Augustine on the Catholic Church and on the Papacy

We believe also in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church. For heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God; and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor" (Faith and the Creed10:21 [A.D. 393]).

“The apostle Paul said, ‘As for a man that is a heretic, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him’ [Titus 3:10]. But those who maintain their own opinion, however false and perverted, without obstinate ill will, especially those who have not originated the error of bold presumption, but have received it from parents who had been led astray and had lapsed . . . those who seek the truth with careful industry and are ready to be corrected when they have found it, are not to be rated among heretics” (Letters 43:1 [A.D. 412]).

We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard" (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).

“If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, ‘I do not believe’? Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so” (ibid., 5:6).

“In the Catholic Church . . . a few spiritual men attain [wisdom] in this life, in such a way that . . . they know it without any doubting, while the rest of the multitude finds its greatest safety not in lively understanding but in the simplicity of believing. . . .There are many other things which most properly can keep me in her bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house” (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

“[On this matter of the Pelagians], two councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See, 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]).

“If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them 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]).

You can verify that this is Augustine’s words by reading his works.
New Advent: newadvent.org/fathers/index.html Or here:
Augustinus: augustinus.it/links/inglese/index.htm

You can further verify Augustine’s claims on the Church and on the Papacy.
The Bible: vatican.va/archive/bible/index.htm
List of Popes: newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm
Apostolic See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_See
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_See#The_terms_.22Holy_See.22_and_.22Apostolic_See.22
vatican.va/roman_curia/labour_office/index.htm
Pelagianism: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism

Many, many Thanks for a Great-Great post.

[quote=“St. Augustine”]If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, ‘I do not believe’? Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.
[/quote]

How true! :thumbsup: :slight_smile:

The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here.

Augustine notes Peter specifically as an authoritative apostle (he did not write “the apostles”); link that to “the succession of priests” even “up to the present episcopate.” This authority, realized in the Catholic Church, is what kept Augustine “here.” There is a direct link in Augustine’s mind (it would appear) between Peter’s see, and the charge given specifically to him, and the present Catholic Church.

//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism

**Friend and Canadian Cousin,
I can see the role of Peter amongst the Apostles, I can see him as an,’ authorative apostle,'
what I cannot see and what no one has managed to pursuade me of is, how Peter transfers his power and authority to the Bishop of Rome? I cannot find it in scripture or tradition! It isn’t in theology or history so where is this transfer or link call it what you will? You quote the See of Peter! Pope Gregory the Great saw the See of Peter being Rome,Antioch and Alexander, collectively. Three Chairs and one occupant , if I remember aright!

**

**Friend and Canadian Cousin,
I can see the role of Peter amongst the Apostles, I can see him as an,’ authorative apostle,'
what I cannot see and what no one has managed to pursuade me of is, how Peter transfers his power and authority to the Bishop of Rome? I cannot find it in scripture or tradition! It isn’t in theology or history so where is this transfer or link call it what you will? You quote the See of Peter! Pope Gregory the Great saw the See of Peter being Rome,Antioch and Alexander, collectively. Three Chairs and one occupant , if I remember aright!

**

#862 of the CCC may be of help.

#862 of the CCC may be of help.

**Dear Friend,
I thank you for your suggestion but it doesn’t work.As Christ said ,“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true!” [John 5.vs 31.] The CCC, is a splendid production but it is partisan. We are to look .surely, for scriptural references or statements from the fathers or Councils on something as important, or indeed as controversial, as this!

Lfd.**

The CCC is the teaching of the Catholic Church and every Catholic is required to accept what the Church teaches, so if you are Catholic, you must accept the CCC as true and factual. And as far as Church Fathers go, Saint Augustine is in fact a Church Father. So if you’re looking for a Church Father that discusses the Papacy, than please reread the quotes from Augustine.

**Dear Friend,
I thank you for your suggestion but it doesn’t work.As Christ said ,“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true!” [John 5.vs 31.] The CCC, is a splendid production but it is partisan. We are to look .surely, for scriptural references or statements from the fathers or Councils on something as important, or indeed as controversial, as this!

Lfd.**

Forgive me if my memory fails here, but if I recall the legates from Rome, representing the Pope during antiquity had in fact dissolved or condemned certain Church councils as non-binding. If I recall, when this was done, it was quite prudent and a saving grace for the Church, as otherwise heresy or scandal would have been permitted had the legates from Rome not intervened in certain early councils. Neither the Bishop of Rome, nor his legates, nor the Church Councils in question doubted the authority of Rome to do this. If I recall, these councils were generally formed speedily whilst the Bishop of Rome was fending off sieges or otherwise incapable of personally being present.

Anyways, why would Our Lord even grant Peter a purely temporary power that would die with him? The scriptures make no mention that Peter’s special charges would die with him (“Feed my sheep,” “Strengthen your brethren”), nor do I believe there is any biblical precedence for this. The duties given to Peter are an enormous grace of inestimable value to the whole Church. Why would such grace be taken away from the Church when it would still be needed at every moment of Church history to come? Did the Church, following Peter’s martyrdom, no longer have any sheep or lambs to feed? Following Peter’s death, were there not any brethren remaining who would need strengthening? Did the Church, following Peter’s martyrdom, no longer have any members or doctrines that would require binding or loosing? Whether during scandals, persecutions, heresies or schisms, such a grace as granted to Peter is in constant need by the whole Church…

**Dear Friend,
I thank you for your suggestion but it doesn’t work.As Christ said ,“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true!” [John 5.vs 31.] The CCC, is a splendid production but it is partisan. We are to look .surely, for scriptural references or statements from the fathers or Councils on something as important, or indeed as controversial, as this!

Lfd.**

Dear Colleague,

I’m sure you might be right in your assumptions, but I have never heard of the pope closing down an Ecumenical Council, they were usually called the by Christian Emperors and the popes were called to them.I know that Pope Leo asked the Emperor to call a Council in Italy! Theodosius refused! Though mind you,when the next Emperor Marcian decided to call a Council, pope Leo had changed his mind and tried to put the Emeror marcian off, it was called anyhow.
Again, Ecumenical Councils were only accepted after the fact, as they do say, that is when Catholic Christendom had agreed or adopted or ratified them. Just as Constantine said the British Bishops had done over Nicea!

You speak of the Pope’s Authority? His authority came from being a Bishop, and a bishop of the biggest city in the western world. Theodoret, writing to Leo, bases the precedency of the Roman Church on the city being the largest, the most splendid ,the most illustrious in the world; on the faith of the Roman Church and on her having the tombs of both S.Peter and of S.Paul. The Pope isn’t mentioned.
When you mention Peter, you omit to highlight the relationship between Peter and the PAPACY! Again I ask you where is this mentioned in either Revelation or in Tradition? Pointing out the CCC, does really no good at all for the resons already mentioned. These reasons must come from the fathers or / and the Councils.After all at the Council of Trent, in the Creed of Pius 1Vth, we read that it is professed ,concerning Holy Scripture that it should be understood,“according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers.”

That is what we need.

The ancient catholic principle of teaching and fulfilling the need for reassurance came from the Holy Tradition of the Catholic Church! The idea was held that the teachings of the Revelation of Christ were retained firstly in the sees of the Apostles, then as the Church grew, in all the major centres of Christianity! That is why it was called the apostolic succession, a succession of Christ’s teaching and Apostolic Authority by laying on of hands.

Wrong.

**Dear Friend,
I thank you for your suggestion but it doesn’t work.As Christ said ,“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true!” [John 5.vs 31.] The CCC, is a splendid production but it is partisan. We are to look .surely, for scriptural references or statements from the fathers or Councils on something as important, or indeed as controversial, as this!

Lfd.**

Dear Colleague,

I’m sure you might be right in your assumptions, but I have never heard of the pope closing down an Ecumenical Council, they were usually called the by Christian Emperors and the popes were called to them.I know that Pope Leo asked the Emperor to call a Council in Italy! Theodosius refused! Though mind you,when the next Emperor Marcian decided to call a Council, pope Leo had changed his mind and tried to put the Emeror marcian off, it was called anyhow.
Again, Ecumenical Councils were only accepted after the fact, as they do say, that is when Catholic Christendom had agreed or adopted or ratified them. Just as Constantine said the British Bishops had done over Nicea!

You speak of the Pope’s Authority? His authority came from being a Bishop, and a bishop of the biggest city in the western world. Theodoret, writing to Leo, bases the precedency of the Roman Church on the city being the largest, the most splendid ,the most illustrious in the world; on the faith of the Roman Church and on her having the tombs of both S.Peter and of S.Paul. The Pope isn’t mentioned.
When you mention Peter, you omit to highlight the relationship between Peter and the PAPACY! Again I ask you where is this mentioned in either Revelation or in Tradition? Pointing out the CCC, does really no good at all for the resons already mentioned. These reasons must come from the fathers or / and the Councils.After all at the Council of Trent, in the Creed of Pius 1Vth, we read that it is professed ,concerning Holy Scripture that it should be understood,“according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers.”

That is what we need.

The ancient catholic principle of teaching and fulfilling the need for reassurance came from the Holy Tradition of the Catholic Church! The idea was held that the teachings of the Revelation of Christ were retained firstly in the sees of the Apostles, then as the Church grew, in all the major centres of Christianity! That is why it was called the apostolic succession, a succession of Christ’s teaching and Apostolic Authority by laying on of hands.

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