Mardukm has many good insights concerning our faith but I do disagree with his low view (“The High Petrine view”) of the authority of the office of the Papacy (Mardukm knows that–we’ve discussed it elsewhere).
A more basic question is what do YOU think “papal authority” means or entails?
But I will state:
A more basic question is in addition to what you think is, what does “papal authority” actually mean as defined by the Church?
After all, that’s what you want to analyze. That’s what your whole question surrounds.
What difference does it make what “you think” if you are pondering or “thinking” about a straw man papacy paradigm that does not exist?
Mardukm stated (bold and ul mine):
There are two competing views in Catholicism:
(1) The Absolutist Petrine view, which places the Pope above and beyond his brother bishops and councils, to the point of pretending that the Pope can UNILATERALLY decide matters for the Church.
(2) The High Petrine view, which places the Pope’s authority squarely within, and only within, the context of the divinely-instituted College of hierarchs. This is the ACTUAL teaching of the Catholic Church on the matter.
Perhaps later in the thread we will look at the Church’s teaching (ALL of it not just selective parts) and see it is not “pretend”.
These two Petrine views are only partial truths concerning historical factions concerning a high and low Petrine Office view (although there are people who do hold these views). Incidentally, the Pope CAN unilaterally decide matters for the Church . . . . and this is not “pretend”.
There is more . . . much more but I won’t get into it here unless it is necessary.
M. L. Cozens in her A Handbook of Heresies Copyright 1928 has a good explanation of some the historical factions on this issue and I will include an appropriate excerpt below.
One historical low Petrine view was the heresy of Gallicanism (Conciliarism).
Vatican I dealt extensively with defining what authentic and inauthentic Petrine office views are (high and low).
Vatican II deepened our understanding even more. The Catechism of the Catholic Church takes us even deeper into that understanding.
These definitions were necessary at these times in history to meet the challenges at those times in history (just like many Ecclesial definitions were; like the hypostatic union, the Trinity, etc.).
Incidentally, I am sure A Handbook of Heresies is in the public domain and if you use good search techniques, you can probably find a free E-copy of the whole book somewhere out there or just buy a used hard copy like I did. It is the best book I know of for a small, reliable encapsulation of the major heresies throughout Christian history.
It has sections on other relevant heresies too.
Unfortunately the abridged version omits the sections on The Illuminati, Fideism, Gallicanism, and “The Old Catholics” so try to get a full non-abridged version.
Here is the section on the heresy of the low Petrine view of the Papacy concerning the heresy of Gallicanism (Conciliarism).
The Church has always claimed to be the Messenger from God; the Infallible Guardian of Christ’s Revelation. She has always taught, moreover, that the Pope as successor of St. Peter is the Supreme Pastor over the whole Flock - Christ’s Vicar upon earth. The exact relation between these two truths, however, was left undefined.
In France and the countries on her eastern borders a school of thought arose which minimised the Papal prerogatives in the interest of the State. Nominally it stood also for the dignity and independence of bishops and Councils, but as usual, independence of the Pope means for bishops dependence on the State.
This Gallican School held (1) that the Pope’s definitions, were not Infallible in themselves but only after acceptance by the Universal Church; (2) that a General Council’s authority was above that of a Pope. Some French ecclesiastics also claimed that the king had the right to forbid the publication in France of Papal Bulls, that no act done by the king’s agent on his authority could involve excommunication, and that the king could prevent any bishop’s recourse to Rome even if the Pope commanded his presence.
In opposition to this disloyal minimising school another party went to the opposite extreme and in its zeal for Catholic Unity stretched Papal prerogatives so far that scarcely any room was left for Political and National Liberty, for Episcopal Jurisdiction, or for Theological Study. While this controversy was at its height the Vatican Council met in 1870. Against those who minimised the Papal claims, it defined that the Pope is gifted with that Infallibility with which Christ willed His Church should be endowed; while contrary to the wishes of those who exaggerated the Council’s definition, it declared this Infallibility limited to those occasions when the Pope (1) speaks as Supreme Teacher; (2) defines a doctrine of Faith or Morals; (3) declares the definition binding on all the Faithful.
Excerpt from M. L. Cozens, A Handbook of Heresies
Nihil obstat George Smith, Censor.
Imprimatur Edward Surmount, Vicar General, Westminster, 4 June 1928.
Printed in Great Britain for Sheed & Ward.
Also ironically enough, today we are seeing some people who think the Pope needs to be subject not to the Bishops, but be subject to the laity!
I’m not making this up. I have an audio of a radio show where a “Catholic” guy with an advanced theology degree from a major university gets on the radio and makes (up) these claims.