I am a newbie here and keen to read this thread but,
phew, so many posts.
Can I make a contribution all the same?
Here is a quick summary of the way that
the Church Fathers interpreted that verse -
"Thou are Peter and upon this rock...."
Archbishop Kenrick, who was one of America's
extraordinary bishops, was opposed to the doctrine of
papal infallibilty and at the First Vatican Council
in 1869 he voted against it. He wanted to deliver
a speech against the proposed doctrine at the Council
but instead he ceased to attend the Council meetings.
He published his speech in Naples the following year.
It is important because he lists the five different
patristic interpretations of Matthew 16:18.
Let's look at how the Church Fathers line up over this verse:
1...."That St. Peter is the Rock" is taught
by seventeen (17) Fathers
2....That the whole Apostolic College is the Rock,
represented by Peter as its chief,
is taught by eight (8 ) Church Fathers
3....That St. Peter's faith is the Rock,
is taught by forty-four (44) Church Fathers
4....That Christ is the Rock,
is taught by sixteen Fathers (16)
5....That the rock is the whole body of the faithful.
Archbp. Kenrick gives no figure.
Archbishop Kenrick summarises
"If we are bound to follow the greater number
of Fathers in this matter,** then we must hold
for certain that the word "Petra" means not Peter
professing the Faith, but the faith professed by Peter."
**This is an important point by Archbishop Kenrick and
it should be given its full weight. It is RC doctrine
that where there is something disputed the choice must
be made for the consensus of the Fathers, the
You can look this up and check that I have it
Friedrich, Docum ad illust. Conc. Vat. 1, pp. 185-246
As to who Archbishop Kenrick was.
Please see the Catholic Encyclopediahttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08618a.htm
Now in light of the fact that the large majority
of the Church Fathers do NOT teach that the Rock
is Saint Peter, I say that it is not fair to say that the
Orthodox are dunderheads over this matter.
Are the Church Fathers also dunderheads?
And you should remember that 65 of the bishops gathered
at the First Vatican Council REFUSED to vote for the
proposed dogma of papal infallibility. Were they
also blockheads? Wouldn't one say that IF the doctrine
had been so normal and accepted in the Catholic Church
in the centuries prior to Vatican I that there would
never have been such a solid block of resisting bishops
who refused to vote for it in 1869.
This was only 133 years ago, quite recently.
You can check these facts in several major Catholic writings...
"How the Pope Became Infallible" by August Bernhard Hasler.
"Infallible? - An Unresolved Enquiry" by Hans Kung.
They say that at the opening of Vatican I only 50 bishops
were in favour of Pope Pius IX's desire to have the Popes
declared infallible. 130 of the bishops had declared
beforehand that they were against Papal Infallibility,
and the rest of the bishops, 620 were undecided.