Primacy or Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome

So Randy kicked me out of his Royal Steward thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

Randy is arguing the interpretation of Peter as the Royal Steward alluring to the passage we find in Isaiah 22:20-22 and the passages we find in the New Testament in relation to said passage in Luke 1:31-33 and Matthew 16:13-19.

In common Catholic apologetic argumentation, Randy is using these passages to support the authority of the Pope (Bishop of Rome) and to support the doctrine of infallibility of the Bishop of Rome in order to faithfully serve as the Royal Steward.

On that same thread I brought the following issues:
*] What is the definition of the Royal Steward?
*] What authority does the Royal Steward have?
*] What has been the Royal Steward’s role in Church history?
*] Can the Royal Steward be above the laws set forth by the Church (Ecumenical Councils)?

I was asked to not bring these issues up on that thread and to start a new thread. And so here it is.

In Catholicism, theology is referred to as a three-legged stool. The legs being: Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, Teaching Office (Magisterium). The principle being that they can’t contradict one another and that they are in harmony with one another. We’ll see how that works out.

*]Sacred Scriptures are referred to as the Catholic Canon – closed at the Council of Trent (1545-1563 AD), in response to the Protestant Reformation. There was no official Catholic Church stance in regards to a close canon, but a discipline and a practice of the books that were to be used. The consensus and the Pope historically support the same canon we have today but there was no closing of the Canon as set forth until Trent.

*]Sacred Tradition is to be understood as the Tradition handed down from the Apostles. This could be directly or indirectly (meaning that it is developed from the deposit of faith). Sunday Worship, Trinitarian formulas and doctrines, Ecumenical Church Councils are some examples of Sacred Tradition.

*]Teaching Office (Magisterium), refers to the Church’s leaders, Bishops, Priests, Deacons and the teachings consistent with the Whole Church, Ecumenical Councils are also a teaching office, the highest expression where the Church’s leadership gathers to define articles of the faith. Each province may vary in this teaching office as long as it doesn’t go against Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition. For example: rites, disciplines, practices.

I just want to give a brief introduction to these concepts so we are on the same page. If you wish to discuss them, please start a new thread and I’ll be happy to join it.

Now the common argument is that the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus founded. Since that is the case, it means that this same Church is then bound by the historical Church – meaning Her Ecumenical Councils.

Another common argumentation is that the Pope sits in Peter’s Chair since the beginning and that He has always been the leader of the Church. What we don’t often see, is how this leader exercises the power of said position throughout history. IOW, the practice of the Church Universal in relation to Her leader, and vice versa. Truth is that there have been drastic changes in the power of the Bishop of Rome after the Great Schism. This to be expected since the Western was Latin even before the schism.

To this effect, I will present some articles and canons from the first seven ecumenical councils. The reason for this is that in order to show the full practice of the Church, we need to take into consideration the facts before the Great Schism (~1054 AD).

To be continued:

But before I do that, I’d like to show the current Power of the Bishop of Rome as it stands today.

The first document for Supremacy for the Bishop of Rome that I could find is Dictatus Papae (~1090), there are issues to whether or not this was fully written by Pope Gregory VII.

From Fordham University:
“The Dictatus Papae was included in Pope’s register in the year 1075. Some argue that it was written by Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073-1085) himself, others argues that it had a much later different origin. In 1087 Cardinal Deusdedit published a collection of the laws of the Church which he drew from any sources. The Dictatus agrees so clearly and closely with this collection that some have argued the Dictatus must have been based on it; and so must be of a later date of compilation than 1087. There is little doubt that the principals below do express the pope’s principals. “

The document says:
*]That the Roman church was founded by God alone.
*]That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal.
*]That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops.
*]That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them.
*]That the pope may depose the absent.
*]That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him.
*]That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones.
*]That he alone may use the imperial insignia.
*]That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet.
*]That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.
*]That this is the only name in the world.
*]That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.
*]That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be.
*]That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish.
*]That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop.
*]That no synod shall be called a general one without his order.
*]That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority.
*]That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it.
*]That he himself may be judged by no one.
*]That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair.
*]That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church.
*]That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness.
*]That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope.
*]That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations.
*]That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod.
*]That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic.
*]That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

Later on during the Papal Schism (Avignon Controversy) we have the Council of Constance (~1414) we see the following (From EWTN):

The Council of Constance was convoked in 1414 by the Anti-Pope John XXIII, one of three rival claimants to the papal throne, the other two being Gregory XII and Benedict XIII. The Council was called to resolve all doubts as to the true successor of Peter, and end the Great Schism. John agreed to resign if his rivals would do the same, then he fled the city. In the absence of a papal convenor, the Council enacted Haec Sancta(fifth session, 15 April 1415), which purported to subject even papal authority to the authority of the Council. John was brought back and deposed for scandalous conduct. Gregory convoked the Council anew, rejected all its prior proceedings (includingHaec Sancta), and then resigned. The Council acquiesced in these actions, passed decrees on reform, condemned the heresies of Hus and Wyclifand, after deposing Benedict, elected Martin V, under whom unity was restored to the Church.
While no council, not even Ecumenical, has authority to depose a Pope, the two men who were deposed were both Anti-Popes. The true Pope was Gregory XII, who resigned rather than being deposed. He it was who authorized the sessions beginning on 4 July 1415, and declared all previous sessions (the first thirteen) null and void. Martin V ratified the succeeding sessions at the conclusion of the Council.

It confirms what we see for the first time in Dictatus Papae: That No Council, not even Ecumenical, has the authority to depose the Pope (Later we’ll see how this is inconsistent with the first 1,000 years of Church history).

To be continued:

Shortly thereafter in the 6th Session 1439 Council of Florence we see the following:

We also define that the holy apostolic see and the Roman pontiff holds the primacy over the whole world and the Roman pontiff is the successor of blessed Peter prince of the apostles, and that he is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians, and to him was committed in blessed Peter the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church, as is contained also in the acts of ecumenical councils and in the sacred canons.

Again confirming that the Pope has the power to tend, rule and govern the whole Church. We know that to tend is consistent. Were the other 2 expressed in its form today for the first 1,000 years of the Church?, you’ll be the judge of that.

Later in the Vatican I (1870 AD) we see the following:

weteach anddefineas a divinely revealed dogma that
when the Roman pontiff speaks*EX CATHEDRA,
that is, when,

  1. in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians,
  2. in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority,
  3. he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church,
    he possesses,
    by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter,
    that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals.
    Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the church, irreformable.*

Some things stand out:
*]A divinely revealed dogma. (Public revelation died with the last Apostle and yet we don’t know how this revealed dogma was set forth in the precise form in Scriptures)(Which begs the question: Are interpretations of Scriptures revealed dogmas?).
*]Shepherd and teacher of all Christians. (Alone?)
*]Divine assistance promised to Peter. (Is Peter the only one promised divine assistance?)
*]Infallibility willed to the Church. (The Church is infallible and yet it can’t reform #5 below?)
*]Definitions by the Pope are irreformable by the Church. (Again, excluding Ecumenical Church Councils from interfering with the Pope).

In 1964, we see Lumen Gentium which says:

But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.(27) This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff. For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church,(156) and made him shepherd of the whole flock;(157) it is evident, however, that the power of binding and loosing, which was given to Peter,(158) was granted also to the college of apostles, joined with their head.(159)(28*) This college, insofar as it is composed of many, expresses the variety and universality of the People of God, but insofar as it is assembled under one head, it expresses the unity of the flock of Christ. In it, the bishops, faithfully recognizing the primacy and pre-eminence of their head, exercise their own authority for the good of their own faithful, and indeed of the whole Church, the Holy Spirit supporting its organic structure and harmony with moderation. The supreme power in the universal Church, which this college enjoys, is exercised in a solemn way in an ecumenical council. A council is never ecumenical unless it is confirmed or at least accepted as such by the successor of Peter; and it is prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to convoke these councils, to preside over them and to confirm them.(29*) This same collegiate power can be exercised together with the pope by the bishops living in all parts of the world, provided that the head of the college calls them to collegiate action, or at least approves of or freely accepts the united action of the scattered bishops, so that it is thereby made a collegiate act. *

So there is no doubt, this document says that the Pope has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power.

To be continued:

Let’s now look at present Canon Law:

*]Can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.
*]Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.
*]Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power offer all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

Take a note of: supreme, full, immediate, universal, ordinary powers over the entire Church regardless is location, province or any other condition you can think of.

More Canon Law:

]Can. 1404 The First See is judged by no one.
*]Can. 338 §1. It is for the Roman Pontiff alone to convoke an ecumenical council, preside offer it personally or through others, transfer, suspend, or dissolve a council, and to approve its decrees.

Now, let’s move onto the Early Church and some Canons from the first 7 Ecumenical Councils:

The 1st Ecumenical Council at Nicaea 325AD states:

*]Canon 4 - It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops of the province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan bishop.
*]Clearly indicates that each province is able to appoint their bishops. Not one single bishops appointing others for the Church Universal.
*]Canon 6 - The ancient customs of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome. Similarly in Antioch and the other provinces the prerogatives of the churches are to be preserved. In general the following principle is evident: if anyone is made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, this great synod determines that such a one shall not be a bishop. If however two or three by reason of personal rivalry dissent from the common vote of all, provided it is reasonable and in accordance with the church’s canon, the vote of the majority shall prevail.
The Bishop of Alexandria is to have the same authority to what the Bishop of Rome has. It add that in Antioch and other provinces are to be preserved. Further, it specifies conditions for the naming of bishops without the consent of their Metropolitan — Not on single Bishop for the Church Universal.

The 1st Ecumenical Council at Constantinople 381AD states:

To the most honoured lords and most reverend brethren and fellow-ministers, Damasus, Ambrose, Britton, Valerian, Acholius, Anemius, Basil, and the rest of the holy bishops who met in the great city of Rome: the sacred synod of orthodox bishops who met in the great city of Constantinople sends greetings in the Lord.

From the beginning of this letter we see the equality of the most honored Lords – in plural and not singular.
*]Canon 2 - Diocesan bishops are not to intrude in churches beyond their own boundaries nor are they to confuse the churches: but in accordance with the canons, the bishop of Alexandria is to administer affairs in Egypt only; the bishops of the East are to manage the East alone (whilst safeguarding the privileges granted to the church of the Antiochenes in the Nicene canons); and the bishops of the Asian diocese are to manage only Asian affairs; and those in Pontus only the affairs of Pontus; and those in Thrace only Thracian affairs. Unless invited bishops are not to go outside their diocese to perform an ordination or any other ecclesiastical business. If the letter of the canon about dioceses is kept, it is clear that the provincial synod will manage affairs in each province, as was decreed at Nicaea. But the churches of God among barbarian peoples must be administered in accordance with the custom in force at the time of the fathers.
We see something interesting. We see how the bishops are to manage affairs within their own geographical boundaries. We don’t see one single See as the one to manage all.

*]Canon 3 - Because it is new Rome, the bishop of Constantinople is to enjoy the privileges of honour after the bishop of Rome.

Here we see the bishop of Constantinople enjoying “privileges of honor”.

To be continued:

The Council Of Ephesus - 431 A.D.

The same principle will be observed for other dioceses and provinces everywhere. None of the reverent bishops is to take possession of another province which has not been under his authority from the first or under that of his predecessors. Any one who has thus seized upon and subjected a province is to restore it, lest the canons of the fathers be transgressed and the arrogance ofsecular power effect an entry through the cover of priestly office. We must avoid bit by bit destroying the freedom which our lord Jesus Christ the liberator of all people, gave us through his own blood. It is therefore the pleasure of the holy and ecumenical synod to secure intact and inviolate the rights belonging to each province from the first, according to the custom which has been in force from of old. Each metropolitan has the right to take a copy of the proceedings for his own security. If any one produces a version which is at variance with what is here decided, the holy and ecumenical synod unanimously decrees it to be of no avail. *

Again, we see where the bishops are to respect the other bishop’s provinces. NOT one bishop controlling all of them.

The Council of Chalcedon - 451 A.D.

Since we have formulated these things with all possible accuracy and attention, the sacred and universal synod decreed thatno one is permitted to produce, or even to write down or compose, any other creed or to think or teach otherwise. As for those who dare either to compose another creed or even to promulgate or teach or hand down another creed for those who wish to convert to a recognition of the truth from Hellenism or from Judaism, or from any kind of heresy at all: if they be bishops or clerics, the bishops are to be deposed from the episcopacy and the clerics from the clergy; if they be monks or layfolk, they are to be anathematised.*

The creed is not only confirmed from the previous Councils but it now prohibited to suffer any changes. Further, it clearly states that any bishop promotes any kind of heresy, he is to be deposed. Unlike the current practice of it being impossible to depose the Bishop of Rome.

*]Canon 2 - If any bishop performs an ordination for money and puts the unsaleable grace on sale, and ordains for money a bishop, a chorepiscopus, a presbyter or a deacon or some other of those numbered among the clergy; or appoints a manager, a legal officer or a warden for money, or any other ecclesiastic at all for personal sordid gain; led him who has attempted this and been convicted stand to lose his personal rank; and let the person ordained profit nothing from the ordination or appointment he has bought; but let him be removed from the dignity or responsibility which he got for money. And if anyone appears to have acted even as a go-between in such disgraceful and unlawful dealings, let him too, if he is a cleric, be demoted from his personal rank, and if he is a lay person or a monk, let him be anathematised.

Any bishop. Again no exceptions are provided.

To be continued:

]Canon 28[in fact a resolution passed by the council at the 16th session butrejectedby the Pope]
]Following in every way the decrees of the holy fathers and recognising the canon which has recently been read out–the canon of the 150 most devout bishops who assembled in the time of the great Theodosius of pious memory, then emperor, in imperial Constantinople, new Rome – we issue the same decree and resolution concerning the prerogatives of the most holy church of the same Constantinople, new Rome. The fathers rightly accorded prerogatives to the see of older Rome, since that is an imperial city; and moved by the same purpose the 150 most devout bishops apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome, reasonably judging that the city which is honoured by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equalling older imperial Rome, should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her. The metropolitans of the dioceses of Pontus, Asia and Thrace, but only these, as well as the bishops of these dioceses who work among non-Greeks, are to be ordained by the aforesaid most holy see of the most holy church in Constantinople. That is, each metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses along with the bishops of the province ordain the bishops of the province, as has been declared in the divine canons; but the metropolitans of the aforesaid dioceses, as has been said, are to be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, once agreement has been reached by vote in the usual way and has been reported to him.

1st, it ratifies that Constantinople is to be elevated to Rome’s level of ecclesiastical affairs.
2nd, Rejected by the Pope and still passed by the Council. Something impossible to do today.

]Canon 29[an extract from the minutes of the 19th session]
*]The most eminent and illustrious officials asked: What does the sacred synod advise in the case of the bishops ordained by the most reverend Bishop Photius and removed by the most reverend Bishop Eustathius and consigned to be priests after losing the episcopacy? The most reverend Bishops Paschasinus and Lucentius and the priest Bonifatius, representatives of the apostolic see of Rome, replied: It is sacrilege to reduce a bishop to the rank of priest. But if whatever cause there is for removing those persons from the exercise of episcopacy is just, they ought not to occupy the position even of a priest. And if they have been removed from office and are without fault, they shall be restored to the episcopal dignity. The most reverend archbishop of Constantinople, Anatolius, replied: If those who are said to have descended from the episcopal dignity to the rank of priest have been condemned on what are reasonable grounds, they are clearly not worthy to hold even the office of a priest. But if they have been demoted to the lower rank without reasonable cause, then as long as they are seen to be innocent, they have every right to resume the dignity and priesthood of the episcopacy .

What just happened? The Archbishop of Constantinople just opposed Rome.

]Canon 30[an extract from the minutes of the 4th session]
*]The most eminent and illustrious officials and the exalted assembly declared: Since the most reverend bishops of Egypt have up to now put off subscribing to the letter of the most holy Archbishop Leo, not because they are in opposition to the catholic faith, but because they claim that it is customary in the Egyptian diocese not to do such things in contravention of the will and ordinance of their archbishop, and because they consider they should be given until the ordination of the future bishop of the great city of Alexandria, we think it reasonable and humane that, retaining their present rank in the imperial city, they should be granted a moratorium until such time as an archbishop of the great city of Alexandria is ordained. Most reverend Bishop Paschasinus, representative of the apostolic see, said: If your authority demands it, and you order that some measure of kindness be shown them, let them give guarantees that they will not leave this city before Alexandria receives its bishop. The most eminent and illustrious officials and the exalted assembly replied: Let the resolution of the most holy Bishop Paschasinus be upheld. So let the most reverend bishops of the Egyptians maintain their present rank and, either providing guarantees if they can, or pledging themselves on solemn oath, let them await the ordination of the future bishop of the great city of Alexandria.

That just speaks for itself.

To be continued

Second Council of Nicaea - 787 A.D.

Pope Hadrian Iwrote no letter in reply, yet the defence he made of the council in 794 against Charlemagne shows that heaccepted what the council had decreed, and that he had sent no acknowledgement because the concessions which he had requested in his letter of 26 October 785 to Constantine and Irene had not been granted to him, especially concerning the restoration of the papacy’s patrimony to the state at which it had been prior to 731, that is, before Illyricum had been confiscated by the emperor Leo III. Emperor Constantine VI and his mother Irene signed the acts of the council but it is unclear whether or not they promulgated a decree on the matter.

]Canon 3 - Any election of a bishop, priest or deacon brought about by the rulers is to be null and void in accordance with the canon that says:“If any bishop, through the influence of secular rulers, acquires responsibility for a church because of them, let him be suspended and let all those who are in communion with him be excommunicated”.
]It is necessary that the person who is to be advanced to a bishopric should be elected by bishops, as has been decreed by the holy fathers atNicaea*in the canon that says: “It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all [the bishops] in the province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan”.
Again it reaffirms that a bishop is appointed by other bishops (plural). Not one single bishop.

]Canon 4 - The herald of the truth, Paul, the divine apostle, laying down a sort of rule for the presbyters of Ephesus, or rather for the whole priestly order, declared firmly: I have not coveted silver or gold or anybody’s clothing; I have made completely plain to you that it is by working in this fashion that we should provide for the weak being convinced that it is blessed to give.
]Therefore we also, having been taught by him, decree thata bishop should never have any sort of design on foul profit, inventing excuses for his sins, nor demand any gold or silver or anything similar from the bishops, clerics and monks subject to him.For the apostle says: The unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God; and, It is not children who should heap up treasures for their parents, but parents for their children.
it is discovered that
somebody, because of a demand for gold or something similar, or because of some private infatuation of his own, has excluded from the liturgy or excommunicated one of the clerics under his authority, or has closed off one of the holy churches, preventing the celebration of God’s liturgies in it, pouring out his own madness against insensible things, then he is truly senseless himself andhe should be subjected to suffer what he would inflict and the penalty imposed by himwill turn upon his own head, because he has transgressed both the law of God and the rulings of the apostles. For Peter also, the spokesman of the apostles, urges: Be pastors to the flock of God entrusted to you, not under compulsion, but willingly as pleasing to God, not for sordid gain but with enthusiasm, not as men who lord it over those entrusted to you, but as being models for the flock. Then when the chief shepherd is disclosed, you will carry off the imperishable crown of glory.

Paul is referred to as the herald if truth and divine apostle.
Peter, the spokesman is the apostles.

This is not quote mining from ECF’s this is an Ecumenical Council.

]Canon 16 - Allindulgence and adornment bestowed on the body is alien to the priestly order. Therefore all those bishops and clerics who deck themselves out in brilliant and showy clothes should be called to order, and if they persist let them be punished.

I just had to mention this.

In short, Papal Supremacy is a doctrinal development absent from the Unified Catholic Church.

Much significant is that it goes against Church government in those first 1,000 years. Protestants get criticized because they developed new practices 1,500 years after the fact and here we see new practices only 500 years before.

A line was crossed between primacy and supremacy. The West agreed, the East has not (Except for some of our Eastern Catholic brothers). It is a doctrine born of division.
Also troublesome is that the doctrine of Papal Supremacy and Papal Infallibility must be affirmed in order to be Catholic.

Now the Bishop of Rome can’t be deposed, when this is clearly ordained by the Early Ecumenical Councils. This was something established by the Church Universal (East and West).

One of my questions (I’m asking this one first in order to focus on it) is:

**Can an ecumenical council be overridden by part of the Church, ex post facto? **

This is a very useful collection of information. I can see why Randy wants it nowhere near his “apologetics”.

My questioning of papal supremacy has mostly focused on the absence of early evidence for it, the lack of evidence for early interpretation of Isaiah and Matthew according to the interpretations of those who support papal supremacy, the response to Victor in his attempt to turn churches from their apostolic teaching and the fact that almost every appeal to authority to claim papal supremacy is circular (such as pope Gregory here telling everyone the authority he possesses on the basis of the authority he possesses).

I don’t believe in the infallibility of councils so I think it is possible their decisions could be changed, but I think one would need to have a solid collection of evidence to do so.

I will say most of the time Catholics don’t try to use the Ecumenical Councils to support their position because it completely undercuts what they are trying to prove. Oh sure they can mine a bunch of quotes, many of which are either spurious or mistranslations and many more that talk about St Peter and nothing about the Bishop of Rome. Also they completely fail to look at any context. A great example is the Tome of Leo. It is often presented as proof of papal authority. What they will never tell you is that the Tome was not accepted simply because the pope wrote it. In fact the Tome was analyzed to make sure it agreed with St Cyril and the Council, and after many challenges in open council to the orthodoxy of Leo’s Tome the Council took five days to compare what Leo wrote to what Cyril wrote. All of the bishops present subjected the Tome to scrutiny and only after they determined the letter’s orthodoxy and determining that it did not contradict Cyril did they agree to it. It was accepted after determining it was true not simply because of whose hand penned it.

They will try to use the fact that the Pope wouldn’t ratify this canon as proof against it. Of course that fact doesn’t help their case at all. They say that the entire Church had always believed that the Pope had some supra-episcopal authority and supremacy by divine right. This canon conclusively proves that this is not true not only because of what it says but by the fact that the 4 out of 5 patriarchates, which constituted a large majority of the Church at the time, that did ratify it put it into effect immediately, completely ignoring the Pope’s rejection. We all know that the popes at times had exalted views of themselves. What you have to show is did the rest of the Church behave as though the popes had the powers now asserted.

  1. No all Canon law regarding Doctrine or Dogma. Many Canons are not infallible, even if approved by a Council. Non Doctrinal Canon laws represent discipline and administrative procedure which can change.

  2. even today, the Provinces of the LATIN Church provide a list of names to the Pope to be named Bishop. The Pope makes the final decision, but the will of the provinces are taken into account.

  3. The Bishop of Rome does NOT appoint Bishops for the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Patriarchs or Major Archbishops do. The Eastern Catholic Churches also select their own Patriarch and Major Archbishops too. The Pope simply has the right to veto, but rarely interferes. Also the Eastern Catholic Churches have their own Code of Canon Law.

  4. Regarding Canon 2; notice it doesn’t mention the Bishop of Rome at all. That’s because this Canon was addressing those other Bishops / Patriarchs. (As FYI - Pontus was a section of land in modern day Turkey, along the Black Sea.) If the Canon mentions Pontus and Thrace, why didn’t it mention Rome? Because Canon 2 didn’t apply to Rome.

  5. Regarding Canon 3: Pope Damasus I refused to approve Canon 3 because the idea of raising Constantinople above Alexandria and Antioch was being pushed by the Eastern Roman Empire. Pope Damasus felt that promoting the city (which had only been an imperial city for 50 years at that time) over Alexandria and Antioch was un-orthodox. He then called a synod the following year. Pope Damasus I refused to allow Constantinople to be promoted because it was not orthodox and the synod agreed. Pope Damasus also informed the bishops that the Chair of Peter was given his authority by Christ and not the Bishops. After the Synod, Bishop of Constantinople then apologized to the Pope. Only after Alexandria and Antioch fell to Islam, did the Pope allow Constantinople to become the 2nd See. Then, the Eastern Empire wanted to grant the Patriarch of Constantinople the title of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople; which the Popes refused because it was un-orthodox and because the Church would not allow an Emperor to interfere in Church matters. The Patriarch of Constantinople only officially received his current title after the Schism.

But they went ahead and moved Constantinople to the second position anyway. And the title was used as well. I’m sorry but the fact that the pope was completely ignored doesn’t help your case.

Thanks :tiphat:

Infallibility has a very limited scope. The problem is that it is a requirement of the faith for Catholics, while it wasn’t for over a thousand years. That is a mighty long time to start adding to the faith.

I understand that. But it still doesn’t show that a single Bishop is above and beyond Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

You said it yourself. The Pope makes the final decision. This is again a dogma/doctrine after the Great Schism.

The fact that he doesn’t, does not negate the fact that he has the power to do so if so intended. There is nothing to prohibit him to do it.

It also doesn’t mention the other Sees. While it mentions dioceses it clearly demonstrates that there was a respect for the jurisdiction of the Sees and their area of responsibility. Not one single Bishop with supreme power over all.

Seraphim already answered this.

How about:

Can an ecumenical council be overridden by part of the Church, ex post facto?

Well since we all love quotes around here. :smiley:

Here is what St Augustine said on the subject.

“Well, let us suppose that those bishops who decided the case at Rome were not good judges; there still remained a plenary Council of the universal Church, in which these judges themselves might be put on their defence; so that, if they were convicted of mistake, their decisions might be reversed.” - Letter 43


ETA: You know they are going to come back with the Augustine quote about believing the Gospel because of the authority of Rome, lol. However, it’s still missing immediate, supreme, full, ordinary, etc…

The Pope was not ignored. Constantinople didn’t become a Patriarch until later (I will get you a quote and source later).

And he didn’t get that extra title until after the Schism.

Finally, I find it interesting that he was given all unchurched lands, but did nothing with them.

Please forgive me, that above sentence in bold did not come out the way I meant it.

Of course, the Patriarch had a hand in the evangelization of Russia (mostly in the 8th to 10th centuries).

I simply meant after the Schism. Irregardless, please ignore that comment.

God Bless

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