Baltimore Catechism - Headship


#1

While reading the Baltimore Catechism here I noticed the following three statements:

[quote=Baltimore Catechism]116. Q. Who is the invisible Head of the Church?
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible Head of the Church.

117. Q. Who is the visible Head of the Church?
A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible Head of the Church.

118. Q. Why is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the visible Head of the Church?
A. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible Head of the Church because lie is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the visible Head of the Church.
[/quote]

Now, #116 I can back up with scripture:

Col 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

cf. Eph. 1:22 and 5:23.

#117 says though that the pope is the “visible” head of the church. Now, I can’t find verification for this in scripture, the idea of “two heads, one visible, the other invisible.”

#118 says this is so because the pope is the successor of Peter.

Here’s the difficulty I have agreeing with this:

The church is the body of Christ, right?

And correct me if I’m wrong, but catholicism sees the body of Christ as being visible.

Under this idea, we have a visible body (the RCC), a visible head (the pope), and a second invisible head (Jesus Christ).

Does the analogy of “the body of Christ” hold up with two heads for one body?


#2

John 21: 15-17

When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.


#3

[quote=Mickey]John 21: 15-17

When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.
[/quote]

Since Peter denied Christ three times, these passages most likely signal a three-fold restoration of Peter from his fall, not a special commission. Even Cyril of Alexandria, a catholic saint, held this view.


#4

The Pope is united to Christ as the head of the Church.
He is the prime minister who speaks on behalf of Christ with His authority.
There are not two heads but one head.


#5

[quote=Matt14]Since Peter denied Christ three times, these passages most likely signal a three-fold restoration of Peter from his fall, not a special commission. Even Cyril of Alexandria, a catholic saint, held this view.

[/quote]

It is both penance for his denials and commission.


#6

[quote=Dan-Man916]The Pope is united to Christ as the head of the Church.
He is the prime minister who speaks on behalf of Christ with His authority.
There are not two heads but one head.
[/quote]

United with Christ!? This seems awful close to sounding like some of those wild accusations “protestants” make about catholics. Surely this is an overstatement, right? Are you suggesting some sort of metaphysical union between the pope and Jesus Christ? That the pope has two natures, man and God?

Please tell me I’m misunderstanding you!


#7

[quote=Lillith]It is both penance for his denials and commission.
[/quote]

If this is the case, why did Peter call himself a fellow elder?

1Pe 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

Peter never really refers to himself as having special authority in the scriptures, does he?


#8

[quote=Matt14]If this is the case, why did Peter call himself a fellow elder?

1Pe 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

Peter never really refers to himself as having special authority in the scriptures, does he?

[/quote]

No. It’s called humility. Jesus gives him this commission.


#9

[quote=Matt14]If this is the case, why did Peter call himself a fellow elder?

1Pe 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

Peter never really refers to himself as having special authority in the scriptures, does he?

[/quote]

This has been discussed in many threads, here’s one:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=451


#10

[quote=Matt14]Since Peter denied Christ three times, these passages most likely signal a three-fold restoration of Peter from his fall, not a special commission. Even Cyril of Alexandria, a catholic saint, held this view.

[/quote]

Quotes from Cyril of Alexandria:

He suffers him no longer to be called Simon, exercising authority and rule over him already having become His own. By a title suitable to the thing, He changed his name into Peter, from the word ‘petra’ (rock); for on him He was afterwards to found His Church. (Cyril, T. iv. Comm. in Joan., p. 131)

He (Christ) promises to found the Church, assigning immovableness to it, as He is the Lord of strength, and over this He sets Peter as shepherd. (Cyril, Comm. on Matt., ad loc.)

They (the Apostles) strove to learn through one, that preeminent one, Peter. (Cyril, Ib. 1. ix. p. 736).

And even blessed Peter, though set over the holy disciples, says 'Lord, be it far from Thee, this shall be done to Thee. (Cyril, Ibid. 924).

That the Spirit is God we shall also learn hence. That the prince of the Apostles, to whom ‘flesh and blood,’ as the Savior says, ‘did not reveal’ the Divine mystery, says to Ananias, ‘Why hath satan tempted thy heart, &c.’ (Cyril, T. v. Par. 1. Thesaur. p. 340) Besides all these, let there come forward that leader of the holy disciples, Peter, who, when the Lord, on a certain occassion, asked him, ‘Whom do men say that the Son of man is?’ instantly cried out, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ (Cyril, T. v. P.2, Hom. viii. De Fest. Pasch. p. 105)


#11

Matt,

From the catechism:
1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."45 "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head."46


#12

Of course Peter doesn’t refer to himself as having primacy. Think about proper leadership - if you are in charge do you need to club people about the head and shoulders with your authority? Of course not. Doing so would make you a bad leader. There is plenty of evidence for petrine primacy in the scriptures. Perhaps you should see this link. It’s all scripture. Secondly, is the Pope a Bishop? Yup. Are there other Bishops? Yup. Is the Pope a “fellow elder”? Yup. Nothing contradictory here…I guess Peter called himself a “fellow elder” because he is!

The “two head” thing you’re going on about is less about the Mystical Body of Christ as a symbol than about authority. Is the Pope empowered to speak with the authority of Christ when teacing in a binding manner on faith and morals? Yup. Is this scriptural? Yup. Parallel Isaiah 22:22 and Matt 16:19:
**
Isaiah 22:22**
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
Matthew 16:19
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Hmmph. Rather striking. In Isaiah 22:22 the “prime minister” is being given the keys of the king, and empowered with authority to speak on the king’s behalf (specifically, when the king is not “visible” or otherwise able). Looks like this is pretty scriptural. Also consider:

Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me…(KJV)

Sounds like there’s authority there.

Now let’s consider John 21:15-17. Peter is told to feed and tend the sheep. Jesus gives the flock to Peter to tend and feed, because Christ knows that He is not going to be walking around and telling us what is right and wrong after the Assention. What does scripture say?
**
John 10:16**
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He would not leave His flock un-tended on earth, with no visible/audible guidance. That is why in John 21:15-17 He gives the authority to feed/feed/tend the flock to Peter. How many sheep belong to Christ? All of them. How many sheep does Christ empower Peter to tend? All of them.

God Bless,
RyanL


#13
  1. I suggest reading “Jesus, Peter & the Keys” to answer many questions about the papacy.

  2. you perhaps have a slight misunderstanding in the visible/invisible area … the church accepts the truth and reality of both natures: visible and invisible church

  3. the pope is Christ’s Vicar. (From the same root as e.g. Viceroy. The Viceroy rules while the King is out of town.) While Christ is present in His Church and the Church is The Body of Christ, the Lord also gave us a heirarchy as scripture clearly attests. Peter and his successors are the head of that heirarchy. While there has been development in this office over time, it has been present throughout the past 2000 years.

  4. those without a visible head have either stagnated or fractured into a a plethora of competing theologies with no means of deciding who has the truth, yet the church is supposed to be the pillar and foundation…the very bulwark of truth. An invisible church cannot uphold the truth as history has shown.


#14

[quote=Matt14]If this is the case, why did Peter call himself a fellow elder?

[/quote]

Why not? No contradiction there. He was an elder (presbyter=priest).

When the Pope speaks of himself among his brother clergy, he often refers to himself as a priest. Once you are a priest, you don’t stop being one just because you become a bishop. And the Pope is a bishop.


#15

[quote=Matt14]If this is the case, why did Peter call himself a fellow elder?

1Pe 5:1 Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

Peter never really refers to himself as having special authority in the scriptures, does he?

[/quote]

Matt14…Hey mister minister of the word…you know there isn’t such a scripture…your just yanking my chain :slight_smile:

Seriously though…I always think of the Catholic Apostolic succession as more a democratic process…fairly amazing actually it is the only human institution that has lasted 2000 years (hint hint…maybe cause its not soley human)

The Bishop of Rome is the Pope. According to the CCC…1575 Christ himself gave the apostles a share in his mission and authority…it goes on to say in that same paragraph that he continues to act through the Bishops…

The Pope is not a Dictator…I think that is a big misunderstanding…He is the Keeper of the Faith…making sure that all the Bishops teach the same Doctrine…he is voted in…the magesterium together with the Pope decide on what doctrines are taught.


#16

[quote=Matt14]United with Christ!? This seems awful close to sounding like some of those wild accusations “protestants” make about catholics. Surely this is an overstatement, right? Are you suggesting some sort of metaphysical union between the pope and Jesus Christ? That the pope has two natures, man and God?

Please tell me I’m misunderstanding you!

[/quote]

I believe Dan-Man was thinking in shorthand of the Pope’s position as the visible symbol of the unity of the Church. The Church is united to Christ as the mystical Bride. Of course the Pope doesn’t have two natures. :stuck_out_tongue:


#17

[quote=Mickey]No. It’s called humility. Jesus gives him this commission.
[/quote]

But neither does any other apostolic writer refer to Peter as head of anything. Nor do they give him any titles, or special respect over others. In fact, we can see in the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 it appears that James is the one directing things, which seems amiss if Peter had special papal authority.


#18

[quote=quasimodo]3) the pope is Christ’s Vicar. (From the same root as e.g. Viceroy. The Viceroy rules while the King is out of town.) While Christ is present in His Church and the Church is The Body of Christ, the Lord also gave us a heirarchy as scripture clearly attests. Peter and his successors are the head of that heirarchy. While there has been development in this office over time, it has been present throughout the past 2000 years.
[/quote]

Where do we find the command by Jesus that there would be an office of pope with successors?


#19

[quote=Matt14]But neither does any other apostolic writer refer to Peter as head of anything. Nor do they give him any titles, or special respect over others. In fact, we can see in the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 it appears that James is the one directing things, which seems amiss if Peter had special papal authority.
[/quote]

Are you reading the same thread that I am? :banghead:


#20

[quote=Matt14]But neither does any other apostolic writer refer to Peter as head of anything. Nor do they give him any titles, or special respect over others. In fact, we can see in the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 it appears that James is the one directing things, which seems amiss if Peter had special papal authority.
[/quote]

Ryan’s post # 12 should give you some insight here.

God Bless,
Mickey


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