21 November, 2009

The Papacy

Scripture References:
Confessional references: Smalcald Articles, Part II, Art IV; Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope;

And if we too have said like Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” not as if flesh and blood had revealed it unto us, but by light from the Father in heaven having shone in our heart, we become a Peter, and to us there might be said by the Word, “Thou art Peter,” etc. For a rock is every disciple of Christ of whom those drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and upon every such rock is built every word of the church, add the polity in accordance with it; for in each of the perfect, who have the combination of words and deeds and thoughts which fill up the blessedness, is the church built by God.
Origen, Commentary on Matthew 12.10

They say that Linus succeeded the mighty Peter and ruled the church of the Romans after him.
Theodoret of Cyrus (c. 393-457), Commentary on 2 Timothy, Chapter 4.
Note: Theodoret clearly limits the ecclesiastical authority of the successor of Peter to the local Roman church only.

Let no one then foolishly suppose that the Christ is any other than the only begotten Son. Let us not imagine ourselves wiser than the gift of the Spirit. Let us hear the words of the great Peter, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Let us hear the Lord Christ confirming this confession, for “On this rock,” He says, “I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”
Theodoret, Letters of the Blessed Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, Letter146

What then saith Christ? “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonas; thou shalt be called Cephas.” “Thus since thou hast proclaimed my Father, I too name him that begat thee;” all but saying, “As thou art son of Jonas, even so am I of my Father.” Else it were superfluous to say, “Thou art Son of Jonas;” but since he had said, “Son of God,” to point out that He is so Son of God, as the other son of Jonas, of the same substance with Him that begat Him, therefore He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession.
John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew LIV.3

If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”… Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.
Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church 4

An Ecumenical Council condemns a Pope for heresy:
After reading the doctrinal letter of Sergius of Constantinople to Cyrus of Phasis (afterwards of Alexandria) and to Pope Honorius, and also the letter of the latter to Sergius, we found that these documents were quite foreign...to the apostolic doctrines, and to the declarations of the holy Councils and all the Fathers of note, and follow the false doctrines of heretics. Therefore we reject them completely, and abhor...them as hurtful to the soul. But also the names of these men must be thrust out of the Church, namely, that of Sergius, the first who wrote on this impious doctrine. Further, that of Cyrus of Alexandria, of Pyrrhus, Paul, and Peter of Constantinople, and of Theodore of Pharan, all of whom also Pope Agatho rejected in his letter to the Emperor. We punish them all with anathema. But along with them, it is our universal decision that there shall also be shut out from the Church and anathematized the former Pope Honorius of Old Rome, because we found in his letter to Sergius, that in everything he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrine.
Sixth Ecumenical Council, Session XIII, March 28 (o.s.) 681
Note: On this matter, the scholar Jaroslav Pelikan wites the following, "In the controversy between East and West...the case of Honorius served as proof to Photius that the popes not only lacked authority over church councils, but were fallible in matters of dogma; for Honorius had embraced the heresy of the Monotheletes. The proponents of that heresy likewise cited the case of Honorius, not in opposition to the authority of the pope but in support of their own doctrine, urging that all teachers of the true faith had confessed it, including Sergius, the bishop of New Rome, and Honorius, the bishop of Old Rome" (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1974), Volume Two, pp. 150-151).

A leading Roman Catholic historian of the 19th century regarded this decision as decisive evidence against papal infallibility as defined in 1870, "This one fact, that a Great Council, universally received afterwards without hesitation throughout the Church, and presided over by Papal legates, pronounced the dogmatic decision of a Pope heretical, and anathematized him by name as a heretic is a proof, clear as the sun at noonday, that the notion of any peculiar enlightenment or inerrancy of the Popes was then utterly unknown to the whole Church (Janus (Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dollinger), The Pope and the Council (Boston: Roberts, 1870,p. 61).

Augustine on Matthew 16:18:
Remember, in this man Peter, the rock. He's the one, you see, who on being questioned by the Lord about who the disciples said he was, replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' On hearing this, Jesus said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you...‘You are Peter (rocky), and on this rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of the underworld will not conquer her. To you shall I give the keys of the kingdom. Whatever you bind on earth shall also be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall also be loosed in heaven’ (Mt 16:15-19). In Peter (rocky), we see our attention drawn to the rock. Now the apostle Paul says about the former people, ‘They drank from the spiritual rock that was following them; but the rock was Christ’ (1 Cor 10:4). So this disciple is called Rocky from the rock, like Christian from Christ...Why have I wanted to make this little introduction? In order to suggest to you that in Peter the Church is to be recognized. Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter’s confession. What is Peter’s confession? ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ There’s the rock for you, there’s the foundation, there’s where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer.
Augustine of Hippo, John Rotelle, Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine (New Rochelle: New City Press, 1993), Sermons, Vol. 6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327
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