ECFs said Peter wasn't the Rock?


#1

One of the most commonly given proofs that Peter was not Rock was the letter of Archbishop Kenrick that said that Majority of the Early Church Fathers held the belief that Peter’s faith was the Rock and not Peter himself.

So far as I can see all ECF held that Peter was the rock at one point in time.

For non-Catholics:
Who are these 44 ECF that did not hold Peter was the Rock? And where did they say this?

For Catholics:
How is this explained?

I have researched on my own but I would appreciate additional comments.


#2

Hmmm, are you sure it was Archbishop Kenrick??? Could you provide a link??? As a side note, are you sure you are not referring to the forgery of the speech of Bishop Strossmayer to the Vatican COuncil I??? Thanks and God Bless.


#3

<< For non-Catholics: Who are these 44 ECF that did not hold Peter was the Rock? And where did they say this? >>

The folks who cite this are getting their information from an old James White debate on the Papacy (with Matatics, or with Fr. Pacwa) or article or White’s book (The Roman Catholic Controversy), or from the source White got this from, a secondary anti-Catholic source: George Salmon’s Infallibility of the Church who is citing a study from the 19th century (Maldonatus, or Launoy a “Gallican”) that used “Fathers” and “Doctors” right through the Reformation and Renaissance. So we’re not talking exactly “patristic writers” which the Anglican Salmon mistakenly alleges.

Here is the precise source this is taken from, bingo found it :smiley:

(3) The most elaborate examination of the opinions of the Fathers is in an Epistle [Epistle vii., Opp. vol. v., pt. 2. p. 99: Geneva, 1731] by the French Roman Catholic Launoy, in which, besides the interpretation that Peter was the rock, for which he produces seventeen Patristic testimonies, he gives the interpretations that the rock was the faith which Peter confessed, supported by forty-four quotations; that the rock was Christ Himself, supported by sixteen; and that the Church was built on all the Apostles, supported by eight.

(4) The Jesuit Maldonatus, whose Romanism is of the most thorough-going kind, begins his commentary on this passage by saying, “There are among ancient authors some who interpret ‘on this rock,’ that is, ‘on this faith,’ or ‘on this confession of faith in which thou hast called me the Son of the living God,’ as Hilary, and Gregory Nyssen, and Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria. St. Augustine going still further away from the true sense interprets ‘on this rock,’ that is, ‘on myself Christ,’ because Christ was the rock. But Origen ‘on this rock,’ on all men who have the same faith.” [335]

Found here bible.ca/cath-salmon-infallibility.htm

That’s the source for the numbers and “Fathers” – the anti-Catholic Anglican Salmon. Now B.C. Butler in his response looked up the original study and shows the “Fathers” or “patristic writers” include Catholic writers from the Reformation or Renaisance period who obviously fully accepted the Papacy, so it matters little how they interpreted Matthew 16:18 at that point.

It demonstrates nothing since we’re not talking pre-500 AD Fathers. All the earliest Fathers (i.e. pre-500 AD) said without exception Peter was the Rock, or his faith was Rock, or both. Wanted to add: In Augustine you can find four interpretations: Peter, Peter’s faith, Peter’s successors, and Christ. And the same in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: (a copy/paste here)

The literal interpretation is that Simon alone is the rock of Christ’s Church, the Church is built on Peter personally (CCC 881, 586, 552). However, the Catechism also notes that Peter is the unshakeable rock because of his faith in Christ (CCC 552); that the acknowledgement of Christ’s divine sonship is the Church’s foundation (CCC 442); on the rock of Peter’s faith Christ built His Church (CCC 424); and Christ Himself as rock and “chief cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:4ff; 1 Cor 10:4; Eph 2:20) is the foundation (CCC 756). Many of these views can be found in the early Church Fathers as Catholic convert Stephen Ray (Upon This Rock) and former Catholic William Webster (The Matthew 16 Controversy) have pointed out in their books and online debates.

Here is an exhaustive study by John Chapman on St. John Chrysostom the great eastern Father, who said both Peter = Rock and his faith = rock, and was very clear about the jurisdictional primacy of Peter.

You should also check out Steve Ray’s reply to Bill Webster from a number of years ago, available as Word .doc files, they discuss all the major early Fathers (pre-500 AD) in depth.

Phil P


#4

Source is also the Catholic Archbishop Peter Kenrick, born in Dublin 1806, trained for the priesthood at Maynooth and ordained in Dublin, emigrated to the US in 1833 and became bishop of St Louis, Missouri.

His essay in which he enumerates the numbers of Church Fathers who interpreted the rock as Peter or as Peter’s Faith, or as Christ Himself or as the entire body of bishops was published in Naples in 1870, in the year following the close of Vatican I.

It may be located in Friedrich, Docum ad illust. Conc. Vat. I, pp. 185-246.

I was not aware of Launoy’s work. Many thanks for the reference. It is earlier than Kenrick by 140 years and I wonder if Kenrick simply took over Launoy’s research or conducted his own.


God is the one loveable who is always rejoicing without end in infinite happiness.
~St.Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, died 395


#5

Father A,

Nice of you to drop in.

Would you be able to answer the question? It would be great to see this information.

Who were these 44 ECFs who taught that “Peter was not the Rock but his confession”


#6

[quote=Aris]Father A,

Nice of you to drop in.

Would you be able to answer the question? It would be great to see this information.

Who were these 44 ECFs who taught that “Peter was not the Rock but his confession”
[/quote]

:shamrock: Apologies! I have been enticed into an area of the Forum where I should not be contributing. :smiley: I am permitted to participate in the Non-Catholic section and in Moral Theology.

Mea culpa… :eek:


#7

I don’t understand.

Are you serious?

This is a good opportunity to see whether the statement holds. Wouldn’t you like to know? You seem to believe that 44 early church fathers indeed hold only to the view “Peter is not the Rock but his faith”.

Or do you take the statement as true just because it is Anti Catholic?

What was the name of the book again where Archbishop kenrick was quoted?


#8

[quote=slinky1882]Hmmm, are you sure it was Archbishop Kenrick??? Could you provide a link??? As a side note, are you sure you are not referring to the forgery of the speech of Bishop Strossmayer to the Vatican COuncil I??? Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

The Anti-catholic books I’ve read quoted it as Kenrick. Initially I thought it was Strossmayer but I checked it again, they did attribute it to Kenrick.


#9

[quote=Aris]I don’t understand.

Are you serious?
[/quote]

He probably is. You ought to be aware that Father Ambrose has been suspended on CA a couple of times and these are probably the terms under which the management here allow him to continue posting.

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
John.


#10

[quote=Aris]One of the most commonly given proofs that Peter was not Rock was the letter of Archbishop Kenrick that said that Majority of the Early Church Fathers held the belief that Peter’s faith was the Rock and not Peter himself.

So far as I can see all ECF held that Peter was the rock at one point in time.

For non-Catholics:
Who are these 44 ECF that did not hold Peter was the Rock? And where did they say this?

For Catholics:
How is this explained?

I have researched on my own but I would appreciate additional comments.
[/quote]

Hi Aris,
I dont know and I am not catholic.
But Christ is the cornerstone. Is this His faith or is this Christ?
If it is Christ, will He be alone,or will His brothers be with Him. If Christ is a cornerstone of this Holy Temple of God and He is building it, it seems reasonable that we are building blocks as well.
To me Peter is a rock and Christ is the cornerstone and as Ephesians says, all the prophets and apostles are part of the foundation. We also who are in Christ will be part of this Holy Temple. Faith is a gift, not a building block. Faith is a part of us.
walk in love
edwinG


#11

The Catholic Church does not dispute any of those interpretations.

However, the thread question is did 44 Early Church Fathers say that Peter was not the Rock but his Faith.

The issue here is reliability in using such quotes to disprove that the early Church did not have the same idea of the Pope as today’s Catholics.

Each time non-catholics try to disprove the Petrine ministry they use this quote as if it is grounded on facts. However, each time, I have found that the apologist who uses this quote can not say who these 44 ECFs are.

It also goes to the heart of the matter, is the apologist seeking Truth or is he seeking rationales for his belief.

Hopefully, by discussing the validity of this quote, we can remove one stumbling block to one’s appreciation of the Catholic Faith.


#12

[quote=Aris]Each time non-catholics try to disprove the Petrine ministry they use this quote as if it is grounded on facts. However, each time, I have found that the apologist who uses this quote can not say who these 44 ECFs are.
[/quote]

Or, they can name drop the Early Fathers, but can’t provide any quote or even just where such quote can be found.


#13

Let’s suppose an ECF did say that the confession is the rock. I don’t think this would necessarily disprove Peter’s primacy as there is still, among many other things, the keys given only to Peter as a sign of his authority. It would also be interesting to see what the supposed 44 said elsewhere about Church leadership. Kinda like how non-Catholics will scour the ECF’s looking for any glowing comment about Scripture and concluding they were Sola Scriptura to the exclusion of any glowing passages about Tradition or the Church. Then there is the special pleading issue. Namely, that if a handful of Fathers with a different interpretation of Scripture disproves a Catholic teaching, then the fact that not one of them could tell us which books belong in Scripture before the 4th century disproves Sola Scriptura.

Scott


#14

[quote=Aris]Each time non-catholics try to disprove the Petrine ministry they use this quote as if it is grounded on facts. However, each time, I have found that the apologist who uses this quote can not say who these 44 ECFs are.
[/quote]

It would be nice if we had access to the notes accumulated by Archbishop Peter Kenrick or Launoy, after all these statistics were produced by Catholics and you can no doubt appreciate the work involved in searching through the writings of the ECF’s, many of which have still not been published in English let alone been made available in electronic form. I’m sure you would be equally hard pressed to name all 17 of the Fathers who specifically teach that St Peter is the rock, though perhaps not as it seems Catholic apologists have been scouring the Fathers for years in search of support for their novel doctrines :wink: something which the Orthodox have never needed to do.

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
John.


#15

What you will find here, as with so many protestant quotations, is that most of them are twisted to meet their ends. It’s the old story of finding someone who draws a second lesson from the “Rock” verses, and then presenting this as if this meant that that particular Father therefore opposed the Rock=Peter primary interpretation. Of course this is basically dishonest in assuming that because a Father was drawing Lesson B or Lesson C out of a verse, in a particular situation, he is therefore denying lesson A.

The Rock=Peter view was so general that unless a Father specifically and clearly denies that interpretation, it can be assumed he was familiar with it and assented to it.


#16

I have to say that I heard this story about Kenrick and the ECF’s who didn’t believe that Peter was the rock from the JW’s. In fact I can’t avoid them because one of my colleagues is a Jehovah’s witness. I always end up in massive debates and I remember him saying that only a few of the ECF’s believed Peter was the rock. I’m very interested in this issue although I believe that Peter is the rock I’ve had massive debates because my colleague believes that only Christ is the rock and he quoted a few verses from the New Testament where Christ is called the rock. Anyway in Mat 16:18 Jesus doesn’t speak about himself, He speaks to Peter and about Peter and his role in the Church and if Jesus didn’t want to call Peter the rock why did he change his name(Simon) into Peter which means rock in Greek? Have a look at the web site webshowplace.com/question/Catholic.html and click on “Peter the Rock”


#17

[quote=prodromos]It would be nice if we had access to the notes accumulated by Archbishop Peter Kenrick or Launoy, after all these statistics were produced by Catholics and you can no doubt appreciate the work involved in searching through the writings of the ECF’s, many of which have still not been published in English let alone been made available in electronic form. I’m sure you would be equally hard pressed to name all 17 of the Fathers who specifically teach that St Peter is the rock, though perhaps not as it seems Catholic apologists have been scouring the Fathers for years in search of support for their novel doctrines :wink: something which the Orthodox have never needed to do.

Christos Anesti! Christ is Risen!
John.
[/quote]

  1. From the sources, I’ve read Kenrick is quoted third hand and not directly. There is no publication that I have read that Kenrick himself acknowledges the validity of the letter.
  2. Catholic apologists are not saying that their were 17 ECF who said that Peter was the Rock. That has never been a line of reasoning for the Catholic apologist. The Catholic apologist has never used this as a proof. It is the Orthodox and Protestant who time and again use this letter and line of reasoning as a basis for saying that the ECF did not hold “Peter is the Rock” view.

#18

I’ve explained it above. The source of the “44 Fathers” is the anti-Catholic Anglican George Salmon who cites a study (dated 18th century) by a French Roman Catholic Launoy. I guess Kenrick cites the same numbers?

While I don’t have the original study by Launoy, I have B.C. Butler’s reply to Salmon that shows some Catholic writers are included who wrote well into the Reformation and Renaissance periods.

So with “44 Fathers” we’re not talking patristics for a lot of them, since later writers are included by Launoy. How many of the “44” are actually Fathers (say pre-700 AD during the patristic period) is another question. Most if not all equated Peter’s faith with Peter. St. John Chrysostom for example, see link above.

Phil P


#19

I was just hunting for something else on Google and found this:

tecknik.net/blogback/data/bb.php?blog=socrates&post=110058346061425796

This person has taken a good look at the ECF citations of Mt16:18 and seen what the results were. He’s also looked at the list of ECF who supposedly say Peter isn’t the rock - and checked to see if those Fathers give a dual interpretation in their works - the rock is both Peter but also his confession of faith.

The results are interesting. And give a very good answer to the original questions in this thread.

I assume from the web address and the words at the top of the page (and the comments from a certain Dave Armstrong) that the same information can be found somewhere on his blog page. Probably.

socrates58.blogspot.com/


#20

Phil & Asteroid,

Great posts. Now that really settles the question of whether the ECF said did say Peter was not the Rock.

Peter is the Rock the Christ built his Church on.

Case Closed. :thumbsup:


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