Awhile ago I had conversations with an Eastern Orthodox person, who told me that there is no significant historical evidence for the Papacy as the Catholic Church understands it and that the position is completely untenable.
He also stated that unless the Church has universally held a belief, then it cannot be seen as part of the deposit of faith, since divine revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle. (No one can preach a new gospel or something other than what was once delivered to the saints by Jesus Christ).
I believe the evidence for the Papacy from scripture is very clear. It’s also very clear from various miracles that are present in the Catholic Church but not in the Orthodox Church (or at least I haven’t heard of them.) For example, with Our Lady of Guadalupe, why would the Mother of God send someone to a Catholic bishop if he was a heretic and schismatic and not a true representative of the True Church of Jesus Christ?
The only problem is I don’t know how to defend it from the teachings of the Church Fathers and the first seven councils.
After reading on Wikipedia that Saint Peter is actually labeled as the first Patriarch of Antioch, I was reminded of the past conversations with the Eastern Orthodox person. Here are a few questions so I can better defend the Catholic faith.
Can someone please give me quick and strong examples for how the early church viewed the see of Rome that supports the Catholic view? Also if you have the name of a book that does a good job defending the Papacy, I’d appreciate it.
What do you believe the fathers of the First Council of Nicaea believed about the Papacy? I’ve read the document and see no evidence for it within the actual text of the Council. Pope Saint Sylvester was not at the Council. His legates signed it.
What would the implications be if you went back in time to Nicaea and asked each of the bishops at the Council if they believed Peter and his successors had universal jurisdiction over the church (or pick any other papal dogma) and they say that they do not agree, or worse that it is heresy to assert such. Could this be reconcilable with Catholic teaching or is this impossible?
In my conversations with the Eastern Orthodox person, he said that because Saint Peter was also the Patriarch of Antioch that if we accept Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16, a case could be made to give Antioch the primacy. How does a Catholic respond to this assertion?
How does a Catholic respond to this quote by Pope Gregory I which on the surface seems to reject the Primacy of the Pope?
“Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others.”
How do you respond to someone who says that people who rejected Papal infallibility before its definition could have been “good Catholics” but a few centuries later they would be labeled as heretics, if they remained obstinate in their belief, knowing it is the teaching of the church?
Also on an unrelated note, what is the earliest clear evidence for the “filioque” clause being part of the apostolic tradition? Keep in mind that the Second Council of Lyons states that the Filioque is the “unchangeable and true belief of the orthodox fathers and doctors, Latin and Greek alike.”
How do you respond when an Orthodox person says “the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given to all the apostles and not just Saint Peter.”?
Did any of the first seven Ecumenical Councils appeal to Papal authority? If not how is this possible?
How does one respond to the objection that Saint Peter was not the bishop of Rome (because allegedly there is no historical evidence for it)?
Keep in mind this quote from vatican I
For the holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter
not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine,
but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.
Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Saviour to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren
The important thing here is that it says that the Catholic teaching of the Popes was “embraced by **all **the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for **they knew very well **that this see of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error.”