I'm nearly finished with Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Has anyone else read this? I find it interesting because, although Bede was pre-schism, he seems to espouse many views that later would solidify into doctrine or standard practice in the RCC.
Some things I've noticed in his work:
1) Strong identification of Catholic = Roman.
2) Claim of Rome's authority over whole world.
3) Emphasis on unity of practices.
4) Irish traditions looked down upon.
What do you think?
I have a working theory on the supremacy part (which you find in many writers of the West, pre-schism). It would seem that the first bishop of Rome (who didn't have the title pope at the time) from the West outside of Rome/Italy was Victor I (189), who was also the first bishop of Rome to try to exercise some supremacy over the entire Church (and for which the entire Church rebuked him). All previous Popes came from either the East (which knew of no supremacy) or nearby Rome or at least Italy (i.e. nearly directly under Rome). Victor would be the first to be raised in an area (North Africa) outside Rome which looked at Rome as the supreme authority, being in her patriarchate. With that mindset, becoming bishop of Rome, thinking that all the world looked at Rome the same way, tried to act like the emperor of the Church. That Victor had close relations with the Emperor of the Empire, Commodus (of "Gladiator" fame: he was the first emperor "born in the purple," i.e. born as heir to the Empire, and ritually refounded Rome with himself as the font of Rome. Sort of like the Petrine Doctrine), through the Christian mistress Marcia, may have given him ideas of Rome's power.
As for Bede, you have to remember that he is in the tradition of Augustine of Cantebury, who was sent by Rome, from Rome, to the English with the point of not only converted the Anglo-Saxons, but asserting authority over the British Isles, and imposing Roman rites over the indigenous Celtic Church.