Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Yes. St. Peter ends his first Epistle with the words, "TheChurch which is in Babylon salutes you, and so doth my sonMark." Pagan Rome was called Babylon by the early Christians;and St. Peter was writing from that city. Also, St. Paul wrote hisEpistle to the Romans in the year 58 A. D. In it he says that hedoes not want to preach the Gospel where Christ is already known,because he would not build on "another man'sfoundation." Yet in the Epistle to the Romans he writes to aChurch already founded "whose faith was spoken of throughoutthe whole world." R. I., 8; declares that he himself had notyet visited Rome, R. I., 10-13; XV., 22-23; but that he hoped to doso when he later set out to visit Spain. R. XV., 24. Commenting onthese words, the Protestant Dr. B. J. Kidd writes, "Rome, inshort, was 'another man's foundation.' No allusion tothe 'other man' by name is wanted. The Romans knew wellenough whom he meant. Who, then, was the 'other man'? Theevidence is early and threefold in favor of St. Peter." Hist.of Ch., p. 52. The Rev. G. Edmundson, in his "Church in Romein the First Century," p. 28, writes: "There had been afounder of this great Church with whom St. Paul was wellacquainted. Who was he? All tradition answers with one voice thename of St. Peter."
No such mention was necessary, and it would have been positivelyinexpedient. The most ordinary prudence would make St. Paul avoidmentioning St. Peter as Bishop of Rome in written documents whichmight fall into the hands of the enemies of the Church. TheChristians were most careful not to allow the movements andofficial acts of their Bishops to become known to the authoritiesof pagan society. Any hint that the head of the Church had taken uphis abode in Rome, or was founding his See in the very heart of theRoman Empire would be disastrous if it came into the hands ofenemies. St. Paul's remark that he was not going to build on"another man's foundation" was sufficient referencefor those to whom he was writing.
We have a host of early indications that he was, whilst not asingle early writer can be quoted as expressing the least doubt onthe subject. Heretics and schismatics, as well as Catholicsthemselves, acknowledged the Bishop of Rome as succeeding to thebishopric of St. Peter. Eusebius wrote as follows: "Peter theApostle, the first Pontiff of the Christians, when he had firstfounded the Church at Antioch, proceeds to Rome where, preachingthe Gospel, he continues for twenty-five years Bishop of thatcity." And he adds, "Linus was the first after Peter thatobtained the Episcopate of the Church of the Romans." TheProtestant Bishop Lightfoot says of Eusebius, "To Eusebius weare indebted for almost all that we know of the lost ecclesiasticalliterature of the second century ... in no instance that we cantest, does Eusebius give a doubtful testimony. ... I do not join inthe vulgar outcry against the dishonesty of Eusebius. Whenever Ihave been able to investigate this charge, I have found itbaseless."
Rome was never the See of St. Paul. St. Paul himself, by hislater visit there, his preaching at Rome, and death in that city,earned the title of co-founder of the Mother-See of Christendom.But Rome was ever called the "Chair of Peter," never the"Chair of Paul"; and Eusebius rightly refers to Linussimply as "the first after Peter." The wonderfulorganization and faith of the Roman Church before St. Paul went there, and to which he alludes in his Epistle to theRomans, can be accounted for only by Apostolic foundation. And itwas undoubtedly St. Peter who founded the Church at Rome,organizing the scattered elements, and placing the Church on asolid basis. Antioch would have had priority had St. Peter remainedand died there. But he did not do so. He transferred to Rome, andhis successor was naturally the Bishop of Rome, not the Bishop ofAntioch.