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All about Rome and Peter

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To those who do not believe in St. Peter as being authority of the Apostles:

bullet Consider of all the Apostles, Our Lord chose to give a permanent new name ONLY to St. Peter by saying, “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter” Matthew 16:18. Note Our Lord did not give the other Apostles an additional new names, only Peter, which signifies Peter’s authority among the Apostles. And if we look elsewhere in Scripture, other name changes have signified a change of status, such as with Abraham in Genesis 17:5 and Jacob in Genesis 32:28.
bullet Consider the verse, “And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” Luke 22:31. When Our Lord was about to establish the faith in His Church, He specifically prayed for St. Peter as head. Scripture does not show Our Lord saying this to any of the other Apostles. Is this not to place him as responsible for all? And it is also equally clear that having prayed specifically for St. Peter, the head of the others, it was so St. Peter might not fail, who was to assist with supplying the others with the faith as well.
bullet And when Our Lord says, “being once converted” that St. Peter should “confirm thy brethren“, does this not clearly state that St. Peter is head of the others? Our Lord could not have given St. Peter the command to confirm the Apostles without charging him to have care over them.
bullet Also consider the verses, “When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.” John 21:15. Our Lord again, only said these words to St. Peter and not to the other Apostles because St. Peter alone was the authority among them. There is no confusion on whether Our Lord was speaking to St. Peter alone here for the part “more than these” shows Our Lord referring to the other Apostles, and only St. Peter was grieved. And what does it mean to give someone charge of feeding the sheep but to be their pastor, ruler and shepherd? In many places in Scripture to “feed” and to “rule” are used interchangeably as well so there is no confusion here.
bullet And when Our Lord said, “As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.” John 10:15, Our Lord was not referring to specific sheep, but ALL of His sheep. Some Protestants have argued that Our Lord was referring to only specific “lambs” and “sheep” in John 21, but this is illogical for if He was, why did He not specify the specific lambs and sheep?
bullet In addition, Our Lord first says, “Feed my lambs” twice, then “Feed my sheep” once. What was the purpose of this? This was to clearly give St. Peter charge not only over the people but the pastors and Apostles themselves for the sheep nourish the lambs.
bullet We also have proof of St. Peter’s authority over the other Apostles based on any time either all or part of the Apostles are referenced in Scripture, St. Peter is always listed first, and in each of these instances, the other Apostles’ names that follow are not in any particular order.
bullet We also note in numerous places in Scripture where there is occasion for the Apostles to speak, St. Peter is known to speak for the group. “Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” John 6:68. Notice St. Peter speaks for the group and also says “and WE have believed“, speaking for all. Only one in authority speaks for a group.
bullet Consider the verse, “And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” Acts 15:7. This verse clearly shows St. Peter publicly exercising his authority over the other Apostles.
bullet Some Protestants have been known to say that all the Apostles are equal, with St. Peter having no authority over them. Looking at the verses just referenced above, Our Lord clearly bestowed this right on St. Peter for the good of the Church; to avoid schisms like we see in the Protestant churches today!
bullet To further expand on this point, in several other locations in Scripture there are references to Peter and the other Apostles without naming them, such as “Peter and they that were with him” (Luke 9:32) and “Simon, and they that were with him, followed after him” (Mark 1:36) which clearly indicate St. Peter as head. St. Peter is also named separately when referencing all of the Apostles on several occasions such as “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee” (Mark 16:7), and “But Peter standing up with the eleven” (Acts 2:14), and “and said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles” Acts 2:37. What more can be said on this subject?
bullet Here we see St. Peter being first to convert others to the Church; “They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls” Acts 2:41
bullet Here we see St. Peter performing the first healing; “But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk. And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength” Acts 3:6-7
bullet St. Peter was the first of the Apostles to raise the dead; “Peter kneeling down prayed, and turning to the body, he said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and seeing Peter, she sat up. And giving her his hand, he lifted her up. And when he had called the saints and the widows, he presented her alive.” Acts 9:40,41. There is simply no doubt as to St. Peter’s authority over the other Apostles.
bullet The Protestant reformers have also denied St. Peter was originally the first head of the Church. How can anyone deny this when so many writings from the first three centuries from renowned people contain references to St. Peter being first head of the Church and head of the Apostles? For example we have in the middle of the third century St. Cyprian saying that Cornelius has succeeded to “the place of Fabian which is the place of Peter” (Ep 55:8; cf. 59:14). Firmilian of Caesarea notices that Stephen claimed to decide the controversy regarding rebaptism on the ground that he held the succession from Peter (Cyprian, Ep. 75:17). In the first quarter of the 3rd century (about 220) Tertullian (De Pud. 21) mentions Callistus’s claim that Peter’s power to forgive sins had descended in a special manner to him. About the same period, Hippolytus in  “Clement of Rome”, 1:259) reckons Peter in the list of Roman bishops. In addition writings from St. Jerome quote St. Peter as “Head of the Church” and a writing from St. Hilary as “Happy foundation of the Church” and many, many other examples not listed here. There is simply no doubt as to St. Peter being the first Bishop of Rome.

 

21. To those who do not believe St. Peter was first Bishop of Rome and that he had successors that continued to lead the Church:

bullet Our Lord clearly said, “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Matthew 28:19-20.  It is very clear from these verses that the Apostles in their lifetime could not have taught ALL nations themselves, hence Our Lord continued the SAME thought with the word “and”, stating that He would be with them to the end of the world. This can only refer to successors.
bullet Also consider the verses, “And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17. Here Our Lord clearly states the spirit of truth would “abide with them forever”, which indicates their successors as well. How were the Apostles to fulfill Our Lord’s words in the verses above without Apostolic successors? It is clear Our Lord knew they could not finish teaching all nations in their lifetime and that He was promising to be with their successors, guiding them until the end of the world. How else can these verses be interpreted?
bullet Furthermore we can immediately see that “teaching all nations” would not be limited to the Apostles alone, for we see St. Paul in his Epistles sending Bishop Titus and Bishop Timothy to finish the work he had begun in spreading the faith. Furthermore, we see St. Paul instructing Bishop Titus to further pass on this position to others; “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee” Titus 1:5
bullet As we mention elsewhere on this page, Our Lord clearly established St. Peter as His vicar and administrator of the Church on earth. If Our Lord was to establish a head of His Church back when the Apostles were alive and were so steadfast and so strong, how much more today is the Church in need of a head when there are so many weaknesses and infirmities in the members of the Church?
bullet As for St. Peter having successors, several ancient writings exist from the first, second, and third centuries from St. Clement, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Dorotheus, Optatus of Milevis, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and the Fourth General Council of Chalcedon, ALL which make reference to St. Peter being first Bishop of Rome who later handed succession to St. Linus, St. Anacletus, and St. Clement. Some of the writings about these three successors conflict with each other with respect to the order of these successors, due to the fact that St. Clement was first offered to be successor of St. Peter as Bishop, but he initially refused it until the deaths of St. Linus and St. Anacletus, who took the role before him. Nevertheless all ancient writings agree on these three as being successors of St. Peter. So why do the Protestant reformers choose to ignore the writings of all antiquity?
bullet The Protestant reformers have stated that the Catholic Church was still pure during the first six or so centuries, and writings from countless Saints and others during those same centuries all coincide in that St. Peter was first Bishop of Rome, who later handed off that succession to other Bishops of Rome, St. Linus, St. Anacletus, and St. Clement. So why do the Protestant reformers choose to deny this? And to those who agree St. Peter had successors but that those successors were not the Bishops of Rome, the early General Councils of Nice, Constantinople, and Chalcedon contradict you, all indicating the Bishops of Rome were successors.
bullet In short, never in the early centuries of the Church were there bishops who claimed they were head or superior over the rest other than the Bishop of Rome. On what grounds then do the Protestant reformers have to challenge what is so plentiful in ancient writings?
bullet It is also interesting to note that some of the Protestant reformers chose to deny St. Peter was ever in Rome, which is contrary to ancient writings. Calvin, seeing this denial would oppose antiquity, instead chose to believe St. Peter was “not long” Bishop of Rome instead. It is interesting to see the immediate conflicts in opinion that arose between the Protestant reformers before the reformation even got off the ground. It is clear from ancient writings that St. Peter spent the majority of his life in Rome, and some years in Judea and Antioch.
bullet As for Protestant reformers challenging the term “pope” used for the Bishop of Rome because it is not found in Scripture,  it is simply a term that means “chief father” or “grandfather”. There are many other terms that people use for the Bishop of Rome such as “His Holiness” and “Holy Father” which are not in Scripture either, but they do not have to be as they are simply a choice of terms. We see reference to the term pope in writings of St. Jerome and the Council of Chalcedon (which was held while the Church was still “pure” according to the Protestant reformers) and in other writings, but the choice of the term is insignificant as it simply refers to the head Bishop of Rome.
bullet We all agree that the books of the Bible contain the inspired Word of God. These books of the Bible also contain the many writings of St. Peter such as 1 St. Peter and 2 St. Peter, and we all believe them to be inspired and the infallible Word of God. Why then do the Protestant reformers find it so far above reason to also believe in St. Peter’s infallibility acting as head of the Church?

 


22. To those who do not believe in the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and His authority over the Church:

bullet First let us consider the term “rock” used so frequently in Scripture. If we look throughout Scripture, “rock” has always been used to refer to Our Lord and no one else. Our Lord by His excellence is called the rock, because He is the foundation of the Church. This we all agree on.
bullet Now let us go back to the primary verses in Scripture which the Protestant reformers disagree with the meaning of, which are, “And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. Some Protestant reformers choose to believe that Jesus was speaking to St. Peter, but starting with “and upon this rock” they claim Our Lord was no longer referring to St. Peter. Why would Our Lord bother to mention or refer to St. Peter in the verse if He was about to speak about something else? We answer it is illogical to think Our Lord said the sentence beginning with “Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-jona…” in order to say nothing more than “thou are Peter” afterward, then suddenly change the subject mid-sentence to refer to something else. The verse only makes sense when all is referring to St. Peter.
bullet Note that at that time, “Peter” was not the proper name of a man as we know it today, but was only then appropriated to Simon Bar-jona by Jesus, and this name was not given to anyone else. This forces the question, if the name Peter was never used before this time, why would Our Lord suddenly give Simon the name Peter? What could have been the meaning or purpose of this name change other than implying Simon was equivalent to what “Peter” meant, which is rock?
bullet Note also that when Jesus first met St. Peter He said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter.” John 1:42. Note here that the name Cephas also translates to the word “rock”, as does Peter. In other words Cephas and Peter and rock all have the same meaning. So this is the same as saying, “thou art rock; and upon this rock…”. Now considering that the term “rock” has always been attributed to Our Lord only throughout Scripture, what do you think it signifies when Our Lord now calls St. Peter “rock”?
bullet In addition we can clearly see the early Church Fathers in the 2nd and 3rd centuries referring to St. Peter as the rock. For example Tertullian writes, “Peter, who is the rock whereon the Church was to be built, and who obtained the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (De Praes., 22). St. Cyprian also writes, “Peter, whom the Lord chose as first, and upon whom He built His Church” (Epis. 71, Ad Quintum).
bullet Next we see the verse immediately following “That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” with the verse “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Matthew 16:19. Notice “thee” which is referring to St. Peter alone. Also, verses 18 and 19 clearly go together and are a continuous thought separated by “and”, contrary to some of the Protestant reformers who would illogically try to separate the verses under unrelated thoughts. And to confirm, the belief as explained above has been maintained by the Catholic Church from Her earliest days, and was confirmed at the Council of Chalcedon, when even the Protestant reformers admit the Catholic Church was the true Church.
bullet Also consider Our Lord, upon stating “upon this rock I build my church” is comparing His Church to a building, and when He says He will build it on St. Peter, He is referring to St. Peter being the Church’s visible foundation here on earth. This in other words makes St. Peter head and superior of this Church. In other words, Our Lord is the foundation, founder and builder, while St. Peter is only the foundation from an administrative point of view. Our Lord is the Church’s master, while St. Peter only has management of it on earth.
bullet It is true that Scripture teaches us that there is no other foundation than Our Lord, though it also teaches us that St. Peter is also a foundation, and further that the Apostles are as well. It is incorrect and illogical to give up the belief that Our Lord is foundation after we read that St. Peter is also foundation or that the Apostles are. Rather all three beliefs remain, and instead we focus on the degree in which they are each considered foundations. Consider the verse from St. Paul, “Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Ephesians 2:20. Here St. Paul clearly implies all of the Apostles are foundations, with Our Lord having a notable difference among them as corner stone of the foundation. The Apostles are also called foundations but from a different perspective; simply because it is they that lay the foundation of the Church everywhere by their preaching. Prophets are mentioned in this verse for the same reason; we know they are not foundations of the Church but we can refer to them as such in another sense because of their doctrine.
bullet The Catholic Church has always believed that Our Lord is the only foundation of the Church and our faith. No one has ever doubted this. Though some Protestants will ask why then Catholics place Peter as foundation. And we answer that it is not WE that placed him there, but Our Lord who did so in verses 18 and 19 as we mention above. If anyone besides Our Lord had placed St. Peter as part of the foundation of the Church, we and the rest of the Catholic Church would protest. “For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid” 1 Corinthians 3:11. Our Lord simply approved this Himself so who are we to deny it? Note that St. Peter and the Apostles are not foundations BESIDE Our Lord, rather they are foundations subordinate to Our Lord.
bullet And to those Protestants who claim Our Lord also said the same to the Apostles as to St. Peter; “And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” we agree fully. But notice nowhere in Scripture does Jesus say “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven” to anyone other than St. Peter.
bullet Some Protestants also like to claim that the Catholic Church considers St. Peter as a successor to Christ. They are incorrect. Rather St. Peter is a vicar of Christ and should in no way be compared to Christ who is God. Just as a King gives his son power to chastise, grant favors, and give gifts, his son does not have the scepter, but only exercise of it. What the King’s son does will be valid, be that does not make him King. This relationship is similar to that of Our Lord and St. Peter, and to that of St. Peter and the Apostles.
bullet In summary, all of the Apostles are referred to as foundations of the Church, but in authority and government, St. Peter precedes. St. Peter is foundation, not founder of the whole Church, and he is a foundation, but founded on another foundation, which is Our Lord. St. Peter is the foundation (not founder) of the Church on earth, and is the administrator of faith, hope, charity, the Sacraments, and of the Church on earth, but he is NOT the Lord of them.

 

23. To those who do not recognize and do not have respect for the authority of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope):

bullet First, we see on many occasions in Scripture where there is occasion for the Apostles to speak, St. Peter is known to speak for the group. “Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” John 6:68. Notice St. Peter speaks for the group and also says “and WE have believed“, speaking for all. Also consider the verses, “Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15 and “And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible. Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?” Matthew 19:26. Also consider at the election of St. Matthias it is St. Peter alone who speaks and determines. There are many other examples in Scripture where St. Peter speaks for the group of Apostles. Simply put, it is usual that the head should speak for the whole body, and that what the head says is considered to be said by all the rest. And it is this reason that St. Chrysostom and Origen have called St. Peter “the mouth and crown of the Apostles”. “Amen, amen I say to you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me.” John 13:20
bullet When St. Peter was placed as foundation of the Church, and the Church was certified that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, was it not enough to say that St. Peter as foundation-stone could not be crushed with infidelity or error, which is the principal gate of hell?
bullet If the head shepherd can conduct his sheep into venomous pastures, the flock is soon to be lost. So if the head shepherd, with no other visible head available, can wander, who will set him straight? If there are no other head shepherds to lead and the sheep are not capable of guiding, how can this head shepherd guide his flock with a guarantee that hell will not prevail, unless supernatural assistance exists?
bullet Consider the great authority of Moses who sat and judged all the differences among the people, and all difficulties which occurred in the service of God. He appointed judges for issues of lower importance and the greater doubts were reserved for him. God spoke through him for decisions of that time and we all believe this. Why then do the Protestant reformers doubt a similar situation with the head of the Catholic Church? Considering Moses, is this situation THAT far above reason? Clearly it is not. If God had such providence over the religion of the Jews to establish them a supreme judge in whose sentence they were bound to consent to, there is no doubt that God provided Christianity with a similar judge or pastor who has the same authority to remove doubts and disagreements concerning the Scriptures.
bullet Even Luther originally believed in the authority of the Pope as we can see in his letter to Pope Leo X in 1518 where he actually presents six reasons for proof of authority of the Holy See in Rome and states that Scripture supports these reasons! Calvin himself originally believed in the authority of the Holy See as well, stating the Ancients have honored and revered it. So on what grounds do these Protestant reformers change from being Catholics, scrapping their beliefs to start a whole new doctrine?
bullet It is clear looking at the history of the Catholic Church that She does not believe the Pope can err or mislead the faithful in regards to faith and morals, which is based on Our Lord’s words that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Outside of decisions on faith and morals and in all private decisions, the Pope is susceptible to mistakes just as anyone else. Simply put, everything a king says is not law and does not become law, but only that which the king pronounces as king and legislator. So goes the same with the Bishop of Rome; he can make errors outside the chair of Peter, as a private individual by writings and bad example, but with pronouncements on faith and morals in the chair of Peter, Our Lord’s promise holds.
bullet If all are bound by the Lord to believe the teachings of the Apostles and their successors or be condemned, and those teachings could contain error, what confusion would occur in Christendom with some parties considering one teaching good, another bad, and others occupying themselves in controlling the decisions of their superiors?
bullet Consider the verse, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth.” John 16:13. How does the Holy Spirit teach, but through the Pastors of the Church?
bullet Consider St. Ignatius, early church Father and Bishop of Antioch, who sent his Epistle to the Trallians around the year 107 AD. In it he writes, “For, since ye are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ…” and in the same paragraph writes, “It is therefore necessary that, as ye indeed do, so without the bishop ye should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ“. This was in the earliest time of the church shortly after the death of the last Apostle. Clearly St. Ignatius here openly states that a Bishop should be obeyed as to Christ himself, and that we should also be subject to the presbytery (priest) as to the Apostles. How much more would this apply to the head bishop of the church in Rome?
bullet To Protestants who rather consider Luther an authority, how can you look to a man who blindly excommunicates the Pope, and the Bishops, and the entire Catholic Church in one written Bull while completely ignoring all the facts as presented on this page? Such decisions can only be made out of anger or frustration and not of intelligent facts. And what are we to think about Luther writing to the King of England claiming, “I will be the enemy of the papacy, burnt I will be thy enemy.” Are these the words of a Christian? Of an authority? Consider the writings of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and other reformers which are filled with vulgarities, calumnies, insults, detraction and ridicule. Are these really the words of a Christian with a mission from God to “reform” the Church? What does this all mean than that they have nothing else to say and are unable to keep from ill-saying? No one sent from God would do or say such things as these reformers have.

 

http://www.protestanterrors.com

 

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