Is the Catholic Church Supreme?


#1

As do I. I get bugged by a number of Catholics posting here beating the drum of the “supremacy” of Peter and the Catholic Church. To me, it seems to fly in the face of Jesus’ teachings on humility. I was just reading another thread that actually has titles in it about “the supremacy of Peter”. I think this probably makes the steam come out of Peter’s ears. Did he not ask to be crucified upside down, because he did not think himself worthy to be crucified like our Lord? I think Peter was a humble man, and did not put himself above others, including the other apostles. Instead, I think Peter had this mind in him which was also in Christ:

Mark 10:41-45
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

I don’t think he made any effort to “exercise authority” over others, because he was obedient to Christ’s words. In fact, and I have said this on the Eastern forum, I think that if the successors of Peter had not so forcefully pushed their weight around, “exercising authority”, that we would not now be separated from the Orthodox!


#2

I really don’t think Mark 10: 41-45 supports your position very well, if at all. You should read the parts of the Bible were Jesus is speaking directly to Peter and you should be able to pick up on Peter being sinled out as the leader of Christs Church.

May God bless and protect us,
JLC


#3

Hi though I understand how something like this could be upsetting what does the church say in regard to this issue?


#4

It has nothing to do with Jesus’ teaching on humility, for Jesus was humble and yet exercised the authority given Him by the Father.

It has *everything *to do with Jesus’ teaching on unity, holiness, apostolicity, and catholicity and the authority Jesus gave the Church.


#5

IMNSHO, you & the OP you quote are dead on target.

Peter warned against a spirit of domination, & in so doing he made his own the warnings of Christ, who explicitly forbade such a thing to be found among his followers.

Rome, OTOH, has never been slow to throw its weight around - far too often, it has sounded far more like an Empre than a Church of Christ; there is a great deal of truth in the reproach that it is the Roman Empire re-born, or continued. Rome has now, & had then, a talent flor exercising authority, for giving laws, & for organising things so that they were just so, all neat & tidy - & this is not necessarily helpful for a Church whose commission is to preach something as elusive as the Gospel.

Roman religion was a matter of preserving the pax deorum - the gods were treated pretty much like the more earthly allies of Rome; make sure that relations with them are all squared & proper, & they won’t give trouble; they can IOW be controlled. The God of the Jews is not so biddable , so neither is the NT God; so a Church which is influenced by the notion that God can be controlled, is going to have trouble with the NT God. For a God who is not biddable, but is sovereign, is free enough to be totally gracious - & the pax deorum implies that the gods can be dealt with on a basis, not of grace, but of commutative justice. So there are two different theisms, which are not truly compatible. And it is far easier to organise human beings, if God can be controlled. This may be why the Church - the organisation par excellence - has so high a status in Catholicism: it’s virtually a deity in itself: a sort of hypostasis or avatar, much as the Koran is in Islam.

Peter is in a sense the only “pope” - because he followed Christ to the cross, dying on one himself; his successors, with their worldly dominion, are in this way no popes at all. Real Popes are crucified, either in body or spirit - they don’t throw their weight about.

St. Paul gives love the first place - but one can easily be a “faithful Catholic”, & be loveless. The criteria for being a “faithful Catholic” are, again, far more easily controlled than the criteria for being a Christian - a heretic can be far more truly loving, & rich in deeds prompted by love; but “Catholic orthodoxy” reckons such people as, well, heretics, because it uses different criteria. Which means that one can be grossly unChristian, yet be an excellent Catholic. And that is insane :frowning:


#6

Please excuse my breaking apart your paragraph like this, but I did it just for the sake of keeping to one topic at a time. :slight_smile:

Catholics are not saying that their Church is “supreme” only “first.” If you have a plant from which others are started by taking cuttings from it, the original plant is still the first one, no matter how many others grow out of the cuttings. That’s not a perfect analogy, I know (none really are), but I hope it helps you see my point. Humility has nothing to do with it, just as saying that Joe is the firstborn and Mike is the second born. It is a historical fact that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and headed by Peter. It’s all there in the Gospels and the Book of Acts.

I was just reading another thread that actually has titles in it about “the supremacy of Peter”. I think this probably makes the steam come out of Peter’s ears. Did he not ask to be crucified upside down, because he did not think himself worthy to be crucified like our Lord? I think Peter was a humble man, and did not put himself above others, including the other apostles. Instead, I think Peter had this mind in him which was also in Christ:

Mark 10:41-45
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Humility has no more to do with Peter’s position as the Vicor of Christ than it does it with any other leader’s authority to make decisions for those whom he serves, for believe me, the pope is truly the “servant of the servants of God” and not a lordling who is usurping the authority of others.

I don’t think he made any effort to “exercise authority” over others, because he was obedient to Christ’s words. In fact, and I have said this on the Eastern forum, I think that if the successors of Peter had not so forcefully pushed their weight around, “exercising authority”, that we would not now be separated from the Orthodox!

The mistakes of the successors of Peter could have no effect upon Peter’s authority–no more than the failings of subsequent presidents had have any effect upon the presidency of George Washington.

There is such a thing as legitimate authority in every aspect of human life be it parents over children, judges over courts, mayors over cities, bosses over employees, etc. None of these positions are ipso facto positions of bullying or lording it over others. If we were to toss out all authority because of the mistakes of those who abuse it, we’d be left with utter chaos, and I know you aren’t advocating that. :wink:


#7

The Catholic Church is the “universal Church.” That’s what “catholic” means. It comes from the Biblical Grk kata holos (“throughout the whole”). The Roman Church is not the Catholic Church, but part of it. Yet, the Roman Church, as a local Church has a distinct priviledge among all the Churches, as it serves as the principal Church among the particular Churches within the Catholic Church. I think more traditionally, this is called a “primacy” not a “supremacy.”

Given that the Catholic Church is indeed the Church “throughout the whole” world, then the question of supremacy of this universal Church of Christ does not make much sense to me.

Was this intended to be a question as to the primacy of the Church of Rome among the particular or local Churches?


#8

originally posted by guanophore
I get bugged by a number of Catholics posting here beating the drum of the “supremacy” of Peter and the Catholic Church.

So, let me understand this…you come to a Catholic website to post on a Catholic message board and are “bugged” by the "number of Catholics posting here beating the drum of the supremacy of Peter and The Catholic Church.
Well! We do have our (Catholic) nerve don’t we?! :rolleyes:

(all sarcasum intended!)


#9

Gottle makes some good points. What catholics AND non-catholics need to remember is that NOWHERE does Tradition OR Scripture promise that any pope, bishop or even the entire hierarchy of bishops are infallible in matters of pastoral decisions, diplomacy or humility.

The church, through the promises of Christ, enjoys a certain protection against formally and officially teaching error in the matter of faith and morals. That’s all infallibility is. There is nothing that promises that popes and bishops won’t be arrogant, greedy, foolish, negligent or petty. At one time or another we’ve seen popes with one or more of all of these!

But regardless of all the times the hierarchy has failed Jesus (like before the cock crowed at dawn) in behavior, Christ’s love for us is such that he has never and will never allow his church to be without sound teaching and the sacraments by which He gives us his grace.

I don’t honestly know how protestants pick a church. I’ve lived and learned among them for years and can honestly say that a lot of reasons were stated, but the REAL criteria comes down to picking a church whose pastor agrees with what you already believe. Why NOT instead choose to believe what Jesus promised to Peter and the apostles? Why NOT take him at His WORD in John 6? Why not believe that God would provide a reliable means of Grace to both beggar and prince, ignoramus and scholar? Who else even qualifies for consideration? (you hush EO people. You’re PART of catholicism as far as I’m concerned. Even if it gives you a conniption)

Yeah, I come off as triumphlist. But true humility does not require denial of truth. If the Catholic Church IS the original, the true church Jesus founded and wills for ALL his followers to be united in, then it MUST say so. Anything less would be false humility and a denial of her mission.


#10

I think you are missing my point. I am not trying to demonstrate that Peter is singled out, or that Christ assigned him leadership. I am trying to point out that Jesus’ idea of leadership was servant leadership, and not that authority should “exercised” over people.


#11

Are you really going to purport that there have not been popes who were lacking in humility, worldly, and power hungry?:eek:


#12

Are you suggesting that servant leadership carries with it no authority?


#13

It is my opinion that the Holy Catholic Church constitutes ALL churches with belief in the Trinity, Resurrection of Christ and his Divinity.
WP


#14

The audacity insert sarcasm here


#15

Not at all. I am just saying that some of the Popes acted like kings of this world:

Matt 20:25-28
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; 28 even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Even as harsh as Paul was with the Corinthians in correcting them, he still realized that “throwing his weight around” was not right. "Not that we lord it over your faith; we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. " 2 Cor 1:24


#16

That is not the basis upon which the Church teaches what She teaches.

It is irrelevant.


#17

One of the Pope’s title’s is “Servant of the servants of God”. No one should want to be Pope. If one wants to be Pope, they should probably not be Pope. Being the Pope is being the leader of the Christian Church, which is a duty only very select few can handle, and handle well. It’s a position which requires much meekness, humility and kindness. Once you become Pope you don’t own anything. You don’t own the Vatican, the Popemobile, or even your own apartment! You serve while you live in the Vatican as the temporal ruler of the Church, and put up with much grief. I don’t know why people attack the Papacy as much as they do… because there have been very few bad Popes in the 2,000 years that the Catholic Church has survived that our record is pretty solid. Even the bad Pope’s didn’t teach error, they were just bad people.

There have been more bad Presidents than bad Popes and that’s saying something.


#18

It is relevant to the extent that their lust for flesh, power, and money have given scandal to the Church. I understand that these disreputable persons are not those who determine the divine deposit of faith. However, I think that they, by their misdeeds, have had as much to do with the separations of the brethren as the protestant reformers.


#19

The Church extended a hand to the Protestants at the Counter-Reformation (Council of Trent) but the Protestant reformers would not budge with their positions when they were shown to be in error.


#20

I think that same hand has been extended now to the Orthodox with JPII and Benedict. I think we are blessed indeed to have Holy popes in our time, and I pray that their labors will facilitate reunification. I see that both of these men carry their apostolate in humility, without arrogance, unbending from the truth, but conciliatory. What a great grace!


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