Author Topic: Tertullian andthe Papacy?  (Read 6725 times)

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Offline wainscottbl

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Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« on: February 07, 2014, 05:55:04 PM »
So was looking through something of Terullian's on New Advent and here is the quote:

Quote
In opposition to this (modesty), could I not have acted the dissembler? I hear that there has even been an edict set forth, and a peremptory one too. The Pontifex Maximus — that is, the bishop of bishops — issues an edict: I remit, to such as have discharged (the requirements of) repentance, the sins both of adultery and of fornication.
--On Modesty

He lived of course from 160-225 A.D. and is of course a Latin Father, but this quote is early enough that it seems there is not the danger of the Bishop of Rome's universal authority that Greek Christians would say developed later. Here he refers to the Pontifex Maximus, which was a title I believe for the Roman Emperor, but it seems to refer to a bishop. Now I doubt that the original Latin text actually said "bishop of bishops" but it seems that it does refer to the Bishop of Rome or pope. He issues and edict which seems to remit the sins of those who have confessed adultery and fornication. Now I know that there were harsh penances set on such sinners in the early church that lasted years, so I assume he is discharge them from those penances. But it does seem to point to a universal bishop--bishop of bishops. I am curious what our Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox members say in response to this. It is but a small part of the whole work which deals with the virtue of modesty.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 05:55:23 PM by wainscottbl »
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Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 05:57:09 PM »
Here is the link to the full work:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0407.htm
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 07:07:02 PM »
Response?

Yawn...
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 07:15:56 PM »
If Tertullian really meant the Bishop of Rome in this case, I hardly see how it supports Papal supremacy anyway. Furthermore, Tertullian would be saying one thing, St. Cyprian would be saying another.

Quote from: St. Cyprian
For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.
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Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 07:44:20 PM »
Yeah, I am afraid every thing I read (or the majority) of the early Church stuff undermines papal suprememcy, like the quote from St. Cyprian. I just got back on Facebook and you should see the fights these Latins have. Not that the Orthodox are free from them but I can't believe I got into all those arguments. Of course I do still have sympathy for the SSPX and almost took up for them against a neo-con accusing Arch. Lefebvre of schism and all sorts of things, but I just realized it's all vain. And their going into the importance of baptizing an dying infant. "Because people forget that unbaptized infants go to hell. Now there may be regions of hell commonly called Limbo, but unbaptized children cannot go to heaven." More and more I look to Orthodox, but it's a long journey. It's not like leaving Mormonism. The Roman Catholic Church is falling apart because of the papal issue I think. Of course I used to be one of those defending Roman Catholicism against Orthodoxy. I used to tell Byzantine Catholics that most of them were material heretics at best because they did not accept the "Filoque" and outright denied that the "Holy Spirit proceeds form the Father and the Son." Now look at me. God help me. I never thought I would leave the wonderful Catholic Church because Protestantism was silly to me and I knew little really about Eastern Orthodoxy.
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Offline xOrthodox4Christx

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 10:41:19 PM »
Yeah, I am afraid every thing I read (or the majority) of the early Church stuff undermines papal suprememcy, like the quote from St. Cyprian. I just got back on Facebook and you should see the fights these Latins have. Not that the Orthodox are free from them but I can't believe I got into all those arguments. Of course I do still have sympathy for the SSPX and almost took up for them against a neo-con accusing Arch. Lefebvre of schism and all sorts of things, but I just realized it's all vain. And their going into the importance of baptizing an dying infant. "Because people forget that unbaptized infants go to hell. Now there may be regions of hell commonly called Limbo, but unbaptized children cannot go to heaven." More and more I look to Orthodox, but it's a long journey. It's not like leaving Mormonism. The Roman Catholic Church is falling apart because of the papal issue I think. Of course I used to be one of those defending Roman Catholicism against Orthodoxy. I used to tell Byzantine Catholics that most of them were material heretics at best because they did not accept the "Filoque" and outright denied that the "Holy Spirit proceeds form the Father and the Son." Now look at me. God help me. I never thought I would leave the wonderful Catholic Church because Protestantism was silly to me and I knew little really about Eastern Orthodoxy.

Wow, you were not very nice to those Byzantines.
I reject all that I wrote that isn't in accordance with the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Also, my posts reflect my opinions (present or former) and nothing else.

Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 10:58:56 PM »
Yeah, I am afraid every thing I read (or the majority) of the early Church stuff undermines papal suprememcy, like the quote from St. Cyprian. I just got back on Facebook and you should see the fights these Latins have. Not that the Orthodox are free from them but I can't believe I got into all those arguments. Of course I do still have sympathy for the SSPX and almost took up for them against a neo-con accusing Arch. Lefebvre of schism and all sorts of things, but I just realized it's all vain. And their going into the importance of baptizing an dying infant. "Because people forget that unbaptized infants go to hell. Now there may be regions of hell commonly called Limbo, but unbaptized children cannot go to heaven." More and more I look to Orthodox, but it's a long journey. It's not like leaving Mormonism. The Roman Catholic Church is falling apart because of the papal issue I think. Of course I used to be one of those defending Roman Catholicism against Orthodoxy. I used to tell Byzantine Catholics that most of them were material heretics at best because they did not accept the "Filoque" and outright denied that the "Holy Spirit proceeds form the Father and the Son." Now look at me. God help me. I never thought I would leave the wonderful Catholic Church because Protestantism was silly to me and I knew little really about Eastern Orthodoxy.

Wow, you were not very nice to those Byzantines.

Come on. Don't be so hard. The only thing they have going for them is hot Russian chicks. I was satisfied with the Mexican girls.
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 07:01:27 AM »
So far as I understand it (based on the rest of the paragraph) he was being sarcastic with the title and criticizing Rome. His point seems to me to be, not that Rome had such authority but was using it incorrectly or in a problematic way, but rather that she didn't have the right to do what she was trying to do to begin with.

Offline wainscottbl

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 02:30:44 PM »
So far as I understand it (based on the rest of the paragraph) he was being sarcastic with the title and criticizing Rome. His point seems to me to be, not that Rome had such authority but was using it incorrectly or in a problematic way, but rather that she didn't have the right to do what she was trying to do to begin with.

Maybe so because I did seem to think that he thought that this forgiveness was wrong and got a sort of sarcastic overtone, but I thought his use of Pontificus Maximus was serious, even if there seemed to be a sarcastic overtone. But one question is was Rome claiming such authority this early on in the 2nd and 3rd century? Was Rome already calling itself Pontificus Maximus and if so how was this taken by the Church at large?
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
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Offline Mockingbird

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Re: Tertullian andthe Papacy?
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2014, 04:26:45 PM »
"Pontifex maximus" was still a pagan title at that time.  As others above have proposed, Tertullian's use of it here must be sarcastic, mocking the unnamed bishop's pretensions.  

Here is the Latin for those who are interested:  
Quote
Audio etiam edictum esse propositum, et quidem peremptorium. Pontifex scilicet maximus, episcopus episcoporum, edicit: ´Ego et moechiae et fornicationis delicta paenitentia functis dimitto.'
« Last Edit: February 09, 2014, 04:31:02 PM by Mockingbird »
Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.--Byrhtferth of Ramsey