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Author Topic: St. Jerome and the Papacy  (Read 3771 times) Average Rating: 0
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gueranger
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« on: January 13, 2013, 01:00:22 AM »

I find a lot of support for the claims of Rome in St. Jerome's writings. I realize one Church Father doesn't make a consensus, but let me see what you guys think of these writings from him.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001015.htm

"Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! Matthew 16:18 This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. Exodus 12:22 This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. Genesis 7:23 But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; Matthew 12:30 he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist."

And what does he mean by this?

"If you think fit enact a decree; and then I shall not hesitate to speak of three hypostases. Order a new creed to supersede the Nicene; and then, whether we are Arians or orthodox, one confession will do for us all."
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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 01:02:08 AM »

And in the letter against Jovinianus he wrote,

"But you say, the Church was founded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the Church depends upon them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism." [/u]

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/30091.htm
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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 01:10:16 AM »

But then he goes and says that,

"It is not the case that there is one church at Rome and another in all the world beside. Gaul and Britain, Africa and Persia, India and the East worship one Christ and observe one rule of truth. If you ask for authority, the world outweighs its capital. Wherever there is a bishop, whether it be at Rome or at Engubium, whether it be at Constantinople or at Rhegium, whether it be at Alexandria or at Zoan, his dignity is one and his priesthood is one. Neither the command of wealth nor the lowliness of poverty makes him more a bishop or less a bishop. All alike are successors of the apostles."

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001146.htm
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 01:10:38 AM by gueranger » Logged

“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 01:13:59 AM »

Some random thoughts (I apologize for not being able to post something more systematic)...

- This letter was apparently written before the 2nd Ecumenical council, and before St. Emperor Theodosius established the Nicene faith as the official one that Christians had to affirm. It's easy to look back on the Nicene creed now and attribute to it a mystical profundity, but it wasn't beyond modification, as actually did happen a few years later at the 2nd Ecumenical council.

- It's interesting, St. Jerome and his relationship with Rome. I believe he was the secretary of Pope Damasus at some point, so it's not unexpected that he'd speak in deferential terms. And even if he wasn't we'd expect him to mind his manners when speaking to someone as prominent as the bishop of Rome. However, when it came time to translate his Bible, he specifically went against the wishes of Rome (and Pope Damasus) in, for example, wanting to exclude the deuterocanonical books and not even translate them.

- Regarding the quote that mentions schism, I'll admit that I'm a bit confused as to whether St. Jerome is claiming that for himself, or saying that someone else is saying it ("But you say...")
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 01:29:41 AM »

I find a lot of support for the claims of Rome in St. Jerome's writings. I realize one Church Father doesn't make a consensus, but let me see what you guys think of these writings from him.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001015.htm

"Yet, though your greatness terrifies me, your kindness attracts me. From the priest I demand the safe-keeping of the victim, from the shepherd the protection due to the sheep. Away with all that is overweening; let the state of Roman majesty withdraw. My words are spoken to the successor of the fisherman, to the disciple of the cross. As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the church is built! Matthew 16:18 This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. Exodus 12:22 This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. Genesis 7:23 But since by reason of my sins I have betaken myself to this desert which lies between Syria and the uncivilized waste, I cannot, owing to the great distance between us, always ask of your sanctity the holy thing of the Lord. Consequently I here follow the Egyptian confessors who share your faith, and anchor my frail craft under the shadow of their great argosies. I know nothing of Vitalis; I reject Meletius; I have nothing to do with Paulinus. He that gathers not with you scatters; Matthew 12:30 he that is not of Christ is of Antichrist."

And what does he mean by this?

"If you think fit enact a decree; and then I shall not hesitate to speak of three hypostases. Order a new creed to supersede the Nicene; and then, whether we are Arians or orthodox, one confession will do for us all."
It seems that this letter has him addressing Pope Damasus to settle an inter-church dispute.  I'm pretty sure this falls under the traditional understanding of papal primacy.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 01:30:45 AM by Nephi » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2013, 01:33:27 AM »

St. Jerome had a special relationship with Pope Damasus, hence the praises he lavishes on his office. I'm not sure he would have written the same about the Chair of Peter, had someone else been enthroned on it, for instance had his good pal Rufinus become Pope by some accident. As soon as Damasus died, he left Rome amidst hostilities, never to return or write the same of any other Pope:

Quote
(...) His unsparing criticism of the secular clergy of Rome brought a growing hostility against him among the Roman clergy and their supporters. Soon after the death of his patron Damasus (10 December 384), Jerome was forced by them to leave his position at Rome after an inquiry was brought up by the Roman clergy into allegations that he had an improper relationship with the widow Paula. Additionally, his condemnation of Blaesilla's hedonistic lifestyle in Rome had led her to adopt aescetic practices, but it affected her health and worsened her physical weakness to the point that she died just four months after starting to follow his instructions; much of the Roman populace were outraged at Jerome for causing the premature death of such a lively young woman, and his insistence to Paula that Blaesilla should not be mourned, and complaints that her grief was excessive, were seen as heartless, polarising Roman opinion against him. In August 385, he left Rome for good and returned to Antioch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome

In his youth, Jerome was quite enthusiastic about the Christian East, but once he came to know it firsthand, he probably longed for the amenities of civilized Rome. He adopted a rather disenchanted view of Eastern ascetics later in life. When at Rome, however, he tried to turn his followers into urban hermits. That didn't work out all that well, so he had to leave again. He was very temperamental and had a difficult character. Thomas Merton called him 'God's grouch' and it seems to suit Palladius' short note about him from Historia Lausiaca (Chapter 36) - a nasty piece of ancient hermit's gossip, really:   

Quote
I knew also the following prophecy spoken by this man. A certain Jerome, a priest, distinguished Latin writer and cultivated scholar as he was, showed qualities of temper so disastrous that they threw into the shade his splendid achievements. Well, Posidonius, who had lived with him many days, said in my ear: "The noble Paula, who looks after him, will die first and be freed from his bad temper, so I think. And because of this man no holy man will dwell in these parts, but his envy will include even his own brother." The thing happened as he said. For, in fact, he drove out the blessed Oxyperentius the Italian, and another man Peter, an Egyptian, and Simeon, admirable men, whom I noticed with approval at the time. This Posidonius told me that he had not tried bread for forty years, nor indeed had he borne malice for half a day.

Eastern Fathers also happened to praise Rome because of some remarkable Pope who happened to suit their interests, but I think such declarations should be taken cum grano salis. Late Antiquity was the heyday of rhetoric and encomiastic discourse, after all...
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 01:56:58 AM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 01:50:47 AM »


It seems that this letter has him addressing Pope Damasus to settle an inter-church dispute.  I'm pretty sure this falls under the traditional understanding of papal primacy.

Is this the same inter-church dispute used to argue against Papal supremacy where the east sided with Melitius over Rome's candidate of Paulinus? Or am I confused?
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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 01:58:27 AM »

Is this the same inter-church dispute used to argue against Papal supremacy where the east sided with Melitius over Rome's candidate of Paulinus? Or am I confused?
I'm honestly not sure, I was just giving my own thoughts after reading the letter. I know too little about the papacy is the early church.
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Romaios
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 02:09:52 AM »

And what does he mean by this?

"If you think fit enact a decree; and then I shall not hesitate to speak of three hypostases. Order a new creed to supersede the Nicene; and then, whether we are Arians or orthodox, one confession will do for us all."

This is trying to give the Pope a boost of confidence in his authority. Jerome probably felt like Rome was too passive in the doctrinal developments from the East and that this was the Pope's chance to take matters into his own hands and define Orthodoxy so as to avoid/heal splits. He must have thought that the split with the Arians could have somehow been avoided, but the Easterners with their messy theological disputes were not capable or interested to preserve Church unity.   
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 02:32:28 AM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 10:42:35 PM »

I want to stress that I'm not posting things to try and say, "Hey, gotch'ya! Submit to the Pope!"

I honestly want to know how East views things, which I, coming from a Roman Catholic background, may have biased or skewed in my interpretation.

Ok... I want your take on quotes from Popes Gregory and Leo the Great. I find Gregory's perplexing because he condemns the idea of a Bishop of Bishops, or Universal Bishop...

"For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge?" -Pope St. Gregory the Great, Book 9, Letter 12
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360209012.htm

In Pope St. Leo the Greats Sermon III he appears to call himself, "Primate of Bishops" who presides over the shepherd of the world in the place of Peter, who had supremacy.

"And so, dearly beloved, with reasonable obedience we celebrate to-day’s festival by such methods, that in my humble person he may be recognized and honoured, in whom abides the care of all the shepherds, together with the charge of the sheep commended to him, and whose dignity is not abated even in so unworthy an heir." 

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360303.htm
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf212.ii.v.iii.html


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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 10:46:34 PM »

Let civility reign! Smiley

Fwiw, after seeing these discussions for quite a while, I've come to the conclusion that both sides have Church Fathers backing them. That is, some really did understand things more collegially, and then others really did understand things in a way much closer to a position of modern (or even medieval) papal supremacy. I would be interested if anyone has taken this position and drawn this out and detailed it, or if that has yet to be done, but those are my thoughts.
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2013, 10:49:27 PM »

Let civility reign! Smiley

Fwiw, after seeing these discussions for quite a while, I've come to the conclusion that both sides have Church Fathers backing them. That is, some really did understand things more collegially, and then others really did understand things in a way much closer to a position of modern (or even medieval) papal supremacy. I would be interested if anyone has taken this position and drawn this out and detailed it, or if that has yet to be done, but those are my thoughts.

That's the rather frustrating conclusion I find myself coming to, and taking notes on.
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“Hold firmly that your faith is identical to that of the ancients, deny this and you dissolve the unity of the Church.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

http://www.amazon.com/His-Broken-Body-Understanding-Catholic/dp/0615183611

http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/the-banished-heart-9780567442208/
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 02:33:12 PM »

Let civility reign! Smiley

Fwiw, after seeing these discussions for quite a while, I've come to the conclusion that both sides have Church Fathers backing them. That is, some really did understand things more collegially, and then others really did understand things in a way much closer to a position of modern (or even medieval) papal supremacy. I would be interested if anyone has taken this position and drawn this out and detailed it, or if that has yet to be done, but those are my thoughts.

Couldn't agree more with this post.
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 12:02:43 AM »

Ok... I want your take on quotes from Popes Gregory and Leo the Great. I find Gregory's perplexing because he condemns the idea of a Bishop of Bishops, or Universal Bishop...

"For as to what they say about the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See, as both the most pious lord the emperor and our brother the bishop of that city continually acknowledge?" -Pope St. Gregory the Great, Book 9, Letter 12
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360209012.htm

Let's not forget that St. Gregory was for a long time Rome's envoy (apocrisiary) to Constantinople before becoming Pope. As long as Old Rome was weak and politically dependent on Constantinople, the latter could afford to be limitlessly deferential to the Apostolic See. As far as I can tell, this is merely the diplomacy of that particular age. The imperial capital was Constantinople - its Patriarch was the world's first bishop, as the title of "Ecumenical Patriarch" which originated at that time attests. So there was no 'harm' in condescendingly acknowledging the honorific and symbolic primacy of Old Rome, as the ancient source of both secular and spiritual power. It was like paying one's due respects to a decrepit Queen Mother. Nevertheless, Pope Gregory took it all too seriously - and he was genuinely offended when the Patriarch of New Rome assumed the title of "Universal Bishop".       
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 12:16:07 AM »

In Pope St. Leo the Greats Sermon III he appears to call himself, "Primate of Bishops" who presides over the shepherd of the world in the place of Peter, who had supremacy.

"And so, dearly beloved, with reasonable obedience we celebrate to-day’s festival by such methods, that in my humble person he may be recognized and honoured, in whom abides the care of all the shepherds, together with the charge of the sheep commended to him, and whose dignity is not abated even in so unworthy an heir." 

St. Leo was the first Pope who understood himself to be Christendom's no. 1 leader and was actually acclaimed as such by both East and West (except for the anti-Chalcedonian dissidents) because of the role he played in the Council of Chalcedon.   
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 05:00:59 AM »


St. Leo was the first Pope who understood himself to be Christendom's no. 1 leader and was actually acclaimed as such by both East and West (except for the anti-Chalcedonian dissidents) because of the role he played in the Council of Chalcedon.   

What about that Pope who excommunicated the east over the issue of the date for Pascha in the second century? Pope Victor he was called, IIRC.
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 06:19:57 AM »


St. Leo was the first Pope who understood himself to be Christendom's no. 1 leader and was actually acclaimed as such by both East and West (except for the anti-Chalcedonian dissidents) because of the role he played in the Council of Chalcedon.   

What about that Pope who excommunicated the east over the issue of the date for Pascha in the second century? Pope Victor he was called, IIRC.

He might have fancied himself as that, but he wasn't as popular. I was referring to an instance when a Pope's self-image was actually mirrored by most of Christendom.
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2013, 07:59:59 AM »

Gueranger,

he is merely stating the traditional role of the Primacy: head of the bishops, not head of the church.

Just like we have deacons and archdeacons, presbyters and protopresbyters, bishops and archbishops, there is a protoepiscopos. But just like the Protopresbyters is not the source and condition of the local parishes, the protoespiscopos is not the head of the Church.

What Rome eft is the normal office of honor and some limited authority of the protoepiscopos, a "president", to use a modern word, of the collegiate of bishops, not of the Church, whose sole leader as Jerome confess, is Jesus Christ.

Imagine a federation of hospitals whose board is composed of the directors of each hospital. There is a person who is the chair of the board with authority in that particular body. But the chair of the federation is still, director of only his own hospital.
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2013, 12:33:50 PM »


St. Leo was the first Pope who understood himself to be Christendom's no. 1 leader and was actually acclaimed as such by both East and West (except for the anti-Chalcedonian dissidents) because of the role he played in the Council of Chalcedon.   

What about that Pope who excommunicated the east over the issue of the date for Pascha in the second century? Pope Victor he was called, IIRC.
The "whole Church," to quote Eusebius, "rebuked him."  But he was the first to make the attempt.
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