Pope Fiction


#1

Last year I became interested in the Catholic Faith and seriously considered converting. The one hangup I had was the Papacy. Specifically papal infallibility and universal jurisdiction. Then I read Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid.

Now I am converting to Orthodoxy.

Patrick Madrid is a very intelligent apologist, but a close look at his arguments has sent me East.

Let me show you what I mean. In each chapter, he takes on a different “myth” about the papacy and attempts to debunk them with arguments that seem plausible enough…until you look deeper.

Ch. 1 Peter had no Special Authority

Pg. 23 “In Acts 15, at the Council of Jerusalem…he [Peter] delivers apostolic teaching at the assembly of Apostles and disciples that stilled the debates raging back and forth and caused the whole assembly to fall silent."
Was it Peter’s teaching that “stilled the debates,” or the testimony of Paul and Barnabas? “The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” (Acts 15:12)

Pg. 23 “The Lord delivered special revelation regarding the status of the gentiles to Simon Peter, and it was through Peter that this revelation was given to the Church at the council.”
But it was James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who, after pointing out that Peter’s statements were in keeping with Sacred Scripture (Acts 15.14-18), made the final decision on behalf of God and of the church: “‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.’” (v. 19)
The evidence in this passage is not of papal universal jurisdiction, but of the authority of the church. Likewise here: “Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.” (v. 22); “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:” (v. 28)

Pg. 28 “At the tomb of Christ, St. John waited, apparently out of deference, to allow St. Peter ahead of him (John 20:6).”
No indication of deference, certainly no apparent indication: “So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. (John 20:3-6)

Pg. 29 “The risen Christ appeared to him first before he appeared to the other Apostles (Luke 24:34)”
But He appeared to Luke and Cleopas in verse 15: “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.”

Pg. 31 “Christ makes him the shepherd of His Church, telling him, again in the singular form, ‘feed My lambs…tend My sheep…feed My sheep’ (John 21:15-17).”
**Why wasn’t this simply a three-fold reinstallment of Peter among the shepherds of the flock, mirroring his three-fold denial of Christ? If Peter understood that he was being made Supreme Pontiff, why was he “grieved”? **

Pg. 31 “In Acts 1:13-26, St Peter leads the other Apostles in choosing Matthias as successor to Judas.”
**It was Peter’s suggestion, but the *church *made the decision: “So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.” (vs. 23)

Pg. 32 “He performs the first Pentecost miracle (Acts 3).”
Miracles were being performed before Acts: “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43)

Pg. 32 “…he is the Apostle who first welcomes them [Gentiles] into the church.”
It looks like all the Apostles welcomed them together: “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11:18)

Pg. 32 “St Peter’s dogmatic pronouncement…caused all disputes to cease at the Council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15)”
Again, was it this or Paul and Barnabas’ testimony? “The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” (verse 12)

Pg. 32 “After his conversion and healing from blindness, St. Paul went to visit St. Peter to have his teachings confirmed by him. (Gal. 1:18)”
**The text says *nothing *about Paul having Peter “confirm” his teachings. “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.”

Pg. 32 “Notice that in Galations 2:1-2, Paul repeats this link to Peter’s authority, if indirectly, when he says he received ‘by revelation’ the call to go and present himself to ‘those of repute.’ Clearly, Peter was the foremost of ‘those in repute’ in Jerusalem.”
There is no mention of Peter in this passage. If Paul is refering to Peter “indirectly,” as the “foremost of ‘those in repute,’” then he didn’t seem to think very highly of Peter’s position or input: “As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message.” (Gal. 2:6)
And the verses that follow indicate the equality of Paul’s mission, ministry, and authority to that or Peter: “On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” (Gal. 2:7-8)

Ch. 8 Peter never went to Rome

Pg. 107 “No other city—not even Antioch, where he resided for a time during his apostolate—claimed he ended his days there.”
**“Resided”? According to the Antiochian Church, he was more than just a resident, he was bishop there from 45 till 53, before he went to Rome (antiochian.org/667)). So, then why doesn’t the Patriarch of Antioch, as the first successor of Peter, enjoy the universal jurisdiction and papal infallibility of the bishop of Rome?

Ch. 10 The Papacy is a “medieval Roman invention”

Pg. 119 “The earliest account we have…Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.”
This letter was written in A.D. 80; Clement was not Bishop of Rome until A.D. 88

Pg. 120 “The fact that no bishop in the world—not a single one—disputed his authority as bishop of Rome…”
**Several did, including Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum: “But this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor.
“Among them was Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. He fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom…” (Eusebius, Church History, Book V, Ch xxiv)


#2

Continued…

Ch. 16 Gregory the Great rejected the title “universal bishop”

Pg. 153 “Gregory was not objecting to the title ‘universal bishop’…”
“I beg you, I beseech you, and with all the sweetness in my power demand of you, that your Fraternity gainsay all who flatter you and offer you this name of error, nor foolishly consent to be called by the proud title.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book V, Letter XVIII)
“And you will become by so much the greater as you restrain yourself from the usurpation of a proud and foolish title.” (Ibid.)
“And when you desire to put yourself above them by this proud title, and to tread down their name in comparison with yours, what else do you say but I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven?” (Ibid.)
“…by reason of this execrable title of pride the Church is rent asunder, the hearts of all the brethren are provoked to offence.” (Ibid.)
“‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God.’ Which peace indeed you will then truly have with us, if you turn away from the pride of a profane name, according to what the same teacher of the Gentiles says, ‘O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane novelties of words.’ For indeed it is too bad, if these who have been made preachers of humility should glory in the elation of a vain name.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book VII, Letter IV)

Cont. “…as if it were meant that the pope didn’t have universal primacy among the college of bishops.”
“Consider, I pray you, that in this rash presumption the peace of the whole Church is disturbed, and that it is in contradiction to the grace that is poured out on all in common.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book V, Letter XVIII)
“If then [Paul] shunned the subjecting of the members of Christ partially to certain heads, as if beside Christ, though this were to the apostles themselves, what will you say to Christ, who is the Head of the universal Church, in the scrutiny of the last judgment, having attempted to put all his members under yourself by the appellation of Universal?” (Ibid.)
“Certainly Peter, the first of the apostles, himself a member of the holy and universal Church, Paul, Andrew, John,—what were they but heads of particular communities? And yet all were members under one Head. And (to bind all together in a short girth of speech) the saints before the law, the saints under the law, the saints under grace, all these making up the Lord’s Body, were constituted as members of the Church, and not one of them has wished himself to be called universal. Now let your Holiness acknowledge to what extent you swell within yourself in desiring to be called by that name by which no one presumed to be called who was truly holy.” (Ibid.)

**Pope Gregory even compares a person claiming the title of “universal bishop” to Satan:

“Who, I ask, is proposed for imitation in this wrongful title but he who, despising the legions of angels constituted socially with himself, attempted to start up to an eminence of singularity, that he might seem to be under none and to be alone above all? Who even said, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of heaven: I will sit upon the mount of the testament, in the sides of the North: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Ibid.)
“…my heart cannot contain its groans, for that this most holy man the lord John, of so great abstinence and humility, has, through the seduction of familiar tongues, broken out into such a pitch of pride as to attempt, in his coveting of that wrongful name, to be like him who, while proudly wishing to be like God, lost even the grace of the likeness granted him, and because he sought false glory, thereby forfeited true blessedness.” (Ibid.)

Pope Gregory’s reason for admonishing John for assuming a title, or power, or authority was *not *because the pope himself was entitled to it. To the contrary:

“Was it not the case, as your Fraternity knows, that the prelates of this Apostolic See which by the providence of God I serve, had the honour offered them of being called universal by the venerable Council of Chalcedon. But yet not one of them has ever wished to be called by such a title, or seized upon this ill-advised name, lest if, in virtue of the rank of the pontificate, he took to himself the glory of singularity, he might seem to have denied it to all his brethren.” (Ibid.)
“What then, dearest brother, will you say in that terrible scrutiny of the coming judgment, if thou covetest to be called in the world not only father, but even general father?” (Ibid.)
“But since it is not my cause, but God’s, since the pious laws, since the venerable synods, since the very commands of our Lord Jesus Christ are disturbed by the invention of a certain proud and pompous phrase, let the most pious lord cut the place of the sore, and bind the resisting patient in the chains of august authority.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book V, Letter XX)
“Do I in this matter, most pious lord, defend my own cause? Do I resent my own special wrong? Nay, the cause of Almighty God, the cause of the Universal Church.” (Ibid.)
“If then *anyone *in that Church takes to himself that name, whereby he makes himself the head of all the good, it follows that the Universal Church falls from its standing (which God forbid), when he who is called Universal falls. But far from Christian hearts be that name of blasphemy, in which the honour of all priests is taken away, while it is madly arrogated to himself by one.” (Ibid.)
“Certainly, in honour of Peter, Prince of the apostles, it was offered by the venerable synod of Chalcedon to the Roman pontiff. But none of them has ever consented to use this name of singularity.” (Ibid.)

Pope Gregory doesn’t even claim to have the power to prevent John from assuming the title:
“I therefore have once and again through my representatives taken care to reprove in humble words this sin against the whole Church; and now I write myself. Whatever it was my duty to do in the way of humility I have not omitted. But, if I am despised in my reproof, it remains that I must have recourse to the Church.” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book V, Letter XVIII)**

Pg. 153 “Epistle XVII—Gregory intervenes in the affairs of the church at Firmum…This is evidence that he had jurisdiction over that Church…If the notion of the pope—the bishop of Rome—having a special authority that extended the borders of his own diocese was truly alien to the early church, you can be certain that churches like Firmum would have howled to high heavens that the bishop of Rome was overstepping his authority by meddling in their affairs. But that never happened.”
Firmum—present-day Fermo—is just over 100 miles northeast of Rome; It is not at all unreasonable to think that the patriarch of the Western churches could intervene in the affairs of a church that close to home without resistance. This is not proof of universal jurisdiction.

Pg. 153 “Epistle X…Gregory as pope had a recognized authority regarding policy on who would and wouldn’t be raised to the bishopric.”
**As did the other patriarchs and local synods: “But, if the voluntary consent of all should so fix on one person that by the favour of God he may be proved worthy, and there should be no one to dissent from his being ordained, we wish him to be consecrated by you…” (Registrum Epistolarum, Book IV, Letter XX)

Ch. 17 Pope Honorius

Pg. 160 “‘Pope Honorius, therefore, was never condemned for heresy by the supreme Church authority, but only for negligence [in] allowing a heresy to spread and grow, when he should have denounced it.’” (quoting W. Carroll, The History of Christendom, vol 2, pg. 254)
Pg. 161 “Pope Honorius was not condemned as a Monothelite. Rather, as we have seen, he was anathematized for allowing the heretical Sergius to put orthodox doctrine alongside heretical.”
The text of the Council clearly states that Honorius was anathemetized, not because he failed to condemn Monothelitism, but because he endorsed it: “And with these we define that there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines.” (Sixth Ecumenical Council: Constantinople III, 680-681; Session XIII)


#3

God bless you on your journey.


#4

Algernon:

I took one of your examples and looked at it more closely. In Galations, St. Paul says that he went to see Peter.

Why else would he see him if not to get approval to preach, and to have the content of his message approved?

Do you think that St. Paul would have been accepted in the Christian community if he did not have the blessing of the Apostles?

Are you sure you are only quoting from Madrid’s book? It seems to me that you have gotten a hold of some anti-Catholic literature.

Scott


#5

The text says nothing about Paul having Peter “confirm” his teachings.


#6

I’m not sure the Pope has the role you or the Othodox think he does. As my Maronite priest told me about the Pope:

  1. He can speak on behalf of all Catholics in regards to Faith and Morals
  2. He is the Head of the Roman Church (Bishop of Rome)
  3. and somewhere in between that, he’s Patriarch of Rome and all the West

I hope I got that right. I’ll have to double check with him. I’ll update this if I had misquoted him.

In some fashion, the Pope is the head of the Church, but only in the fact that he can speak behalf of all Catholics in regards to Faith and Morals due to his Primacy. However, beyond that, he has no ability overstep his bounds. Sadly, at times he may have.

However, all of the Churches in the Catholic Church operate autonomously. Most of them have a Patriarch, who appoints their Bishops, helps to clarify/edit their respective liturgies, etc.

Alaha minokhoun
Andrew


#7

Scott,
I have only quoted from “Pope Fiction,” except where otherwise stated.
I haven’t used any anti-Catholic literature here.
Believe me, I am in *no way *anti-Catholic. I have great respect for the Catholic Church.

A


#8

I agree. The Pope definitely holds a special place in the Church.
However, papal infallibility and universal jurisdiction simply don’t hold up under scrutiny.
A


#9

There are at least 3 active threads about this. The discussion needs to be limited to one.


#10

Pg. 32 “St Peter’s dogmatic pronouncement…caused all disputes to cease at the Council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15)”
Again, was it this or Paul and Barnabas’ testimony? “The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” (verse 12)

Pg. 23 “The Lord delivered special revelation regarding the status of the gentiles to Simon Peter, and it was through Peter that this revelation was given to the Church at the council.”
But it was James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, who, after pointing out that Peter’s statements were in keeping with Sacred Scripture (Acts 15.14-18), made the final decision on behalf of God and of the church: “‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.’” (v. 19)
The evidence in this passage is not of papal universal jurisdiction, but of the authority of the church. Likewise here: “Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.” (v. 22); “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:” (v. 28)

This thread explains this well (in my opinion): forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=3316929 In short, different Greek words - Peter makes his point and stills the assembly, and they remain silent as Paul and Barnabas speak. vern humphrey likened the decree formulation to Rabbinical proceedings, where the lower-ranking people speak first at the moment of making the decree. Also, the pope doesn’t do everything himself. And James was Bishop of Jerusalem by appointment of Peter (and James and John).

I believe St. John Chrysostom says at this point the papacy was not so much about honors or pomp and circumstance than meditation (paraphrased).

Pg. 28 “At the tomb of Christ, St. John waited, apparently out of deference, to allow St. Peter ahead of him (John 20:6).”
No indication of deference, certainly no apparent indication: “So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. (John 20:3-6)

Why would he wait? But this isn’t crucial anyway.

Pg. 29 “The risen Christ appeared to him first before he appeared to the other Apostles (Luke 24:34)”
But He appeared to Luke and Cleopas in verse 15: “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.”

But when they return to Jerusalem the disciples mention Peter. And perhaps only the Twelve (Eleven) are meant…

Pg. 31 “Christ makes him the shepherd of His Church, telling him, again in the singular form, ‘feed My lambs…tend My sheep…feed My sheep’ (John 21:15-17).”
Why wasn’t this simply a three-fold reinstallment of Peter among the shepherds of the flock, mirroring his three-fold denial of Christ? If Peter understood that he was being made Supreme Pontiff, why was he “grieved”?

A room in the Vatican is called the “crying room”, if I’m correct, used for newly elected popes. More seriously, I believe Peter didn’t have to understand the exercise of his function like Benedict XVI does, but the root was there. Other posters may explain it better.

Pg. 31 “In Acts 1:13-26, St Peter leads the other Apostles in choosing Matthias as successor to Judas.”
**It was Peter’s suggestion, but the *church ***made the decision: “So *they *proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.” (vs. 23)

Still, Peter’s initiative… I believe St. John Chrysostom (again) says at this point that it was within Peter’s authority to choose a replacement himself, but he chose not to, to avoid accusations of favoritism (again paraphrased. My source is the website found in the link)

Pg. 32 “…he is the Apostle who first welcomes them [Gentiles] into the church.”
It looks like all the Apostles welcomed them together: “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11:18)

The Gentiles referred to here is Cornelius the Roman and his household (off the cuff).

Pg. 32 “After his conversion and healing from blindness, St. Paul went to visit St. Peter to have his teachings confirmed by him. (Gal. 1:18)”
**The text says *nothing ***about Paul having Peter “confirm” his teachings. “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to *get acquainted with Peter *and stayed with him fifteen days.”

:confused: Why would he go to the leaders at all, if not for their approval/consent/blessing/etc.? At least he would have made sure they knew of him. Remember sola scriptura’s self-contradictory.


#11

Say what you want, but I think the Papacy is a necessity. The Orthodox Churches don’t even all believe and teach the same things.

Thank God for the Pope.


#12

Aye. A merge?


#13

Sorry

Pons,
There’s no question about it: Peter was the leader of the Apostles. Any honest person, I think, will recognize that.

But I still see no evidence of papal infallibility or universal jurisdiction.

A


#14

Actually, they do…


#15

Because he stopped to inspect the linens.
But, you’re right, it’s not crucial. My point was simply to show how Madrid made some questionable assumptions.

A


#16

I wish you well on your journey. Just a suggestion from someone who is likewise on a journey of sorts: Do not rush into commitments. Spend time discerning and praying before you choose where to go–read all arguments…

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius:cool:


#17

Let us interpret this not according to our own wisdom, but the Fathers of the Church. St. John Chrysostom, an Eastern Father, said of this event:

[quote=Sermon 3 on Acts]Again, consider the moderation of James. He it was who received the Bishopric of Jerusalem, and here he says nothing. Mark also the great moderation of the other Apostles, how they concede the throne to him, and no longer dispute with each other. For that Church was as it were in heaven: having nothing to do with this world’s affairs: and resplendent not with wails, no, nor with numbers, but with the zeal of them that formed the assembly. They were “about an hundred and twenty,” it says. The seventy perhaps whom Christ Himself had chosen, and other of the more earnest-minded disciples, as Joseph and Matthias. (v. 14.) There were women, he says, many, who followed Him. Mark xv. 41–>.) “The number of the names together.] Together” they were on all occasions.

[Peter says “Men and brethren,” etc.] Here is forethought for providing a teacher; here was the first who ordained a teacher. He did not say, ‘We are sufficient.’ So far was he beyond all vain-glory, and he looked to one thing alone. And yet he had the same power to ordain as they all collectively. But well might these things be done in this fashion, through the noble spirit of the man, and because prelacy then was not an affair of dignity, but of provident care for the governed. This neither made the elected to become elated, for it was to dangers that they were called, nor those not elected to make a grievance of it, as if they were disgraced. But things are not done in this fashion now; nay, quite the contrary.—For observe, they were an hundred and twenty, and he asks for one out of the whole body:with good right, as having been put in charge of them: for to him had Christ said, “And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” Luke xxii. 32–>, Ben.)
[/quote]

I think that St. Chrysostom’s authority, which agrees with Mr. Madrid, suffices. However, one more point on my part. The phrase “It is my judgment” is represented by the anti-Papal argument as though James was rendering a judgment, as though a judge does. However, it may also be understood in the sense of “Here’s what I think…” It may be that after all of the evidence, James simply got up and said, “Ok fellas, here’s my thoughts on this.” “Here’s what my judgment tells me.” The passage in and of itself is ambiguous, because it allows for both meanings. In this case then all the more St. Chrysostom ought to be the final arbiter.

Pg. 28 “At the tomb of Christ, St. John waited, apparently out of deference, to allow St. Peter ahead of him (John 20:6).”
No indication of deference, certainly no apparent indication: “So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. (John 20:3-6)

I think there is *clearly *an indication of deference. Here is John, the apostle who was closest to Jesus, intimate to the point of resting his head on Jesus during the Last Supper. He watched Jesus die at the foot of the cross. Now, he has been told that his dear friend and master has been raised from the dead, so he rushes off to the tomb to see for himself and… he waits? John’s actions simply make no sense apart from some deference being given to Peter for some reason.

Pg. 31 “Christ makes him the shepherd of His Church, telling him, again in the singular form, ‘feed My lambs…tend My sheep…feed My sheep’ (John 21:15-17).”
Why wasn’t this simply a three-fold reinstallment of Peter among the shepherds of the flock, mirroring his three-fold denial of Christ? If Peter understood that he was being made Supreme Pontiff, why was he “grieved”?

The reason Peter is grieved is because Jesus asks Him twice if he has agape for Him, and each time Peter says that he has filios for Him. Then, Jesus changes His question, no longer asking if Peter has the beautiful, self-sacrificial agape Love for Him, and asks him simply if he has the brotherly ifilios love for Him. Peter is grieved because he couldn’t honestly say he had agape for Jesus, and now Jesus has dropped the idea all together.

The aspect of instituting the Papacy lies in the particular Greek behind the three commissions. In the first and third commissions, he tells Peter to βοσκε (bosko) His lambs. This word means “to feed” or to put out to pasture. However, in the second commission, He tells Peter to ποιμαινε (poimaine) His sheep. Poimaine is defined as “to rule,” “to govern,” or “supervisor.”

It may also be significant that the first time, Jesus says to feed His lambs, whereas the second and third time He says His sheep. In other words, He wants Peter to feed His lambs - the little, weak ones of the flock - but to *govern * and to feed His sheep - the grown, strong ones of the flock.

Pg. 32 “…he is the Apostle who first welcomes them [Gentiles] into the church.”
It looks like all the Apostles welcomed them together: “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11:18)

All of the apostles welcomed the Gentiles, but they did so only after Peter spoke up and gave them his thoughts. The apostles - or at least some of them - were opposed to it in the first place, remember. Then, Peter spoke up, and just like during the Council, the Scriptures tell us that all of the apostles “fell silent.” There is a pattern here:

  1. Disagreement exists in the Church
  2. Peter speaks up
  3. The apostles offer no more arguments and follow Peter’s opinion

That’s the point.

Pg. 32 “St Peter’s dogmatic pronouncement…caused all disputes to cease at the Council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15)”
Again, was it this or Paul and Barnabas’ testimony? “The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.” (verse 12)

Please compare this with the events in Acts 11, where Peter’s testimoney causes all to “fall silent,” and the pattern I suggested above. Also recall St. Chrysostom’s homily.


#18

Pg. 32 “After his conversion and healing from blindness, St. Paul went to visit St. Peter to have his teachings confirmed by him. (Gal. 1:18)”
**The text says *nothing ***about Paul having Peter “confirm” his teachings. “Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to *get acquainted with Peter *and stayed with him fifteen days.”

St. John Chrysostom lends support to with Mr. Madrid’s interpretation:

What can be more lowly than such a soul [as Paul]? After such successes, wanting nothing of Peter, not even his assent, but being of equal dignity with him, (for at present I will say no more,) he comes to him as his elder and superior. And the only object of this journey was to visit Peter; thus he pays due respect to the Apostles, and esteems himself not only not their better but not their equal. Which is plain from this journey, for Paul was induced to visit Peter by the same feeling from which many of our brethren sojourn with holy men: or rather by a humbler feeling for they do so for their own benefit, but this blessed man, not for his own instruction or correction, but merely for the sake of beholding and honoring Peter by his presence. He says, “to visit Peter;” he does not say to see, (ἰ δεῖν,) but to visit and survey, (ἰ στορῆσαι,) a word which those, who seek to become acquainted with great and splendid cities, apply to themselves.

  • Commentary on Galatians, 1

The weak point in this argument is that St. Chrysostom does not believe that Peter requires instruction or correction. Of course, this does not rule out having his doctrine confirmed. It may be that he went to have it confirmed but was in reality in no need of it. Nevertheless, he does believe that Chrysostom went to see Peter in virtue of his office.

F.F. Bruce on the other hand agrees fully with Mr. Madrid:

[quote=Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, 84]The purpose of Paul’s going to Jerusalem on this occasion was to make the aquaintance of the leading apostle - and not merely to make his aquaintance but to inquire of him (for that is the force of the verb historesai which he uses).
[/quote]

There is no question that there is some significance to the events St. Paul speaks of.

Pg. 32 “Notice that in Galations 2:1-2, Paul repeats this link to Peter’s authority, if indirectly, when he says he received ‘by revelation’ the call to go and present himself to ‘those of repute.’ Clearly, Peter was the foremost of ‘those in repute’ in Jerusalem.”
There is no mention of Peter in this passage. If Paul is refering to Peter “indirectly,” as the “foremost of ‘those in repute,’” then he didn’t seem to think very highly of Peter’s position or input: “As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message.” (Gal. 2:6)
And the verses that follow indicate the equality of Paul’s mission, ministry, and authority to that or Peter: “On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” (Gal. 2:7-8)

The problem here is that the interpretation that St. Paul is belittling the apostles makes little sense for a few reasons. First, it would not be fitting that Holy Scripture contained the sarcastic, selfish, belittling remark of the human author. Even if St. Paul really felt that way, it is almost appalling to think the Holy Spirit would permit his human weakness to enter into the Scriptures, all of which are inspired by God.

Second, St. Paul had gone to the apostles specifically for the sake of being “approved” in the eyes of certain Christians. St. Paul needed the testimony of men of such repute to support him. He would not then mock this repute elsewhere, if only for the reason that it might hurt his case in the eyes of those who respected the apostles. It would also be wildly inconsistent with St. Paul’s other comments in Galatians, which according to St. Chrysostom show that St. Paul had tremendous reverence for St. Peter.

Ch. 8 Peter never went to Rome

Pg. 107 “No other city—not even Antioch, where he resided for a time during his apostolate—claimed he ended his days there.”
***“Resided”? ***According to the Antiochian Church, he was more than just a resident, he was bishop there from 45 till 53, before he went to Rome (antiochian.org/667)). So, then why doesn’t the Patriarch of Antioch, as the first successor of Peter, enjoy the universal jurisdiction and papal infallibility of the bishop of Rome?

For the simple reason that St. Peter moved on to Rome. Had he later left Rome and moved on to Corinth, then Corinth would likely be the place of his See. The other reason has to do with the reason St. Peter went to Rome in the first place: Rome was so central and important a city. From there, one could reach and govern the entire world - is exactly what the office of the Papacy is for. Why else would he have even gone on to Rome? Why not remain in Antioch forever, especially given that Rome had already been reached by the Christians and had a church already active there?

Ch. 10 The Papacy is a “medieval Roman invention”

Pg. 119 “The earliest account we have…Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.”
This letter was written in A.D. 80; Clement was not Bishop of Rome until A.D. 88

This is an odd statement for several reasons. First, we don’t narrow the date of the letter to the year 88 specifically. The best we can do is about circa 80 or circa 90. Second, the letter opens thus:

The church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Have you ever read the letter?

Pg. 120 “The fact that no bishop in the world—not a single one—disputed his authority as bishop of Rome…”
**Several did, including Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum: “But this did not please all the bishops. And they besought him to consider the things of peace, and of neighborly unity and love. Words of theirs are extant, sharply rebuking Victor.
“Among them was Irenæus, who, sending letters in the name of the brethren in Gaul over whom he presided, maintained that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be observed only on the Lord’s day. *He fittingly admonishes Victor ***that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom…” (Eusebius, Church History, Book V, Ch xxiv)

This may be a case of not noticing the forest through the trees. There is no question that Irenaues disagreed with Victor’s thoughts. However, what is so significant is that Irenaues felt that Victor’s thoughts mattered. He petitioned the Bishop of Rome not to “cut of whole Churches” from the East, Churches having nothing to do with Rome. Irenaues obviously considered it within Victor’s jurisdiction to do such a thing. Irenaues is not the only one to do so. Many bishops “rebuked” Victor over the matter, but not a single one in all the world questioned his authority to in fact excommunicate these Eastern Churches.

It was St. Irenaeus who said:

For it is a matte rof necessity that every Church should agree with this Church [of Rome], on account of its preeminent authority…

Peace and God bless


#19

Lastly, I have lumped together those points that aren’t really arguments. These don’t “prove” anything. The point of these is that what happens in them is certainly worth noting. I doesn’t prove anything, but when taken in the context of other support for the papacy, they lend some support:

Pg. 29 “The risen Christ appeared to him first before he appeared to the other Apostles (Luke 24:34)”
But He appeared to Luke and Cleopas in verse 15: “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.”

The point is that Peter was the first apostle Christ appeared to, not the first person. Again, this point doesn’t “prove” anything, it’s just something worth noting. If it strictly proved anything, that would mean Luke and Cleopas were more important than the apostles, which is obviously nonsense.

Pg. 31 “In Acts 1:13-26, St Peter leads the other Apostles in choosing Matthias as successor to Judas.”
**It was Peter’s suggestion, but the *church ***made the decision: “So *they *proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.” (vs. 23)

The point of Mr. Madrid’s argument is that Peter here makes a decision about something that has yet to be spoken upon in the history of the Church, and that the rest approve of that decision (without any discussion, which may also be significant).

Pg. 32 “He performs the first Pentecost miracle (Acts 3).”
Miracles were being performed before Acts: “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43)

Again, recall the context. Mr. Madrid said the first Pentecost Miracle.


#20

I will.
Thank you.

A


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