I'm interested. Do that devil's advocate thing.
OK. Just keep in mind that I don't agree with it myself
. It is full of sophistries, isn't written very eloquently and is tl;dr:Peter is the Rock on which the Church is built:
Peter is the first of the Apostles. Not only is this continually mentioned in the hymns of the Church, the Fathers too said the same. "Peter, on whom the Church of Christ is built up, left one epistle generally received" wrote Origen (Eus. H.E VI.25) and St. Basil wrote (Adv. Eunom.): "When we say Peter we mean the son of Jonas, brother of Andrew, who since he was the greatest in faith received the building up of the Church to himself". The list of quotes from the Fathers, including names like St. John Chrysostom and St. Ephrem, which say the same would indeed be too long for this forum post. Even the Menaion of the Church of Constantinople calls St. Peter on the feast day of St. Peter in the Chains in the Hesperinon: "The foundation of the Church and Rock of the faith" and "Immovable basis of dogmas".
Moreover, the menaion of the 13th of April has this to say about Pope St. Martin: "By what name shall I call thee, oh Martin ! Shall I call thee the glorious ruler of the Orthodox Faith for all? Or the sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error?... Or the most true reprover of heresy ? ... We know that thou
wast the foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox Faith, teacher of religion... Thou didst adorn the divine See of Peter, and since thou from this divine Rock didst guard the Church unmoved
, so now with him (St. Peter) art thou glorified."
Besides, St. Jerome, at the moment in "the East, shattered as it is by the long-standing feuds, subsisting between its peoples, is bit by bit tearing into shreds the seamless vest of the Lord (ep. 15)" writes to Pope Damasus: "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! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten
. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. (idem.)"
This speaks for itself.The Pope is the successor of St. Peter/St. Peter was the first bishop of Rome:
The Popes claimed to be the successors of St. Peter and thus "the rock" and the "immovable basis of dogmas". Eusebius of Caesarea wrote: "Linus received the Bishopric of the Roman Church first after Peter". The Council of Chalcedon and Constantinople III clearly approved of this when they cried out "Peter has spoken thus through Leo/Agatho". Again, the sticheron in the Menaion of June states "Summit and foundation of the Apostles, you left all things and followed your Master, saying: May I die with you, so as to live the life of the Blessed. You became the first Bishop of Rome; you were the glory and honour of the greatest of all cities and fulcrum of the Church, oh Peter, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail.
". Lex orandi, lex credendi.
It's even more explicit on the feast day of St. Gregory Dialogos: "Most sacred Pastor, thou art the successor of the see and also of the zeal of the first one
, cleansing the people and bringing them to God. Successor of the throne of the prince of the choir of disciples, whence thou dost by thy teaching as with a torch enlighten the faithful, oh Gregory!"The Pope enjoys universal jurisdiction:
Obviously, the rock could not have perished with the death of St. Peter. St. John Chrysostom states (De Sac. ii. 1. PG: 48:632.) "Why did he (our Lord) shed his blood? To redeem the sheep which he handed over to Peter and to his successors."
. Thus, there must still be successors of St. Peter who still shepherd the Church. Who then is this shepherd?
Let's ask St. Basil, who wrote this in a letter to St. Athanasius (ep. 69): "It has seemed to me to be desirable to send a letter to the bishop of Rome
, begging him to examine our condition, and since there are difficulties in the way of representatives being sent from the West by a general synodical decree, to advise him to exercise his own personal authority in the matter
by choosing suitable persons to sustain the labours of a journey—suitable, too, by gentleness and firmness of character, to correct the unruly among us here
". Obviously, the Pope had no authority in Cappadocia unless he had universal jurisdiction.
That the Pope has universal jurisdiction is shown as well in the fact that the Pope summoned St. Athanasius and his accusers to Rome to stand trial before the Roman Pope. St. Athanasius came and submitted himself to the judgment of the Roman Bishop, who had no authority in Egypt (can. 6 of Nicaea), unless, of course, he had universal jurisdiction. The Pope reinstated St. Athanasius, because, according to Sozomen (H.E III,8), "the care of all belonged to him because of the rank of his see
, he restored to each one his Church." By coming to Rome, submitting himself to trial and acknowledging the verdict St. Athanasius clearly recognised the universal jurisdiction of the Pope.Rome does not and shall not err:
"For since the beginning, when the Word of God came down to us, being made man, all the Churches of the Christians have received one only firm basis and
foundation, the great Church that is there (at Rome), against which, according to the Saviour's promise, the gates of hell shall never prevail, and which holds the keys of the true faith in him, which gives the true and only piety to those who come to her devoutly, which shuts the mouth of all heretics" wrote the great Maximus the Confessor (Ep. Romae scripta, ii. 72,). And indeed, this is proven by history. The other Patriarchates repeatedly fell into heresies like nestorianism, iconoclasm and monophysitism (I don't believe the non-chalcedonians are heretics or monophysites, this is just an exercise in rhetorics -- Cyrillic)
and Rome alone held the faith undefiled. Many more quotes like this one can be adduced from the writings of the Fathers.
Rome too is the final arbiter of any dogmatic questions. ""till you come to the Apostolic See" St. Sophronius of Jerusalem said (Mansi X, 896) "where is the foundation of the Orthodox belief. Tell the most holy persons of that see all about our difficulties : do not cease to beg and entreat them until their Apostolic and divine wisdom shall pronounce the victorious sentence, and shall canonically destroy and root out this new heresy." And how can the foundation of Orthodox belief fail?
As a last example I will adduce the testimony of St. Theodore the Studite, which lived just before the time that Photius bewitched the Byzantine Church and made them look with disdain upon the first of bishops (I don't actually believe this myself, St. Photius pray for us! --Cyrillic). St. Theodore of Studium, one of the last witnesses of the old Byzantine Church, clearly shows that the pre-Photian Byzantine Church had the same beliefs about the Papacy as the Latin west. In a letter to the Pope he asks him to invoke his universal jurisdiction, which St. Theodore believed the Pope had. "Behold, now is the time and place: help us, you who are ordained by God for this. Stretch out your hand as far as you can. You have the power from God, since you are Prince of all. (Patrologia Graeca, xcix, 1153)"
How could the Pope else have jurisdiction in Constantinople and the Iconoclast East than with his universal jurisdiction?
Besides, St. Theodore believed that all matters of doctrinal importance should be referred to Rome. "If the Emperor is not content, if, as he says, the Patriarch
Nicephorus has wandered from the truth, both sides should send an embassy to the Roman (Patriarch), and should from him accept the certainty of faith (PG 99:1420)." St. Theodore wrote to the Pope asking his opinion on the iconoclasts. When Pope Paschal sent back a letter in which he condemned and excommunicates the iconoclasts Theodore said: "Now, indeed, I say before God and men that the heretics have separated themselves from the Body of Christ, from the supreme see in which Christ has placed the keys of faith, against which the gates of hell have never prevailed, and never shall prevail till the end. Let the most holy, the Apostolic, the beloved Paschal rejoice; he has accomplished the work of Peter." Remarkable quotes, especially since they were uttered mere decades before Photius usurped the Patriarchal Throne of Constantinople.
We have, then, as the belief of these Fathers that (i) Peter was the Prince of the Apostles and the Rock, (2) the Roman Pontiffs succeed him in this office, (3) therefore the Roman Bishop has jurisdiction over the whole Church of Christ, (4) and the faith of his Church is the standard of orthodoxy for all
Christians. And these four points make up exactly what Catholics believe about the Pope.
I could go on and on with this, but this is long enough, I think. Again, it's pretty much nonsense but it sounds more convincing than your average Roman polemics.
Forgive me the grammatical slipups. I typed this quickly and I'm incredibly tired.