Divine Institution of the Papacy

While the topic of the evidence for the papacy has surely been discussed many times over on these forums, I would be very interested in opening this topic again - particularly with an eye to hearing from those of the “High Petrine” persuasion, to use the terminology coined by mardukm. Mardukm has kindly agreed to contribute.

I’d like to discuss not merely the evidence (primarily from the patristic period, as well as Scripture) for primacy/supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, but the evidence that this primacy belongs to him in virtue of an office instituted by Christ as a perpetual part of His Church.

Okay. If I understand the plan correctly, I would argue for the perpetual aspect of the papacy this way:

Peter – The Royal Steward

In ancient times, a king might choose a second in command (known as the royal steward or prime minister) who literally wore a large key as a symbol of his office and who spoke with the authority of the king. The prophet Isaiah confirms this:

Isaiah 22:20-22
"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 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.”

In the passage above, God is speaking, and He confirms the existence of the office, the key, and the continuation of the office despite the change of office holder. In other words, the office of the royal steward continued even when the man who held the office died or was replaced by someone else. God Himself passes the key from one steward to the next.

In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus inherits the throne of his father, David.

Luke 1:31–33
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.

We also read the following:

Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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.

The passage quoted above from Matthew tells us that Jesus named Peter as His royal steward and gave him the “keys to the kingdom of heaven" as the symbol of his authority to speak in His name. Since Jesus is an eternal king, the office of royal steward in His kingdom will never end. Peter died as a martyr as Jesus foretold, but the successors of Peter have taken his place in the perpetual office that Jesus established in His royal court.

In addition to the reference to a key or keys, note the following parallels:

"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Is. 22:22)
"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19)

Jesus specifically referenced the passage from Isaiah when He appointed Peter. Peter has received authority from Jesus to speak in His name. To do so faithfully, Peter must not teach error; therefore, Peter (and his successors who hold the office) are protected by God through the charism of infallibility.

And I would highlight these parallels:

Absolute Authority Established by God: Joseph, Eliakim, and Peter

Joseph - Genesis 41:40-44
40 You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.”

• Steward over Pharaoh’s kingdom
• Second in command
• Dressed in robes with gold chain around neck as symbols of authority
• Universal jurisdiction throughout the land of Egypt
• No one lifts hand or foot without Joseph’s word

Eliakim - Isaiah 22:20-22
20 “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. 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.

• Steward over Hezekiah’s kingdom
• Second in command
• Dressed in robe and sash with key on shoulder as symbols of authority
• Universal jurisdiction throughout Jerusalem and Judah
• No one opens or shuts without Eliakim

Peter - Matthew 16:18-20
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 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.”

• Steward over Jesus’ kingdom
• Second in command (cf. John 21:15-19 vicarious shepherd of the one flock)
• Given keys as symbol of authority
• Universal jurisdiction over all of Jesus’ kingdom
• Authority to bind and loose

I have heard the steward argument many times, and I can’t think of many objections to its coherency as a possible interpretation of Matthew 16. But did the early Church in fact understand this passage this way? Though I’m no patristic scholar, I know of no Church Father who taught this interpretation of the passage - is there one?
Personally, I am far more interested in the patristic evidence than the Scriptural evidence. The scriptural evidence is well-known, but how did the early Church actually interpret these events - what was their belief concerning the role of Peter and it’s connection, if any, with the Bishop of Rome?

Oh. Okay.

Out of curiosity, if the scriptural support is strong (and it is), why pursue non-inspired authors?

Thank you, none the less for your input :slight_smile:

As for the scriptural evidence, I personally find it inconclusive right now (though my mind is open to being changed - although, as I said, I am really more interested in the patristic evidence right now). The scriptural evidence alone, as I see it, supports the fact that Peter was in some sense leader or first of the Apostles (which is perfectly acceptable to, for instance, the Orthodox), but without proving that he possessed the kind of supremacy of jurisdiction taught by the Catholic Church (although, admittedly, I do vascillate at times when it comes to Matthew 16). For that reason, at least, I am interested in the patristic evidence.

Furthermore, I would ask, why not pursue the Church Fathers? The witness of the early Church and those recognized by the apostolic churches as Fathers must certainly help to clarify the meaning of scripture, confirm the correct interpretation, and demonstrate what the Church believed before the great schisms and heresies which still plague us.

Tally ho!

Early Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter

**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. 19:27, Mark 10:28] (Who Is the Rich Man That is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]).

**Tertullian **

“[T]his is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrneans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John, like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter” (Demurrer Against the Heretics 32:2 [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 loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed” (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” (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).

Origen (248 A.D.)

“*f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens” (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian of Carthage (251 A.D.)

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ He says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven.’ And again He says to him after His resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’ On him He builds the Church, and to him He gives the command to feed the sheep; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles, yet He founded a single chair, 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; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all 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 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]).

“Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him—when the place of [Pope] Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (Letters 55:[52]):8 [A.D. 253]).

“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” (ibid., 59:14).*

**Eusebius of Caesarea **

“Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]” (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).

Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386 A.D.)

“the chiefest and foremost of the apostles” (Catechetical Lectures, 2, 19).

“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 9:32–34] (Catechetical Lectures, 17:27 [A.D. 350]).

**Ephraim **

“[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures” (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).

Ambrose

“[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]).

**Pope Damasus I **

“Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . .’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it” ( Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).

**John Chrysostom (347–407) **

"He was the chosen one of the apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the leader of the band; on this account also Paul went up upon a time to inquire of him rather than the others. And at the same time to show him that he must now be of good cheer, since the denial was done away, Jesus puts into his hands the chief authority among the brethren; and he brings forward not the denial, nor reproaches him with what had taken place, but says, “If you love me, preside over your brethren, and show now the warm love that you have always manifested and in which you rejoiced; and the life that you said you would lay down for me now give for my sheep” (Commentary on St. John’s Gospel, homily 88).

Later in the same homily, John Chrysostom observes that Jesus “appointed” Peter “teacher of the world.”

Alternate Translation
He saith to him, “Feed my sheep”. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If anyone should say “Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?”, I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world.
[St. John Chrysostom, Homily 88 on John, 1. Cf. Origen, “In Ep. ad Rom.”, 5:10; Ephraem Syrus “Hymn. in B. Petr.” in “Bibl. Orient. Assemani”, 1:95; Leo I, “Serm. iv de natal.”, 2].

Gregory of Nyssa

“The leader and coryphaeus of the Apostolic choir…The head of the Apostles.” Gregory of Nyssa, A.D. 371, Alt. Orat. De S. Steph. tom. iii. p. 730, 4, in Charles F. B. Allnatt, ed., Cathedra Petri – The Titles and Prerogatives of St. Peter, (London: Burns & Oates, 1879), 51.

**Jerome **

“Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord” (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]).

**Pope Innocent I **

“In seeking the things of God . . . you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us [the pope] and have shown that you know that is owed to the Apostolic See [Rome], if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged” (Letters 29:1 [A.D. 408]).

Augustine

“I am held in the communion of the Catholic Church by…and by the succession of bishops from the very seat of Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection commended His sheep to be fed up to the present episcopate.” (Against the Letter of Mani, 5 [A.D. 395]).

“Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished.” (To Glorius et.al, Epistle 43:7 [A.D. 397]).

“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]).

“Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?” (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]).

**Council of Ephesus **

“Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’” (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).

**Pope Leo I **

The Lord…wanted His gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery…The Apostolic See…has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops…And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by longstanding custom. (Letter to the Bishops of Vienne, July, 445 A.D., 10:1-2; in Jurgens, William A., ed. and tr., The Faith of the Early Fathers [FEF], 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, vol. 3, 269)

Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others…the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head. (Letter to Bishop Anastasius of Thessalonica, c. 446 A.D., 14:11; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 270)

“[T]he blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he understood. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that, from his being called the rock, from his being pronounced the foundation, from his being constituted the doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the umpire to bind and loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ” (Sermons 3:2–3 [A.D. 450]).

From the whole world only one, Peter, is chosen to preside over the calling of all nations, and over all the other Apostles, and over the Fathers of the Church…Peter…rules them all, of whom, too, it is Christ who is their chief ruler. Divine condescension, dearly beloved, has granted to this man in a wonderful and marvellous manner the aggregate of its power; and if there was something that it wanted to be his in common with other leaders, it never gave whatever it did not deny to others except through him. (Sermons, 4:2; in Jurgens, FEF, vol. 3, 275)

A couple points I would raise in this discussion:

  1. In Acts we note that the office of Apostle that was vacated by Judas’ death was filled. The office outlived the man. And we have nothing to indicate that Peter’s office ended upon his death, and no indication of it ever ending.

  2. When Paul writes to Timothy, he instructs him on ordaining priests and bishops, and that these men had authority to correct, teach, and discipline. And these men were to do likewise. So there is 4 generations of priests/bishops, with no indication of it ending, and no indication that their authority ends.

  3. In the example of Pope Clement, we see the Corinthians going to the Pope to decide a matter related to their priests. The Apostle John is still alive, and closer to them in Ephesus. And yet they went to the Pope. And the Pope exercised his authority in the situation.

Yes, there is a Church father, but I’m not sure if it’s St. Epiphanius of Salamis (from the East) or St. Ephraem of Syria (I will get back on that), i.e., he writes of Peter has steward because of the keys. And as far as the role of Peter and its connection to Rome or the bishop of Rome, here are some good quotes:

“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 ‘Rock’]–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.” St. Optatus (“The Schism of the Donatists,” c. 367 A.D.)

“[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]?” St. Ambrose of Milan (“The Faith,” c. 379 A.D.)

“(Pope) Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter’s twenty-second successor in the See of Rome.” St. Jerome (“Against the Luciferians” c. 383 A.D.)

“‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division.” St. Jerome (“Against Jovinian,” c. 393 A.D.)

I think you’re referring to Ephraim of Syria. This is the quote I found. I don’t see an explicit connection to Isaiah 22, although I can see the language of stewardship.

St. Ephraim the Syrian

"[Jesus said:] Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in my institution [the Church] so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures." (Homilies 4:1 [AD 351])

I’m considering the other quotations which you and Randy have offered. I will say this, a number of them merely establish that Peter was first among the Apostles and established the Church at Rome (with Paul). While these are important to a defense of Catholic doctrine against some of the more misguided arguments against it, for the purposes of this conversation, let us look only for those which actually point to a divinely established, perpetual office (having authority of jurisdiction, if that is possible to show).

Working on it, brother.:smiley: Will post soon.

I see you gave an exhortation I was planning to give – so I can scratch that off from the post I am preparing.:slight_smile:

Btw, there is another Syriac Father (from the 3rd century IIRC) that directly links Isaiah 22 to the government of the Church. It is in the first volume of NPNF - the Pre-Nicene Fathers. Unfortunately, I left my NPNF series in the U.S when I moved here to the Philippines, so I cannot given any more detail than that.:o

Blessings,
Marduk

:smiley:

Btw, there is another Syriac Father (from the 3rd century IIRC) that directly links Isaiah 22 to the government of the Church. It is in the first volume of NPNF - the Pre-Nicene Fathers.

The only other I can think that I’ve heard draws this parallel is Aphraates - I recall seeing a quotation by him at some point, but I can’t remember what he says, and I still haven’t tracked it down again.

Unfortunately, I left my NPNF series in the U.S when I moved here to the Philippines, so I cannot given any more detail than that.:o

That excuse is so old :rolleyes:

:rotfl: I know! I know! I’m often just going by memory of all the books I read in the past that I left in the U.S. If I brought ALL my books, I would have had to pay over $2000 in shipping costs! I did bring with me the two most valuable ones, as far as I’m concerned -
(1) Dom Cuthbert Butler’s “The Vatican Council:1869-1870” and (2) volume 7 of NPNF (on the Ecumenical Councils) :slight_smile:

Blessings

I am very sorry to hear that you had to give up your books and not able to pay for the shipping of them to where you now live. I hope that you will be able to replenish the books you now do not have Blessing Spina

So far the one relevant quotation I could find by Aphraates connects Jesus and Peter to David and Solomon. It is from Demonstrations xxi, 13 (newadvent.org/fathers/370121.htm)::slight_smile:

David handed over the kingdom to Solomon, and was gathered to his people; and Jesus handed over the keys to Simon, and ascended and returned to Him who sent Him.

Marduk, was this the one you were thinking of?

No, I said St. EphraEm of Syria (not EphraIm of Syria), here’s the quote:

'“And that our Lord might show that he received the keys from former stewards, he said to Simeon, “To thee will I give the keys of the doors.” But how would He have given them to another had He not received them from another? So then the keys which He had received from Simeon the priest, He gave to another, Simeon the Apostle, that even though the people had not harkened to the former Simeon, the people might hearken to the latter Simeon.”

“There were both the prince of the Old and the prince of the New Testament confronting one another. there the saintly Moses beheld the sanctified Simon the steward of the Father, the procurator of the Son. He who forced the sea asunder to let the people walk across the parted waves, beheld him who raised the new tabernacle and built the Church.”

There are many quotes from Church fathers that tackle papal jurisdiction, I will quote a few in another post.

p.s. I think we’ve quoted a succession of quotes delineating the perpetuity of Peter’s office has held by the bishops of Rome, i.e., although I think this should solidify the fact that it is an office in perpetuity, a quote from the Council of Ephesus:

Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: “There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince (exarchos) and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation (themelios) of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors**. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time, etc.”

St. Gregory the Great

As to what they say of the Church of Constantinople, who doubts that it is subject to the Apostolic See? This is constantly owned by the most pious Emperor and by our brother and Bishop of that city." (Lib. ix., Ep. 12); and again, “If any fault is found among bishops, I know not any one who is not subject to it (the Apostolic See); but when no fault requires otherwise, all are equal according to the estimation of humility.” (Lib. ix., Ep. 59)

“It is evident to all who know the Gospel that, by the voice of the Lord, the care of the whole Church was committed to holy Peter, the prince of the Apostles. For to him it is said …‘You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church. And to you I will give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Behold, he receives the Keys of the heavenly Kingdom; the power of binding and of loosing is given to him; to him the care and government of the whole Church is committed.” (Gregory, Epistle ad. Maurit. Augustus, lib. iv. epist. 32).

St. Maximus the confessor:

“All the ends of the inhabited world, and those who anywhere on earth confess the Lord with a pure and orthodox faith, look directly to the most holy Church of the Romans and her confession and faith as to a sun of eternal light, receiving from her the radiant beam of the patristic and holy doctrines, just as the holy six synods, inspired and sacred, purely and with all devotion set them forth, uttering most clearly the symbol of faith. For, from the time of the descent to us of the incarnate Word of God, all the Churches of the Christians everywhere have held and possess this most great Church as the sole base and foundation, since, according to the very promise of the Saviour, it will never be overpowered by the gates of hell, but rather has the keys of the orthodox faith and confession in him, and to those who approach it with reverence it opens the genuine and unique piety, but shuts and stops every heretical mouth that speaks utter wickedness. For that which the creator of everything himself, our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, established and built up - together with his disciples and apostles, and the Holy Fathers and teachers and martyrs who came after - have been consecrated by their own works and words, by their sufferings and sweat, by their labours and blood, and finally by their remarkable deaths for the sake of the Catholic and Apostolic Church of us who believe in him, they, through two words, uttered without pain or death - O the long-suffering and forbearance of God! - are eager to dissolve and to set at naught the great, all-illumining and all-praised mystery of the orthodox worship of the Christians.”

St. Theodore the Studite writing to Pope Leo III:

Since to great Peter Christ our God gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to Peter or his successor must of the necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church. . . . be referred . . . .Save us, most divine Head of the Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church under Heaven.

St. John of Damascene:

It was not of tents that the Master constituted thee the orderer (Peter), but of the universal Church. Thy disciples, they sheep, which the good Shepherd entrusted to thee as head, have fulfilled thy desire. They have raised one tent to Christ, one to Moses and Elias, his servants, and we now celebrate our feasts there."

The Formula of Pope Hormidas (which was signed by thousands of bishops from the East that ended the Acacian Schism):

“Because the statement of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He said. “Thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,” &c., cannot be set aside; this, which is said, is proved by the results; for in the Apostolic See religion has always been preserved without spot. . . In which (See) is set the perfect and true solidarity of the Christian religion.”

p.s. There are many more quotes from Pope St. Leo and other great saints, perhaps reading “Jesus, Peter and the Keys” will give you an idea of how many fathers refer to Peter’s authority and that of the bishops of Rome.

Thanks for your reply, Randy.

These first three, it seems to me, don’t say enough. They indicate a primacy possessed by Peter, but don’t speak of a successive office of universal jurisdiction, as I briefly commented in my earlier post. I do find the one from Origen rather interesting, though, since he seems to indicate some sort of greater (or wider) power or authority possessed by Peter. None the less, it doesn’t say a whole lot.

One thing that troubles me about quotations like these is that, while they recognize a primacy on the part of Peter, they do not connect it to Rome. One would think that if Christ’s words in Matthew 16 were meant to establish a papal office of the sort Catholics believe in, more of these writers would have explicitly connected the position of Peter with the bishop of Rome. There silence makes one wonder if they knew of such a notion.

**Tertullian **

“[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 loosed, not what they shall have bound or they shall have loosed” (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).

From what I understand of Tertullian, I don’t think this supports the papacy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this written during the heterodox part of Tertullian’s life? In this work, isn’t he attacking the claim of the Church’s power to forgive sins? Read in context, Tertullian seems to be claiming that only Peter himself possessed the keys and the power to bind and loose. As such the Church would not possess this power, nor would even only the Bishop of Rome possess it. Needless to say, Catholicism teaches that all the bishops possess the keys and the power of binding and loosing, the Pope possessing it in a principle manner.

Continued…

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