Early Church Fathers Agree: Peter has Universal Jurisdiction

Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition says on Acts 15:20:

Ver. 20. Things strangled and from blood. In these prohibitions, the Church indulged the particular feelings of the Jews, that the bond of union between them and the Gentiles might be more closely united; the latter in these two instances giving way to the prejudices of the former, who in their turn gave up much, by submitting to the abolition of the ceremonial law of Moses. This prohibition was of course only temporary, and to cease with the reasons, which gave rise to it. (Menochius) — The Jews had such a horror of blood, that they considered those who eat it as defiled, and violators of the law of nature. The Lord had in effect from the beginning forbidden the use of blood to Noe [Noah], (Genesis ix. 4.) which he likewise reported in the strongest terms in Leviticus viii. 26.[vii. 26.?] By this we see the great authority of God’s Church, and Councils which may make permanent or temporary decrees, such as are fitting for the state of the times or peoples, without any express Scripture at all, and by this authoritative exaction, things become of strict obligation, which previous to it, were in themselves indifferent. (Bristow)

I’ll have to look into this some.

Shiranui117;12525299]Because of this:
13 After they had stopped speaking, [e]James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

James compares Peters word to the fulfillment of the prophets.

19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from [j]things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since [k]he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”

James speaks to his Jewish convert (brethren) leaders present in council; as James relates to Moses and the Jews in attendance in the synagogues at Sabbath, when the Gentiles are not allowed in the synagogues every Sabbath, when the councils subject pertains to the Gentiles.

James speech comes long after Peter speech is confirmed and followed by signs and wonders pertaining to the Gentiles from the eye witness accounts by Paul and Barnabas.

Peter settles the councils matter of no circumcision, only baptism to the Gentiles. James concurs and addresses what his Jewish brethren in Jerusalem and other cities are to do, now that Peter has judged the council to baptize the Gentiles without circumcision.

Blood and food disciplines are to inform the Gentiles in James Jewish communities, James judges his local church community, not the whole Church. When Peter judges the whole Church of how each Church is to allow the Gentiles in the Church without circumcision.

James food and blood disciplines do not impact the whole Church communities. When Paul writes to the Gentile converts in the Colossian Church community; Colossians 2:16 “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or regard to festival or new moon or a Sabbath”.
Had James passed his food discipline judgment on the whole Church, Paul who was present would not have contradicted James authority to the Colossians.

Thus James never speaks for the whole Church, only Peter’s Judgment is applied to all the whole Church in every age.

Do you follow James strict dietary law as all those who attend Synagogue on Sabbath at the witness of Moses?

St. James is the last one to speak, after which the Council deliberates on how to put the ruling into practice.

James Jewish converts in his Church community in Jerusalem are the ones who have the problem with Gentile converts. James must judge his Jewish/Gentile convert Church community, from what Peter judged the whole Church to follow, Jewish, Greek, Pagan converts to enter the Church by the baptism of Jesus. Peter’s baptism of Jesus removes Jewish circumcision, Greek pagan baptism rituals, and pagan rituals such as drinking blood to enter the mysteries of God.

It also bears noting that the verb “krino” means “to judge”,

Peter judges for the whole Church for all to baptize Gentiles, James judges for his local Jewish Church community with disciplines for the Gentiles in his community to follow so as not to offend their Jewish converts. St. Paul gives another reasonable discourse of respecting another’s weaker faith when it comes to certain foods, even though the discipline of foods do not apply to Christians.
Context, context of the whole Gospel is key here.

There are numerous documents existing from the Saint of both Churchs.

Opuscula theologica et polemica is apparently where the quote comes from. Greek-Latin translations usually took place immediately. That said the process to validate documents as such has consistently proven to be very difficult which makes these conversations strained and difficult. Its the main issue with quotations of which I think we all realize is a reality. At the end of the day what exists in fragments is reality, whats stated about it appears as opinion and usually proceeds as “Rome was noted for this” while ignoring the obvious that translations existed both ways and were common, so the same thinking may apply both ways. Thats the path of quotations.

That said there are various works left by the Saint who was obedient to Rome.


Alright, I’ve read the thread. The idea that St. Peter’s ruling was taken as the opinion of the Council seems rather plausible.

Now, can we prove that the Pope of Rome had universal jurisdiction in the early Church?

A related question would be:
Since God gifts every human being with unique gifts, where does the gift of unique authority reside, if not in Peter?
Or does unique authority not exist?

I’m not sure why this is on the Non-Catholics thread.

Sounds like prosletysing. Shouldn’t it be on the Catholic thread?

How are we defining unique authority? Do you mean the power of the keys and the ability to turn and strengthen the brethren?

Since our Lord gave His Apostles authority to transfer leadership in the Church to successors, I would assume that, if St. Peter did have this unique authority that no other Apostle had, he would have transferred his authority to his successors–i.e. those in Antioch, Rome and Alexandria.

Here is something for me that has always been a pressing question, and one that I have asked before… Why did the universal jurisdiction of the Pope get elevated to the level of immutable dogma that can never change and is supposedly something that everyone has always believed, a part of the Apostolic Faith once delivered unto all the Saints, on the same level as things like the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union? Why not just say that the Pope has universal jurisdiction, as a part of the constitution of how the Church is run?

I’m not attempting to define authority and how it works in the Church. That has been done many times by people that have knowledge in that area.

I am asking, does authority truly exist in a person in a unique way? My assumption is that authority is like all callings and gifts, a charism. If it’s not a charism from God, then the discussion is pointless, as authority is nothing but human whim.
As a gift from God, does God give to each unique person in a unique way, or does it not exist?

For example, Mary is “kecharitomene”, full of grace. She is a unique creation of God, and is given a unique “charito”. Are we to accept that she is just another woman among women? Is Christ born of all women equally, or is she chose and gifted uniquely as his one and unique mother?

Mary **goes before us all **in the holiness that is the Church’s mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle."194 This is why the “Marian” dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."195 :hmmm:

I have to wonder, was that Marian dimension hard for Peter to accept, to submit to?

the Virgin Mary is **the Church’s model **of faith and charity. Thus she is a “**preeminent and . . . wholly unique **member of the Church”; indeed, she is the “exemplary realization” (typus)510 of the Church.

The extension of this is that all human beings are created uniquely, of equal dignity in God’s eyes, but we are not the same. Unfortunately one of the objections to authority of any kind is the deception of sameness. We have confused equality before God with sameness, and somehow the uniqueness of every person has become offensive to our sensibilities. Collegiality is not sameness.
Christ asks us
“Or are you envious because I am generous”.
He is generous with each of us in a unique way. It can be very hard to accept.

Excellent Book, you did a good job

Peter was in Antioch, and someone did take over the leadership of that church when Peter left.

However, when Peter went to Rome, he took his keys with him to that city, because Peter was not the head of a church but of the whole Church throughout the world. When his days were ended and he was martyred as Jesus foretold, Linus succeeded Peter as the keeper of the keys and the head of the Universal Church.

Perhaps because the idea is based upon the words of Jesus Christ and recorded in Sacred Scripture. Isn’t revealed truth referred to as dogma?

Antioch owes It’s Episcopacy to St. Peter and Alexandria owes it’s Episcopacy to Peter because St. Mark is a disciple of Peter. Yet these apostolic sees fall into heresy, when the gates of hell prevailed them. Rome is the only Apostolic see to date that never falls into heresy and the gates of hell never prevail the Chair of Peter, when all other apostolic sees have fallen in and out of heresy.

The idea is based on the words of Jesus, sure, but it is merely a derivative from there. Even though it is a historical fact that Mary died before being assumed into Heaven (hence the universal Feast in the Eastern Churches of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the witness of all the surviving Apostles to this fact, and the words of numerous Popes attesting to the fact of Mary’s death), it is not made a binding dogma that all Catholics believe that Mary died; many hold to the pious idea that she was taken to Heaven without suffering physical death. Would the Dormition of the Theotokos not also, then, be a dogma if it is not only a revealed truth, but a fact of history?

Stepping in here after completing a 4 month seminar on the roots of the papacy, regarding infallibility…that was not defined until the mid 1800’s.

Prior to, the common sentiment in the universal Church was quiet acquiescence to the Seat of Peter. When one of the early popes made a disciplinarian decree, the whole universal Church accepted, this pertaining to excommunication of a certain bishop regarding how to reconcile apostates back into the Church that committed sins of either murder, adultery, or lying. However, then several bishops came forward asking for leniancy…and the papacy serving as also more pastoral in reconciling sinners than being punitive and unforgiving. What was noted way back then was that when a pope made a decree, the rest of the Church complied without any dispute or dissension, the mark of the Holy Spirit.

There was dispute among bishops whether or not infallibility need to be defined or not.

But essentially there have been only a few dogmas, two pertaining to the Blessed Virgin. How it goes is this: The universal faith of all Christians is that Mary did not commit sin, the wages of sin is death, and so we cannot perceive her in having a death like ours, we sinners.

The pope decided to make it a dogma that Mary was immaculately conceived in the 1800’s, this point discussed, debated for centuries. But the faithful themselves already believed Mary sinless. So the pope then went back to all the bishops for consultation, and with them – and their episcopal assent, of which without, there would be none…the Pope with their approval then declared Mary conceived without sin as a dogma of faith, not found directly in Scriptures but in the ‘senses’ of Scripture, the discipline of asceticism that was developed over the centuries.

About Mary’s assumption into heaven, Pope Pius could only assume…thus the word, assumption…based on the universal faith that Mary did not end her life like all other mortals…that Mary was taken gloriously up to heaven following our Lord. It is not clear whether she fell asleep or was risen by the Lord…we can only assume she had a glorious passing from this world, a belief already held by Christians.

So the pope cannot make a dogma without bishops and the general held same belief of believers.

Infallibility…considering the scope and size of the universal church today…is to be known from the context of serving the Church, not dictating it.

It may be a manner of East and West culturally saying the same thing but in different ways and orientation.

And of all the bad popes, the Holy Spirit prevented them from any teaching on faith and morals. Consider the time when Peter was appointed to head the Church; we have an immediate scenario where then only moments after, Christ calls Peter Satan for trying to talk Him from fulfilling His mission. So the Seat of Peter is most vulnerable to the Evil One to mislead…we must pray for the Church to have good leaders as well.

Depends on who you ask, the two Orthodox Communions not in union with Rome and separated from each other would claim they never fell into heresy but that the other two bodies did.

As to the gates of hell prevailing, you’ve got the imagery all backward. The Church is the army knocking over hell’s walls, essentially conquering hell; it’s not hell battering the Church’s walls and it’s gates attacking the Church. Gates can’t attack, gates get attacked. Our job as the Church is to batter down the gates of hell, emerging victorious.

Yep. This is commonly misunderstood.

Could be viewed another way though I only see later in history.

Realizing that he is facing ruin, Dante contemplates suicide, but he is rescued by the spirit of the poet Virgil who conducts him on a journey through Hell. When he enters the gates of hell, Dante sees the famous line “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”. And that is indeed the chief punishment of all the inhabitants of the Inferno: they have no hope of salvation, no hope of release, no hope of any improvement or escape from their punishments.

So if we are to understand the gates of hell as the seven deadly sins, they can attack and do attack and there is no salvation from them but through grace in the sacraments thus Church. Thus the gates of hell will not prevail.

This understanding to me brings the comprehended understanding of the Eucharist front and center. Thats what I do like about it.

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