Moses' Seat


#1

I asked this in the Eastern Christianity forum, to try and keep the Orthodox guys on their toes, but then I realised that I didn’t know the formal Catholic teaching on this issue and so I couldn’t really make a convincing argument. Anyway, in Matthew 23, we have this:

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2"The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

So my question to the Orthodox guys was, what happened to Moses’ seat after the time of Jesus and the apostles? Now it is my understanding, that the seat of Moses and the seat of Peter are one and the same. In other words, what we call the seat or chair of Peter, we could equally well call the seat of Moses, and the seat changed its name when Peter became the first Pope. (I also understand this to be a title, rather than a literal seat.) Does this confirm with Catholic Church teaching, or does Catholic Church teaching even address this issue? Also, if the chair of Peter is not the seat of Moses, then why do we not have to obey the Jewish leaders?

Thanks in advance.


#2

Be careful not to over-analyze things. This is a very simple meaning… Moses was a person very close to God. He was a leader, and many people looked up to him as a virtuistic person.

In this passage, Jesus is warning the crowd about hypocrites - people who love the “holier than thou” treatment, yet don’t even hold true to the teachings they teach. Moses held to the teachings, thus his praise was warranted. Some, however, want to “sit in the seat” but they have not earned it.


#3

No, the chair of Moses is that of the levitical priest, not to be confused with Jesus Christ and the priesthood of the new testement.


#4

The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not mention or reference Matthew 23:2.

My guess is that the seat of Moses became as obsolete as the Mosaic law with the advent of Christ, who is superior to Moses. Christ established His own seat and Peter and his successors (the popes) sit on the seat of Christ. The seat or chair of Peter is the seat of Christ.


#5

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