Vatican I and Avignon


#1

“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.

"Saint Peter?

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. "


#2

Correct

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.

"Saint Peter?

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. "

That the successor of Peter is Bishop of Rome is of no dogmatic importance. What matters is the continuity between the Apostle & any given Bishop of Rome; not the location occupied by the successor. So if a Pope were reduced to living in a hovel in Nairobi, he would still be the legitimate successor of Peter.


#3

This is a reality in the history of the Church. The bishop of so-and-so See sometimes were forced to take residence away from their established See, sometimes for long periods. This temporary relocation did NOT invalidate their rightful possession of their established See, much less their apostolic succession to and from that See.

So the argument that the papal Succession should be tied to Peter and not to Rome in particular so that the power moves wherever the Pope happens to be INDEED reflects the actual reality in the Catholic Church. There is no need for that pastor to assume that it is not.

However, to say that the papal Succession should be tied ONLY to Peter and not to Rome is both an historical, biblical and a canonical impossibility. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, and it is because the Church of Rome was sown by the blood of the two greatest Apostles, one of whom was the very Prince of the Apostles, that the See of Rome has a pre-eminence in the Christian world. It is right, fitting, and spiritually necessary (IMO) that the Pope possesses this See. It is the greatest witness to the world that Christ conquered paganism. It was even prophesied by Daniel (in his dream about the statue).

Blessings,
Marduk


#4

Can some one answer this. While the Pope lived in Avignon was he not still the Bishop of Rome?

If the succession of the papacy is not tied to Rome and only to Peter then why isn’t the Patriarch of Antioch the Pope?


#5

It is the sacramental nature of the Church. Founding a Church does not necessarily mean one claims succession to the person who founded that Church. St. Paul founded many churches, yet no church specifically claims succession from him - the closest is Rome, who not uncommonly refers to BOTH Sts. Peter and Paul as the original founders of the Church of Rome.

But think about it. You actually cannot have a successor if you are still alive. When St. Peter was in Antioch, I truly doubt he had any idea he was going to die. Rome would be blessed with that privilege. I believe it was St. John Chrysostom who wrote: “We had Peter, but we gave him up to glorious Rome.” So if there is any conceivable place St. Peter would have a successor, it would be at Rome, don’t you think?

Further, Antioch never claimed to have the Succession. St. Irenaeous testifies to that. He may have founded the Church in Antioch, but there is no record of Antioch ever claiming Succession from Peter (well, perhaps much later merely as a polemic tool against the claims of Rome). Correct?

Blessings,
Marduk


#6

Thanks

Those answers have been helpful. This is a protestant pastor I debated at a local college a few years back. He is a former Catholic. We had a good debate and he has toned things down a bit since then.


#7

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