Peter the Rock or Peter's Faith?


#1

In all the apologetic books/articles I have read, the main argument for the Papacy is that Jesus calls Peter “The Rock” on which the Church would be built and not the faith of Peter as many protestants claim.

The CCC seems to indicate the latter;

424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'8 On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.9
"To preach. . . the unsearchable riches of Christ"

Can anybody clear this up for me??

In Christ
Javier


#2

The Church holds both views.

Go to this thread forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=70145


#3

Also check out these paragraphs in the CCC:

816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it… This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."267

The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”

862 "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops."375 Hence the Church teaches that “the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ.”


#4

How can you differentiate the two…without Peter how can there be ‘Peter’s faith’? I have never understood this argument.


#5

It’s not either/or.


#6

If the Church were built solely on Peter, then at Peter’s death, the Church would have crumble and ceased to exist. However, according to Jesus, the powers of death shall not overcome the Church. Therefore, the Church must have been built on something in addition to the person of Peter and that something is Peter’s faith which was passed on to succeeding generations. The question then arises, where is this faith of Peter, today? The Catholic Church believes that this faith of Peter subsists in the faith of the legitimate successors of Peter, the bishops of Rome or popes, and those in communion with him.


#7

Is it more accurate then to say that the Papacy is established not on Matt 16:18 but on Matt 16:19 where Peter is given “the keys” to the kingdom of heaven?

In Christ
Javier


#8

i was reading a forum on this question, and poor poor catholic was arguing against a couple of prots about this very topic…Why do prots prowl in such groups? like a pack of dogs. here is the address if anyone would like to help this lone defender of the faith.

christianforums.com/t1544964-early-christian-quotes.html&page=3


#9

[quote=javier_29]Is it more accurate then to say that the Papacy is established not on Matt 16:18 but on Matt 16:19 where Peter is given “the keys” to the kingdom of heaven?

In Christ
Javier
[/quote]

I think both verses point to the office of the papacy as both allude to descriptions of the steward who was over the royal household of King Hezekiah found in Isaiah 22:15-25.

Matthew 16:19, where the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the authority to bind and loosen are mentioned, alludes to Isaiah 22:22 where the key of the house of David and the authority of opening and shutting are mentioned.

Matthew 16:18, where Simon is called Peter (Rock) and Jesus says He will build His Church (the household of God, 1 Tim 3:15) on that rock, alludes to Isaiah 22:23-25 where the steward over the royal household is described as a peg in a sure spot upon which the whole weight of his father’s house shall hang. However, unlike this peg that would one day give way and everything that hung upon it would be cut off (Isaiah 22:25), the Church built on Peter (Rock) and on Peter’s successors, the bishops of Rome (the popes), will endure and not be overcome by the powers of death.


#10

Peace to you!

I just want to ask where did you read that Peter is THE rock?

THEOPHILUS†


#11

Haydock Commentary for mt 16:18

Ver. 18. Greek: Kago. And I say to thee, and tell thee why I before declared, (John i. 42.) that thou shouldst be called Peter, for thou art constituted the rock upon which, as a foundation, I will build my Church, and that so firmly, as not to suffer the gates (i.e. the powers) of hell to prevail against its foundation; because if they overturn its foundation, (i.e. thee and thy successors) they will overturn also the Church that rests upon it. Christ therefore here promises to Peter, that he and his successors should be to the end, as long as the Church should last, its supreme pastors and princes. (Tirinus) — In the Syriac tongue, which is that which Jesus Christ spoke, there is no difference of genders, as there is in Latin, between patra, a rock, and Petrus, Peter; hence, in the original language, the allusion was both more natural and more simple. (Bible de Vence) --Thou art Peter;[2] and upon this (i.e. upon thee, according to the literal and general exposition of the ancient Fathers) I will build my church. It is true St. Augustine, in one or two places, thus expounds these words, and upon this rock, (i.e. upon myself:) or upon this rock, which Peter hath confessed: yet he owns that he had also given the other interpretation, by which Peter himself was the rock. Some Fathers have also expounded it, upon this faith, which Peter confessed; but then they take not faith, as separated from the person of Peter, but on Peter, as holding the true faith. No one questions but that Christ himself is the great foundation-stone, the chief corner-stone, as St. Paul tells the Ephesians; Chap. ii, ver. 20.) but it is also certain, that all the apostles may be called foundation-stones of the Church, as represented Apocalypse xxi. 14. In the mean time, St. Peter (called therefore Cephas, a rock) was the first and chief foundation-stone among the apostles, on whom Christ promised to build his Church. (Witham) — Thou art Peter, &c. As St. Peter, by divine revelation, here made a solemn profession of his faith of the divinity of Christ, so in recompense of this faith and profession, our Lord here declares to him the dignity to which he is pleased to raise him: viz. that he, to whom he had already given the name of Peter, signifying a rock, (John i. 42.) should be a rock indeed, of invincible strength, for the support of the building of the church; in which building he should be next to Christ himself, the chief foundation-stone, in quality of chief pastor, ruler, and governor; and should have accordingly all fulness of ecclesiastical power, signified by the keys of the kingdom of heaven. — Upon this rock, &c. The words of Christ to Peter, spoken in the vulgar language of the Jews, which our Lord made use of, were the same as if he had said in English, Thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my church. So that, by the plain course of the words, Peter is here declared to be the rock, upon which the church was to be built; Christ himself being both the principal foundation and founder of the same. Where also note, that Christ by building his house, that is, his Church, upon a rock, has thereby secured it against all storms and floods, like the wise builder. (Matthew vii. 24, 25.) — The gates of hell, &c. That is, the powers of darkness, and whatever Satan can do, either by himself or his agents. For as the Church is here likened to a house, or fortress, the gates of which, i.e. the whole strength, and all the efforts it can make, will never be able to prevail over the city or Church of Christ. By this promise we are fully assured, that neither idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever shall at any time prevail over the Church of Christ. (Challoner) — The gates, in the Oriental style, signify the powers; thus, to this day, we designate the Ottoman or Turkish empire by the Ottoman port. The princes were wont to hold their courts at the gates of the city. (Bible de Vence)


#12

and v 19

Ver. 19. And I will give to thee the keys, &c. This is another metaphor, expressing the supreme power and prerogative of the prince of the apostles. The keys of a city, or of its gates, are presented or given to the person that hath the chief power. We also own a power of the keys, given to the other apostles, but with a subordination to St. Peter and to his successor, as head of the Catholic Church. — And whatsoever thou shalt bind, &c. All the apostles, and their successors, partake also of this power of binding and loosing, but with a due subordination to one head invested with the supreme power. (Witham) — Loose on earth. The loosing the bands of temporal punishments due to sins, is called an indulgence: the power of which is here granted. (Challoner) — Although Peter and his successors are mortal, they are nevertheless endowed with heavenly power, says St. Chrysostom nor is the sentence of life and death passed by Peter to be attempted to be reversed, but what he declares is to be considered a divine answer from heaven, and what he decrees, a decree of God himself. He that heareth you, heareth me, &c. The power of binding is exercised, 1st. by refusing to absolve; 2d. by enjoining penance for sins forgiven; 3d. by excommunication, suspension or interdict; 4th. by making rules and laws for the government of the Church; 5th. by determining what is of faith by the judgments and definitions of the Church. (Tirinus) — The terms binding and loosing, are equivalent to opening and shutting, because formerly the Jews opened the fastenings of their doors by untying it, and they shut or secured their doors by tying or binding it. (Bible de Vence) — Dr. Whitby, a learned Protestant divine, thus expounds this and the preceding verse: “As a suitable return to thy confession, I say also to thee, that thou art by name Peter, i.e. a rock; and upon thee, who art this rock, I will build my making laws to govern my Church.” (Tom. i, p. 143.) Dr. Hammond, another Protestant divine, explains it in the same manner. And p. 92, he says: " What is here meant by the keys, is best understand by Isaias xxii. 22, where they signified ruling the whole family or house of the king: and this being by Christ accommodated to the Church, denotes the power of governing it."


#13

Where did Haydock read that Peter is called THE rock?


#14

[quote=THEOPHILUS†]Peace to you!

I just want to ask where did you read that Peter is THE rock?

THEOPHILUS†
[/quote]

In Mt. 16:18, he is called ‘this’ rock. The Church understands God/Christ to be THE Rock. Peter and his confession are ‘this’ rock. The point, as the Church understands it, is that not to be in Communion with Peter and his successors places one outside the fullness of Truth and outside the will of Christ that “all might be one.”

All of the big-little-hollow rock quibbling that goes on over this passage is simply pusillanimous static attempting to justify *post facto *the rupture of Christ’s Church.

Protestants who say that the Pope is the anti-Christ and the Church is the Whore of Babylon have a cleaner case. Their position is at least logical. If the Pope is not the anti-Christ, and if the Church his not the Whore of Babylon, then one cannot in good conscience reject the Church, however distasteful that may be.


#15

[quote=mercygate]In Mt. 16:18, he is called ‘this’ rock. The Church understands God/Christ to be THE Rock. Peter and his confession are ‘this’ rock. The point, as the Church understands it, is that not to be in Communion with Peter and his successors places one outside the fullness of Truth and outside the will of Christ that “all might be one.”
[/quote]

First, what does “this” have to do with Peter? For instance, in the following verse, what does “this” have to do with the Temple of Jerusalem:

“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”” ( John 2:19 )

Second: who are Peters successors?

THEOPHILUS†


#16

[quote=THEOPHILUS†]First, what does “this” have to do with Peter? For instance, in the following verse, what does “this” have to do with the Temple of Jerusalem:

“Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”” ( John 2:19 )

Second: who are Peters successors?

THEOPHILUS†
[/quote]

Wow, you’re really having to work hard to avoid the obvious. In the verse you cite, there IS a connection between “this” and the Temple: the Temple was the dwelling place of God for the Old Covenant. By referring to Himself as a Temple, He indicates the New Covenant’s dwelling place—the Word Made Flesh, Himself. He connects Himself to the old Temple, but indirectly, which is why some of those present don’t “get it”.

When Jesus says, “And I tell YOU, YOU are Rock, and on this rock I will build my Church…” (Matt 16:18) and “I will give YOU the keys to the kingdom…” (Matt 16:19—Look up Isaiah 22:20-22 for what the keys signify). He is speaking, not indirectly (as in the above verse about the Temple), but directly. In both cases, though, there is a connection.

In answer to your second question, Peter’s successors are the popes that have held the office since Peter’s time.


#17

[quote=Sherlock]It’s not either/or.
[/quote]

I didn’t think so either - am I missing a subtlty of language?


#18

[quote=THEOPHILUS†]Peace to you!

I just want to ask where did you read that Peter is THE rock?

THEOPHILUS†
[/quote]

Mt 16:18 - 19 I read as Jesus renaming Simon as Peter, the rock, to indicate that Peter will lead his Apostles and disciples after Jesus has ascended to heaven. I also read it as the beginning of Apostolic Succession.

I am curious as to why you put the emphasis on THE - as though to indicate that Peter was A rock and not THE rock…I would have thought that Jesus could have said “You are Peter and upon this, and that, and that rock over there, I will build my Church”. He didn’t.

Maybe I’m just too simple minded for the linguistic shenanigans…:whacky:


#19

Oh - that’s a simple question to answer: Here’s a GREAT link to help you…newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

Your first question was answered so well by my brother Catholic, I’ll just help you with this simple one…


#20

Theophilus,

Grammatically and exegetically Peter is the rock. Catholic apologist, James Akin, rightly argues: "In Matthew 16:17-19, Jesus makes three statements. All three begin with an assertion concerning Peter. Each assertion is then followed by a two-part elaboration consisting of a contrast (human/divine revelation, Christ’s/Satan’s activity, heavenly ratification of earthly binding/loosing). This elaboration develops the meaning of the principal assertion.

The exegetical structure of Matthew 16:17-19

Statement/Assertion 1
17 "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!
Elaboration # ! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
Elaboration # 2 but my Father who is in heaven.

Statement/Assertion 2
18 And I tell you, you are Peter,
Elaboration #1 and on this rock I will build my church,
Elaboration # 2 and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Statement/Assertion 3
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
Elaboration #1 and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
Elaboration # 2 and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The exegetical structure of the passage demands that Peter be the rock:

Statements 1 and 3 have Peter as their principal subject, therefore statement 2 does as well.

Statements 1 and 3 are blessings on Peter, therefore statement 2 is as well. The elaborations in statements 1 and 3 develop the meaning of the assertions in those statements, therefore the elaborations in statement 2 develop the meaning of statement 2.

Faced with these facts, as well as others … I was forced to conclude that Peter is, indeed the rock that Jesus was speaking of. Many Evangelical exegetes admit the same thing. However, they immediately try to block any implications being drawn from this fact. They try to shut down the chain of inference and isolate the datum so that it cannot give rise to any ecclesiological inferences."

I hope this explanation by Akin helps.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.