Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Papal Supremacy

331. You have repeatedly said that the Pope is the head on earth of your priestly hierarchy. But Christ is the Head of the Church, and there cannot be two heads to one body.

There can be, in the Catholic sense, the one on earth being but secondary, and Vicar of Christ, the Supreme Head of the Church. Thus, a plenipotentiary ambassador has the power of the king. It is not a power different from that of the king. In fact, it is the king's power exercised through the ambassador. So the Pope is head of the Church on earth insofar as to him is delegated the power of Christ by Christ Himself. The Pope teaches and governs in the name of Christ. And he must be strictly faithful to the doctrines taught by Christ, interpreting them, defining them, defending them, and settling disputes concerning them. He is there for that, and such an authority is the secret of the success of the Catholic Church. And, of course, it is the provision made for His Church by the wisdom of Christ.

332. It is wrong for the Pope to arrogate to himself the title of "Vicar of God" on earth.

He does not do so. A person is said to arrogate to himself a title when he assumes it without any right to possess it. But, as the rightful head of the Catholic Church in this world, the Pope lawfully succeeds to an office whose occupant is rightfully regarded as God's Vicar on earth.

333. It is the height of presumption for any man to he called the Vicar of God.

I am afraid you do not understand what the word "vicar" means. If you imagine that it supposes authority even over God, I must ask you to dismiss that idea at once. A vicar is one who has authority as the delegate of another. Anyone who exercises authority in the name of another can rightly be termed that others vicar. Thus, in writing of the king, Carlyle says, "The authority of the king is that of law, or of right, not that of wrong. The king, therefore, should use the authority of law or right as being the vicar and servant of God on earth." So speaks Carlyle, and quite correctly. But if he who holds supreme authority in the State for purposes of temporal administration may be termed the Vicar of God, surely the term is still more justified when we speak of the supreme head of the Church, to whom the care of our spiritual welfare has been entrusted.

334. Why is the Pope called "Holy Father"? Christ never called Peter by that title.

Christ conferred upon St. Peter a very holy office, and appointed him as head of the household of the faith constituted by the great family of all the spiritual children of God. By doing this, Christ appointed him as the "holy father" of the whole Christian family on earth; and we Catholics as true children of the family rightly grant to him and to the Pope as his successor, the title of "Holy Father."

335. In early times the title of Pope was given to all bishops.

That is true. The word "Pope" simply means "Father," and the bishops from the beginning were regarded as entrusted in a particular way with the paternal care of their respective flocks. It was not until the fourth century that the word "Pope" began to be a distinctive title of the Bishop of Rome.

336. Then how were the successors of St. Peter distinguished from other bishops by the early Christians?

Chiefly by the title of their Bishopric. Rome, as the See of St. Peter, was acknowledged to be the supreme source of authority in the Church; and it was enough to speak of the Bishop of Rome for all to know that the supreme head of the Church on earth was intended. Yet, besides the title of Bishop of Rome, even in the earliest times when all bishops were called Popes, other distinctive titles were given to those to whom the title of Pope is now restricted. Thus, the Bishop of Rome was called the "Supreme Pontiff," or the "Roman Pontiff," or again the "Bishop of Bishops.'" But in general, it is enough to say that the supremacy of the Pope was annexed to the Bishopric inherited from St. Peter, and the very mention of Rome was enough to indicate supreme authority in the Church. "Rome has spoken; the case is finished" is an axiom which sums up the attitude of the early Christians.

337. How can the Pope be Peter's lawful successor, when there was no Pope from St. Peter's death until the fourth century?

In the second century, St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, gives the list of the Popes until his day. "The Blessed Apostles," he wrote, "transmitted the office of the episcopate to Linus. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the Apostles, to Clement is allotted the episcopacy." So he continues, giving the names of the Popes down to Eleutherius, "Who now," he says, "in the twelfth place, holds the inheritance of the episcopate from the Apostles." How could St. Irenaeus, in the second century, enumerate the names of twelve Popes, if there were no Popes before the fourth century?

338. Then the Primacy is bound to find sanctuary in Rome, or Christendom will be without its head. What if Italy were invaded and the Pope expelled?

The Primacy will always be attached to the episcopal See of Rome. The diocese of Rome, therefore, will never be destroyed nor suppressed. Despite any possible political changes, there will always be some faithful Christians in the diocese of Rome, and the Pope will be their bishop. The true "Eternal Rome," to use a popular expression, is not political Rome, but the Rome of St. Peter and of his successors; in other words, perpetuity belongs to ecclesiastical Rome, whatever political changes the centuries may bring.

339. Where was Peter given power to transmit his office to others?

Christ Himself gave St. Peter the power of transmitting his privileges and authority as head of the Church by declaring that Church to be perpetual. As a building is supported by its foundation, so the whole Church will ever rest upon the constitutional office and authority to be transmitted by Peter. If the Church is to remain all days till the end of the world protected by Christ, it must remain just as He established it. No one could alter the essential constitution He gave it, or it would no longer be the same society. As the Church is perpetual, so the Primacy is perpetual, and, therefore, to be transmitted by Peter to his successors. Those who deny this must face the formidable consequence that the Church for nearly two thousand years has been heretical, leading the overwhelming majority of Christians through all the ages into error, so that the gates of hell have indeed prevailed against the Church Christ established and guaranteed. They must concede that the Church has no single visible head on earth; that unity in faith and worship is not necessary; and that division amongst the Churches with all their variations of discipline and indiscipline is quite in accordance with the mind of Christ. And that is indeed a reduction to the absurd.

340. Matthew XVI., 18, 19, are ambiguous verses, which claim or claimed a respectable heterodoxy.

The text, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church," has, of course, been violently disputed by those who desired to reject Catholicism. But the heterodox interpretations of these people, however respectable in their own eyes and in those of their followers, remained, nevertheless, heterodox. Error does not cease to be error because it becomes widespread and popular. Protestant scholars are becoming rapidly ashamed of the absurd interpretations adopted in order to escape the Catholic sense. So we find the Protestant Dr. Plummer insisting that the word rock must refer to Peter, and not to Christ Himself, nor to Peter's faith, nor to Peter's confession of faith. Dr. Briggs, a Presbyterian scholar, writes, "All attempts to explain the rock in any other way than as referring to Peter have ignominiously failed." The German Protestant scholar Kuinoel wrote, "Many interpreters wrongly said that the 'rock' referred to Christ Himself or to the confession of Peter. They would not have taken refuge in these distorted interpretations if the Popes had not used the words to vindicate their own authority." Loisy, the French Modernist, said, "Protestant interpretations are based on polemical interests. But, if one does accept the Gospels in an historical sense, their interpretations are only subtle distinctions doing violence to the text." Heterodox interpretations, therefore, are still heterodox; and they are growing less and less respectable.

341. Any pretended religion trying to function on a couple of flagrantly distorted verses, to wit, Matthew XVI., 18, and XVIII., 17, is based on a very precarious foundation.

I agree. But the Catholic Church does not try to function on a couple of verses of Scripture; and she does not flagrantly distort Matthew XVI., 18. and XVIII., 17. even when those particular verses happen to be quoted. If you hear them quoted fairly often, it is because those who write to me, and profess to believe in the Bible, seem to forget that they exist.

342. But then, Romanism, being infallible, can make and unmake, bind and loose, dictate the lives and words and consciences of men, make and unmake laws.

Being infallible means that the Catholic Church is unable, even if she would, to teach or legislate officially, in matters of faith or morals, in any way opposed to the revelation given by God to mankind. The infallibility of the Church does not give her the right to depart from the principles of Christ. It is a restriction, taking away that possibility. There is no guarantee that a noninfallible Church will not go astray.

343. Judge Rutherford says that the Pope is antichrist, and the "seven-headed, ten-horned Beast"; whilst the Roman Church is "Satan's Organisation."

That is sufficiently refuted by the fact that it is Judge Rutherford who supplies such information.

344. Who is the "man" referred to in Rev. XIII., 18?

He is a symbol of the evil spirit of revolt against God throughout the ages. St. John personifies by his expression the forces of evil struggling against the work of Christ. Ever there is an antichrist. It may be this Emperor or that; or some group of irreligious men, or a collection of groups. Whether, when the worlds history approaches its climax, the antagonist is to be represented by one man, or by one system of government, or even by a dominant system of thought cannot be defined. But that matters little. Certainly the generalized visions of St. John do not justify us in insisting that the "man" referred to must be a definite human or diabolical personality. And still more certainly, the expression in no way refers to the Pope.

345. There have been evil Popes. Was it God's will that they should be head of the Church?

It was at least God's permissive will. It was quite against God's positive will that the few unworthy Popes should have lived in a disedifying way. But we should quarrel, not with the fact that they were Popes, but with the fact that they did not live up to their obligations, and set a good personal example to the faithful.

346. Yet you have to believe that those Popes, sinful themselves, could do no wrong where the affairs of the Church were concerned?

Catholics certainly must and do believe that no Pope, whatever his personal character, has ever defined an erroneous doctrine to be true. But the gift of infallibility does not extend to matters of practical administration. And Popes have undoubtedly been guilty of imprudence in such matters. The Church, however, being indefectible in virtue of Christ's promise to be with her all days till the end of the world, has survived all such mistakes in management and policy on the part of the Popes.

347. Still Catholics are obliged to obey the Pope in all things.

There is no authority in the Church to command what is evil. If any authority did so, Catholics are obliged to disobey such commands. If, for example, the Pope sent me a special command to murder some special enemy of the Church, I would absolutely refuse to obey. And if the Pope charged me with disobedience, I would reply, "I owe you no obedience when you command what is clearly sinful." But there is not the least likelihood of any Pope commanding anyone to do what is sinful.

348. Can you quote any testimonies to Papal claims to supremacy before the year 300 A. D.?

Yes. In the year 96, Pope Clement of Rome, wrote to the Corinthians. His letter was official, written in his capacity as successor of St. Peter, and it gave not only advice but definite commands. After his instructions he wrote, "If you obey what we have written by the Holy Spirit, you will be our joy and consolation. But if some do not obey what God has said by us, let them know that they will be involved in no small sin and danger." Harnack, the German Protestant scholar, admitted that this letter of Clement proves that the primacy of the Bishop of Rome was an accepted fact even in the first century. Again, we have the testimony of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch from 69-107 A. D. He writes that the Church at Rome "presides over the whole assembly united in charity." And he asks for prayers for the Church in Syria confided to him subject to Christ and the supreme authority of Rome. This testimony of St. Ignatius has particular value, for St. Peter had been Bishop of Antioch. If St. Peter had remained and died at Antioch, the Bishop of Antioch would have obtained the supremacy. But St. Ignatius expressly rejects the idea that he has authority over the Christians at Rome, and admits that the Bishop of Rome is the principal and presiding bishop. Thirdly, St. Irenaeus, 130-202 A. D., Bishop of Lyons in Gaul, wrote as follows of the Roman See: "On account of its supremacy it is necessary that every Church in which is the tradition of the Apostles should be in harmony or unity with this Church." Fourthly, St. Cyprian, 210-258 A. D., an African bishop, writing of certain heretics, says, "They even dare to invade the See of Peter and the principal Church whence the unity of the priesthood has its source." Again he writes, "We exhort all to acknowledge and hold that Rome is the mother and root-source of the Catholic Church."

349. If the Pope was supreme head of the Church, why did the Emperors convene and preside over the Oecumenical Councils prior to the Greek Schism?

It is true that the early Councils were convened by the Emperors, but never with any idea that they could grant any ecclesiastical jurisdiction or authority to the members of those Councils or to their decisions. Whilst the Emperor might demand that the bishops assemble, the Pope alone could give the character of an Oecumenical Council to the gathering, either by sending Legates, as at the Nicene Council; or by delegating authority to one of the bishops to preside, as at Ephesus; or by confirming the Decrees, as with the Second Council of Constantinople. In no case had the Decrees oecumenical value without the ratification of the Pope. The reason for the prior action of the Emperor in convening the Councils should be clear. When the same people are subjects of both civil and ecclesiastical authority, civil disturbance can affect their spiritual welfare, and religious disturbance can affect their civil welfare. Heresies in those times greatly disturbed social peace; and the Emperors wanted questions of faith and order in the Church rectified for the good of the Empire. But they knew that questions of faith as such were subject to the authority of the Pope. They had no say in deciding such matters.

350. If the Pope were supreme in the Church, the bishops at the Council of Nicea, and the Bishop of Rome, surely would be aware of it.

All were aware of it. They could not be unaware of the testimonies of Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Cyprian, and many others. Hosius, who presided at the Council of Nicea, was the Legate of Pope Sylvester. Yet Pope Sylvester's predecessor, Pope Julius I., had written to the Eusebian bishops, "The ecclesiastical canon forbids any decrees to be sanctioned without the judgment of the Roman Bishop." That canon was certainly known to all the bishops assembled at Nicea.

351. Then why did the Council of Nicea confer on the Pope the title of Patriarch, but junior to the Patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria?

The Council did not do so. You have been misled by a wrong interpretation of the 6th Canon of the Nicene Council. That Canon did not allot junior patriarchal rights to the Bishop of Rome. It vindicated the patriarchal rights of Alexandria against the usurper, Meletius of Lycopolis. The Bishop of Alexandria complained to the Council of this usurpation. The Council then vindicated the patriarchal rights of the great Sees of Alexandria and Antioch in their own spheres, even as all admitted the patriarchal rights of Rome. The authoritative interpretation of this 6th Canon of Nicea can be found in the 16th transaction of the Council of Chalcedon. Paschasius was asked to quote the 6h Canon of Nicea. He did so as follows: "The Roman Church has always had the primary. Let Egypt however hold that the Bishop of Alexandria has power over all members there, because such is the custom with the Roman Bishop. So, in Antioch, and in the other provinces, let the Churches of the greater cities have the primacy." All present at Chalcedon agreed to the safeguarding of the patriarchal rights of Alexandria and Antioch in relation to their suffragan bishops, but added: "We declare that the primacy, and chief honor, according to the Canons, he preserved to the Archbishop of ancient Rome."

352. Let us go back a little further. What did the supreme Pope Victor do to the Asiatic Christians in 188-189?

What you here think adverse to the papal claims is really strong evidence for them. Take the history of the whole affair. From the earliest times, the Christians in Asia Minor used to celebrate Easter at the same time as the Jewish Passover, the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan, on whatever day of the week it might fall. Elsewhere, and especially at Rome, Easter was celebrated always on a Sunday, as amongst us today. A controversy arose about this divergence of custom, and Pope Victor instructed the bishops to meet in order to settle the question. Lest Jewish ideas should invade the Church in Asia Minor, nearly all the bishops declared that the Roman custom should be observed everywhere. But the bishops of Asia Minor refused this, and the Pope condemned them, and excommunicated them. St. Irenaeus wrote to the Pope begging him not to enforce the censure for the sake of peace, and Pope Victor yielded. However, the Jewish custom was gradually abandoned, and before long the Roman custom of Easter observance was accepted in Asia Minor also.

353. What was the action of the bishops, and the results thereof?

I have explained that. No conclusion detrimental to papal jurisdiction can be drawn from the incident. Dr. B. J. Kidd, the Protestant scholar, says: "At no point in its history is this pre-eminence so evident as under Pope Victor, when from Gaul to Osrhoene on the Euphrates his invitation for the summoning of Councils to effect a settlement of the Paschal Controversy was everywhere accepted." And he quotes Duchesne's statement that this matter "shows how evident in those ancient times was the oecumenical authority of the Roman Church." And certainly no bishop other than the Bishop of Rome claimed such a right to intervene; nor would any other have been so heeded. Though some of the bishops refused to obey, and at the request of Irenaeus the Pope did not enforce the decree of excommunication, it does not follow that they denied his authority. As a matter of fact, the letter of Irenaeus shows that his authority was admitted, for Irenaeus pleaded that so many Christians should not be cut off from the Church for observing a long-standing custom. That is an admission that if the Pope did enforce the excommunication, the effect would be their exclusion from the Church. Harnack, the German Protestant historian, saw that. "How could Victor threaten such an edict of excommunication," he writes, "unless it was commonly admitted that it belonged to the Roman Church to define the conditions of unity in those things that pertained to the faith."

354. From whom did Spain seek advice during the disturbances created by Basilides?

Let us take the facts, and then discuss their significance. In the year 253 A. D., two bishops in Spain named Basilides and Martialis denied their faith during a persecution, and went over to paganism. Neighboring bishops thereupon consecrated two other bishops, Sabinus and Felix, to take their places. The two apostate bishops later repented and wanted to take over their previous dioceses from Sabinus and Felix. Meeting with opposition, they went to Rome, gave a false account of affairs to Pope Stephen, and implored him to use his supreme authority to restore them to their bishoprics. They were very plausible, and deceived the Pope, who ordered their reinstatement. The distressed local Catholics then appealed for advice to Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage in Africa. Cyprian told them not to reinstate Basilides and Martialis, but to keep Sabinus and Felix, declaring that the Pope's decision was based on the wrong information supplied by the two unworthy renegades. But in all this there is no indication that either the Spanish Catholics or Cyprian of Carthage rejected the Pope's supremacy. The mere fact that Basilides and Martialis had recourse to the Holy See shows the primacy of Rome as an accepted fact. Cyprian himself in his writings on the subject strongly maintained all the Catholic principles of the Roman Primacy. In practice, during the stress of controversies, persecutions, and schisms, he did not always observe his own principles, and allowance can easily be made for mistakes in administration.

355. How does this square with papal claims to supremacy?

The incident affords no real difficulty. Cyprian, without denying the supreme authority of the Pope, seems to have ignored it in a particular difficulty, giving his reasons for doing so. Probably he thought he did what was for the best in the circumstances; but even had he been moved by some traces of pride or prejudice, which are latent even in the best of men, no argument against papal claims could be drawn from his conduct. In the year 257, Cyprian died a martyr for the faith, and is a canonized Saint in the Catholic Church. Writing in the fourth century, St. Augustine speaks of Cyprian's many mistakes, and says, "Either Cyprian did not say all that his enemies declare him to have said; or else he later corrected his views in the light of truth; or else the immense charity which filled his heart covered such blemishes in his life. In any case, he expiated all by his sufferings and death for Christ."

356. What of the incident concerning Apiarius, 451 A. D.?

That case is often quoted where the right of appeal to the Pope against the disciplinary decisions of other bishops is concerned. About the year 417 A. D., Apiarius, a priest in Africa, was deposed and excommunicated by his own bishop.Apiarius appealed to the Pope, who took up his case, and reversed the decision of the African bishop, ordering Apiarius to be reinstated. After the death of Pope Zosimus, the case was again put to Pope Boniface, his successor. For five years, letters were exchanged between Africa and Rome concerning the principles involved, and Pope Boniface died without concluding the discussion. He was succeeded by Pope Celestine I., who settled the case by admitting that Apiarius was justly condemned by his own bishop, and should be deposed; but he insisted that, by virtue of their primacy, the Popes retained the right to hear and judge appeals from Africa, or anywhere else in the world.

357. What is your interpretation of the African Synod's letters to Boniface?

It is not a question of my interpretation. It is a question of their objective historical significance. There is certainly not one word in them that can validly be urged against the Roman Primacy. The African bishops complained to Pope Boniface of the high-handed behavior of the Legate Faustinus, though without disputing in any way the fact of his authority. They also asked the Pope to verify certain Canons which had been quoted by his predecessor, Zosimus. It is to be noted that St. Augustine was a member of the committee of African bishops who wrote to Pope Boniface. Now St. Augustine was absolutely convinced of the primacy of the Pope, and would never have sanctioned letters which could be interpreted as opposed to that primacy. For example, writing against the Donatist heretics, St. Augustine said that the Bishop of Carthage had no need to worry about enemies so long as he knew that he was in communion with the Roman Church, in which the primacy of the Apostolic Chair had always existed, and from which the Gospel had come to Africa. In Ep. 209, he acknowledges that appeal may be made from his own episcopal decisions to Rome. And in sermon 131 he declares that Councils derive their authority from the approbation of the Supreme Pontiff. "For that reason," he writes, "the two Councils sent their transactions to the Apostolic See, and the Decrees duly came back. The cause is finished." From these words of St. Augustine the axiom arose, "Rome has spoken; the cause is finished."

358. What was the trouble over the Nicene and Sardican Canons?

In vindicating the right of appeals to Rome from Africa against local decisions there, Pope Zosimus had quoted two Canons which in all good faith he attributed to the Council of Nicea instead of to the Council of Sardica. The African bishops could not find them amongst the Nicene Canons, and as Zosimus died just at that time, they wrote to Boniface asking him to verify the quotation. Pope Boniface made inquiries, and found that Zosimus had mistakenly quoted the Sardican Canons as Nicene. The Council of Sardica (now Sofia, in Bulgaria) had met in 343, and had restated most clearly the law that there is always the right of appeal to the Pope "out of reverence for the Blessed Apostle Peter." But the Council of Sardica, whilst a lawful provincial Synod of Eastern bishops, was not an Oecumenical Council as was that of Nicea. But this merely technical point makes no difference whatever to the substance of the claim of the Popes to the primacy, and its continuous and general admission.

359. In the light of all this, can you still hold that primacy of jurisdiction belongs to the Pope?

Of course. There is no point in searching history for isolated incidents in which the exercise of this primacy provoked opposition. Many, at various times, did not perceive fully the nature of that primacy, even though admitting it. Many did not know clearly how far it extended. Many, for personal reasons, resisted it, whilst still professing to be Catholics. Others lost the faith altogether and denied it. But the primacy was always there. I myself am not surprised by the number of cases in which the authority of the Pope was discussed, and its practical applications disputed. I marvel that there were not more. Any solicitor could tell you that there is a vast difference between a law and its application. Lawyers themselves will dispute as to the sense and amplitude of various civil laws. Test cases are brought to determine their interpretation. The wisest legal men will argue sincerely and strongly for opposing views. And out of such disputes the correct application emerges. In the same way the fact of the primacy of the Pope has ever stood, whilst disputes and discussions have but enabled us to state its implications with precision.

360. In a previous reply you mentioned the Council of Chalcedon. Very well. What was stated in its 28th Canon?

The section which suits your purpose is as follows: "Always following the rules of the holy Fathers, and knowing the Canon of the 150 most God-beloved bishops which has just been read, we also define and vote the same things concerning the primacy of the Most Holy Church of Constantinople, the New Rome. And indeed, the Fathers wisely gave the primacy to the See of Elder Rome because that city was the ruler; and the 150 most God-beloved bishops, moved by the same purpose, appointed a like primacy to the most Holy See of New Rome, rightly judging that the city honored because of her rule and her Senate, should enjoy a like primacy to that of the Elder Imperial Rome, and should be powerful in Church affairs, just as she is, and should be, the second after her." Such is the famous 28th Canon of Chalcedon. It must be noted that, whilst this Canon admits the primacy of Rome, it was dictated by the ambition of Constantinople to supplant the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch; and it wrongly states the origin of and the reasons for Rome's primacy.

361. You deny that the Council gave the Pope his privileges?

Yes. Pope Leo the Great had himself convoked the Council of Chalcedon in 451. But when the Council met, Attila and the Huns were ravaging Italy, and many Western bishops could not attend. However, Pope Leo sent Paschasius, a Sicilian bishop, to preside in his name, with four other bishops to assist him. There were 630 Eastern bishops, the 5 Papal Legates, and 2 African bishops present. The Eastern bishops were anxious to exalt the See of Constantinople, not to the level of Rome, but above all other Churches. At the 15th Session, on Oct. 31st, the Papal Legates being absent, the Eastern bishops formulated their 28th Canon. But when they wrote to Pope Leo formally asking him to confirm their Decrees, the Pope confirmed the doctrinal decisions, but refused the Canons drawn up in the absence of the Papal Legates.

362. If the Pope had the primacy, why did the Greek bishops give him such privileges?

The Greek bishops gave no privileges. They acknowledged the primacy of Rome, and sought privileges for Constantinople to render the Patriarch of that city next in dignity after the Pope, and above the Sees of Alexandria and Antioch. They wrote to Pope Leo that they only wanted Constantinople to be "second," and added, "We beg you then to honor our decisions so that we may add the consent of the head of the Church." Pope Leo refused, telling them that they were confusing civil and divine things; and as a result the Canon was never inserted into any Code of Canon Law, either Eastern or Western, till the Greeks revised it some 400 years later at the time of the Schism of Photius and the commencement of the Greek Orthodox Church.

363. Does Papal Supremacy still stand?

Yes. At that very Council of Chalcedon, when Pope Leo's dogmatic letter to Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople, was read, all the bishops cried out, "That is the faith of the Fathers; that is the faith of the Apostles. Peter has spoken by Leo." And the appeal of the Eastern bishops themselves to the Pope as the head of the Church in order to secure the ratification of their 28th Canon, leaves no doubt as to their convictions concerning the Roman Primacy. In his book on "Church Unity," Dr. C. A. Briggs, a Presbyterian professor of theology, writes as follows: "We have to admit that the Christian Church from the earliest times recognized the primacy of the Roman Bishop, and that all other great Sees at times recognized the supreme jurisdiction of Rome in matters of doctrine, government, and discipline. It can easily be shown that the assumptions of the Bishops of Rome were often resented; their intrusions into the rights of other Patriarchates, provinces, and dioceses, were often resisted; their decisions were often refused; but when the whole case has been carefully examined and all the evidences sifted, the statement of Irenaeus stands firm." Irenaeus stated that "it is a matter of necessity for every Church to agree with the great, ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, on account of its pre-eminent authority."

364. Was Pope Gregory I. in error when he protested against the title of "Universal Bishop," saying that it was sacrilegious for any man to so call himself?

In so protesting Gregory exercised his universal jurisdiction as Bishop of Bishops, not hesitating to condemn John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople.

365. Was he unaware of his own universal jurisdiction?

He could not have been, since he exercised it. In many of his letters, also, he insists that the Bishop of Rome holds the place of Peter, that he is the head of the "Faith," and "of all the Churches." And he declares that all the bishops are subject to the Apostolic See. To understand the sense in which Pope Gregory condemned the expression "universal Bishop," you must understand the sense in which John the Faster intended it. It has always been Catholic teaching that the bishops are not mere agents of the Pope, but true successors of the Apostles. The supreme authority of Peter is perpetuated in the Popes; but the power and authority of the other Apostles is perpetuated in the other bishops in the true sense of the word. The Pope is not the "only" Bishop; and, although his power is supreme, his is not the "only" power. But John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople, wanted to be bishop even of the dioceses of subordinate bishops, reducing them to mere agents, and making himself the universal or only real bishop. Pope Gregory condemned this intention, and wrote to John the Faster telling him that he had no right to claim to be universal bishop or "sole" bishop in his Patriarchate.



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