Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
It does not. It records that, at the request of the Pope, the Emperor made it illegal for any other Bishop to usurp the title which had always belonged to the Bishop of Rome. To forbid others to take a title which has ever been the rightful possession of one is not to confer the title upon that one. And if the Pope did not possess universal jurisdiction until 607, how could St. Clement, third successor of St Peter as Bishop of Rome, write to the Christians at Corinth, "If any disobey the words spoken by God through us, let them know that they will entangle themselves in transgression and no small danger, but we shall be clear of this sin." Thus the fourth Pope demanded obedience under pain of sin from Christians living abroad. Again, how could St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons in Gaul, and who died in the year 202, say that all churches were subject to, and must agree with the Church at Rome, because St. Peter had founded the Church there, and the Bishops of that city were his lawful successors, beginning with Linus? Irenaeus died over 400 years before the date you give. The Council of Ephesus in 431, embracing all Bishops and not even held at Rome, decreed, "No one can doubt, indeed it is known to all ages, that Peter, Prince and Head of the Apostles and Foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from Christ our Redeemer, and that to this day and always he lives in his successors exercising judgment." This was 176 years earlier than the date you give.
No. Whatever abuses arose in later times, the early saintly Popes, nearly all of them martyrs for Christ, were not the men to seek after office, and dignities which they knew to be spurious.
God ratifies the choice of those who elect him. When Matthias was elected as an Apostle by the other Apostles he was elected by men, and not directly by God, but God ratified their choice and granted to him also apostolic power.
The Pope is the servant of the servants of God. He himself tells us that one is our master—Christ, whom he and all are bound to serve. He claims no authority independently of Christ. The text you quote forbids selfish tyranny in one's own name over members of the Church. It does not forbid the exercise of legitimate power. "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them," says St. Paul. Heb. XIII., 17.
Certainly not. He would be a very peculiar representative of the Beast, so given to the love of God and man, and to prayer. I have met the present Pope (Pius XI.) several times, and he is one of the gentlest men I have ever met. He scarcely opens his lips save to bless and praise God in the Name of Jesus Christ.
That interpretation is absurd, and rejected by all reputable scholars, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. In any case, St. John wrote in Greek, and there is no warrant whatever for the transition to the Latin language. Moreover, whatever be the true interpretation of this mystical number, it certainly refers to some one individual being. If it referred to one particular Pope, it could refer to none of the others. To which Pope will people refer it? To a past Pope? Then he is dead and gone, and we need not worry about him. To the present Pope? He is the very antithesis of all the conditions of the Beast as described by St. John. However, the number does not refer to any of the Popes at all.
Many fantastic interpretations have been given, but none have been proved. The vast majority of interpreters regard the number as a mystical symbol, designating some man who will be the chief agent of Satan towards the end of the world. Some people thought it was Mahomet, saying that he died in 666 A.D. But he died in 630 A.D. Calvin wished to attribute it to Pope Boniface III., or to the Popes in general. His only foundation was prejudice, and his theory is utterly rejected to-day. Martin Luther's name, and dozens of others have been made to signify the number in various languages, but in all these cases the wish was father to the thought, and was made to supply for the lack of reason. The true solution of this question cannot be given.
No. He desired to show us that he knew the future by revelation, but that he was not free to manifest all that he knew to us. He explicitly says, "Let him that hath understanding count the number." The understanding required is not merely human wisdom, but an understanding on the same high plane as was the very revelation given to St. John. Undeterred by this warning, those who are so confident that it refers to the Pope modestly rank themselves with St. John. But no special wisdom is shown in any answer yet given. When a man has practiced all the other good advice in the New Testament, more practical and more clear, he will be making some progress towards the wisdom necessary to understand such references. Possibly the text is intended for those who will be living in the times when it shall be clear from events themselves.
Do not be misled by mere words. Later designations of an office do not alter the office, and the office of the one whom we now call the Pope is clearly taught by Scripture. After all, the word Pope simply means father, or one with paternal authority over a household. And certainly, Scripture often likens the Church to the "Household of the Faith," and indicates one as being in supreme charge of that household.
Gregory was Pope, and knew that he was Pope. Far from refusing the title, he showed that he was universal Bishop by excommunicating John the Faster, over whom he could not have had such jurisdiction had he not the privilege of being universal Bishop. In his 21st Epistle Gregory writes, "As to what they say of the Church of Christ, who doubts that it is subject to the Apostolic See?"
The various Bishops of Rome who succeeded St. Peter—St. Peter having been head of the Apostles, and having died as Bishop of Rome.
The Apostles, as having been sent by Christ to all nations, had universal jurisdiction. But this universality of jurisdiction was extraordinary, and did not pass to those successors whom they consecrated for particular localities. Also, whilst the Apostles each rejoiced in jurisdiction over all regions, St. Peter had all authority centred in him. Hence St. Paul went to consult him at Jerusalem.
They were disputing as to who should be the greater in Heaven, not concerning their office on earth. The fact that Christ replied by teaching a lesson of interior humility shows that He knew them to be referring to their personal standing in God's eiteem.
You must remember the sense of the discussion. Peter was not necessarily the greater from an aspect of grace and holiness. Eternal rewards depend rather upon Christian virtue than upon earthly office. St. Peter was chief in earthly office, although we know that St. John was called the beloved disciple.
Christ warned the Apostles against exercising authority in unjust and domineering ways such as those of worldlings, who delight to be thought great, and who love tyranny. He forbade the evil method, but He deliberately gave His authority to the Apostles, and chiefly to St. Peter.
Since none of the Apostles disputed it, St. Peter had no need to insist upon it. All knew that Christ had said to him, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Matt. XVI., 18. And again, "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and do thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren." Lk. XXII., 32. They knew, too, that Christ's commission to St. Peter to feed both the lambs and the sheep of the flock included themselves. Jn. XXL, 15-17. Implicitly St. Peter claimed his right by being the first to announce the Gospel after Pentecost, by conducting the election of Matthias as an Apostle in place of Judas, by presiding at the Council of Jerusalem, etc. St. Paul wrote to the Galatians L, 18, that he went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed there fifteen days with him. Why to Peter rather than to any other of the Apostles? And why does he add that, having gone to Jerusalem, he also saw James? He does not say that he went to see such Apostles as were at Jerusalem, or that he went to see James, and also happened to see Peter whilst there.
He did not. St. Peter presided. Acts XV., 7, says, "After much disputing Peter rose up and said"; he then solved the question. Verse 12 tells us that after Peter had spoken all held their peace. James then spoke in support of Peter'3 decision, as much as to say, "Peter is right. I too think that the Gentiles should not be disquieted." St. Jerome remarks, concerning this incident, "The whole multitude held their peace, and James the Apostle together with all the priests passed over to the judgment of Peter. . . . Peter was the prime mover in issuing the decree." St. John Chrysostom wrote, "See the care of the teacher towards his subjects! He has the first authority in the discussion because to him all were committed."
St. Peter was supreme head of the Church and infallible in his doctrinal teaching, but it does not follow that he would not be indiscreet in some act of administration. Now no doctrinal error was involved in this particular case. St. Peter indiscreetly ceased to eat with the Gentiles because of the presence of some Jews. But to cease from doing a lawful thing for fear lest others be scandalized is not a matter of doctrine. It is a question of prudence or imprudence. St. Paul did not act as if he were St. Peter's superior. Nor did he boast. To show the urgency of the matter, he practically said, "I had to resist even Peter—to whom chief authority belongs." And his words derive their full significance only from the fact that St. Peter was head of the Apostles. St. Cyprian, who lived in the third century, knew of this passage and certainly understood Christianity. Yet he did not perceive any objection against St. Peter's supremacy in this case. He writes, "Peter, whom the Lord chose to be first and upon whom He built His Church, did not proudly assert the primacy he possessed, nor despise Paul who had once been a persecutor of the Church; but he accepted meekly, giving us an example of patience." St. Hilary, in the fifth century, says, "Both Paul and Peter are to be admired; Paul because he did not fear to point out the right practice to his superior; Peter because, knowing that all acknowledged his primacy, he had too much humility to resent any reproach offered to himself."
St. Paul declares that he personally laid the foundations of a particular branch of the Church at Corinth. But Christ had founded the whole Church upon Peter. Each must take care how he builds, and St. Paul took care that the Church at Corinth would be in full accordance with the universal Church founded upon St. Peter. Anyone who departs from the authority of St. Peter is not taking care, but going outside the constitution of the Church as established by Christ, and severing himself from that Church.
If so, you are in a great difficulty. If the Church was thus divided and St. Paul was head of the Gentile section, where is St. Paul's successor to-day? We have the successors of St. Peter in the Popes, and the present Pope is head of the Church with over 400 millions of subjects, the vast majority of them Gentiles. In any case, St. Paul again and again addressed the Jews in their Synagogues, and St. Peter certainly ministered to the Gentiles in his turn, above all as Bishop of Rome.
No one claims that St. Peter was the principal foundation stone. But that Church which is in communion with St. Peter and his successors is the genuine Church built upon the foundation of Christ. Christ Himself said to Peter, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Christ is the solid rock upon which the Church is built. But the first rock laid upon thi9 foundation is Peter, Christ being the principal foundation stone, Peter being the secondary foundation chosen by Christ.
That is erroneous. In Jn. I., 42, we find Christ saying to Peter, "Thou art Simon . . . thou shalt be called Cephas, Which is interpreted Peter." Christ had a special purpose in thus changing his name to Cephas or rock, a purpose manifested later on as recorded by Matt. XVI., 18, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Let us put it this way. Supposing that your name were Brown, and I said to you, "They call you Brown, but I am going to call you Stone. And upon this stone I shall build up a special society I have in mind to establish," would you believe that I was alluding to you, or to myself? Now Peter's name was Simon, and Christ changed it to Peter, or in the original Aramaic language, Kepha, which was the word for rock or stone, and which was never used as a proper name in that language. Thus He said, "Thou art Kepha, and upon this Kepha I will build my Church." In modern English it would sound thus, "Thou art Mr. Stone, and upon this stone I will build my Church." The word could not possibly refer to Christ in this text
There is no value in pointing out the differences of form in this word according to the Latin or Greek languages, in which they are accommodated to the masculine for Peter as a man, and to the feminine for stone. Our Lord spoke in Aramaic, in which the form is the same in both cases, simply Kepha.
How can you appeal to the English form, if the English translation does not adequately express what Christ meant? Surely you want the exact teaching of Christ! The English version is not an infallible rendering, nor does anyone versed in these matters claim that the English language fully expresses the sense of the originals. But apparently you are content to be without the truth, if it is not to be discovered superficially by the reading of your talismanic English version.
That is an antiquated interpretation abandoned by all the best scholars, Protestants included. Christ did demand a profession of faith from Peter as a pre-required condition, after that, conferring the fundamental primacy upon him personally. But to say that the profession itself was the rock has not a single valid reason in its favor. Those who adopted such an interpretation did so from their desire to avoid the Catholic doctrine. Grammatically the Catholic interpretation is alone possible. Contextually the whole passage obviously refers to Peter's person. "Blessed art thou ... I say to thee . . . thou art Peter ... I will give to thee the keys, etc.," nor could the Church be built upon one article of faith. All the articles of faith are essential Christianity. The Protestant Scripture scholar Hastings says that the confession theory must undoubtedly be excluded. The German Protestant Kuinoel writes, "Those who wrongly interpret this passage as referring to the confession and not to Peter himself would never have taken refuge in this distorted interpretation if the Popes had not wrongly tried to claim for themselves the privilege that was given to Peter." You see, he does not believe that the Pope inherits Peter's privileges, but he does know that Peter was personally the foundation stone. Loisy, the French Rationalist, rejected the historical sense of the Gospels, but he says that it is absurd to accept that sense as do Protestants, and then violate that sense in order to avoid what they do not wish to admit.
They were morally unanimous in that interpretation. Loisy, whose rationalizing tendencies are well known, wrote, "The confession interpretation was proposed by some Fathers in view of the moral application, and has been resurrected by Protestant exegetes in polemical interests. But if one takes the historical sense of the Gospels it is only a subtle distinction doing violence to the text."
The fact that the office was not withdrawn is clear from the later words of Christ to Peter, "And do thou, being converted, confirm thy bretliren." Lk. XXII., 32; and again, from the commission to feed the whole flock given to Peter after Our Lord's resurrection, as recorded in Jn. XXL, 15-18. Prompted by love and reverence for Christ, Peter had protested that Christ ought not to suffer. And Christ would have been the first to appreciate such motives. However harsh the English may seem to be, Christ really replied gently, as if to say, "Peter, you do not yet understand the plan of God. You are letting your human affection sway your judgment. But such thoughts are opposed to my vocation. Get thee behind me, Satan." The word Satan is not used personally here, as of the devil, but in the sense of adversary, Christ intending merely, "I cannot accept the natural promptings of your affection for me." No withdrawal of office is involved.
The connecting link is the fact that Peter journeyed to Rome, and died there as Bishop with universal jurisdiction over the whole Church.
You may have heard that stated, but you have never heard any proof advanced in its favor. It is simple history that St. Peter went to Rome about the year 43 A.D., went back to Jerusalem after a few years for a short time, and then returned to Rome until his death, save for very short absences. He died about the year 67, during the reign of Nero. Papias wrote, about 140 A.D., "Peter came and first by his salutary preaching of the Gospel and by his keys opened in the city of Rome the gates of the heavenly kingdom." Lanciani, the eminent archaeologist, wrote, "The presence of St. Peter in Rome is a fact demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt by purely monumental evidence."
Catholic tradition is not a mere matter of rumor and report. It is down in black and white in documents as historical as any other documents, beginning from the year 97 with the declaration of the fact by Clement. It would not matter if Scripture did not give any evidence on this point. However it does. St. Peter ends his first Epistle with the words, "The Church which is in Babylon salutes you, and so doth my son, Mark." All reputable scholars admit that the first Christians called pagan Rome Babylon on account of its vices. St. Peter, therefore, was writing from Rome. St. Paul wrote to the Colossians from Rome, sending the kind wishes of Mark, thus also indicating Mark's presence in Rome.
The point is, have I succeeded in doing so? Anyway, not only Catholics admit the fact. No single writer ever denied it until the 13th century. Then it was denied by the Waldenses, heretics who had a purpose in view, yet who could produce no evidence that he died anywhere else. No other place has ever disputed this honor with Rome. Wycliffe, Luther, and other Protestants took up the Waldensian assertion, thinking it a good argument against Rome. But enlightened Protestant scholars to-day are ashamed that such an argument, with all the evidence against it, should ever have been used. Cave, a Protestant writer, says, "That Peter was at Rome we fearlessly affirm with the whole multitude of the ancients." Dean Milman admits the fact as incontestable. Dr. Lardner, in his history of the Apostles and Evangelists, says that it is the general uncontradicted and disinterested testimony of ancient writers. The Protestant Whiston, in his Memoirs, remarks, "It is a 6hame for any Protestant to have to confess that any Protestant ever denied it."
Scripture tells us that he was head of the Church, which implicitly demands that ie was universal Bishop, and it also tells us, as I have said, that he was in Rome.
The word Pope means Father or Head of the Church as an ordinary father is head of a family. St. Peter was certainly in Rome, and died there as Bishop. By legitimate succession the one who succeeded as Bishop of Rome after Peter's death inherited the office of Head of the Church, or if you wish, as Father of the whole Christian family he was Pope. All the Bishops of Rome right through the centuries have belonged to the Catholic Church. No one disputes that. They are known as the Popes, and as St. Peter was first of that long line, Catholics rightly regard him as the first Pope.
St. Irenaeus, writing in the second century, gives us the list of the Popes from St. Peter as follows:—Linus, Cletus, Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius. Eleutherius was reigning as Pope in the time of Irenaeus.
He was not told to establish the Church. Christ established the Church, choosing Peter as the foundation stone. The Apostles were told to propagate the Church Christ had established, and of course according to the constitution given it by Himself. Wherever Peter went he remained Head of that Church, and as he went to Rome and died there whilst still exercising his office, that office is necessarily attached to the See of Rome. This was not by mere accident. We have to admit the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the choice made by St Peter in a matter of such moment to the Church.
Protestants cannot make that claim. Protestantism is essentially a protest against the Catholic Church, and therefore supposes that Church as previously existing. If Peter had not consolidated and built up the Catholic Church there would be no Protestantism to oppose it. In any case, Protestantism was unheard of until over 1500 years after St. Peter's death.
As we do not claim that he succeeds to the power of working miracles such a criterion is quite irrelevant in this matter.
Christ is the one principal Mediator. But He Himself chooses to dispense His mediation through secondary agents. There is but one king of England, but that does not deny the existence of officials to whom the royal power is delegated. If fifty officials act in the name of the king, that does not make fifty kings. Now Christ delegated His power to Priests and, as the one Mediator, acts through many channels. St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "Let a mafc so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God." I. Cor. IV., 1. In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read that the Priest "ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins." V., 3. This cannot refer to Christ, who certainly had not to offer for His own sins.
The Priesthood is a form of secondary mediation appointed by Christ. To ignore His provision for the Church is to ignore Christ. We do not say that Catholics cannot directly approach Christ. They may unite themselves to Him by private prayers whenever they wish. But in many matters they need also the other means appointed by Christ and committed officially to the administration of Priests. Remember, too, that Christ identifies Himself with His Church, and meant what He said when He declared of her, "He who hears you, hears Me." That implies the doctrine, "He who comes to you, comes to Me." In fact, when Saul was persecuting the Church, Christ appeared to him and said, not, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou the Church," but, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me."
Your rigid interpretation would forbid your calling an earthly parent father. Yet God Himself, in the commandments, terms one of your parents father, and tells you to honor him as such. Your text means simply, "Call no one your father as if you had no other father with rights over you." That is, you must realize that all paternity is of God, and that you owe your being, and all that you have, including your earthly father, to Him. Nor can any claims of an earthly father avail against our duties to God, our heavenly Father. Meantime, Catholics do not call a Priest "Father" in the same sense as that in which they call God their Father. A Priest, by God's Providence and by the authority of Christ, is a father in the spiritual sense, just as a natural parent is a father in an earthly sense. By administering Baptism he gives spiritual life to a soul; he nourishes that life by conferring the Sacraments; he warns, teaches, helps with his advice, corrects, and does all in the spiritual life that an earthly father does in the temporal order. So much so that St. Paul attributes a true paternity to himself, saying, "I admonish you as my dearest children ... for in Christ Jesus, by the Gospel, I have begotten you." I. Cor, IV., 14.
Will you go to Christ on His conditions, or on your own conditions? Christ decided that Priests were necessary to His religion, gave to His Church the Sacrament of Orders, and authority to His Priests. You profess to believe in Christ, yet regard His appointments as a nonsensical farce.
Even had it done so, that would not alter the fact that Christ willed its existence. But what precisely do you intend?