I would like to know what Gregory meant by “universal bishop”. In English today “universal” means:
- of, pertaining to, or characteristic of all or the whole.
- applicable everywhere or in all cases; general.
- affecting, concerning, or involving all.
- used or understood by all.
- present everywhere.
I would rather agree that the Bishop at Rome’s bishopness is and was not applicable everywhere or in all cases or not affecting, concerning, or involving all.
It’s THE PRIDE of being called “universal priest” that St. Gregory condemned.
See the full context of his epistle, do not summarize a passage out of nothing. You don’t interpret afterwards, but you see the context of the time of why he condemned it.
You clearly haven’t read St. Gregory’s epistles, and why he condemned it…
Here’s a letter from Pope Gregory to John, bishop of Constantinople at that time.
To John, Bishop.
Gregory to John, Bishop of Constantinople1586.
At the time when your Fraternity was advanced to Sacerdotal dignity, you remember what peace and concord of the churches you found. But, with what daring or with what swelling of pride I
know not, you have attempted to seize upon a new name, whereby the hearts of all your brethren might have come to take offence*. I wonder exceedingly at this, since I remember how thou wouldest fain have fled from the episcopal office rather than attain it. And yet, now that thou hast got it, thou desirest so to exercise it as if thou hadst run to it with ambitious intent. For, having confessed thyself unworthy to be called a bishop, thou hast at length been brought to such a pass as, despising
thy brethren, to covet to be named the only bishop. And indeed with regard to this matter, weighty letters were addressed to your Holiness by my predecessor Pelagius of holy memory; in which he annulled the acts of the synod, which had been assembled among you in the case of our once brother and fellow-bishop Gregory, because of that execrable title of pride, and forbade the archdeacon whom he had sent according to custom to the threshold of our lord, to celebrate the solemnities of mass with you. But after his death, when I, unworthy, succeeded to the government of the Church, both through my other representatives and also through our common son the deacon Sabinianus, I have taken care to address your Fraternity, not indeed in writing, but by word of mouth, desiring you to restrain yourself from such presumption. And, in case of your refusing to amend, I forbade his celebrating the solemnities of mass with you; that so I might first appeal to your Holiness through a certain sense of shame, to the end that, if the execrable and profane assumption could not be corrected through shame, strict canonical measures might be then resorted to. And, since sores that are to be cut away should first be stroked with a gentle hand, I beg you, I beseech you, and with all the sweetness in my power demand of you, that your Fraternity gainsay all who flatter you and offer you this name of error, nor foolishly consent to be called by the proud title. For truly I say it weeping, and out of inmost sorrow of heart attribute it to my sins, that this my brother, who has been constituted in the grade of episcopacy for the very end of bringing back the souls of others to humility, has up to the present time been incapable of being brought back to humility; that he who teaches truth to others has not consented to teach himself, even when I implore him.
That is why he condemns it, because Bishop of Constantinople clearly has abused the title, to make as if other Bishops are merely delegations, and not real Bishops, as Genesis315 has stated. Read the letter thoroughly, Pope Gregory infact, is actually also exercising his authority as a universal bishop, by setting up an example in humility, instead in pride, the way that John abused it. John had no authority the way Gregory had, that’s why he condemn the title being used by other apostolic see other than Rome. Pope Gregory even quoted Pelagius, his PREDECESSOR, of how Pope Pelagius had annuled the acts of the synod. This is even further prove of the authority of the Pope.
You must understand that Pope Gregory I was well known for his humility. He was the first Pope to ever used the title “Servus Servorum Dei”, Servant of servants of God, but this doesn’t mean he denies his authority as a pope, contrary to that, he honors it,** through humbleness**.