of Christ.

Matt. 16:17 - Peter alone is told he has received divine knowledge by a special revelation from God the Father.

Matt. 16:18 - Jesus builds the Church only on Peter, the rock, with the other apostles as the foundation and Jesus as the Head.

Matt. 16:19 - only Peter receives the keys, which represent authority over the Church and facilitate dynastic succession to his authority.

Matt. 17:24-25 - the tax collector approaches Peter for Jesus' tax. Peter is the spokesman for Jesus. He is the Vicar of Christ.

Matt. 17:26-27 - Jesus pays the half-shekel tax with one shekel, for both Jesus and Peter. Peter is Christ's representative on earth.

Matt. 18:21 - in the presence of the disciples, Peter asks Jesus about the rule of forgiveness. One of many examples where Peter takes a leadership role among the apostles in understanding Jesus' teachings.

Matt. 19:27 - Peter speaks on behalf of the apostles by telling Jesus that they have left everything to follow Him.

Mark 10:28 - here also, Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples by declaring that they have left everything to follow Him.

Mark 11:21 - Peter speaks on behalf of the disciples in remembering Jesus' curse on the fig tree.

Mark 14:37 - at Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, and no one else, why he was asleep. Peter is accountable to Jesus for his actions on behalf of the apostles because he has been appointed by Jesus as their leader.

Mark 16:7 - Peter is specified by an angel as the leader of the apostles as the angel confirms the resurrection of Christ.

Luke 5:3 – Jesus teaches from Peter’s boat which is metaphor for the Church. Jesus guides Peter and the Church into all truth.

Luke 5:4,10 - Jesus instructs Peter to let down the nets for a catch, and the miraculous catch follows. Peter, the Pope, is the "fisher of men."

Luke 7:40-50- Jesus addresses Peter regarding the rule of forgiveness and Peter answers on behalf of the disciples. Jesus also singles Peter out and judges his conduct vis-à-vis the conduct of the woman who anointed Him.

Luke 8:45 - when Jesus asked who touched His garment, it is Peter who answers on behalf of the disciples.

Luke 8:51; 9:28; 22:8; Acts 1:13; 3:1,3,11; 4:13,19; 8:14 - Peter is always mentioned before John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Luke 9:28;33 - Peter is mentioned first as going to mountain of transfiguration and the only one to speak at the transfiguration.

Luke 12:41 - Peter seeks clarification of a parable on behalf on the disciples. This is part of Peter's formation as the chief shepherd of the flock after Jesus ascended into heaven.

Luke 22:31-32 - Jesus prays for Peter alone, that his faith may not fail, and charges him to strengthen the rest of the apostles.

Luke 24:12, John 20:4-6 - John arrived at the tomb first but stopped and waited for Peter. Peter then arrived and entered the tomb first.

Luke 24:34 - the two disciples distinguish Peter even though they both had seen the risen Jesus the previous hour. See Luke 24:33.

John 6:68 - after the disciples leave, Peter is the first to speak and confess his belief in Christ after the Eucharistic discourse.

John 13:6-9 - Peter speaks out to the Lord in front of the apostles concerning the washing of feet.

John 13:36; 21:18 - Jesus predicts Peter's death. Peter was martyred at Rome in 67 A.D. Several hundred years of papal successors were also martyred.

John 21:2-3,11 - Peter leads the fishing and his net does not break. The boat (the "barque of Peter") is a metaphor for the Church.

John 21:7 - only Peter got out of the boat and ran to the shore to meet Jesus. Peter is the earthly shepherd leading us to God.

John 21:15 - in front of the apostles, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Jesus "more than these," which refers to the other apostles. Peter is the head of the apostolic see.

John 21:15-17 - Jesus charges Peter to "feed my lambs," "tend my sheep," "feed my sheep." Sheep means all people, even the apostles.

Acts 1:13 - Peter is first when entering upper room after our Lord's ascension. The first Eucharist and Pentecost were given in this room.

Acts 1:15 - Peter initiates the selection of a successor to Judas right after Jesus ascended into heaven, and no one questions him. Further, if the Church needed a successor to Judas, wouldn't it need one to Peter? Of course.

Acts 2:14 - Peter is first to speak for the apostles after the Holy Spirit descended upon them at Pentecost. Peter is the first to preach the Gospel.

Acts 2:38 - Peter gives first preaching in the early Church on repentance and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.

Acts 3:1,3,4 - Peter is mentioned first as going to the Temple to pray.

Acts 3:6-7 - Peter works the first healing of the apostles.

Acts 3:12-26, 4:8-12 - Peter teaches the early Church the healing through Jesus and that there is no salvation other than Christ.

Acts 5:3 - Peter declares the first anathema of Ananias and Sapphira which is ratified by God, and brings about their death. Peter exercises his binding authority.

Acts 5:15 - Peter's shadow has healing power. No other apostle is said to have this power.

Acts 8:14 - Peter is mentioned first in conferring the sacrament of confirmation.

Acts 8:20-23 - Peter casts judgment on Simon's quest for gaining authority through the laying on of hands. Peter exercises his binding and loosing authority.

Acts 9:32-34 - Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and works the healing of Aeneas.

Acts 9:38-40 - Peter is mentioned first among the apostles and raises Tabitha from the dead.

Acts 10:5 - Cornelius is told by an angel to call upon Peter. Angels are messengers of God. Peter was granted this divine vision.

Acts 10:34-48, 11:1-18 - Peter is first to teach about salvation for all (Jews and Gentiles).

Acts 12:5 - this verse implies that the "whole Church" offered "earnest prayers" for Peter, their leader, during his imprisonment.

Acts 12:6-11 - Peter is freed from jail by an angel. He is the first object of divine intervention in the early Church.

Acts 15:7-12 - Peter resolves the first doctrinal issue on circumcision at the Church's first council at Jerusalem, and no one questions him. After Peter the Papa spoke, all were kept silent.

Acts 15:12 - only after Peter (the Pope) speaks do Paul and Barnabas (bishops) speak in support of Peter's definitive teaching.

Acts 15:13-14 - then James speaks to further acknowledge Peter's definitive teaching. "Simeon (Peter) has related how God first visited..."

Rom. 15:20 - Paul says he doesn't want to build on "another man's foundation" referring to Peter, who built the Church in Rome.

1 Cor. 9:5 – Peter is distinguished from the rest of the apostles and brethren of the Lord.

1 Cor. 15:4-8 - Paul distinguishes Jesus' post-resurrection appearances to Peter from those of the other apostles. Christ appeared “to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

Gal.1:18 - Paul spends fifteen days with Peter privately before beginning his ministry, even after Christ's Revelation to Paul.

1 Peter 5:1 - Peter acts as the chief bishop by "exhorting" all the other bishops and elders of the Church.

1 Peter 5:13 - Some Protestants argue against the Papacy by trying to prove Peter was never in Rome. First, this argument is irrelevant to whether Jesus instituted the Papacy. Secondly, this verse demonstrates that Peter was in fact in Rome. Peter writes from "Babylon" which was a code name for Rome during these days of persecution. See, for example, Rev. 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2,10,21, which show that "Babylon" meant Rome. Rome was the "great city" of the New Testament period. Because Rome during this age was considered the center of the world, the Lord wanted His Church to be established in Rome.

2 Peter 1:14 - Peter writes about Jesus' prediction of Peter's death, embracing the eventual martyrdom that he would suffer.

2 Peter 3:16 - Peter is making a judgment on the proper interpretation of Paul's letters. Peter is the chief shepherd of the flock.

Matt. 23:11; Mark 9:35; 10:44 - yet Peter, as the first, humbled himself to be the last and servant of all servants.

Anonymous said...

Here's my list:

"The church of God which sojourns at Rome to the church of God which sojourns at Corinth ... But if any disobey the words spoken by him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger." Clement of Rome, Pope, 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, 1,59:1 (c. A.D. 96).

"Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which has obtained mercy, through the majesty of the Mast High God the Father, and of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son; the Church which is sanctified and enlightened by the will of God, who farmed all things that are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour; the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love..." Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Romans, Prologue (A.D. 110).

"There is extant also another epistle written by Dionysius to the Romans, and addressed to Soter, who was bishop at that time. We cannot do better than to subjoin some passages from this epistle…In this same epistle he makes mention also of Clement's epistle to the Corinthians, showing that it had been the custom from the beginning to read it in the church. His words are as follows: To-day we have passed the Lord's holy day, in which we have read your epistle. From it, whenever we read it, we shall always be able to draw advice, as also from the former epistle, which was written to us through Clement.' Dionysius of Corinth, To Pope Soter (A.D. 171).

"Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:3:2 (A.D. 180).

"A question of no small importance arose at that time. For the parishes of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Saviour's Passover. It was therefore necessary to end their fast on that day, whatever day of the week it should happen to be. But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this time, as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the resurrection of our Saviour...Thereupon Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicated.” Pope Victor & Easter (c. A.D. 195).

"And he says to him again after the resurrection, 'Feed my sheep.' It is on him that he builds the Church, and to him that he entrusts the sheep to feed. And although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single Chair, thus establishing by his own authority the source and hallmark of the (Church's) oneness. No doubt the others were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter, and it is (thus) made clear that there is but one flock which is to be fed by all the apostles in common accord. If a man does not hold fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church? This unity firmly should we hold and maintain, especially we bishops, presiding in the Church, in order that we may approve the episcopate itself to be the one and undivided." Cyprian, The Unity of the Church, 4-5 (A.D. 251-256).

"After such things as these, moreover, they still dare--a false bishop having been appointed for them by, heretics--to set sail and to bear letters from schismatic and profane persons to the throne of Peter, and to the chief church whence priestly unity takes its source; and not to consider that these were the Romans whose faith was praised in the preaching of the apostle, to whom faithlessness could have no access." Cyprian, To Cornelius, Epistle 54/59:14 (A.D. 252).

”The reason for your absence was both honorable and imperative, that the schismatic wolves might not rob and plunder by stealth nor the heretical dogs bark madly in the rapid fury nor the very serpent, the devil, discharge his blasphemous venom. So it seems to us right and altogether fitting that priests of the Lord from each and every province should report to their head, that is, to the See of Peter, the Apostle." Council of Sardica, To Pope Julius (A.D. 342).

"And this case likewise is to be provided for, that if in any province a bishop has some matter against his brother and fellow-bishop, neither of the two should call in as arbiters bishops from another province. But if perchance sentence be given against a bishop in any matter and he supposes his case to be not unsound but good, in order that the question may be reopened, let us, if it seem good to your charity, honour the memory of Peter the Apostle, and let those who gave judgment write to Julius, the bishop of Rome, so that, if necessary, the case may be retried by the bishops of the neighbouring provinces and let him appoint arbiters; but if it cannot be shown that his case is of such a sort as to need a new trial, let the judgment once given not be annulled, but stand good as before." Council of Sardica, Canon III (A.D. 343-344).

"Bishop Gaudentius said: If it seems good to you, it is necessary to add to this decision full of sincere charity which thou hast pronounced, that if any bishop be deposed by the sentence of these neighbouring bishops, and assert that he has fresh matter in defense, a new bishop be not settled in his see, unless the bishop of Rome judge and render a decision as to this." Council of Sardica, Canon IV (A.D. 343-344).

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

"Supposing, as you assert, that some offence rested upon those persons, the case ought to have been conducted against them, not after this manner, but according to the Canon of the Church. Word should have been written of it to us all, that so a just sentence might proceed from all. For the sufferers were Bishops, and Churches of no ordinary note, but those which the Apostles themselves had governed in their own persons…For what we have received from the blessed Apostle Peter, that I signify to you; and I should not have written this, as deeming that these things were manifest unto all men, had not these proceedings so disturbed us." Athanasius, Pope Julius to the Eusebians, Defense Against the Arians, 35 (A.D. 347).

"For Dionysius, Bishop of Rome, having written also against those who said that the Son of God was a creature and a created thing, it is manifest that not now for the first time but from of old the heresy of the Arian adversaries of Christ has been anathematised by all. And Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, making his defense concerning the letter he had written, appears in his turn as neither thinking as they allege, nor having held the Arian error at all." Athanasius, Dionysius of Rome, 13 (A.D. 352).

"You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome the Chair was first conferred on Peter, in which the prince of all the Apostles, Peter, sat…in which Chair unity should be preserved by all, so that he should now be a schismatic and a sinner who should set up another Chair against that unique one." Optatus of Mileve, The Schism of Donatists, 2:2-3 (c. A.D. 367).

"For the good of unity Blessed Peter deserved to be preferred before the rest, and alone received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, that he might communicate them to the rest." Optatus of Mileve, The Schism of Donatists, 7:3 (c.A.D. 367).

"No prejudice could arise from the number of bishops gathered at Ariminum, since it is well known that neither the bishop of the Romans, whose opinion ought before all others to have been waited for, nor Vincentius, whose stainless episcopate had lasted so many years, nor the rest, gave in their adhesion to such doctrines. And this is the more significant, since, as has been already said, the very men who seemed to be tricked into surrender, themselves, in their wiser moments, testified their disapproval." Pope Damasus [regn. A.D. 366-384], About Council at Arminum, Epistle 1 (A.D. 371).

"…I think it my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church whose faith has been praised by Paul…The fruitful soil of Rome, when it receives the pure seed of the Lord, bears fruit an hundredfold…My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails.” Jerome, To Pope Damasus, Epistle 15:1-2 (A.D. 375).

"But he was not so eager as to lay aside caution. He called the bishop to him, and esteeming that there can be no true thankfulness except it spring from true faith, he enquired whether he agreed with the Catholic bishops, that is, with the Roman Church?" Ambrose, The death of his brother Satyrus, 1:47 (A.D. 378).

"Your grace must be besought not to permit any disturbance of the Roman Church, the head of the whole Roman World and of the most holy faith of the Apostles, for from thence flow out to all (churches) the bonds of sacred communion." Ambrose, To Emperor Gratian, Epistle 11:4 (A.D. 381).

"To your inquiry we do not deny a legal reply, because we, upon whom greater zeal for the Christian religion is incumbent than upon the whole body, out of consideration for our office do not have the liberty to dissimulate, nor to remain silent. We carry the weight of all who are burdened; nay rather the blessed apostle Peter bears these in us, who, as we trust, protects us in all matters of his administration, and guards his heirs." Pope Sircius [regn. A.D. 384-399], To Himerius, Epistle 1 (A.D. 385).

"Or rather, if we hear him here, we shall certainly see him hereafter, if not as standing near him, yet see him we certainly shall, glistening near the Throne of the king. Where the Cherubim sing the glory, where the Seraphim are flying, there shall we see Paul, with Peter, and as a chief and leader of the choir of the Saints, and shall enjoy his generous love. For if when here he loved men so, that when he had the choice of departing and being with Christ, he chose to be here...” John Chrysostom, Epistle to the Romans, Homily 32:24 (c. A.D. 391).

"Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail" Augustine, Psalm against the Party of Donatus, 18 (A.D. 393).

"I am held in the communion of the Catholic Church by...and by the succession of bishops from the very seat of Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection commended His sheep to be fed up to the present episcopate." Augustine, Against the Letter of Mani, 5 (A.D. 395).

“Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished.” Augustine, To Glorius et.al, Epistle 43:7 (A.D. 397).

"The chair of the Roman Church, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today." Augustine, Against the Letters of Petillian, 2:51 (A.D. 402).

“In making inquiry with respect to those things that should be treated with all solicitude by bishops, and especially by a true and just and Catholic Council, by preserving, as you have done, the example of ancient tradition, and by being mindful of ecclesiastical discipline, you have truly strengthened the vigour of our religion, no less now in consulting us than before in passing sentence. For you decided that it was proper to refer to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, since all we who are set in this place, desire to follow the Apostle from the very episcopate and whole authority of this name is derived. Following in his footsteps, we know how to condemn the evil and to approve the good.” Pope Innocent [regn A.D. 401-417], To the Council of Carthage, Epistle 29 (A.D. 417).

"Although the tradition of the Fathers has attributed to the Apostolic See so great authority that none would dare to contest its judgments...For (Peter) himself has care over all the Churches, and above all that in which he sat nor does he suffer any of its privileges or decisions to be shaken" Pope Zosimus [regn A.D. 417-418 ],To Aurelius and the Council of Carthage, Epistle 12 (A.D. 418).

"For it has never been allowed to discuss again what has once been decided by the Apostolic See." Pope Boniface [regn A.D. 418-422], To Rufus Bishop of Thessalonica, Epistle 13 (A.D. 422).

"The rising pestilence was first cut short by Rome, the see of Peter, which having become the head to the world of the pastoral office, holds by religion whatever it holds not by arms." Prosper of Aquitaine, Song on the Enemies of Grace, 1 (A.D. 429).

"Joining to yourself, therefore, the sovereign of our See, and assuming our place with authority, you will execute this sentence with accurate rigour: that within ten days, counted from the day of your notice, he shall condemn his [Nestorius'] false teachings in a written confession." Pope Celestine [regn. A.D. 422-432], To Cyril of Alexandria, Epistle 11 (A.D. 430).

"The Holy Synod said: 'Since most impious Nestorius will not obey our citation, and has not received the most holy and God-fearing bishops whom we sent to him, we have necessarily betaken ourselves to the examination of his impieties; and having apprehended from his letters, and from his writings, and from his recent sayings in this metropolis, which have been reported, that his opinions and teachings are impious, we being necessarily compelled thereto by the canons and by the letter of our most holy father and colleague, Celestine, bishop of the Roman Church, with many tears, have arrived at the following sentence against him:--'Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has been blasphemed by him, defines by this present most holy synod that the same Nestorius is deprived of episcopal dignity and of all sacredotal intercourse." Council of Ephesus, Session I (A.D. 431).

"Philip, presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See, said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: Our holy and most blessed Pope Celestine the bishop is according to due order his successor and holds his place...Accordingly the decision of all churches is firm, for the priests of the eastern and western churches are present...Wherefore Nestorius knows that he is alienated from the communion of the priests of the Catholic Church." Council of Ephesus, Session III (A.D. 431).

"Peter in his successors has delivered what he received." Pope Sixtus III [regn. A.D. 432-440], To John of Antioch, Epistle 6 (A.D. 433).

"For he [Pope Sixtus] wrote what was in accord with the holy synod [Council of Ephesus], and confirmed all of its acts, an is agreement with us." Cyril of Alexandria, To Acacius of Meletine, Epistle 40 (A.D. 434).

“Once on a time then, Agrippinus, bishop of Carthage, of venerable memory, held the doctrine--and he was the first who held it --that Baptism ought to be repeated, contrary to the divine canon, contrary to the rule of the universal Church, contrary to the customs and institutions of our ancestors. This innovation drew after it such an amount of evil, that it not only gave an example of sacrilege to heretics of all sorts, but proved an occasion of error to certain Catholics even. When then all men protested against the novelty, and the priesthood everywhere, each as his zeal prompted him, opposed it, Pope Stephen of blessed memory, Prelate of the Apostolic See, in conjunction indeed with his colleagues but yet himself the foremost, withstood it, thinking it right, I doubt not, that as he exceeded all others in the authority of his place, so he should also in the devotion of his faith. In fine, in an epistle sent at the time to Africa, he laid down this rule: Let there be no innovation--nothing but what has been handed down.’” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 6 (A.D. 434).

"And since these heretics were trying to bring the Apostolic See round their view, African councils of holy bishops also did their best to persuade the holy Pope of the city (first the venerable Innocent, and afterwards his successor Zosimus) that this heresy was to be abhorred and condemned by Catholic faith. And these bishops so great a See successively branded them, and cut them off from the members of the Church, giving letters to the African Churches in the West, and to the Churches of the East, and declared that they were to be anathematised and avoided by all Catholics. The judgment pronounced upon them by the Catholic Church of God was heard and followed also by the most pious Emperor Ho they had wandered, and are yet returning, as the truth of the right faith becomes known against this detestable error." Possidius, Life of Augustine, 18 (A.D. 437).

"After the reading of the foregoing epistle [the Tome of Pope Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: This is the faith of the fathers, this is the faith of the Apostles. So we all believe, thus the orthodox believe. Anathema to him who does not thus believe. Peter has spoken thus through Leo [regn. A.D. 440-461]. So taught the Apostles. Piously and truly did Leo teach, so taught Cyril. Everlasting be the memory of Cyril. Leo and Cyril taught the same thing, anathema to him who does not so believe. This is the true faith. Those of us who are orthodox thus believe. This is the faith of the fathers. Why were not these things read at Ephesus [i.e. at the heretical synod held there]? These are the things Dioscorus hid away." Council of Chalcedon, Session II (A.D. 451).

"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned Dioscorus to the canonical penalties." Council of Chalcedon, Session III (A.D. 451).

"The great and holy and universal Synod...in the metropolis of Chalcedon...to the most holy and blessed archbishop of Rome, Leo...being set as the mouthpiece unto all of the blessed Peter, and imparting the blessedness of his Faith unto all...and besides all this he [Dioscorus] stretched forth his fury even against him who had been charged with the custody of the vine by the Savior, we mean of course your holiness..." Pope Leo the Great, Chalcdeon to Pope Leo, Epistle 98:1-2 (A.D. 451).

"Who does not cease to preside in his see, who will doubt that he rules in every part of the world." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 5 (A.D ante 461).

“For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the chief of the Apostles is perpetual: and as that remains which Peter believed in Christ, so that remains which Christ instituted in Peter...The dispensation of Truth therefore abides, and the blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he undertook. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ. And still to-day he more fully and effectually performs what is entrusted to him, and carries out every part of his duty and charge in Him and with Him, through Whom he has been glorified. And so if anything is rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the mercy of God by our daily supplications, it is of his work and merits whose power lives and whose authority prevails in his See.” Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 3:2-3 (A.D ante 461).

Anonymous said...

And...

"The Church of God which sojourns in Rome to the Church of God which sojourns in Corinth....If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger." Pope Clement of Rome [regn. c A.D.91-101], 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, 1,59:1 (c. A.D. 96).

"Thereupon Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the common unity the parishes of all Asia, with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox; and he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate..." Pope Victor I [regn. A.D. 189-198], in Eusebius EH, 24:9 (A.D. 192).

"Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid...Stephen, who announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter." Pope Stephen I [regn. A.D. 254-257], Firmilian to Cyprian, Epistle 74/75:17 (A.D. 256).

"I beseech you, readily bear with me: what I write is for the common good. For what we have received from the blessed Apostle Peter s, that I signify to you; and I should not have written this, as deeming that these things were manifest unto all men, had not these proceedings so disturbed us." Pope Julius [regn. A.D. 337-352], To the Eusebians, fragment in Athanasius' Against the Arians, 2:35 (c. A.D. 345).

"Why then do you again ask me for the condemnation of Timotheus? Here, by the judgment of the apostolic see, in the presence of Peter, bishop of Alexandria, he was condemned, together with his teacher, Apollinarius, who will also in the day of judgment undergo due punishment and torment. But if he succeeds in persuading some less stable men, as though having some hope, after by his confession changing the true hope which is in Christ, with him shall likewise perish whoever of set purpose withstands the order of the Church. May God keep you sound, most honoured sons." Pope Damasus [regn. A.D. 366-384], To the Eastern Bishops, fragment in Theodoret's EH, 5:10 (c. A.D. 372).

"We bear the burdens of all who are heavy laden; nay, rather, the blessed apostle Peter bears them in us and protects and watches over us, his heirs, as we trust, in all the care of his ministry....Now let all your priests observe the rule here given, unless they wish to be plucked from the solid, apostolic rock upon which Christ built the universal Church....I think, dearest brother, disposed of all the questions which were contained in your letter of inquiry and have, I believe, returned adequate answers to each of the cases you reported by our son, the priest Basianus, to the Roman Church as to the head of your body....And whereas no priest of the Lord is free to be ignorant of the statutes of the Apostolic See and the venerable provisions of the canons." Pope Sircius [regn. c A.D. 384-399], To Himerius, bishop of Tarragona (Spain), 1,3,20 (c. A.D. 392).

"Care shall not be lacking on my part to guard the faith of the Gospel as regards my peoples, and to visit by letter, as far as I am able, the parts of my body throughout the divers regions of the earth." Pope Anastasius [regn. A.D. 399-401], Epistle 1 (c. A.D. 400).

"In making inquiry with respect to those things that should be treated ... by bishops ... as you have done, the example of ancient tradition ... For you decided that it was proper to refer to our judgment, knowing what is due to the Apostolic See, since all we who are set in this place, desire to follow that Apostle from whom the very episcopate and whole authority of this named derived ... that whatsoever is done, even though it be in distant provinces, should not be ended without being brought to the knowledge of this See, that by its authority the whole just pronouncement should be strengthened, and that from it all other Churches (like waters flowing from their natal source and flowing through the different regions of the world, the pure streams of one incorrupt head)...you also show your solicitude for the well being of all, and that you ask for a decree that shall profit all the Churches of the world at once." Pope Innocent I [regn. A.D. 401-417], To the Council of Carthage, 1,2 (A.D. 417).

"It is therefore with due care and propriety that you consult the secrets of the Apostolic office that office, I mean, to which belongs, besides the things which are without, the care of all the Churches...Especially as often as a question of faith is discussed, I think that all our brothers and fellow bishops should refer to none other than to Peter, the author of their name and office." Pope Innocent I [regn. A.D. 401-417], To the Council of Mileve, 2 (A.D. 417).

"Although the tradition of the fathers has attributed to the Apostolic See so great authority that none would dare to contest its judgment, and has preserved this ever in its canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline in its laws still pays the reverence which it ought to the name of Peter...For he himself has care over all the churches, and above all of that which he sat...Since, then Peter is the head of so great authority, and has confirmed the suffrages of our forefathers since his time...and as bishops you are bound to know it; yet; though such was our authority that none could reconsider our decision." Pope Zosimus [regn. A.D. 417-418], To the Council of Carthage (c. A.D. 418).

"For it has never been lawful to reconsider what has once been settled by the apostolic see." Pope Boniface [regn. A.D. 418-422], To Rufus bishop of Thessalonica (c. A.D. 420).

"The universal ordering of the Church at its birth took its origin from the office of blessed Peter, in which is found both directing power and its supreme authority. From him as from a source, at the time when our religion was in the stage of growth, all churches received their common order. This much is shown by the injunctions of the council of Nicea, since it did not venture to make a decree in his regard, recognizing that nothing could be added to his dignity: in fact it knew that all had been assigned to him by the word of the Lord. So it is clear that this church is to all churches throughout the world as the head is to the members, and that whoever separates himself from it becomes an exile from the Christian religion, since he ceases to belong to its fellowship." Pope Boniface [regn. A.D. 418-422], To the bishops of Thessaly (c. A.D. 420).

"None has ever been so rash as to oppose the apostolic primacy, the judgment of which may not be revised; none rebels against it, unless he would judge in his turn." Pope Boniface [regn A.D. 418-422], To Rufus and bishops of Macedonia (c. A.D. 420).

"Wherefore, assuming to yourself the authority of our see and using our stead and place with power, you will deliver this sentence with utmost severity." Pope Celestine [regn A.D. 422-427], To Cyril of Alexandria, Epistle 1 1 (A.D. 430).

"The blessed apostle Peter, in his successors, has handed down what he received. Who would be willing to separate himself from the doctrine of whom the Master himself instructed first among the apostles?" Pope Sixtus III, [regn A.D. 432-440], To John of Antioch (A.D. 433).

"But this mysterious function the Lord wished to be indeed the concern of all the apostles, but in such a way that He has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the Apostles: and from him as from the Head wishes His gifts to flow to all the body: so that any one who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has no part or lot in the divine mystery." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Epistle 10 (A.D 445).

"And so he too rejoices over your good feeling and welcomes your respect for the Lord’s own institution as shown towards the partners of His honour, commending the well ordered love of the whole Church, which ever finds Peter in Peter's See, and from affection for so great a shepherd grows not lukewarm even over so inferior a successor as myself." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 2 (A.D ante 461).

"'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' and every tongue which confesses the Lord, accepts the instruction his voice conveys. This Faith conquers the devil, and breaks the bonds of his prisoners. It uproots us from this earth and plants us in heaven, and the gates of Hades cannot prevail against it. For with such solidity is it endued by God that the depravity of heretics cannot mar it nor the unbelief of the heathen overcome it." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 3:2-3 (A.D ante 461).

"Who does not cease to preside in his see, who will doubt that he rules in every part of the world." Pope Leo the Great [regn. A.D.440-461], Sermon 5 (A.D ante 461).

Jim said...

Anonymous,

So how do you REALLY feel? It unfortunately sounds defensive, insecure, and more than a little power hungry.

It might also have been more suitably addressed by way of email.

Peter said...

Okay -- who are you anonymous -- your trying to be funny right?

Blessings!

James Gibson said...

Anonymity is a wonderful thing behind which to hide, especially when one has nothing better to do than copy and paste material from a compendium of old Roman tracts.

Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Guitar Priest!
That was a great post. Thanks so much!
Catholic Revert guitarist blogger

+ Alan said...

Wheeew, I'm tired and I didn't even read all that. Crap.

Of course now I've found my way back into the Catholic Church, I'm going to say, I have no basic problem with the concept of the Papacy. It's certainly not what some characterize it to be.

I'm sure it developed into what it is today over time. I'm not sure that many would say, though, Fader Pete, with just as much confidence, that the present view of the Papacy isn't altogether some other thing than what it was in the early Church. Again, it surely developed, like almost everything else. It's just a matter of how one sees the that development happening I suppose.

Interesting things that one like myself has to come to terms with I reckon. Peace to you.

+ simonas said...

OK, great post, but who reads the babble from the Anonymous? It certainly does not fit the genre of blogging. Things need to be explained in other ways. May it be a lesson... NOBODY read those comments, dude...