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Author Topic: "Thou Art Peter"  (Read 45307 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« Reply #270 on: December 15, 2003, 12:07:39 PM »

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peterfarrington:
Hi Byz

I must admit to still having a great many problems. Not with the notional idea of a primacy of honour - which is a given. but with any idea that actually and doctrinally the Eastern Churches ever allowed a substantive headship to the Pope of Rome.

Surely such a major doctrine would have been legislated for and defined in canons all over the place.

I don't think anyone here is arguing for the full-blown Latin idea of the monarchical papacy.

My argument is simply that the popes exercised more than a mere primacy of honor. That seems apparent to me from the historical record, the writings of the Fathers who mention the subject - including the early popes themselves - and the language of the ecumenical councils.

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peterfarrington:
 But there is a complete silence except for:

i. Canon V of Council of Sardica

Decreed, that if any bishop is accused, and the bishops of the same region assemble and depose him from his office, and he appealing, so to speak, takes refuge with the most blessed bishop of the Roman church, and he be willing to give him a hearing, and think it right to renew the examination of his case, let him be pleased to write to those fellow-bishops who are nearest the province that they may examine the particulars with care and accuracy and give their votes on the matter in accordance with the word of truth. And if any one require that his case be heard yet again, and at his request it seem good to move the bishop of Rome to send presbyters a latere, let it be in the power of that bishop, according as he judges it to be good and decides it to be right--that some be sent to be judges with the bishops and invested with his authority by whom they were sent. And be this also ordained. But if he think that the bishops are sufficient for the examination and decision of the matter let him do what shall seem good in his most prudent judgment.

Which does not establish a headship over the Church but allows that the Pope of Rome may ask the bishops of a region where there is a dispute to re-examine a case.

Why would the Council of Sardica need to "establish a headship over the Church" if that headship was already in existence since the time of St. Peter?

What do you mean by "complete silence"?

If you mean the absence of specific canons spelling out the Pope's powers in black-and-white, then you are right.

You cannot mean there is no mention of the primacy of the bishops of Rome, because there is plenty of mention of it.

Don't you find it even a bit curious that appeals were addressed to the Roman church, and that here is an attempt to codify and control the process?

If one specific church is empowered to hear appeals from all over Christendom and to render final judgments, how is that consistent with a mere primacy of honor?

Even if that is the full extent of the Pope's powers - the right to act as the Supreme Appellate Court of the Church - that is certainly something more than a primacy of honor.  

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peterfarrington: and

ii. Canon II of the Second Ecumenical Council

THE bishops are not to go beyond their dioceses to churches lying outside of their bounds, nor bring confusion on the churches; but let the Bishop of Alexandria, according to the canons, alone administer the affairs of Egypt; and let the bishops of the East manage the East alone, the privileges of the Church in Antioch, which are mentioned in the canons of Nice, being preserved; and let the bishops of the Asian Diocese administer the Asian affairs only; and the Pontic bishops only Pontic matters; and the Thracian bishops only Thracian affairs. And let not bishops go beyond their dioceses for ordination or any other ecclesiastical ministrations, unless they be invited. And the aforesaid canon concerning dioceses being observed, it is evident that the synod of every province will administer the affairs of that particular province as was decreed at Nice. But the Churches of God in heathen nations must be governed according to the custom which has prevailed from the times of the Fathers.

which asserts the jurisdictional independence of each diocese.

It is interesting that the Roman bishop is not mentioned in that canon. Of course, many of the bishops are not mentioned specifically, since all of them were included when the canon used the word bishops.

Just the same, it is interesting that this canon does not specifically circumscribe or limit the Bishop of Rome. It merely asserts that each bishop is to administer his diocese and not to interfere unnecessarily in the dioceses of others.

Certainly each diocese or region was not completely independent of the universal Church. If that was the case, then Nestorius could never have been branded a heretic and deposed, since he was the Patriarch of Constantinople.

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peterfarrington: Now the role envisaged by Sardica V seems entirely in accord with Orthodox ecclesiology and allows for a seniority of the bishop of Rome, which I think is mistakenly translated into modern English as headship which has overtones of authority.

Just the same, "head" is the word that is sometimes used.

Perhaps the "overtones of authority" are there because the Pope had some sort of authority beyond a mere primacy of honor.

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peterfarrington: My parents are still both alive, thank God. But when they do pass away I will become, in some sense, the head of the family by being the eldest son. It seems to me that I could rightly be called the 'head of the family' but this does not mean in any sense whatsoever 'the ruler of the family'. My brothers and sisters will continue to be completely my equals in all things. I cannot interfere in their family lives. I cannot tell them what they should do. But I would have a responsibility and a duty to try to keep aware of what was happening with them, try to offer them help and support as they required it, try to keep the family together. But I would have no authority and no jurisdiction at all. Only the power and authority of love.

No offense, but I do not really see the applicability of this analogy.

How is your position in your family even remotely like that of the bishops of Rome within the Church?

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peterfarrington: I was reading the letters between St Cyril and Sixtus of Rome. And also those between Sixtus and John of Antioch who had been excommunicate. What is noteworthy is that Sixtus seems to have a much more equal relationship with St Cyril - as one would expect since St Cyril is a towering figure, than he does with John of Antioch for whom he pulls out all of the language of primacy.

He writes about the Council of Ephesus and says:

"Christ, our God, saw fit .... to arrange matters in such a way that he reserved the nature of so great a matter for the gathering of his bishops. The Apostles when gathered together in one group often dealt with matters concerning the faith; and now the successors of the Apostles, coming together in one group, give solemn thanks for the victory of faith."

and Sixtus speaks with words such as 'supporting', 'sustaining' 'approving' and 'confirming'.

and he writes to St Cyril in another letter saying:

"For the universal Church  owes you so much, that all are under your control, you who have conquered all men everywhere."

This seems to me to be the right exercise of the spiritual elder brotherhood. He is well aware that St Cyril needs to lectures from him. He is well aware that in his time it is St Cyril who is the great mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit. I can find no mention of headship, and even when he speaks of St Peter and the honour of his See, Sixtus is explicit that he is not Peter, but rather St Peter prays for him and his synod in Rome. There is no overblown sense of primacy - and the Scripture is plain 'he who would be first must be the servant of all'.

What sort of language should we expect Sixtus to use with Cyril?

Unless their exchange of letters includes a denial of the possession of a primacy of authority by the bishops of Rome, how can they be used to demonstrate that Sixtus held nothing more than a primacy of honor?

What of this portion of a letter from Pope Celestine I to St. Cyril?

"Wherefore, assuming to yourself the authority of our See, and using our stead and place with power, you will deliver this sentence with the utmost severity, that within ten days counted from the day of your notice, he [Nestorius] shall condemn in a written confession his evil teaching, and promise for the future to confess the faith concerning the birth of Christ our God which both the Church of Rome and that of your Holiness and the whole Christian religion preaches, forthwith your Holiness will provide for that church. And let him know that he is altogether removed from our body. We have written the same to our brothers and fellow-bishops, John, Rufus, and Flavian, whereby our judgment concerning him, yea, rather the divine judgment of Christ our Lord, may be manisfest."

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peterfarrington: John of Antioch had written to Sixtus and in his greeting had described him as "presiding in the Apostolic See for the welfare of the human race". John of Antioch was willing to eat plenty of humble pie at this point to restore communion but he does not go beyond what is proper. Sixtus does preside in the Apostolic See but he does not 'preside' over the whole Church in any jurisdictional sense. Rather, from his position as bishop of Rome, and only bishop of Rome, he has the care of an elder brother for the Church. he does not 'preside over the Church'.

Are you sure about that?

Sixtus did not preside at least in some sense?

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peterfarrington: John of Antioch describes Sixtus as a light-bearer for the Church, but Sixtus turns the compliment around and says that John, like all the faithful bishops, is now also a light-bearer.

Sixtus, like St Gregory seems to appreciate the 'elder brotherhood' of the Church of Rome.

This is a primacy i can accept as being consistent with Orthodox ecclesiology.

The fact that St. Sixtus was not overbearing does not mean he held no authority.

Many men in authority have been self-effacing and polite.

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peterfarrington: But again, when and if I become the 'head of the family' what is the content of my ministry? I am not convinced it can be written down. It is clear what it is not, and the heart knows when it is being exercised. Pope Sixtus never writes to St Cyril complaining that Alexandrian liturgical practices must always be in uniformity with his own, as Leo of Rome does.

Sixtus may have felt that latitude in liturgical practice was okay.

I still do not see how the unofficial headship within your family is the same as the primacy enjoyed by the bishops of Rome.

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peterfarrington:I find the very terms 'headship' and 'primacy' to have been tainted by a too many centuries of wrong ecclesiology. They can hardly be used without some reference to jurisdiction, and the Pope of Rome has no jurisdiction at all, as St Photius makes clear. But I believe after reading what we have been posting, that 'elder brotherhood' is a sense of what is in accord with Orthodox ecclesiology.

You are right about the taint on the words "headship" and "primacy."

As soon as one attempts to assert that the Bishop of Rome was the Head of the visible Church, anti-Romanism rears its ugly head and all sorts of motives are imputed to those arguing for that historic headship or primacy.

I don't believe this statement - "the Pope of Rome has no jurisdiction at all, as St Photius makes clear" - is true at all.

Is that what St. Photius, who died in communion with Rome, said?

I am not sure how much "jurisdiction" that popes had, but I am fairly certain it was more than "no jurisdiction at all."

Unfortunately, I have run out of time this morning and will have to wait to address the rest of your post.



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« Reply #271 on: December 15, 2003, 12:41:44 PM »

What do you mean by "complete silence"?

If you mean the absence of specific canons spelling out the Pope's powers in black-and-white, then you are right.

I do mean that.

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Don't you find it even a bit curious that appeals were addressed to the Roman church, and that here is an attempt to codify and control the process?

If one specific church is empowered to hear appeals from all over Christendom and to render final judgments, how is that consistent with a mere primacy of honor?

Appeal can also be shown to have been made to Constantinople, and to the Emperors. Usually appeals were sent widely to anyone who would listen.

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Even if that is the full extent of the Pope's powers - the right to act as the Supreme Appellate Court of the Church - that is certainly something more than a primacy of honor.  

Read the canons! They do not make Rome the Supreme Appelate Court - that is RC talk. They allow the Pope of Rome to ask the local bishops to reconsider the matter. That is not the same at all.

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Just the same, it is interesting that this canon does not specifically circumscribe or limit the Bishop of Rome. It merely asserts that each bishop is to administer his diocese and not to interfere unnecessarily in the dioceses of others.

That is an argument from silence. You are saying that a canon which limits the authority of all bishops doesn't mention the Pope of Rome by name and so does not apply. I am really not sure what you are trying to prove about the Pope of Rome?

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Certainly each diocese or region was not completely independent of the universal Church. If that was the case, then Nestorius could never have been branded a heretic and deposed, since he was the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The teaching of the Orthodox Church is surely that an ecumenical council has some powers to intervene in such cases. What is clear is that no one bishop has, including the Pope of Rome.

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Just the same, "head" is the word that is sometimes used.

Perhaps the "overtones of authority" are there because the Pope had some sort of authority beyond a mere primacy of honor.

Show me where he was allowed any authority in the East. That is, show me where the bishops believed that A should happen but did B because the Pope commanded.

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How is your position in your family even remotely like that of the bishops of Rome within the Church?

That is what worries me about the position you seem to be taking. It doesn't seem analagous to a family at all, and therefore I do have difficulty accepting it. You keep returning to authority and power and that is against Orthodox ecclesiology.


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peterfarrington: John of Antioch had written to Sixtus and in his greeting had described him as "presiding in the Apostolic See for the welfare of the human race". John of Antioch was willing to eat plenty of humble pie at this point to restore communion but he does not go beyond what is proper. Sixtus does preside in the Apostolic See but he does not 'preside' over the whole Church in any jurisdictional sense. Rather, from his position as bishop of Rome, and only bishop of Rome, he has the care of an elder brother for the Church. he does not 'preside over the Church'.

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Are you sure about that?

I must admit that I do struggle to see any difference between your position and a moderate Roman Catholic one.

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I still do not see how the unofficial headship within your family is the same as the primacy enjoyed by the bishops of Rome.

Because you keep returning to authority and jurisdiction. Points which the patriarchs of your communion reject. i am surprised that you admitted you had still not read the encyclicals. How can you ignore the statements of your own church fathers exactly about this matter?

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As soon as one attempts to assert that the Bishop of Rome was the Head of the visible Church, anti-Romanism rears its ugly head and all sorts of motives are imputed to those arguing for that historic headship or primacy.

On what basis can you consider me an anti-Romanist? I'd have thought it was more important to be a pro-Orthodox but anti-polemicist. But your position is contrary to that of your patriarchs and bishops whose documents you have not read.

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I don't believe this statement - "the Pope of Rome has no jurisdiction at all, as St Photius makes clear" - is true at all.

Is that what St. Photius, who died in communion with Rome, said?

I'm doing some research on this now.

PT
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« Reply #272 on: December 15, 2003, 05:36:21 PM »

Father John Meyendorff was mentioned earlier. Here's his section on primacy. I don't see how it can be said to support the idea that the Pope of Rome is the exclusive successor of Peter, or has the primacy because he is the successor of Peter and not because he is bishop of the capital.

It is well worth reading. I have included the whole text including passages that might be seen to support the RC position as well as Father John's opposing arguments.

Father John writes:

"Most of the controversy which set Greek against Latin in the Middle Ages could have been solved easily if both churches had recognized a common authority able to solve the unavoidable differences created by divergent cultures and historical situations. Unfortunately, behind the various doctrinal, disciplinary, and liturgical disputes stood an ecclesiological dichotomy. Any historian today would recognize that the medieval papacy was the result of a long doctrinal and institutional development in which the Eastern Church had either no opportunity or no desire to participate. Orthodox and Roman Catholics still argue whether this development was legitimate from the point of view of Christian revelation.

The reformed papacy of the eleventh century used a long-standing Western tradition of exegesis when it applied systematically and legalistically the passages on the role of Peter (especially Mt 16:18, Lk 22:32, and Jn 21:15-17) to the bishop of Rome. This tradition was not shared by the East, yet it was not totally ignored by the Byzantines, some of whom used it occasionally, especially in documents addressed to Rome and intended to win the popes' sympathy. But it was never given an ultimate theological significance. The personal role of Peter as the "rock" upon which the Church was built was readily recognized by Byzantine ecclesiastical writers. Only late polemicists, systematically anti-Latin, tended to diminish it; but this was not the case among the most enlightened of the Byzantine theologians. Thus, according to Photius, Peter is "the chief of the apostolic choir, and has been established as the rock of the Church and is proclaimed by the Truth to be keybearer of the Kingdom of Heaven." 15 Numerous passages, similar to that of Photius, can be found in Byzantine ecclesiastical literature and hymnography. Their true significance, however, cannot be understood apart from more general presuppositions on the nature of the Christian faith and the manner of its preservation and continuity in the Church.

Origen, the common source of patristic exegetical tradition, commenting on Matthew 16:18, interprets the famous logion as Jesus' answer to Peter's confession: Simon became the "rock" on which the Church is founded because he expressed the true belief in the divinity of Christ. Origen continues: "If we also say 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' then we also become Peter . . . for whoever assimilates to Christ, becomes rock. Does Christ give the keys of the kingdom to Peter alone, whereas other blessed people cannot receive them?" 16 According to Origen, therefore, Peter is no more than the first "believer," and the keys he received opened the gates of heaven to him alone: if others want to follow, they can "imitate" Peter and receive the same keys. Thus the words of Christ have a soteriological, but not an institutional, significance. They only affirm that the Christian faith is the faith expressed by Peter on the road to Caesarea Philippi. In the whole body of patristic exegesis, this is the prevailing understanding of the "Petrine" logia, and it remains valid in Byzantine literature. In the twelfth-century Italo-Greek homilies attributed to Theophanes Kerameus, one can still read: "The Lord gives the keys to Peter and to all those who resemble him, so that the gates of the Kingdom of heaven remain closed for the heretics, yet are easily accessible to the faithful." 17 Thus, when he spoke to Peter, Jesus was underlining the meaning of the faith as the foundation of the Church, rather than organizing the Church as guardian of the faith. The whole ecclesiological debate between East and West is thus reducible to the issue of whether the faith depends on Peter, or Peter on the faith. The issue becomes clear when one compares the two concepts of the succession of Peter.

If many Byzantine ecclesiastical writers follow Origen in recognizing this succession in each believer, others have a less individualistic view of Christianity; they understand that the faith can be fully realized only in the sacramental community, where the bishop fulfills, in a very particular way, Christ's ministry of teaching and, thus, preserves the faith. In this sense, there is a definite relationship between Peter, called by Christ to "strengthen his brethren" (Lk 22:32), and the bishop, as guardian of the faith in his local church, The early Christian concept, best expressed in the third century by Cyprian of Carthage, 18 according to which the "see of Peter" belongs, in each local church, to the bishop, remains the longstanding and obvious pattern for the Byzantines. Gregory of Nyssa, for example, can write that Jesus "through Peter gave to the bishops the keys of heavenly honors." 19 Pseudo-Dionysius, when he mentions the "hierarchs"-i.e., the bishops of the earthly Church-refers immediately to the image of Peter. 20 Examples taken from the later period, and quite independent of anti-Latin polemics, can easily be multiplied. Peter's succession is seen wherever the right faith is preserved, and, as such, it cannot be localized geographically or monopolized by a single church or individual. It is only natural, therefore, that the Byzantine will fail to understand the developed medieval concept of Roman primacy. Thus, in the thirteenth century, shortly after the capture of Constantinople by the Crusaders ( 1204), we can read Nicholas Mesarites, addressing the Latins:

You try to present Peter as the teacher of Rome alone. While the divine Fathers spoke of the promise made to him by the Savior as having a catholic meaning and as referring to all those who believed and believe, you force yourself into a narrow and false interpretation, ascribing it to Rome alone. If this were true, it would be impossible for every church of the faithful, and not only that of Rome, to possess the Savior properly, and for each church to be founded on the rock, i.e., on the doctrine of Peter, in conformity with the promise. 21

Obviously, this text of Mesarites' implies a concept of the Church which recognizes the fullness of catholicity in each local church, in the sense in which the Apostolic Fathers could speak, for example, of the "catholic church sojourning in Corinth." Catholicity, and therefore also truth and apostolicity, thus become God-given attributes belonging to each sacramental, Eucharist-centered community possessing a true episcopate, a true Eucharist, and, therefore, an authentic presence of Christ. The idea that one particular church would have, in a full theological sense, more capacity than another to preserve the faith of Peter was foreign to the Byzantines. Consensus of bishops, and not the authority of one particular bishop, was for them the highest possible sign of truth. Hence their constant insistence on the authority of the councils and their inability to understand the Roman concept of the papacy. It is not, however, that the very idea of primacy was foreign to the Byzantines; but they generally understood it as a matter for conciliar legislation, not as a God-given function of a particular church.

One important difference between eastern and western attitudes deserves particular emphasis. . . . The idea of apostolicity played a very limited role in the development of the Church in the eastern provinces, but . . . Rome owed its prestige in Italy and in other western provinces . . . to the veneration in which young Christian communities of the West held St. Peter . . . whose successors the Roman bishops claimed to be. 22

Historians have often cited the fact that Rome was the only local church of the West which could claim "apostolic" foundation and attract pilgrimages ad limina apostolorum. In the East, innumerable cities, or lesser localities, could authentically attribute their foundation to Peter, Paul, John, Andrew, or other Apostles. These various "apostolicities" did not entail any jurisdictional claims: the bishop of Jerusalem was still, in the fourth century, only a suffragan of the metropolitan of Caesarea, the civil capital of Palestine.

When the Council of Nicaea, in its famous Canon 6, vaguely mentioned the "ancient customs" which recognized an exceptional prestige to the churches of Alexandria, Antioch, and Rome, the selection of these particular churches was determined not by their apostolic foundation, but by the fact that they were located in the most important cities of the empire.

For if apostolicity were the criterion, as later Western interpretations insist, the position of Alexandria, purported to have been founded by a minor apostolic figure, Mark, could not be greater than Antioch's, where Peter's presence is attested by the New Testament.

The East remained pragmatic in its definition of universal or local primacies among the churches, and this attitude made conflict inevitable as soon as Rome recognized an absolute and dogmatic significance to the "apostolic" criterion of primacy. Actually, in the Byzantine Empire, "pragmatism" meant adjustment to the structure of the state, and this adjustment explains the text of Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon:

The Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the imperial city. And one hundred and fifty most religious bishops [of Constantinople, 381], actuated by the same considerations, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of new Rome, justly judging that the city, which is honored with the presence of the emperor and the senate and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should, in ecclesiastical matters also, be magnified as she is and rank next after her.

This text was in no way meant to suppress the prestige of Rome (it was directed against the pretentions of Dioscorus of Alexandria, whom the Council of Chalcedon deposed); but it certainly excluded the "Petrine" interpretation of Roman primacy, and

was in conformity with the logical development of ecclesiastical organisms in the Byzantine period which, since the era of Constantine, had admitted the principle that ecclesiastical administration coincided with the secular structure of the Empire. 23

As we have seen above, the succession of Peter was considered to be involved in the episcopal office present in every church, and was envisaged as a responsibility in which any "successor of Peter," including the bishop of Rome, could fail. A theologian of the fifteenth century, Symeon of Thessalonica, could thus write:

One should not contradict the Latins when they say that the bishop of Rome is the first. This primacy is not harmful to the Church. Let them only prove his faithfulness to the faith of Peter and to that of the succes. sors of Peter. If it is so. let him enjoy all the privileges of Peter. . . . "





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« Reply #273 on: December 15, 2003, 06:44:16 PM »

Polycarp,

It's odd that you think acknowledging the Primacy of the Pope entails becoming Roman Catholic. Linus, like myself, has been vouching for Papal Primacy, not the distortions of it (papal infallibility or universal jurisdiction.)
I was just kiding him. I'm for reunification too. AS you must have seen in my posts.
Peace,
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« Reply #274 on: December 15, 2003, 07:12:29 PM »

Polycarp,

Next time put a smiley after your quote  Grin

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« Reply #275 on: December 15, 2003, 07:42:04 PM »

We need to keep in mind that St. Photius did recognize limits to Pope Nicholas' prerogatives - it was when the latter overstepped his Canonical privileges that Constantinople protested, resulting in the Pope's anathematization by the Council convoked at Constantinople. This was before the Emperor hostile to St. Photius came to power (Basil).

Let me ask you all how you define "universal jurisdiction." This quote to me basically sums up how the Latins understood the term and put it into practice:  

"...he [the Bishop of Rome] shall have the supremacy as well over the four chief seats Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople* and Jerusalem, as also over all the churches of God in the -whole world. And he who for the time being shall be pontiff of that holy Roman church shall be more exalted than, and chief over, all the priests of the whole world; and, according to his judgment, everything which is to be provided for the service of God or the stability of the faith of the Christians is to be administered."

...and as it appears in its official documents, which may be said to be harmonious with the above quote:

"For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (CCC, #882.)


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« Reply #276 on: December 15, 2003, 08:12:37 PM »

I have a question related to the Pope's jurisdiction and power. I read on a traditional Catholic discussion group that it is in the Pope's powers to suppress all the Eastern Catholic Churches and make them all adopt Roman Catholicism if he saw fit. I don't believe this would ever happen, but does anyone know if he would be able to do this?

In Christ,
Anthony

We need to keep in mind that St. Photius did recognize limits to Pope Nicholas' prerogatives - it was when the latter overstepped his Canonical privileges that Constantinople protested, resulting in the Pope's anathematization by the Council convoked at Constantinople. This was before the Emperor hostile to St. Photius came to power (Basil).

Let me ask you all how you define "universal jurisdiction." This quote to me basically sums up how the Latins understood the term and put it into practice:  

"...he [the Bishop of Rome] shall have the supremacy as well over the four chief seats Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople* and Jerusalem, as also over all the churches of God in the -whole world. And he who for the time being shall be pontiff of that holy Roman church shall be more exalted than, and chief over, all the priests of the whole world; and, according to his judgment, everything which is to be provided for the service of God or the stability of the faith of the Christians is to be administered."

...and as it appears in its official documents, which may be said to be harmonious with the above quote:

"For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (CCC, #882.)



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« Reply #277 on: December 16, 2003, 06:23:19 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

As an Orthodox Christian I think the issue is not what the  Papacy used to be, but rather what does Rome want it to be now?  I think this is important in ecumenical dialogue.  If Rome wants to chuck the ultra-montane model, then discussing that model is a waste of time, unless you have ALOT of time; which most of us layfolk do not Wink

Rome, I believe, is trying/struggling to reform the Papacy on the basis of a pre-medieval model of conciliarity and episcopal equality.  The patristic theological position that the Pope of Rome is a 'Judge in Israel' and a locus of decision when matters in Council Ecumenical are either undecided or are teetering in one direction or other is a model that would have to be fully regained if Rome desires union amongst the other theological issues.  The Pope after union would also retain the historical qualification as First Patriarch amongst Patriarchates.  If the Pope and His Patriarchate are reconciled to the other Patriarchates and Autocephalous Metropolitan Churches then I am sure the other Patriarchates/ Metropolitan Churches would concede to restore His Holiness' ancient prerogotives.  But this would necessarily happen in a Ecumenical Pan-Orthodox Synod or Great Council if you will.  Which as some Orthodox have stated tongue-in-cheek this Great and Holy Council will probably occur right before the Second Parousia Smiley

Before union occurs Orthodox have to work out the problem of not having enought centralized leadership and the Latins and their brethren sui juris have to work out the problem of having enough centralized leadership.  Orthodox who are honest will recocgnize that we are in desperate need of leadership to unite us administratively and Catholics, Eastern and Latin, are trying to give more power and governing authority to their Metropolitans and Patriarchs.

When I was Ruthenian Catholic it was a constant fudge that we were tired of Rome's interference with our Metropolia, but a convienent perusal of Eastern Church history shows that most Churches had to TAKE autocephaly, they did not receive it by asking for it or by being nice.  And the question has to be asked does the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Church sui juris even desire autocephaly or does it want to continue to be a yes man. Autocephaly will be it's life.  Again it will take Bishops with the inner integrity and passion to get autocephaly by taking it and forcing Rome to concede.  That goes for the Orthodox in America as well.  All of the canonical, forgive the use of the word, Orthodox Metropolitans will have to get together and create a new united Jurisdiction with or without the permission of the Mother Churches namely Antioch and Constantinopolis since the Russian Patriarchate is de facto supportive of Orthodox independence in America.  If they give permission great, but that cannot stop unity regardless of the pain.  Our witness as Orthodox in America is so poor now because of our dis-unity that we often fall into poor polemics or contantly quote: "Where the bishop is there is the Catholic Church" while ignoring Christ's High Priestly Prayer that we may all be one.  Orthodoxy is not a reductionist religious system.  Going back 1500 years to start the Church over again is neither an Orthodox nor a Papal principle.  We must start were we are and develop and adapt old systems of administration according to our current situation as Church.  The Medieval Papal system doesn't work anymore and neither does the Monarchial model in Orthodoxy.  We no longer have the Emperor or an Orthodox nation as Byzantium to support the Church.  There is no longer a Czar.  And we can no longer let Muslims, speaking of the JP, choose our Church leaders for us.  The new form of administration will be created as an act of the Holy Spirit and we must pray for leaders who will be able to create and develop structures for such.

In the Pantokrator,


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« Reply #278 on: December 16, 2003, 06:44:34 AM »

Before union occurs Orthodox have to work out the problem of not having enought centralized leadership and the Latins and their brethren sui juris have to work out the problem of having enough centralized leadership.  Orthodox who are honest will recocgnize that we are in desperate need of leadership to unite us administratively and Catholics, Eastern and Latin, are trying to give more power and governing authority to their Metropolitans and Patriarchs.

I don't think the jurisdictional issues require a Pope though. They require conciliar action to just get on and get them sorted.

PT
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« Reply #279 on: December 16, 2003, 07:04:03 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

Right, PT, these issues need to be worked out each seperately in each camp.

It is interesting that an earlier post mentioned: 'what if we established an Orthodox juridical presence in Rome and created a Diocese would that Bishop be the Pope of Rome and restored Patriarch of the West' (paraphrase).  Well I don't think Constantinople would like that too much Grin  the EP likes it cushy primacy it wouldn't like to give it up to some upstart Diocese.  

And in regard to whether or not Rome could liquidate the Eastern/Oriental Catholic sui juris Churches.  Canonically speaking yes, because he is actually above the Canons, but pastorally he would be up a creek if he did and would greatly increase the number of converts to Orthodoxy Wink
But, yes there is currently no limit to the juridical powers of the Roman Pontiff and theoretically speaking he could do it, but he would probably be declared a nutjob and conveniently spirited off to a monastery somewhere.

In St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre,


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« Reply #280 on: December 16, 2003, 07:36:04 AM »

It is interesting that an earlier post mentioned: 'what if we established an Orthodox juridical presence in Rome and created a Diocese would that Bishop be the Pope of Rome and restored Patriarch of the West' (paraphrase).  Well I don't think Constantinople would like that too much Grin  the EP likes it cushy primacy it wouldn't like to give it up to some upstart Diocese.

Well actually...

Quote
The Holy Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy and Exarchate of Southern Europe, which includes the Greek Orthodox communities, brotherhoods and parishes of the Republic of Italy was created on 5 November 1991 by a Patriarchal and Synodical Tomos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

The creation of the Archdiocese was the first canonical act of the newly elected Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (22 October 1991).

From here.

There are also Russian, Bulgarian, Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox churches in Rome itself. I don't have any information at hand regarding Orthodox communities throughout Italy though. I presume they exist.

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« Reply #281 on: December 16, 2003, 07:46:21 AM »

Slava Isusu Hristu!

But that Metropolia is not a autocephalic body and it is really just an extension of the EP.  I am talking rather about the establishment of an autocephalous Orthodox Church in Rome.  Really, the reason there never was an attempt to re-establish an Orthodox Western Patriarchate after the Great Schism was  that the EP would have to concede to a Patriarchate that had a position of honor higher than itself however symbolic, and that would not happen Roll Eyes  How unfortunate!

In Christ,

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« Reply #282 on: December 16, 2003, 09:23:17 AM »

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peterfarrington: I must admit that I do struggle to see any difference between your position and a moderate Roman Catholic one.

When have I advocated papal infallibility and monarchy?

Quote
peterfarrington: Because you keep returning to authority and jurisdiction. Points which the patriarchs of your communion reject. i am surprised that you admitted you had still not read the encyclicals. How can you ignore the statements of your own church fathers exactly about this matter?

I HAVE read them. I did not say I had not read them. I said that I had not gotten around to revisiting them and examining them more closely.

Excuse me, but since when have patriarchs of the mid to late 19th century been regarded as "church fathers"?

Some portions of the encyclicals you quoted contradict the writings of the actual Church Fathers.

Am I to disregard what was said by them so that I may adopt your understanding of a couple of 19th-century encyclicals?

Are you advocating infallibility for those who signed those encyclicals? Are you maintaining that any encyclical must be fully believed and accepted by the Orthodox faithful?

Quote
Linus7:  
As soon as one attempts to assert that the Bishop of Rome was the Head of the visible Church, anti-Romanism rears its ugly head and all sorts of motives are imputed to those arguing for that historic headship or primacy.

Quote
peterfarrington: On what basis can you consider me an anti-Romanist? I'd have thought it was more important to be a pro-Orthodox but anti-polemicist. But your position is contrary to that of your patriarchs and bishops whose documents you have not read.

I did not accuse you of being an anti-Romanist.

I read the encyclicals from your posts. I never said I did not.

My position is contrary to the portions of a pair of 19th-century encyclicals that seem to contradict what the early Fathers of the Church wrote concerning the Petrine succession of the bishops of Rome, and the authority of St. Peter among the Apostles.

That's not quite the same thing as "your position is contrary to that of your patriarchs and bishops whose documents you have not read."

If I read the Fathers and the councils and they say, A, I will believe A.

It will take a lot more than a pair of 19th-century encyclicals, portions of which seem to say Not A, to convince me otherwise.

I would say your position is contrary to that of the early Church Fathers - among whom are quite a few popes - and the records of the ecumenical councils.

Have you read the many many passages of theirs that I and others have posted?

Are we to ignore those because they suit us less than a pair of obscure 19th-century encyclicals?

This thread is frustrating for me because I obviously do not have the free time to spend on it that some of you others have.


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« Reply #283 on: December 16, 2003, 09:30:06 AM »

Hey it's frustrating for me too because I am sounding much more contrary to your position than I mean to be but I don't have time to write a thesis either. :-)

But I am surprised that you think that encyclicals signed by the EO Patriarchs have little authority? I thought that the bishops are the teaching authority in the Church? If they are wrong then how can this have passed unnoticed. I'm also not sure that the encyclicals could be called obscure - I found them straight away searching on the net.

Have you read Yves Congar on the subject or Fr John Meyendorff? I'm working my way through Congar. He is much more in between both of us but suggests that the East and West had different positions but the East allowed Rome her honour until it actually meant that it had any effect in the East. It's way too long to post but well worth a read since it is not pro my position nor pro your own but somewhere in between.

PT
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« Reply #284 on: December 16, 2003, 09:36:36 AM »

Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon:

The Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the imperial city. And one hundred and fifty most religious bishops [of Constantinople, 381], actuated by the same considerations, gave equal privileges to the most holy throne of new Rome, justly judging that the city, which is honored with the presence of the emperor and the senate and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should, in ecclesiastical matters also, be magnified as she is and rank next after her.


I see this canon as stating the position of Rome and Constantinople clearly.
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« Reply #285 on: December 16, 2003, 09:51:40 AM »


Origen, the common source of patristic exegetical tradition, commenting on Matthew 16:18, interprets the famous logion as Jesus' answer to Peter's confession: Simon became the "rock" on which the Church is founded because he expressed the true belief in the divinity of Christ. Origen continues: "If we also say 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' then we also become Peter . . . for whoever assimilates to Christ, becomes rock. Does Christ give the keys of the kingdom to Peter alone, whereas other blessed people cannot receive them?" 16 According to Origen, therefore, Peter is no more than the first "believer," and the keys he received opened the gates of heaven to him alone: if others want to follow, they can "imitate" Peter and receive the same keys. Thus the words of Christ have a soteriological, but not an institutional, significance. They only affirm that the Christian faith is the faith expressed by Peter on the road to Caesarea Philippi. In the whole body of patristic exegesis, this is the prevailing understanding of the "Petrine" logia, and it remains valid in Byzantine literature. In the twelfth-century Italo-Greek homilies attributed to Theophanes Kerameus, one can still read: "The Lord gives the keys to Peter and to all those who resemble him, so that the gates of the Kingdom of heaven remain closed for the heretics, yet are easily accessible to the faithful." 17 Thus, when he spoke to Peter, Jesus was underlining the meaning of the faith as the foundation of the Church, rather than organizing the Church as guardian of the faith. The whole ecclesiological debate between East and West is thus reducible to the issue of whether the faith depends on Peter, or Peter on the faith. The issue becomes clear when one compares the two concepts of the succession of Peter.




I think this passage explains the whole matter of "the Rock" well.


If they keys were given to Peter and not to all who exhibit the same faith in Jesus Christ that he did, could this be considered a form of Gnosticism?  

By selecting Peter above all other men and giving him the keys because of his faith, it could imply that his faith is superior to other men's.  It could imply Peter has some special gift or knowledge that is unrevealed or set apart from the rest of the Church.

To me it all comes back to the primacy of Rome comes from its historical place as the capital of the Roman Empire and of the largest See in the West.  It was a great benefit to the Church in the early centuies that it was not heavily effected by the heresies from the East and held to Orthodoxy.  As time progressed and there was a lack of political power in the west, the Popes assumed more authority and influence.  

The Byzantine world was controlled by the triad of the Church, Emperor, and Army.  There were periods of time when one portion of the triad had more power than the others, but the currents would shift within a few generations.

Certainly the See of Rome deserves a primacy of honor, but no where the level of churchly authority it enjoys now.  A Synod of bishops and a Ecumenical Council with Jesus Christ as its head have that authority.
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« Reply #286 on: December 16, 2003, 11:42:24 AM »

Hey it's frustrating for me too because I am sounding much more contrary to your position than I mean to be but I don't have time to write a thesis either. :-)

But I am surprised that you think that encyclicals signed by the EO Patriarchs have little authority? I thought that the bishops are the teaching authority in the Church? If they are wrong then how can this have passed unnoticed. I'm also not sure that the encyclicals could be called obscure - I found them straight away searching on the net.

Have you read Yves Congar on the subject or Fr John Meyendorff? I'm working my way through Congar. He is much more in between both of us but suggests that the East and West had different positions but the East allowed Rome her honour until it actually meant that it had any effect in the East. It's way too long to post but well worth a read since it is not pro my position nor pro your own but somewhere in between.

PT


I have read some of what Meyendorff had to say. I would like to read more. I have not read Congar.

My impression of the 1895 encyclical is that it was attacking the doctrine of papal infallibility. The 1848 encyclical, however, seemed to me to go too far in its anti-papal polemic.

Personally, I am not sure how one is to regard an encyclical.

Obviously individual bishops - and even patriarchs - can err. Many were at one time Arian and no doubt issued their fair share of encyclicals, as well as holding all sorts of synods and councils. One of the most famous heretics of all time - Nestorius - was Patriarch of Constantinople.

I cannot read something like "there is no prerogative in St Peter over the other Apostles, least of all in his successors," and square that with the Fathers, the councils, or the New Testament. Such a statement sounds to me like a case of going too far to make a point against Rome.

This statement - "For Rome being then the center of the Imperial Province and the chief City, in which the Emperors lived, it was proper that any question of importance, as history shows that of the Corinthians to have been, should be decided there, especially if one of the contending parties ran thither for external aid: as is done even to this day" is no doubt true, but only in part.

Certainly Rome's position as the chief city and capital of the Empire was a factor. If the Fathers had not repeatedly said that the bishops of Rome were the successors of St. Peter and heads of the churches for that reason, one might think that their location in the capital was the cause of whatever primacy they enjoyed. But the bishops of Rome were Peter's successors, and whatever primacy they had was based not merely upon their location but upon the Lord's words to St. Peter.

I am not advocating the full-blown, modern notion of the papacy.

My opinion - and I am far from finished studying this issue - is that the early popes held something more than a mere primacy of honor but something far less than complete and absolute monarchical authority and jursidiction.

I am also convinced that St. Peter was the chief of the Apostles and that the bishops of Rome were his successors.
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« Reply #287 on: December 17, 2003, 08:22:41 AM »

Quote
I have a question related to the Pope's jurisdiction and power. I read on a traditional Catholic discussion group that it is in the Pope's powers to suppress all the Eastern Catholic Churches and make them all adopt Roman Catholicism if he saw fit. I don't believe this would ever happen, but does anyone know if he would be able to do this?

In Christ,
Anthony

Tony,

Maybe you should pose this question to several of the EWTN experts, they would give you an accurate and more well-informed answer than any of us.  It would be interesting to know what they say.
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« Reply #288 on: December 17, 2003, 11:15:07 AM »

I have tried to follow this thread on the twenty preceding pages and on the Nature board and am struck with several points I need to make.
1)   I do not doubt that Christ appointed Peter to be “chief” of the apostles and given with great authority so stated.
2)   I do doubt that Christ stated anything (despite wishes by some that He did or guesses as to what He meant) regarding Peter’s successors.
3)   I do not doubt that the Church (repeat, the Church) afforded this primal office in some degree to Peter’s successors AND that that jurisdiction and reach of the office was not permanently (or even consistently) defined, this being subject to the definition by the Church (all bishops).
4)   I have no doubt that the undivided Church enjoyed this view of papal authority until such time as the bishops of Rome overstepped acceptable bounds which actions resulted in schism and that the Orthodox Church would still ACCEPT the early role of Peter’s successors today should the Pope of Roman bring his flock back to Orthodoxy theologically and accept the original role as defined by the equal bishops.

I realize that my friend Linus7 may have a hard time handling my points and so, let me add that he is fond of using a “corporate” analogy to the Church in governance. As I have spent my entire career in the private sector, and have sat on corporate boards of directors in the past (and still advise one today), I think it analogous that the CEOs (read: popes) in my company ran the company (rule with great leeway in operations and management of the executives), but this office is clearly empowered with its great purview by the Board of Directors (read: bishops in council) and, yes, the CEO is on the board but his actions are proscribed and authority defined by the whole Board. {Ultimately the stockholders (read: faithful) is really where “the buck stops”, but this analogy breaks down here with rare exception such as the rejection of Florence.}
I fear too much of this discussion is devolving into “winning the point” rather than some higher purpose.
The major logical breakdown here is assuming that Christ made provision for Peter’s successors. No amount of quotations from the saints presented from either side will convince me that 1) Christ explicitly defined successive authority after Peter, 2) that the undivided Church’s view of succeeding authority was defined in any manner other than the Church itself in “council”, and 3) that the role of the succeeding bishops of Rome was not based in authority as defined, given and accepted by the Church.
SO, this entire exercise has confirmed my read of history and the correct thinking of the Orthodox communions (both of them). I sympathize with those who don’t like how the Church governs itself but am very secure in the Orthodox position. In fact, I feel even better, and so the exercise has not been time wasted.

Demetri
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« Reply #289 on: December 17, 2003, 11:20:44 AM »

I agree with 90% or more of what is posted in this thread, including that in Linus7's posts.

But I feel I am generating more heat than light so I will try to shut up on the subject from now on until I have read some more and it surfaces as a fresh thread rather than this rather tired one.

Best wishes to all participants

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #290 on: December 17, 2003, 04:58:47 PM »

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Aristokles: I fear too much of this discussion is devolving into “winning the point” rather than some higher purpose.

Probably true, and I am as much or more at fault than anyone.

I really do not think I know it all when it comes to the true and proper role of the Bishop of Rome.

The only things I really feel sure about in this regard are that 1) St. Peter was in some sense the Rock and Chief of the Apostles; 2) the early Church regarded the bishops of Rome as Peter's successors; and 3) the bishops of Rome enjoyed something more than a mere primacy of honor.

I do not know what the extent of that "something more" (in item #3 above) was.

I have a lot yet to learn, and it would probably be for the best if I follow peterfarrington's example and bow out of this thread (for now, anyway).
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« Reply #291 on: December 19, 2003, 02:13:13 AM »

Augustine has already told us what is meant by the Lord in Matt 16:18.  As a Latin Dr of the church, I think what he says carries some weight, no?
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« Reply #292 on: December 19, 2003, 06:10:43 PM »

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Augustine has already told us what is meant by the Lord in Matt 16:18.  As a Latin Dr of the church, I think what he says carries some weight, no?


Even Doctors of the Church go wrong sometimes. Smiley
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« Reply #293 on: December 19, 2003, 06:12:39 PM »

Quote
I have a question related to the Pope's jurisdiction and power. I read on a traditional Catholic discussion group that it is in the Pope's powers to suppress all the Eastern Catholic Churches and make them all adopt Roman Catholicism if he saw fit. I don't believe this would ever happen, but does anyone know if he would be able to do this?

In Christ,
Anthony

The Holy Father's jurisdiction is universal. On the other hand, relations with the Eastern Churches have kind of been a priority since Vatican II.
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« Reply #294 on: December 19, 2003, 06:57:15 PM »

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Even Doctors of the Church go wrong sometimes.

Except the Popes  Tongue

80% of the Fathers were wrong?
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« Reply #295 on: December 19, 2003, 07:00:44 PM »

So are you saying the Pope does have the authority to suppress all the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome and make them adopt the Roman rite, if he wanted to?

In Christ,
Anthony

Quote
I have a question related to the Pope's jurisdiction and power. I read on a traditional Catholic discussion group that it is in the Pope's powers to suppress all the Eastern Catholic Churches and make them all adopt Roman Catholicism if he saw fit. I don't believe this would ever happen, but does anyone know if he would be able to do this?

In Christ,
Anthony

The Holy Father's jurisdiction is universal. On the other hand, relations with the Eastern Churches have kind of been a priority since Vatican II.
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« Reply #296 on: December 20, 2003, 05:35:50 PM »

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Even Doctors of the Church go wrong sometimes.

Except the Popes  Tongue

80% of the Fathers were wrong?

80%? My dear byzantino! What hat did you pull that statistic out of?  :-

Do you think that, by merely producing bogus statistics out of thin air, you can convince (and cow) the rest of us? I would hope that the readers of this board aren't that gullible.  Grin

Can you produce the slighest substantiation for your claim that 80% of the Fathers claimed Peter was NOT the Rock?

Indeed, can you cite even one ECF who explicitly stated: "The Rock is NOT Peter"?

Even the famous quote from Augustine's Retractationes--cited somewhere else in this thread--does not say that the Rock is not Peter. Augustine ends this passage by frankly admitting that his earlier writings named Peter as the Rock--a fact, BTW, that our Augustine-Citer on this board conveniently overlooks  Tongue--and then goes on to say: "Which of the interpretations is better, let the reader decide." (Of course, our Augustine-Citer fails to include that, too.Smiley)

Most of the Fathers could entertain two or more interpretations of a Scriptural text at the same time without seeing any contradiction therein. That's why they could interpret the Rock as Peter (the foundational interpretation--the one based most literally on what Matthew 16:18 actually says) and also interpret the Rock as Peter's faith or confession (an ancillary interpretation, less directly related to what the Biblical text actually says). For the Fathers, Peter's person was inextricably bound up with his faith and confession--one cannot separate his person from his faith or confession. So it's perfectly reasonable to see that Peter is the Rock and his faith/confession is also the Rock. Nonetheless, for the majority of the Fathers--as documented by numerous scholars--the basic, literal, foundational interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is that Peter is the Rock. This stands to reason, since "Rock" (Kepha/Cephas) is quite clearly what Jesus CALLED Peter, not only in Matthew but also in John's Gospel. One really has to twist Scripture into a pretzel in order to force it to say otherwise!

As the Eastern Orthodox Menaion for June 30 so eloquently puts it:

Quote
Peter, it is right to call you the rock!
The Lord established the unshaken faith of the Church on you.
He made you the chief shepherd of his reasonable sheep.
He has entrusted you with the keys of the heavenly gates.
In His goodness, He commanded you to open to all who draw near in faith.

We Papists couldn't have put it better ourselves. Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

Here are a few websites that provide some of the patristic support for Peter-qua-Rock. I can also recommend some books (those paper things between covers) that provide even more extensively detailed and documented support....

http://users.stargate.net/~elcore/kephas.htm

http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/papacy/wlist.html

Here's another Augustine quote, just to stir the pot:

Quote
Augustine (Numidia, now Algeria, 354 - 430 AD), Letters, No 53
For, if the order of succession of Bishops is to be considered, how much more surely, truly and safely do we number them from Peter, to whom, as representing the whole Church, the Lord said: "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16:18). For, to Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus Clement, to Clement Anacletus, to Anacletus Evaristus ...

And here are a few irenic Eastern views on the subject:

Quote
The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is an indisputable historical fact. No scientific or ecclesiastical value can be attached to the attempts of anti-papal critics to cast doubt upon this evident truth...."
      -- Basil Moustaksis (Greek Orthodox), Vers l'Unite' Chretienne, April 1960

"[F]or the Patriarch Photius, as for the later Byzantine theologians, the polemical argument artificially opposing Peter to his confession did not exist. By confessing his faith in the divinity of the Savior, Peter became the Rock of the Church. The Council of 879-80, which followed the reconciliation between Photius and John VIII, went even so far as to proclaim: "The Lord placed him at the head of all Churches, saying, 'Feed My sheep.'"
     --  Father Jean Meyendorff in The Primacy of Peter, St. Vladimir's Press, 1992

"We may conclude that the early Church Fathers and Christian writers recognized Peter's position of honor and preeminence in the New testament period. He was the spokesman for the group of the twelve, the leader, the shepherd, and the martyr. Their interpretation of Jesus' promise to Peter -- 'You are 'Petros,' and on this 'petra' I will build My Church' -- converge with those of modern exegetes: the rock is Peter."
     -- Veselin Kesich, Professor Emeritus of New Testament at St. Vladimir's Seminary, also writing in The Primacy of Peter

"This primatus, this principatus, of the apostle Peter is not a temporary but permanent institution. He governs the Church visibly through his successor. The relation borne by Roman bishops to St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles, is a close reproduction, in its depths and in all it involves, of the consortium potentiae of St. peter with Christ....In the same way the whole construction of the Church reproduces, according to Leo the Great, the diversity of the relations that existed among the Apostles. Though all were chosen equally, there was not equality of authority amongst them; so in the same way the Bishops, equal amongst themselves in sacerdotal dignity, are not so in canonical rights, nor are they equal in their participation in the Government of the Church. This administration over all the Churches is incumbent upon the Bishop of Rome, principaliter, ex jure divino [principally, by divine right]....The episcopatus universalis [universal bishopric] of the sobvereign pontiff of Rome, as taught by St. Leo the Great, does not exclude the equality of the hierarchy, that is to say, the sacramental equality, but only the plenitudo potestatis (the fullness of power]....[In the teaching of St. Leo the Great] all the Roman prerogatives of supremacy are to be found, exactly as they have been since defined by the [First] Council of the Vatican."
     -- V.V. Bolotov (Russian Orthodox), Lektisii po Istorii drevnei Tserkvi, ed. Professor A. Brilliantov, St. Petersburg: 1913 (Emphasis added)

Now here's an Anglican scholar, just for good measure:

Quote
"The evidence...will show, we believe, that the Roman see was recognized as possessing from very early times, if not in fact from the beginning, an undoubted primacy in the sphere of doctrine, at least in the sense of a right to be heard in preference to others. Even those who would favor an ambiguous or even a negative verdict cannot forget the fragmentary nature of the evidence at our disposal, nor the extent to which, in this case as with many other historical problems, particularly of the first and second centuries, we are dependent on inference and reasonable conjecture. Equally, as we venture to believe, it will emerge that the primacy of jurisdiction...namely the right to act as supreme judge in matters of discipline, if not traceable as far back as the doctrinal primacy, is at least contemporary in respect of its development with the evolution of episcopal jurisdiction." -- Dr. Trevor Gervais Jalland (Anglican), The Church and the Papacy: An Historical Study, London: 1946.

Now, my dear, can you cite those 80% of ECFs who contradict these testimonies? You're the one who introduced the bogus 80% statistic, so it's incumbent on you, I think, to produce all 80%! Wink

God bless and good luck!

Merry Christmas!

ZT



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« Reply #297 on: December 20, 2003, 07:31:29 PM »

Well done Diane, you've quoted from all the sources that I use to support the argument that Peter IS the Rock!

FYI:

Quote
Indeed, can you cite even one ECF who explicitly stated: "The Rock is NOT Peter"?

I can, even though i disagree with him!:

St. Ambrose of Milan: "Faith is the foundation of the Church, for it was not of the person but of the faith of St. Peter that it was said that the gates of hell should not prevail against it; it is the confession of faith that has vanquished hell." (On the Incarnation)


Quote
80%? My dear byzantino! What hat did you pull that statistic out of?  

Do you think that, by merely producing bogus statistics out of thin air, you can convince (and cow) the rest of us? I would hope that the readers of this board aren't that gullible.


Jean de Launoy (1603-1678), French Roman Catholic scholar, conducted a survey which found that:

17 Fathers said the Rock was Peter,
44 said the Rock was Peter's confession,
16 said the Rock referred to Christ,
8 said the Rock represented all the Apostles.

You can do the math yourself. Bogus?

(Epistle VII., Opp. vol V., II, p.99)

Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis also used this against the proposed dogma of papal infallibility at the Vatican Council, but since he wasn't allowed to read his speech at the Council, he had it published in Naples.

(Friedrich, Docum. ad illust. Conc. Vat. I. pp. 185-246)


My arguments on this topic have been made clear elsewhere on this thread and on others. Read thru them before you attempt to respond.

Merry Christmas to you, i hope you've been a good little girl for Santa  Cheesy

Kind regards,

Byz

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« Reply #298 on: December 20, 2003, 11:33:25 PM »

Diane,

Quote
Even the famous quote from Augustine's Retractationes--cited somewhere else in this thread--does not say that the Rock is not Peter. Augustine ends this passage by frankly admitting that his earlier writings named Peter as the Rock--a fact, BTW, that our Augustine-Citer on this board conveniently overlooks  --and then goes on to say: "Which of the interpretations is better, let the reader decide." (Of course, our Augustine-Citer fails to include that, too.Smiley)

I will not bore you with a long list of patristic references to this subject... a slight smattering of which I have provided on this thread (and there are many more that I could provide).  Rather, I'd like to address the substance of all of these passages (including the ones Roman Catholics believe vindicate their ecclessiological claims).

It is not held that "Simon bar Jonah" is not in any sense to be identified with "the Rock" (goodness, his name was changed to this, that has to be of some significance!).  The difference lies in the why he was given this title, and it's significance.

According to the famous text from St.Matthew chapter 16, this name change (which is always significant in the Scriptures..."Abram" becomes "Abraham", "Jacob" becomes "Israel", etc.) is directly related to his confession of the true faith - in particular, that central revealed truth (along with the truth of the Holy Trinity...which one could argue is at least partially implied in St.Peter's confession), that Christ is the Theanthropos/"God-Man".

As far as the Holy Scriptures reveal St.Peter's "primacy" was wrapped up in his being "the first" (as St.Matthew's Gospel calls him).  For while his confession is given first it is not unique - it is that of the rest of the Apostles.  He is the first to proclaim the Holy Gospel after Pentecost - the first to give answer to the Church's enemies (when the Apostles are first arrested and gathered before the unbelieving Jews), etc.

This "firstness", both by pious custom and eventually enshrined in canonical order (which certainly did not envision any "universal" juristiction following from it - I challenge anyone to demonstrate otherwise from said Canons of the Ecumenical Councils...and I do not simply mean the infamous "28th Canon of Chalcedon" either), does not imply any fundamental inequality in powers or character of ministry - but rather a "firstness", precisely as the Scriptures say...and it was a firstness which at one time the Orthodox Church did not begrudge to the Popes of Old Rome.

However, from the same Scriptures, it is manifest that many other things read into this later on by the Latins, do not follow - that the Pope (or any Bishop) can claim universal juristiction over the Church Militant (effectively reducing all other Bishops to lieutenants, or extensions of his own ministry - a far cry from the relationship of St.Peter with the other Apostles), let alone any sort of personal infallibility.  While St.Peter once again fills that "first" role (as understood in Orthodoxy) at the Council of Jerusalem (by being the one who receives the special clarification of Christ, regarding the reception of gentiles into the Church and the real status of the Mosaic ordinances in the life of the Church), it is not he who actually chaired the Council - nor did he pontificate as if his views did not need the confirmation and acceptance of the brethren.  Rather, we read...

22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: ...
 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (Acts of the Apostles 15:22, 25)

This principle (ecumenicity) has been the guiding rule in the Church ever since - this is why genuine Ecumenical Synods always tried to have as many Bishops attend as possible, gain the approval of the major Patiarchal and Metropolitan See's in particular, and even can be said to have not become truly "ecumenical" until their assimilation/consent became a real part of the Church.  Such things are obviously hard to measure, in any clean cut way (which is I suppose the allure of the Papal ecclessiology) - but is it not true, even without such ultramontane ideals, the Church managed to assimilate only 7 Synods as being of unambiguously Ecumenical import (all the while it is definately true that there were others, going on during the same period, which were obviously intended to have such a status, but never "caught on" for some reason)?

Such is the voice of God - that which is "good unto us, assembled with one accord."

"Papism" then (understood as the undesirable ecclessiological teachings of the RCC) has no place in such an understanding, which is manifestly that of the Holy Scriptures, and the "undivided Christendom" which the Roman See once had a participation in.

So, as far as the Orthodox person is concerned, you cannot have "Peter" where "Peter's faith" is not present - for in the consciousness of the early Church, Rome's primacy and the reverence the Roman Church was held in, was undeniably linked to it's fidelity, and at least for a time, rather unspotted (though sadly, with some conspicuous exceptions) confession.

However, this is not the Rome which the rest of the Orthodox Church would eventually have to contend with - no longer "St.Peter's Church", but a body confessing a Triadology which departed significantly from that of the rest of the Church, and ecclessiological views which were simply out of step with the conciliarity which has always been "of the essence" in Orthodoxy (from the time of the Holy Apostles themselves.)

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« Reply #299 on: December 20, 2003, 11:47:27 PM »

Anthony,

Quote
So are you saying the Pope does have the authority to suppress all the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome and make them adopt the Roman rite, if he wanted to?

This is precisely what the doctrine of "universal juristiction" amounts to.  While it is pretty obvious that no one in Rome (whether it be John Paul II or any of his likely successors) has even a budding interest in supressing any of the "Eastern Rites" (particularly if they manage to get the Orthodox to enter some form of re-union with them), this would certainly be within Rome's "official" powers to do.

This is something the ecumenically minded need to understand about Rome as it currently stands - while they're doing their best to be as "liberal" as they can towards the Orthodox, they are not at all prepared to reneg on any of those pesky doctrines which the Orthodox cite as impediments towards union.  Thus, they may remain conspicuously silent about them, and even choose to not throw their weight around with them any time soon - but they have no intention of actually saying "ok, we goofed" and actually remove them from the books.  While I do not doubt there are some serious RC scholars who would like to see this happen (even if they do not say it publically), this is not the mind of the RC heirarchy.

Thus, when Orthodox hear phrases from John Paul II like "excercise the Petrine ministry in different ways", they should take that at face value; "Petrine ministry" meaning the Papacy with all of it's infallibist/juristictional powers in tact, but simply not "using them" to mess with the Easterners (at least any time soon!).

Thus, were a unia to be signed tommorow, I do not doubt that the Pope would basically agree to the Orthodox Churches remaining self governing in practically every respect - even give the Patriarchs (should they show any interest) the Cardinal's hat so as to have a say in what goes on in Rome (not to mention be able to wear the nifty red cassocks when they feel inclined); but in essence nothing has actually changed in the RCC's teaching.  If push ever came to shove, all would at least have to nominally/implicitly agree, the Pope could "lay down the law" and do whatever he saw fit with the "Eastern Churches."

Given that this is the state of things, I think there is a long ways to go before any "real union" could even be thought about, let alone put into effect.  I hate to say it, but I think the Orthodox should be patient and simply play a waiting game with Rome - because frankly, I think it is ready to implode, or at least have to face a serious crisis of conscience in the near future - and perhaps such circumstances will put various Latin parties (in particular, perhaps the Popes themselves) in a better mindset to re-appraise the exagerated claims of their predecessors.

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« Reply #300 on: December 21, 2003, 12:50:47 AM »

Quote
Seraphim Reeves: It is not held that "Simon bar Jonah" is not in any sense to be identified with "the Rock" (goodness, his name was changed to this, that has to be of some significance!).

Refreshing.

Quote
Seraphim Reeves: The difference lies in the why he was given this title, and it's significance.

According to the famous text from St.Matthew chapter 16, this name change (which is always significant in the Scriptures..."Abram" becomes "Abraham", "Jacob" becomes "Israel", etc.) is directly related to his confession of the true faith - in particular, that central revealed truth (along with the truth of the Holy Trinity...which one could argue is at least partially implied in St.Peter's confession), that Christ is the Theanthropos/"God-Man".

And, of course, we know that all those earlier Old Testament saints whose names were changed because of their faith became merely the "first among equals" satisfied to hold a "primacy of honor."

Right?

Sorry for posting on this thread again.

I couldn't resist.
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« Reply #301 on: December 21, 2003, 01:27:37 AM »

Linus,

Quote
And, of course, we know that all those earlier Old Testament saints whose names were changed because of their faith became merely the "first among equals" satisfied to hold a "primacy of honor."

Right?

Each of those situations is markedly different - Abram and Jakub were Patriarchs, Prophets and Ancestors of God.  The relation between them and St.Peter is like apples and oranges; not even the same town, let alone the same ball game.  All that is similar, is a that their situations, and that of St.Peter, involved a change of name.

I do not know what your deal is with this subject.  I'm perplexed.  You don't confess the full fledged falsehood of "Papism", but your views (if it has not become obvious by now) are not in keeping with the consensus of Orthodox opinion either.

Given this, what new insight do you have (that either of these parties has been up until now oblivious to) then?  I've seen lots of "nays" on your part, but no clear affirmation of what you believe regarding the Papacy.

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« Reply #302 on: December 21, 2003, 01:47:50 AM »


Quote
Linus7: And, of course, we know that all those earlier Old Testament saints whose names were changed because of their faith became merely the "first among equals" satisfied to hold a "primacy of honor."

Right?

Quote
Seraphim Reeves: Each of those situations is markedly different - Abram and Jakub were Patriarchs, Prophets and Ancestors of God.  The relation between them and St.Peter is like apples and oranges; not even the same town, let alone the same ball game.  All that is similar, is a that their situations, and that of St.Peter, involved a change of name.

Really? Is the name change the only similarity?

Quote
Seraphim Reeves: I do not know what your deal is with this subject.  I'm perplexed.  You don't confess the full fledged falsehood of "Papism", but your views (if it has not become obvious by now) are not in keeping with the consensus of Orthodox opinion either.

I've given my views already.

I think they are pretty consistent with the informed Orthodox consensus, which I believe would admit that the early popes performed some functions in the Church that went beyond the merely honorific.

Quote
Seraphim Reeves: Given this, what new insight do you have (that either of these parties has been up until now oblivious to) then?  I've seen lots of "nays" on your part, but no clear affirmation of what you believe regarding the Papacy.

Seraphim


I have no new insights. I'm learning.

I simply reject arguments that seem to me to be borrowed from Protestantism and that are utilized for the same reason the Protestants use them: to score points against Rome.

I read the Fathers and the councils and I do not see the Bishop of Rome regarded as merely "one of the boys."

I also do not see any far-reaching, infallible papal monarchy, either.

That's it, thus far.

Balance.

I have no anti-RC axe to grind, so I am willing to acknowledge a certain element of truth in the papal claims; but I also recognize the fact that popes can err and have erred and that an errant pope (or three, as before Constance) must be reined in by an ecumenical council of the whole Church, which is always the supreme earthly authority.
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« Reply #303 on: December 21, 2003, 08:06:25 AM »

Linus7,
I understand your interest, but really wish you would cease calling all the rest of the successors of the Holy Apostles "the boys" - it is very offensive to me.  :'(

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« Reply #304 on: December 22, 2003, 12:21:40 AM »

Linus7,
I understand your interest, but really wish you would cease calling all the rest of the successors of the Holy Apostles "the boys" - it is very offensive to me.  :'(

Demetri

I think you know quite well that that is an idiomatic expression and is not intended as an insult to any bishop or bishops.

Calling someone "one of the boys" is to say that he has no superior position among his peers.

It is not the same as calling bishops "boys."

But you knew that, I think.

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« Reply #305 on: December 22, 2003, 10:34:49 AM »

I think you know quite well that that is an idiomatic expression and is not intended as an insult to any bishop or bishops.

Calling someone "one of the boys" is to say that he has no superior position among his peers.

It is not the same as calling bishops "boys."

But you knew that, I think.


Yes, perhaps I was a bit "testy" on that one, having posted while on a break from a two hour attempt to open my car frozen-shut car doors so we could go to Divine Liturgy. (Never made it.)
However, Linus7, your Peter-quest has caused me to go in a slightly different direction and try to take a closer look at Peter himself before there were any successors to argue about.
I am finding the "Chief of the Apostles" to be rather enigmatic. Surely he and his confession of faith are the "rock", but don't you find it ODD that his gospel has been lost? His gospel was refered to by Origen and Justin Martyr so it definitely existed.
The fragment discovered in Egypt in 1886 certainly displays some very perplexing deviations from the canonical scriptures. Although I think most of the 29 differences are explainable, that does not explain HOW or WHY it has virtually disappeared. If the "chief" was this mistaken in facts, well, what does that do to any of this discussion about him (if anything)?

Just musing, but really wondering at the same time.

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« Reply #306 on: December 22, 2003, 10:51:37 AM »

The Gospel of St Mark is based on the teaching of St Peter. The Gospel bearing his name merely uses it to try and gain some authority.

Eusebius quotes Papias:

"For information on these points, we can merely refer our readers to the books themselves; but now, to the extracts already made, we shall add, as being a matter of primary importance, a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he [Papias] has given in the following words: "And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements." This is what is related by Papias regarding Mark."

PT
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« Reply #307 on: December 22, 2003, 11:18:49 AM »

The Gospel of St Mark is based on the teaching of St Peter. The Gospel bearing his name merely uses it to try and gain some authority.


Thank you, PT. Eusebius and Papias help somewhat. But I am still confused. Have you read the "fragment"?

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« Reply #308 on: December 22, 2003, 12:05:41 PM »

When I was an Evangelical at Bible College Papias was well known as the source for the info about the authorship of Mark's Gospel. The Gospel of Peter, like that of Thomas and many others, never made it into the Scriptures and was not of Peter's authorship.

"Such a gospel was referred to by Serapion, Bishop of Antioch, In 190 A.u.; Origen, historian, in 253 A.D.; Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea in 300 A.D.; Theodoret in 455 in his Religious History said that the Nazarenes used The Gospel According to Peter; and Justin Martyr includes the Memoirs of Peter in his "Apostolic Memoirs."

"We have seen that the Gospel of Peter is quoted by writers of the latter end of the second century. It has been contended that Justin Martyr also used it soon after the middle of that century, but the evidence is not demonstrative. I believe it is not safe to date the book much earlier than A. D. 150.

It uses all four canonical Gospels, and is the earliest uncanonical account of the Passion that exists. It is not wholly orthodox: for it throws doubt on the reality of the Lord's sufferings, and by consequence upon the reality of his human body. In other words it is, as Serapion of Antioch indicated, of a Docetic character.

Another characteristic of it is its extremely anti-Jewish attitude. Blame is thrown on the Jews wherever possible, and Pilate is white-washed."
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« Reply #309 on: December 22, 2003, 12:09:15 PM »

Here's a link to the fragments of Papias. It should be noted that he was in touch with the disciples of the Apostles from whom he learned what he wrote:

http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-43.htm

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« Reply #310 on: December 22, 2003, 12:16:28 PM »

Thanks, PT
Most helpful. This explains quite a bit. I had read the first paragraph quoted above, but not seen the rest.
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« Reply #311 on: December 22, 2003, 12:33:28 PM »

I am sure it would be wise to try and find a bit more information otherwise it seems we are just accepting the same negative criticism of a document that we find directed against the scriptures. Nevertheless the fact that it is NOT in the canon, and has been unknown for so long, and seems to have been considered docetic by an early Father all militate against it having any weight for us.

I have always understood that St Mark was St Peter's amanuensis in respect of writing his gospel according to St Peter's recollections.

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« Reply #312 on: December 22, 2003, 03:27:32 PM »

I think you know quite well that that is an idiomatic expression and is not intended as an insult to any bishop or bishops.

Calling someone "one of the boys" is to say that he has no superior position among his peers.

It is not the same as calling bishops "boys."

But you knew that, I think.


Yes, perhaps I was a bit "testy" on that one, having posted while on a break from a two hour attempt to open my car frozen-shut car doors so we could go to Divine Liturgy. (Never made it.)

Demetri

I think my response was likewise a bit testy, Aristokles.

You were right. "One of the boys" is probably not the best of expressions to employ when referring to the God-honoring successors of the Apostles, and I used it without much thought for the way it sounds. I will find a better way of expressing the idea in the future.

Ah, the old frozen car doors situation. I know it well . . .

Heating water on the stove, pouring it on the door locks, hoping it won't freeze too quickly and make the situation worse . . .

Lovely!

I'm sure there must be some kind of anti-freeze product for unfreezing car doors out there; but I don't recall seeing it.

Regarding the Gospel of Peter: like Peter F., I had always heard that it was Gnostic like the so-called Gospel of Thomas and not at all of St. Peter's authorship.
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« Reply #313 on: December 22, 2003, 03:41:13 PM »

<<I'm sure there must be some kind of anti-freeze product for unfreezing car doors out there; but I don't recall seeing it.>>

It's called putting vaseline [ petroleum jelly] on the seals before the freeze really does the damage.
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« Reply #314 on: December 22, 2003, 03:52:35 PM »

<<I'm sure there must be some kind of anti-freeze product for unfreezing car doors out there; but I don't recall seeing it.>>

It's called putting vaseline [ petroleum jelly] on the seals before the freeze really does the damage.

Aha!

What about the door locks, though?

Most of my past problems have been with them.

Are we simply to leave the car unlocked?

In some parts of the USA, that could mean no car in the morning.

Oh, I almost forgot!

In order to make our discussion of frozen car doors relevant to this topic, let me end this post with the question:

WWPD?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2003, 03:55:00 PM by Linus7 » Logged

The first condition of salvation is to keep the norm of the true faith and in no way to deviate from the established doctrine of the Fathers.
- Pope St. Hormisdas
Tags: papal primacy Primacy of Peter Petrine Primacy That Irenaeus quote 
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