This is the third in a series of threads I’ve started to address key issues of the Roman Catholic Faith that I find difficult to believe.
Matthew 16 - An atypical linguistics question - We addressed the “rock vs. rock” controversy. We still haven’t come to a complete conclusion yet, but the evidence thus far indicates that either a “kepha/kepha” (rock/rock) or a “kepha/shu’a” (big rock/foundation rock) original works in Matthew 16:18, making either the Roman Catholic or the Protestant perspectives plausible.
Peter the Rock - Here, we studied scriptural support for the primacy of Peter, to see if scripture itself could give us reasonable proof that Peter led the early Christian church, and that he had the supreme authority and infallibility that the pope now has. The most verbose Roman Catholic posters seemed to agree that the passages Roman Catholics cite as support of the papacy are ambiguous. They can be seen to harmonize with either the Roman Catholic or the Protestant point of view.
Topic of this thread
In this thread, I’d like to move to what seems to be the next logical link in the chain regarding the papacy. As linguistics and scriptural exegesis have not formed a certain conclusion (to my mind, either Protestant [and I use that term loosely – I mean non-Roman Catholic, generally speaking] or Roman Catholic views are both somewhat plausible), the next step is to see how the early church handled this issue.
Did they accord Peter (and by extension, the “See of Rome”) primacy? Did they accord this primacy as one of honor only, or one of authority as well? Did they ascribe infallibility to the judgment of these bishops of Rome in the sense modern Roman Catholics do? How did these church fathers interpret Matthew 16?
I would like to limit discussion to the first couple of centuries of the church. I’m not going to place a specific limit, but I would say that information further from the source (that is, further from the apostles and Christ) should be considered less credible (more likely to not reflect original teachings) than stuff nearer to it. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
What I don’t want to see in here…
I realize that, as some would say, this is not my forum, and so I shouldn’t be making rules. However, I am the one who has started this thread, and thus I feel it gives me some authority to set some guidelines. As you’ve all seen thus far, what I’m looking to do is to establish a fair and open debate within certain limits. I don’t want to see independent interpretations of Matthew 16 (that’s what the previous thread was for). I also don’t want to see quotes that are out of context.
Again, this thread is for the discussion of important figures in the early Christian church, specifically focusing on how they viewed Matthew 16, the other passages we previously looked at, and the papacy in general. Anything else is off-topic, and is best handled in another thread.
The goal here is not to come in with dogmatic or blanketing statements about what the early fathers believed. In fact, I won’t even get into the unanimous consent bit, as that wasn’t “established” until Vatican I (I think – it could have been Trent or one of the others, but regardless, it happened well after the time period we’re looking at).
All that said, I have a couple of requests for specific things I am looking for…
In reviewing information about Vatican I (where papal infallibility was formally defined), I repeatedly saw information that Kenrick (Francis Kenrick, I think) actually published his undelivered speech on the subject at Naples after the council. I’ve searched high and low, and all I can find are several people who claim to cite information from Kenrick – I’d like to see the original text of his speech as published. Can someone get me a link to that? I realize most of you will consider it anti-Catholic, but it was a speech which apparently cited information from a lot of early church fathers on the papacy, so I’d like to see it.
Can someone provide me the criteria for who are considered church fathers according to the Roman Catholic Church? Are there any notable figures who are specifically excluded for a particular reason?
I’d like someone to post, perhaps, quotes from three or four early fathers who overtly supported that Peter was the rock of the church. Please try to provide dates, source names, links to the sources, etc where possible.
I look forward to this being an enjoyable debate, and I hope to see many others posting here as well.
Oh – one final request – can we keep the ad hominems out of this thread? I just don’t find any usefulness in attacking the person, rather than the argument.