“We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed that the** Roman Pontiff**, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith and morals to be held by the universal church, by the divine assistance promised him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine redeemer willed that His Church should be endowed for defining doctrines regarding faith and morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff of themselves—and not by virtue of the consent of the Church—are irreformable.”
I don’t have a problem but a pastor I know is making an issue about the papacy being in Avignon France for 70 years. Is the doctrine really that the successor of Peter has this power and would it have been better to state this differently to avoid confusion? Peter was in Anticoch and Jersualem for a while after all. So the office is not neccessarily tied to Rome specifically? Or is it? I know there is some other language in the Vatican I document that may have bearing on this and I need to go look at it. What constitutes being a bishop of an area? Does one have to reside there?
Here is his arguement.
If the Pope is the Bishop of Rome, then how could the popes during the French period be valid? Again, how can it possibly be maintained that the popes that resided in Avignon, France for over 70 years are to be considered the Bishops of Rome?
“It is true that popes have not always reigned from Rome. Between 1309 to 1377, the papacy directed the Church from Avignon, of which the dramatic papal palace there is a reminder. But this absence from Rome was always referred to as ‘the Babylonian Captivity’. . . It is true that some popes were never able to get to Rome . . . Urban IV (1261-4), Clement IV (1265-8), and Celestine V (1294) never actually set foot in Rome as pope.”
Some Catholics argue that it is acceptable that popes ruled from Avignon because of the precedent, according Rome’s version of history, of Peter moving from Antioch to Rome. If so, however, then the papacy should not be tied to Rome at all, but rather merely to the successor of Peter wherever he may reside. "