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Old Mar 2, '12, 2:21 pm
PJM PJM is offline
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Default Re: Did the early Church believe the pope to be infallible?

=Bev17243;9001136]I know that Papal Infallibility was defined by the Vatican Council I 1869.
Hi Bev,
The reason for this was that it was not an issue before then

The Early Church Fathers understood from the beginning that Peter and his successors held a place of primacy in the Church.

Clement of Rome
Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [Jesus] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small danger. We, however, shall be innocent of this sin and will pray with entreaty and supplication that the Creator of all may keep unharmed the number of his elect (Letter to the Corinthians 58:2, 59:1[A.D. 95]).

Ignatius of Antioch
You [the See of Rome] have envied no one, but others have you taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force (Epistle to the Romans 3:1 [A.D. 110]).

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 [inter A.D. 180-190]).

Clement of Alexandria
[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? "Behold, we have left all and have followed you" [Matt. 19:2 7, Mark 10:28] (Who is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3-5 [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]. ... Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church; and whatever you shall have bound or you shall have loose and, (Modesty 21:9-10 [A.D. 220]).

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, the first-fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect [A.D, 221]).

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" (Epistle to Cornelius [Bishop of Rome] 59:14 [A.D. 252]).

The Lord says to Peter: "I say to you," he says, "that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church" . . . On him 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. 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 [A.D. 251]).

Cyril of Jerusalem
In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis [Acts 9 ;3 2-3 4] (Catechetical Lectures 17;27 [A.D. 350]).

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 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 [circa 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]).

Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear "I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).

[I just Googled "Early Fathers on the Primacy of Peter"]

Irish2: PJM

A.B. Fulton Sheen: "The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and a lie is still a lie, even if everybody believes it."
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Old Mar 2, '12, 4:17 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: Did the early Church believe the pope to be infallible?

Originally Posted by David Castlen View Post
Thank you BR. Jr,

Pleae don't take me as over-bearing, but what is Traddom? And thank you for going out of your way and giving us this extensive answer.

In additition to the inquiry regarding Traddom, may I pose a situation and get your opinion. This has to do with a writing by a Pope that is in an encyclical. If within the enclyclical a Pope says that (for example) "it is sinful to use gold as a medium of exchange...." I am supposing that this statement is not in the realm of infallible; albeit, it is within a document that is infallible. I make this assumption because the use of Gold is not a subject regarding morals and or faith. Am I correct?

Again, Brother; thank you for going out of your way and by the way God bless you for dedicating your life to Our Lord.
Traddom is short for Traditionalist Realm. When I'm trying to cover everyone, I'll usually say "Traditionalist and Mainstream Catholic". That covers all 23 Catholic Churches.

As to the encyclical, it's the other way around. Encyclicals are not infallible. They are letters. They may speak about many things. When they teach faith or morals, the teaching is infallible.

Now, in the example that you cite, one has to be careful. There are sins that are revealed to us,, such as adultery. There is no negotiating that. Then there are disciplines that if you violate them, the pope can attach a penalty of sin to it, such as eating meat on Fridays. That was never in the canon of Revelation. It was a discipline imposed by the Church, yet it was a mortal sin to do so, until the Church lifted the penalty.

The infallibility is attached to the teaching, not to the encyclical. This is where people get confused. They often believe that every encyclical is infallible or that every decree is infallible and when a later pope comes and does the opposite, they get confused. In reality, the pope who wrote the encyclical may have been imposing a discipline and have attached a penalty to it, which another pope can remove. If the subject is revealed truth, no one can change that. You can restate it. Another pope can say that he disagrees with the way it was stated, but he's not disagreeing with the truth being stated. This happened with Pope Benedict and Pope Pius X and the Syllabus of Errors. When asked about it, Pope Benedict clarified that the Syllabus was never a doctrine, even though it addresses some eternal truths, not everything in it is an eternal truth. That which is not an eternal truth can be changed by a future pope and that which is an eternal truth can be restated by a future pope. in his own words.

People tend to go to two extremes. On the one hand, there is the group that believes that every word of every encyclical is infallible and then you have those who believe that everything is negotiable or that it's just that particular pope's opinion.

In truth, encyclicals can include both, infallible teachings and the opinions of the pope who writes it. What is important to understand is the intent of the encyclical. Some are pastoral reflections, some are pastoral norms, some are clarifications of revealed truths, some are commentaries on revealed truths, and some are disciplinary messages. All of them are letters.

I would add that it is also important to read to whom the encyclical is addressed. More often than not, they are addressed to the bishops. Popes such as Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul have had a practice of writing to the bishops in what I call coded language. What they put on paper is not everything they mean. There is more between the lines. The bishops know what is being said to them. It's not to hide anything. It's a style of writing used by non-Thomist theologians. Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are not Thomists.

Thomism is very concrete. Pope Paul VI was a lawyer. He was more verbose. Pope John Paul was a philosopher and Pope Benedict is an Augustinian/Franciscan systematician. These employ very different styles of writing from that of Thomas.

Originally Posted by mick321 View Post
Is this quote [in bold] from holy scripture? In my Baronius Douay-Rheims-Challoner, a similar quote [Matthew 16:18] reads:

"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Is your quotation from another source? If so, could you please cite the translation, chapter and verse where it is replaced by you.
I'm using the same citation as you. I'm using the Nevarre edition in Spanish and it says "you". The original said "her", not it. There is no "it" in Hebrew or Greek.

For Catholics, "you" or "her" is not a big issue, because one has to take the statement in context. He's speaking to Peter who has been entrusted with guiding the Church. There is no way that Peter can misguide the Church, if she is protected from the gates of hell. He can be a terrible administrator. We have seen that. Some popes just don't have the gift of administration or he can commit crimes and what are objectively grave sins. We have seen that too. But he cannot misguide the Church. I always explain it by saying that Peter is protected from teaching error by association. The Church cannot teach error and the man who looks after his brothers is Peter. He cannot lead the Church to where the Church cannot go.



Brother JR, FFV

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