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The subject of whether Protestants and Orthodox are Christians and their religions are part of the Church of Christ comes up frequently on “Catholic” Relevant Radio, youtube, etc.

According to the religion of Vatican 2, which falls in line with  some Protestants, membership in the Church includes all who are baptized and profess Christ while rejecting dogmas of the Catholic Church.

The Vatican 2 religion has gone out of its way to say that the Eastern Orthodox religion is part of the one Church of Christ in the Balamand statement. [1] It also implied that the Lutheran churches are part of the Church of Christ. [2]

Vatican 2 apologists such as Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, S.T.D., and Patrick Madrid don’t hesitate for a second to say that the Church has never changed a doctrine while in the same breath saying Protestants and Orthodox are Christians but without the fullness of truth.

To the contrary, the great Pope Leo XIII reiterated in Satis Cognitum what the Church has always taught and practiced. Below are the relevant parts.

“4 Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. ‘There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord. This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts’….

5 So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a hereticthe life of the spirit follows not the amputated member.

9 The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a tertian portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. “There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition” (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos)….

The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium….

St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. “No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic” (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88)…

And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: “One Lord, one faith,” and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: “that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only – “but until we all meet in the unity of faith…unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (13). But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that – “He gave some Apostles – and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (11-12). …

In this wise, all cause for doubting being removed, can it be lawful for anyone to reject any one of those truths without by the very fact falling into heresy? without separating himself from the Church? – without repudiating in one sweeping act the whole of Christian teaching? For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others…

Pope Pius XI continued with the subject and declared in Mortalium animos:

11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.

For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.

Since the Second Vatican Council, Rome now calls heretics and schismatics Christians or separated brethren, and even denies that they are heretics and schismatics.

For instance, Vatican II states:

The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection…. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” (Second Vatican Council, Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, Chapter 1, para. 3)

Children born and raised in false churches would be accused of the sin of separation if they come to know or should know better and remain separated. We don’t presume that everybody remains invincibly ignorant. Regardless, only God can read hearts. We don’t presume to know if one is truly guilty or innocent. To say they all “are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian” is a reversal in Church teaching.

We demonstrated that Pope Leo XIII taught exactly the opposite in Satis Cognitum.

Pope Pius XII declared:To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” (Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957).

The terms heretics and schismatics are canonical and doctrinal Catholic terminology referring to the baptized some of whom were justified by faith at one time. Non-baptized persons aren’t called heretics and schismatics, but rather infidels, heathens, pagans, etc. We have long standing and official Catholic terminology which the Vatican 2 religion deems inappropriate, inaccurate, and counterfactual.

We might call heretics “Christians” in conventional language, but to claim they have a “right” to the Christian name would make calling them heretics and schismatics wrong and hateful. Yet, Popes have called Protestants and Orthodox heretics in official documents. Just a few examples include Pope Benedict XIV in Ex Quo (On the Euchologion – 1756), Pope Pius VI in Charitas (In the Civil Oath in France – 1791), Pope Gregory XVI in Summo Iugiter Studio (On Mixed Marriages – 1832) and Probe Nostis (On the Propogation of the Faith – 1840), and Pope Pius IX in Omnem Sollicitudinem (On the Greek-Ruthenian Rite – 1874). Pope Leo XIII used it the most in several documents.

Pope Leo XIII also declared in Satis Cognitum: “Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man… but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See.”

 

Footnotes:

[1] The 1993 Balamand Statement approved by John Paul II on May 25, 1995, in Ut Unum Sint, n. 59, declared:

  1. In fact, especially since the panorthodox Conferences and the Second Vatican Council, the re- discovery and the giving again of proper value to the Church as communion, both on the part of Orthodox and of Catholics, has radically altered perspectives and thus attitudes. On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church – profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops – cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches.
  2. It is in this perspective that the Catholic Churches and the Orthodox Churches recognize each other as Sister Churches, responsible together for maintaining the Church of God in fidelity to the divine purpose, most especially in what concerns unity. According to the words of Pope John Paul II, the ecumenical endeavour of the Sister Churches of East and West, grounded in dialogue and prayer, is the search for perfect and total communion which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, n. 27).

[2]  JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church Nov. 1, 1999

  1. We give thanks to the Lord for this decisive step forward on the way to overcoming the division of the church. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us further toward that visible unity which is Christ’s will.

John Paul II approved and blessed the Joint Declaration as seen below.

PRESENTATION OF THE JOINT STATEMENT

Edward Cardinal Cassidy

President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

  1. On the Catholic side, the Official Common Statement and the Annex have been approved by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. His Holiness Pope John Paul II has been informed accordingly and has given his blessing for the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, together with the Official Common Statement with its attached Annex on the date and in the place to be decided by the two partners.

 

 

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The Eastern Orthodox and Protestant religions reject papal primacy. In an attempt to discredit the historicity of papal primacy, they misrepresent the Fathers and Saints on the issues leaving out the context, full meaning, and full teaching of each authority. This study will answer, explain, and expound on certain quotes used against papal primacy, plus add quotes to prove papal primacy. The point of this study is to demonstrate how to answer cherry-picked quotes taken out of context and to prove that papal primacy was indeed recognized by the early Church.

One ex-Catholic, now Eastern Orthodox, posted the following quotes with the conclusion reading, “The Patristic witness on this point is so clear we need add nothing more to it –the point is settled – St. Peter did not receive any greater dignity or authority than the other Apostles. Already, the fundamental premise of Roman Catholicism is shaken and the edifice totters –if Peter did not have superior authority, Rome cannot have received it from him either.”

The quotes are in red and I will follow with the Catholic answer, which, by the way, has already been answered many times by many other Catholics.

St. Ambrose of Milan: “He (St. Peter), then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, ‘But who do you say I am,’ immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank. This, then, is Peter, who has replied for the rest of the Apostles; rather, before the rest of men….” (Saint Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord, IV.32-V.34.)

Every Catholic agrees with St. Ambrose because Peter was not yet pope when he made his confession. Peter wasn’t acting pope until Pentecost.

St. Ambrose fully believed that Peter became the head and foundation of the whole Church. He wrote: “[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church . . .’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?” (The Faith, 379 A.D.)

“They [the Novatian heretics] have not the succession of Peter, who hold not the chair of Peter, which they rend by wicked schism; and this, too, they do, wickedly denying that sins can be forgiven (by the sacrament of confession) even in the Church, whereas it was said to Peter:  ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on Earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven.'”  (On Penance, 388 A.D.)

“It is to Peter that He says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18). Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal.” (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David, 389 A.D.)

St. Cyprian of Carthage: “To all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power…the other Apostles also were what Peter was, endued with an equal fellowship both of honor and power…”(On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 4.)

​The above quote is incomplete. St. Cyprian says, “It is on one man that He builds the Church; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles after His resurrection…nevertheless, in order that unity might be clearly shown, He established by his own authority a source for that unity, which takes its beginning from one man alone. Indeed, the other Apostles were that also which Peter was, being endowed with an equal portion of dignity and power; but the origin is ground in unity, so that it may be made clear there is but one Church of Christ. …If someone does not hold fast to this unity of the Church, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he resists and withstands the Church, can he still be confident that he is in the Church…? Most especially must we bishops, who exercise authority in the Church, hold firmly and insist upon this unity, whereby we may demonstrate also that the episcopate itself is one and undivided. Let no one mislead the brotherhood with a lie, let no one corrupt the faith by a faithless perversion of the truth. The episcopate is one, of which each bishop holds his part within the undivided structure.”

In no way does St. Cyprian deny the papacy. Each and every Apostle had apostolic authority over the whole Church. They had jurisdiction over the Church as Peter, which is the equal portion of dignity and power that’s being referred to. The difference with Peter is that he had supreme authority, the final say so to speak, as was demonstrated at the Council of Jerusalem. Peter’s successors maintained full apostolic authority and jurisdiction, hence, the “Apostolic See.” The other sees do not possess jurisdiction over the whole Church.

Another distinction is the power of Orders and the power of Office. A bishop can have one without the other. A layman can possess the jurisdiction of the office of bishop as a bishop-elect but he would not have the power of orders and a consecrated bishop can have the power of orders but not the jurisdiction of an office.

As far as the power of Orders is concerned, all bishops have the same power. The power of the office concerns jurisdiction. The pope has full and supreme jurisdiction. All bishops are subject to the pope.

If we take a look at St. Cyprian’s original letter, we see that Peter’s office carries a certain type of dignity and power unlike any other office in the Church:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’… On him he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep, and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair, and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church, first edition 251 AD.)

St. Cyprian never rejected his original letter.

St. Isidore of Seville: “The other Apostles were made equal with Peter in a fellowship of dignity and power.”(De Ecclesiasticus, II.5, M.P.L., Vol. 83, Col. 781-782.)

Again, each Apostle had the same jurisdiction over the Church as Peter, which is the equal portion of dignity and power that’s being referred to. However, the context of St. Isidore’s writing was about the episcopacy or the power of orders. The other Apostles were made equal in fellowship of dignity and power as Peter as far as being a bishop is concerned. The papal office is another and distinct office in the Church and it can be occupied by a mere layman such as Pope Hadrian V who was never even a priest. St. Isidore wasn’t referring to Peter’s Chair as Pope but rather his rank as bishop.

We can easily prove that St. Isidore recognized papal primacy. His older brother St. Leander was first made Bishop of Seville. He was a close friend of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who sent him the pallium.

The Catholic encyclopedia explains what the pallium is and what it symbolizes http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11427a.htm

Pope St. Gregory used his authority over other bishops and councils. It was clear that he was the head of the Church. His letters also indicate his authority as head of the Church.

It’s true that Pope St. Gregory rejected the title “universal bishop” in the sense that it necessarily meant there are no other bishops. He explained this point in Book 9, Letter 68.

In this very letter, Pope St. Gregory was using his supreme authority as pope to condemn the Bishop of Constantinople.

In Book 3, Letter 30, Pope St. Gregory declares, “Inasmuch as it is manifest that the Apostolic See is, by the ordering of God, set over all Churches, there is, among our manifold cares, special demand for our attention, when our decision is awaited with a view to the consecration of a bishop.  . . . you are to cause him to be consecrated by his own bishops, as ancient usage requires, with the assent of our authority, and the help of the Lord; to the end that through the observance of such custom both the Apostolic See may retain the power belonging to it, and at the same time may not diminish the rights which it has conceded to others.”

In Book 9, Letter 12, Pope St. Gregory declared, “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?”

If any bishop denied papal primacy, Pope St. Gregory would have set him straight.

When St. Leander died, his brother St. Isidore became Bishop of Seville. Again, St. Gregory the Great showed his apostolic authority by sending him the pallium, which St. Isidore accepted.

St. Isidore never denied papal primacy. In fact, he recognized it by his actions. Not only that, but all of St. Isidore’s writings are promoted by the popes themselves.

St. Bede: “Although it may seem that this power of loosing and binding was given by the Lord only to Peter, we must nevertheless know without any doubt that it was given to the other Apostles, as Christ Himself testified when, after the triumph of His Passion and Resurrection, He appeared to them and breathed upon them, and said to them all, ‘Receive ye the Holy Spirit: if ye forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven to them; if ye retain the sins of any, they are retained [Jn. 20:22, 23].

​St. Bede’s interpretation of Matt. 16:19 is a different perspective from his contemporaries, but it doesn’t deny Peter’s primacy in authority. Bede is interpreting the binding and loosing in Matt. 16 with the same binding and loosing in Jn. 20, which is about binding and loosing of sins. All priests have the same power as bishops in binding and loosing of sins. However, Bede didn’t hold that priests and bishops have the same authority. He writes, “In my nineteenth year I was admitted to the diaconate, in my thirtieth to the priest, both by the hands of the most reverend Bishop John (St. John of Beverley), and at the bidding of Abbot Ceolfrid.” Bishops ordain priests and consecrate bishops but priests don’t have the power to do either. Thus they have different powers. St. Bede is not denying the authority of Peter as the head of the Church.

St. Cyril of Alexandria: “One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as consists in a unity of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of dignity which unites natures; for then Peter and John, who were of equal dignity with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples would have been one, and yet the two are not one….”(St. Cyril, 2nd Epistle to Nestorius.)

St. Cyril is making a point. He’s not denying Peter’s authority as pope. In fact, he made this statement at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD, after he appealed to Pope St. Celestine I to settle the matter against Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople. The result was the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 AD, which condemned Nestorius. In the Acts of the Council, session 3, it’s declared:

“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod.’”

The great council of the East witnesses to the Catholic dogma that Peter and his successors are head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church.”

St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. 386) is another Eastern Father who tells us that only Peter has the keys and is the chief of the apostles:

[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . They launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven. …In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis; and at Joppa he raised the beneficent Tabitha from the dead.” (Catechetical Lectures [350 AD] 6:14 and 17:27).

St. John Chrysostom, according the Eastern Orthodox, “has not recognized in the Church any dignity superior to the apostolate in general.”

“Of all spiritual magistratures,” he says, “the greatest is the apostolate. How do we know this? Because the apostle precedes all others. As the consul is the first of civil magistrates, so is the apostle the first of spiritual magistrates. St. Paul himself, when he enumerates these dignities, places at their head the prerogatives of the apostolate. What does he say? ‘And God has set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers.’ Do you observe the summit of these dignities? Do you mark that the apostle is at the apex of the hierarchy–no one before, none above him. For he says: ‘First, apostles.’ And not only is the apostolate the first of all dignities, but also the root and foundation thereof.” (Homily upon the Utility of Reading Holy Scripture; cited in Abbe Guettee, The Papacy.)

[NOTE: Since being an Apostle is the highest rulership in the church, the root and foundation, then there is no office for St. Peter to have higher than the other Apostles –and note that St. Paul says, God set some, that is, a plural number, in the church, first apostles –again a plural number, yet a Papal Petrine primacy demands that the highest rank be singular.]

The argument fails to make proper distinctions. St. John Chrysostom is commenting on I Cor. 12:28-30, which reads,

“And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches. 29. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? 30. Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing?”

The Bible is giving a general outline of authority and other positions in the Church. St. John Chrysostom is pointing to the fact that the Apostles are higher than all the other parts of the Church. The Apostles are also bishops but the other bishops don’t have the jurisdiction of the Apostles. Again, some bishops have more authority than other bishops because of the power of an office. St. John Chyrsostom is not dealing with the papal office which is about a specific office among the Apostles. He explains Peter’s Office in other writings. For instance,

“Peter, that head of the Apostles, the first in the Church, the friend of Christ, who received the revelation not from man but from the Father….this Peter, and when I say Peter, I mean the unbroken Rock, the unshaken foundation, the great apostle, the first of the disciples, the first called, the first to obey.” (De Eleemos III, 4, vol II, 298[300], taken from Dom John Chapman)

This is one of many teachings from St. John Chrysostom on papal primacy. To argue that this great saint didn’t recognize papal primacy is absurd.

Whenever we see a quote from a Father or saint about Peter’s relationship with others, pay attention to the context and in what sense he’s referring to.

The following additional quotes support papal primacy.

St. Jerome:

“Not long afterwards the illustrious Anastasius succeeded to the Pontificate. Rome did not merit to possess him long, lest the world’s head should be severed under such a bishop [when Alaric took Rome, AD 410]. Nay, he was taken away, lest he should essay by his prayers to bend the sentence once decided, as the Lord said to Jeremias: ‘Pray not for this people.’ … You say, what has this to do with the illustrious Marcella? She was the cause of the heretic’s condemnation, by producing witnesses’…” (Ep 127, c. x, 958[1093] taken from Dom John Chapman’s Studies on the Early Papacy and originally from the “Dublin Review” (January 1898). Dom John Chapman OSB (25 April 1865 – 7 November 1933)

St. Theodore the Studite to Pope St. Leo III:

“To the most holy and great father of fathers, to our lord Leo, apostolic pope, Theodore, the most humble priest and abbot of the Studion….

Since it is to the great Peter that Christ our God gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven and entrusted the dignity of chief of the flock , it is to Peter, that is to say, his successor, that one ought to submit every innovation which is made in the Catholic Church by those who turn aside from the truth. That is what we humble and lowly monks have learnt from the ancient fathers. Therefore, a new teaching having arisen recently in the midst of our Church here, we believed we ought, first through the medium of one of our fathers, the most holy archimandrite Ephiphanius, and then by this simple letter, to submit it to the angel of your supreme beatitude. There has been held, o Ruler divine of all rulers, a synod of prevaricators, as says the prophet Jeremiah, a council of adulterers. These men have not been content to conspire in favor of the priest who blessed the adulterous marriage and to receive him into communion, but, to merit the name of perfect heretic, have excommunicated in a second synod all those who do not cleave to their error, or rather the Church catholic herself…I borrow now the cry of the coryphaeus of the Apostles, calling Christ to his succor when the waves of the sea were risen up, and I say to your blessedness who are the Representative of Christ, ‘O first shepherd of the Church which is under heaven’, save us now, we perish. Imitate the Christ your master, stretch out your hand to your Church as he stretched out his hand to Peter. Peter began to sink in the waves, while our Church is still once more submerged in the depths of heresy. Emulate, we beg you, the great Pope whose name you bear, and just as he on the appearance of the Eutychian heresy, stood erect spiritually as a lion with his dogmatic letters, so in your turn (I dare to say it because of your name) roar divinely, or rather send forth your thunders against the present heresy. For if they, usurping an authority which does not belong to them, have dared to convene a heretical council, while those who, following ancient custom, have not even the right of convoking an orthodox one without your knowledge, it seems absolutely necessary, we dare to say it to you, that your divine primacy should call together a lawful council, so that the Catholic dogma may drive away heresy and that neither your primacy may be anathematized with all the orthodox by these new voices without authority, nor that wills evilly disposed may find in this adulterous council an excuse for being involved in sin. It is in order to obey your divine authority as chief pastor that we have set forth these things as it befitted our nothingness, we the least members of the Church. For the rest we beg your holiness to count us among your sheep and to enlighten and to strengthen us by your holy prayers… It is of myself, a humble fishermen held in prison, that I write to you this letter, because my father and companion the monk, as well as my brother the Archbishop of Thessaloniki, are imprisoned in other islands. But they say the same things as I, and with me prostrate themselves at the sacred feet of your blessedness” (Patrologia Graeca 99, 1017 – Epistle 1)

The list of quotes could go on and on proving that papal primacy was recognized by the whole Church. Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism doesn’t have a leg to stand on. They are man-made traditions that nullify the Word of God (Mark 7:13).

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I recently received an email from an ex-Catholic who has converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. It was a kind letter explaining why he thinks I’m wrong about his religion and my own religion. He wrote, “But before you can delve into the complexities of Orthodoxy it is best to figure out why Roman Catholicism is false. I am attaching a great book by Guettee for you.  Read it and refute it if you think you can. You would be the first.”

It’s clear from the letter that the gentleman who sent me the Guettée book holds to the same position and understanding of the Catholic Church and papacy as Guettée.

Father Vladimir Guettée (born Réné-Francois Guettée, 1816 – 1892), was a renowned French historian and Catholic priest who converted to the Eastern Orthodox. He is portrayed by the Eastern Orthodox as a Catholic priest who accidentally stumbled upon the truth and became convinced of it, thus, converting to Orthodoxy.

After reading the 170 plus pages from Guettée’s work, [1] it was easy to see where the Protestants got many of their arguments against Catholicism. I was excited to publish a refutation. However, I would not be the first to read and refute Guettée . That honor goes to Orestes Augustus Brownson (September 16, 1803 – April 17, 1876) who thoroughly demolishes Guettée’s arguments.  Thanks to a good friend who sent me Brownson’s work, I realized that I could never do what Brownson did so eloquently. I was totally captivated by his refutation of Guettée. It is 53 pages of pure brilliance, pure logic, and pure genius. Comparing Guettée with Brownson, would be like comparing a quack with Aquinas and that’s no exaggeration. I was blown away!

 

Orestes Augustus Brownson (1803 – 1876) was a renowned Catholic convert and a prolific writer. He is one of the greatest intellectual thinkers of the 19th century.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about him:

Peter J. Stanlis has pointed out that “In the generation following the founding fathers of the American republic, Orestes Brownson (1803–1876), together with John C. Calhoun, was probably the most original and profound political thinker of the nineteenth century. Woodrow Wilson considered his most important book, The American Republic (1865), the best study of the American constitution.”[37]

Additionally, Brownson was held in high regard by many European intellectuals and theologians, including Auguste Joseph Alphonse Gratry, who called Brownson “the keenest critic of the 19th century, an indomitable logician, a disinterested lover of truth, a sage, as sharp as Aristotle, as lofty as Plato.”[38] Great Britain’s Lord Acton visited with Brownson and later wrote that “Intellectually, no American I have met comes near him.” [39]

I’m glad the Eastern Orthodox gentleman who sent me Guettée’s work made it so clear that he holds to the same position and understanding of the Catholic Church and papacy as Guettée because Brownson makes it so clear that Guettée did not understand the Catholic Church and the papacy at all!

Not only does Brownson prove Guettée wrong, he proves the Catholic Church true and the Eastern Orthodox false.

Brownson’s work is an absolute must read for all who desire the truth of the Christian Faith.

In case the above link to Brownson’s work fails, try https://books.google.com/books?id=0qQ-AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA474

It ends on page 527. This work should be spread far and wide.

 

Footnote

[1] To read Guettée’s book, click and repeat  guettee_thepapacy(3)

 

 

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The solution some Eastern Orthodox members give to the position of Catholic sedevacantism is to join them. The problem, however, is two-fold. First, which Eastern Orthodox religion should we join? There is no Eastern Orthodox Church. It’s the Russian Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church, Coptic Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, etc.

Who has the final say as to which one is the most true Eastern Orthodox church? I have to say “most” true because none of them are 100% true. See Eastern Orthodox is Not the Way

It comes down to each individual’s opinion as to who is true orthodox and what is true orthodox doctrine. This is not so in the Catholic Church, which has laid down very clearly who is a member of the Church and what is Catholic dogma.

The second problem with the Eastern Orthodox religions is that it embodies the very thing we Catholics despise. Joining an Eastern Orthodox religion is to join an ecumenical religion of the world.

Most, if not all, Eastern Orthodox churches belong to the satanic World Council of Churches. See https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches and read the names of the Orthodox churches which are united to this satanic fellowship.

It gets worse. Among the Eastern Orthodox leaders who took part in one of the most evil gatherings ever, the Assisi Events of 1986, 2002, and 2011, were Bartholomeos I, the Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople; Ignace IV Hazim, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and of all the Orient; several metropolitans and dignitaries of the patriarchates of Moscow, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, and of Orthodox churches in Cyprus, Poland and Albania.

I suggest the reading of my THE DIABOLICAL ASSISI EVENTS and understand why there’s no excuse for such abominable gatherings.

Lastly, the Eastern Orthodox has good relations with the Novus Ordo religion of antipope Francis. If the Eastern Orthodox had an ounce of holiness in it, you would not see the antipopes of Vatican II attempting to reconcile with them in the manner in which they going about it.

The following video does not speak well for the Eastern Orthodox because the Vatican II popes would stay far away from them if the Eastern Orthodox were holy and true.

The video shows Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I kissing Pope Francis’ head during an ecumenical prayer at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. The two apostates will participate in an ecumenical liturgy and sign a joint declaration in the ongoing attempt to reunite the churches.

It just so happened that antipope Francis had prayed with Muslims facing Mecca in the Blue Mosque earlier that same day. [1] Bartholomew undoubtedly approved. 

If the best comeback an Eastern Orthodox apologist has to defend such nonsense from their religion is to recognize and resist, we despise that heresy as well.

Eastern Orthodox is not the way. It practices the very thing we hate about the Novus Ordo religion of antipope Francis. Why would we want to join them?

As I’ve said before, the Roman Catholic Faith is the faith found in all generations since Christ and if this faith is not it… then nothing else is.

 

Footnote

[1]  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-turkey/pope-francis-prays-in-istanbuls-blue-mosque-idUSKCN0JD09U20141129.

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Both the pseudo-traditionalists “Catholics” and the Eastern “Orthodox” have attempted to argue against the position of sedevacantism using Pope Pius IX’s Etsi Multa document [1] .​ They claim Pope Pius IX condemned sedevacantism over a century ago. The relevant passage of the document reads:

Further Heresies

They obstinately reject and oppose the infallible magisterium both of the Roman Pontiff and of the whole Church in teaching matters.  Incredibly, they boldly affirm that the Roman Pontiff and all the bishops, the priests and the people conjoined with him in the unity of faith and communion fell into heresy when they approved and professed the definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council. Therefore they deny also the indefectibility of the Church and blasphemously declare that it has perished throughout the world and that its visible Head and the bishops have erred. They assert the necessity of restoring a legitimate episcopacy in the person of their pseudo-bishop, who has entered not by the gate but from elsewhere like a thief or robber and calls the damnation of Christ upon his head.

Yet they do not blush to call themselves Catholics and Old Catholics, while in their doctrine, novelty, and number they show themselves in no way to be either old or Catholic. Certainly the Church rises up with greater right against them than it once did through Augustine against the Donatists. Diffused among all people, the Church was built by Christ the Son of the living God upon the rock, against which the gates of Hell will not prevail, and with which He Himself, to Whom all power in heaven and on earth is given, said He would be with until the consummation of the world. “The Church cries to her Spouse: Why do certain men withdrawing from me murmur against me? Why do these lost men claim that I have perished? Announce to me the length of my days, how long I will be in this world? Tell me on account of those who say: it was and is no longer; on account of those who say: the scriptures have been fulfilled, all nations have believed, but the Church has apostatized and perished from all nations. And He announced and the voice was not vain. What did He announce? ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Moved by your voices and your false opinions, it asked of God that He announce to it the length of its days and it found that God said ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’ Here you will say: He spoke about us; we are as we will be until the end of the world. Christ Himself is asked; He says ‘and this gospel will be preached in the whole world, in testimony to all nations, and then will come the end.’ Therefore the Church will be among all nations until the end of the world. Let heretics perish as they are, and let them find that they become what they are not.”[8]

Pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” and Eastern “Orthodox” claim that sedevacantists are just “Old Catholics” with a new name.

As usual, these anti-sedevacantists fail to make key distinctions, which prove they don’t know what they are talking about.

Contrary to the belief of “Old Catholics”, Catholic Sedevacantists do not hold that the Roman Pontiff can fall into heresy when teaching a doctrine for the whole Church. I personally don’t think the pope can fall into heresy at all.

Catholic Sedevacantists don’t believe there was a Roman Pontiff at Vatican 2, or that all the bishops necessarily fell into heresy at Vatican 2, or there’s no Church among all nations.

What’s most bizarre about this accusation is how both psuedo-traditionalist “Catholics” and Eastern “Orthodox” actually do believe Vatican 2 is heretical and was approved and promulgated by a Roman Pontiff. The pseudo-traditionalist “Catholics” are more like the “Old Catholics.”

As for Eastern “Orthodoxy,” they are just the precursors to Protestantism. You’ll find both using the same absurd and blasphemous arguments against the Catholic Church. In this case, it’s a straw-man argument against sedevacantism.

 

Footnote:

[1] Etsi Multa http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9etsimu.htm

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The Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451 AD

Painting by Vasily Ivanovich Surikov in 1876

 

The main objection to Catholicism by the Eastern Orthodox is papal authority. Everything hinges on this Catholic doctrine, when it comes down to other doctrines, such as the Immaculate Conception, Filioque, etc.

The Eastern Orthodox claim the keys given to Peter in Matthew 16:19 only represent the same binding and loosening power found in Matt. 18:18 where Christ tells the other Apostles, “whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.” Therefore, Peter has no authority over the other Apostles.

An examination of the passages shows a distinct difference. In the Old Testament, we find a key holder over the Kingdom of David. Eli’akim is given the key to the kingdom of David even though Hezekiah is the king (Is. 22:22). Is it a mere coincidence that Christ uses this imagery or was Christ drawing from Isaiah to illustrate His intention?

Peter is mentioned throughout Holy Scripture as “Peter and the others” or some other similar phrase. Peter is found over 190 times in Scripture. The next most mentioned Apostle is John found under 30 times. Peter is clearly understood as one with a special significance over the others.

Just as David’s kingdom had a key holder, Jesus, the eternal Son and King assigns a key holder to His eternal kingdom, the Church. The passage in Isaiah denotes that the key holder has successors to maintain the authority over the kingdom. Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that the intention of Jesus is for Peter to have successors with the same authority as Peter.

The context of the keys in Chapter 16 is different from Chapter 18, which shows Christ assigning a tribunal to the Church, which obedience ought to be rendered, on pain of being excommunicated and considered a heathen. All bishops have authority of binding and loosening but not on the same scale as Peter, who alone was given the keys.

St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage (d. 258) (venerated by the Eastern Orthodox) explains:

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’… On him he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep, and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair, and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was; but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church, first edition 251 AD.)

In the second edition, St. Cyprian changes it to:

It is on one man that He builds the Church; and although He assigns a like power to all the Apostles after His resurrection…nevertheless, in order that unity might be clearly shown, He established by his own authority a source for that unity, which takes its beginning from one man alone. Indeed, the other Apostles were that also which Peter was, being endowed with an equal portion of dignity and power; but the origin is ground in unity, so that it may be made clear there is but one Church of Christ. …If someone does not hold fast to this unity of the Church, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he resists and withstands the Church, can he still be confident that he is in the Church…? Most especially must we bishops, who exercise authority in the Church, hold firmly and insist upon this unity, whereby we may demonstrate also that the episcopate itself is one and undivided. Let no one mislead the brotherhood with a lie, let no one corrupt the faith by a faithless perversion of the truth. The episcopate is one, of which each bishop holds his part within the undivided structure.” (emphasis mine)

St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem (d. 386) tells us that only Peter has the keys and is the chief of the apostles:

“[Simon Magus] so deceived the city of Rome that Claudius erected a statue of him. . . . While the error was extending itself, Peter and Paul arrived, a noble pair and the rulers of the Church, and they set the error aright. . . . They launched the weapon of their like-mindedness in prayer against the Magus, and struck him down to earth. It was marvelous enough, and yet no marvel at all, for Peter was there—he that carries about the keys of heaven. …In the power of the same Holy Spirit, Peter, both the chief of the apostles and the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, in the name of Christ healed Aeneas the paralytic at Lydda, which is now called Diospolis; and at Joppa he raised the beneficent Tabitha from the dead.” (Catechetical Lectures [350 AD] 6:14 and 17:27).

The great Eastern Father, St. Ephraim of Syria wrote about Jesus to Peter:

“Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on Earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the firstborn in my institution so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures” (Homilies 4:1, 351 AD).

St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople (d. 407) in his homily 54 [55] teaches that by the delivery of these keys by Christ to Peter, there was committed to him the care and government of the whole world, and that he was created pastor and head of the entire Church. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/200154.htm

If the Eastern Orthodox claim is true that all Apostles had equal authority, why did the great Eastern Fathers St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Ephraim of Syria, and St. John Chrysostom teach the contrary? Why do we not see Eastern Fathers making it clear that Peter was equal in authority when his successors exercised their authority over the territories of Patriarchs without objection?

For instance, Pope St. Clement (the same Clement mentioned Philippians 4:3) wrote a letter to the Corinthians in 80 AD condemning their “abominable and unholy sedition” and to be “obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit.”

The letter of Pope St. Clement was so important that it was read in Church thought to be Scripture. Saint Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wrote a letter to Pope Soter in 170 AD: “For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying… Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter. Whenever we do read it, we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement” (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius (Bishop of Caesarea), Church History 4:23:9 and 11).

Pope Julius I asserted his authority in the East in defending the great St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria.

Perhaps the most glaring contradiction to the Eastern Orthodox assertion that Peter is equal in authority to the other Apostles is the councils. They raise the argument against Peter’s supreme authority on the claim that James lead the Council of Jerusalem in the Book of Acts. This anachronistic approach is unreasonable.

Peter settles the matter after much debate in Acts 15:7. Barnabas and Paul confirm the truth in verse 12 and then James puts in his two-cents worth. James has to say, “Listen to me” since his words need everybody’s attention unlike Peter’s, who already has everybody’s attention. Peter does not have to say, “listen to me” because they listen and when he spoke, “the assembly kept silence (Acts 15:12).” James then gives his judgment on how Peter’s words are to be applied just as all bishops do when the pope lays down the law.

Again, it is Peter most mentioned in the Book of Acts. “Peter stood up among the brethren…and said (Acts 1:15).” “Peter standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them (Acts 2:14).” “Peter and the rest of the Apostles” (Acts 2:37). “Peter said to them (Acts 2:38).” “Peter saw it and addressed the people (Acts 3:12).” “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them (Acts 4:8).” “Peter and the apostles answered (Acts 5:29).” Peter is mentioned another 49 times in the Book of Acts alone, but we are to believe James was the leader at the council?

All heresiarchs used their biblical knowledge and appealed to tradition to promulgate their heresies. In every case, the East looked to Rome for the final answer. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria appealed to Pope St. Celestine I against Nestorius, the Patriarch of Constantinople. The result was the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431 AD, which condemned Nestorius. In the Acts of the Council, session 3, it’s declared:

“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod.’”

The great council of the East witnesses to the Catholic dogma that Peter and his successors arehead of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church.”

A greater example of this council’s testimony came after the heresiarch Eutyches spread his Monophysitism heresy. In 449 AD, Dioscorus, the Patriarch of Alexander, led the Second Council of Ephesus, which deposed orthodox bishops and refused Pope St. Leo’s Tome against Monophysitism to be heard. Pope Leo the Great condemned the “Robber Council” and declared its members to be deposed.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon in 451 AD, which had over 600 mostly Eastern bishops implemented Pope Leo’s direction. Dioscorus was to be deposed if he remained steadfast in heresy, to restore the repentant bishops to their sees, and define the faith according to the Tome, which was done to the letter. The Council clearly and unambiguously recognized the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome, as its actions reflected. The Council’s declaration in deposing Dioscorus proved that it recognized Pope St. Leo as the final authority:

“Wherefore Leo, the most holy and blessed Archbishop of great and older Rome, by us and by the present holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and worthy of all praise, the blessed Apostle Peter, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him of his episcopate and deprived him of all sacerdotal dignity.”

The Chalcedonian (mostly Eastern) fathers again confessed their belief in the papal doctrine:

“After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo! . . . This is the true faith! Those of us who are orthodox thus believe! This is the faith of the Fathers!’” (Acts of the Council, session 2).

After the Eastern Orthodox finally split from the Catholic Church in 1054, they had no more Ecumenical Councils.

Today, we still hear arguments against the papacy by the Eastern Orthodox (and used by Protestants) such as St. Paul’s rebuke of Peter in Galatians 2:11: “But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”

What’s most interesting is that Cornelius a Lapide notes in his biblical commentary how some Eastern Fathers try to explain away the incident to protect Peter, while the majority of Latin Fathers don’t do so. Cornelius writes:

Because he was to be blamed. (1.) Because he had been blamed (κατεγνωσμένος) by other brethren, whom Peter had offended by this proceeding, in their ignorance of his true intention and motive, as Chrysostom and Jerome say, or, as Ephrem turns it, “because they were offended in him.” (2.) Theophylact and Œcumenius understand it: Peter had been blamed by the other Apostles because he had eaten with the Gentile Cornelius at Cæsarea. Fearing lest he should be blamed again by them or by other Jews, he withdrew himself from all intercourse with the Gentiles. (3.) The opinion of Ambrose is better. He had fallen under the condemnation of the truth and of Gospel liberty, which sets the Gentiles free from the darkness and slavery of Judaism. (4.) The Vulgate reprehesiblis (in place of reprehensus, as with the authors cited above) is better, and agrees with the context. It gives the reason for resisting Peter, because he was to be blamed for simulating Judaism.

It may be asked whether Peter was really blameworthy and was actually blamed by Paul. For many years there was a sharp dispute on this point between S. Jerome and S. Augustine, as may be seen in their epistles. Jerome, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Baronius answer in the negative, and hold that the rebuke was only theatrical. They argue that Peter, who had lawfully followed the Jewish customs at Jerusalem among Jews, lived as a Gentile among Gentiles at Antioch; when, however, the Jews arrived who had been sent to Antioch from Jerusalem by James, he withdrew from the Gentiles in favour of the Jews, lest he should offend those who had been the earliest to receive the faith (see ver. 9), and also that he might at the same time give Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, an opportunity of rebuking him, that by yielding he might teach the Jews that the time for Judaising was past. On the other side S. Augustine maintains that Peter was really blameworthy, and was blamed by Paul, as the record distinctly declares.

Out of this arose a dispute between S. Augustine and S. Jerome about simulation and lying. Jerome argued from this action of Peter’s that any similar simulation is lawful. Augustine denied that he did simulate, and laid down the unlawfulness of all lying or simulation, especially in matters of religion. In this second question, however, neither seems to have understood the other’s position. Jerome did not maintain that Peter told a lie, or put on a profession of Judaism while secretly detesting it, as Augustine, by the strength of his language, seems to think that Jerome held. The latter did not say that Peter was right in professing Judaism; if he did, then it would be right for any one of the faithful to make a profession of any false faith or any heresy. But Jerome only held what S. Chrysostom did, viz., that the rebuke administered to Peter by Paul was not really intended, but was merely theatrical, it being arranged between them beforehand that Paul should rebuke Peter, not for simulation, but for thoughtless dissimulation, and that Peter should accept the rebuke thus arranged for, that so the Judaisers might be really rebuked in the specious rebuke given to Peter, and with him might clearly understand that Judaising was forbidden. The lawfulness of such an action is not denied by Augustine, all he denies is that the proceeding was of this nature.

From this it appears how little ground Cassian (Collat. xvii. 17- 25), Origen, Clement, Erasmus, and others (see the passages in Sixtus of Sens, lib. v. annot. 105) had for founding the lawfulness of lying on this passage, or for endorsing the saying of Plato, that, although a lie is an evil thing, yet it is occasionally necessary, just as we use hellebore or some other drug, for this is now an established error condemned by Innocent III. (Tit. de Usuris, cap. super eo.), and by Ecclesiasticus vii. 14. Against it too S. Augustine writes two treatises, one entitled de Mendacio and the other contra Mendacium. Nor is there any exception to be taken here against Jerome and Chrysostom. They only understand and excuse a secret arrangement, whereby no lie was acted, but a rebuke was simulated, and this is a legitimate action, as is evident in military stratagems, when for instance, the enemy feigns to flee, and so draws its foes into an ambush.

A third question was also disputed between Jerome and Augustine as to the date when the Old Law came to an end, but this is outside the present subject, and it is sufficient therefore to say very briefly that the Old Law, so far as obligation goes, came to an end at Pentecost, when the New Law was promulgated, but that its observance did not wholly cease, it being lawful to observe it for a while, till the Jews had been gradually weaned from it, that so in due time it might receive an honourable burial. In this dispute Augustine seems to have held the stronger position.

It may be urged that in this act of Peter’s there was at least something sinful, if not actually erroneous in faith, as some have rashly asserted. By his action it may be thought that he thoughtlessly made a profession of Judaism, and so put a stumbling-block in the way of the Gentiles, and tempted them to Judaise with him. He had previously lived with the Gentiles, but he afterwards withdrew from them suddenly, went over to the Jews, and lived with them. From this the Gentiles might properly infer that judaism was necessary to salvation, both for him and themselves, and was binding on Christians; for though the Old Law, with its ceremonies, was not yet the cause of death, and might be preserved so as to secure for itself an honourable burial, and also to draw the Jews to the faith of Christ, yet it was dead, and in one sense death-giving, viz., to any one who should keep it on the supposition that it was binding on Christians. Although Peter, however, did not so regard it, yet his action was so imprudent as to give the Gentiles good reason for thinking that he did.

The justness of this remark is evident from the two remarks made by Paul: I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed; and: When I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, Why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?—viz., by your simulation, or what the Greeks call hypocrisy. All this shows that either Peter sinned or that Paul told a lie, which God forbid. See S. Augustine (Ep. 8, 9, and 19 to Jerome), Cyprian (Ep. ad Quintum), Gregory (Hom. 18 in Ezech.), Ambrose, &c.

To what has been said I add this: This sin of Peter’s was venial, or material only, arising from want of thought, or from want of light and prudence. He seems to have thought that, being the Apostle of the Jews especially, that he ought rather to avoid scandalising them than the Gentiles, and that the Gentiles would readily recognise the rightfulness of this line of action. In so doing he erred, for “although,” as S. Thomas says, “the Holy Spirit who descended an the Apostles at Pentecost established them thereafter in such prudence and grace as to keep them from mortal sins, yet he did not also save them from venial sins.”

Observe that a lie may consist in deeds as well as in words. For example, if a man lead another to suppose by his conduct that he is a good man or his friend, when he is neither of these, then he is guilty of a lie. This lie by deed is what is properly called hypocrisy. Similarly, if any Christian at Rome wears a yellow cap he acts a lie, by thus giving himself out as a Jew.

Notice, however, with Cajetan that falsity in deeds is more easily excused than falsity in words. The reason is that words are express signs of mental concepts, but deeds are not, and so admit a wider interpretation. Hence if soldiers feign flight to draw the enemy into an ambush, they are not guilty of hypocrisy, as they would be if they were to say in words: “We flee, 0 enemy, because we are afraid of you.”

Again, observe the following rule: When there is a just cause of concealing the truth, no falsehood is involved. Peter, in the act under discussion, had partly a just cause, viz., the fear of offending the Jews. His withdrawal from the Gentiles was not a formal declaration that he was a Judaiser, but only tantamount to saying that he preferred to serve the Jews rather than the Gentiles, the just cause of this preference being that he was more an Apostle of the former than of the latter. I say partly, for he was not wholly justified in so acting, inasmuch as he was bound, as universal pastor, to care for the Jews without neglecting the Gentiles. Hence it follows also that in one respect he sinned through want of due consideration. The infirmity of man’s mind, however, is such that he cannot always hit the exact mean, and under complex circumstances benefit one without harming another.

Some one will object then: Since Paul corrected Peter, he was of equal, if not superior authority; in other words Paul, and not Peter, was the head of the Apostles.

I deny the consequence. For superiors may, in the interests of truth, be corrected by their inferiors. Augustine (Ep. xix.), Cyprian, Gregory, and S. Thomas lay down this proposition in maintaining also that Peter, as the superior, was corrected by his inferior. The inference from what they say is that Paul was equal to the other Apostles, inferior to Peter, and hence they all were Peter’s inferiors; they were the heads of the whole Church, and Peter was their chief. Gregory (Hom. 18 in Ezech.) says: “Peter kept silence, that the first in dignity might be first in humility;” and Augustine says the same (Ep. xix. ad Hieron.): “Peter gave to those who should follow him a rare and holy example of humility under correction by inferiors, as Paul did of bold resistance in defence of truth to subordinates against their superiors, charity being always preserved.”

He did eat with the Gentiles. He ate, according to Anselm, of pork and other forbidden meats, without any scruple, to show that the Ceremonial Law was abrogated.

For the record, many saints have stood up against popes over the centuries. St. Irenaeus stood up to Pope Victor over the Easter celebration and nearly anathematizing Asia Minor over it.

St. Bridgit of Sweden wrote to Pope Gregory XI, “Show yourself a man and begin to renew My Church which I have bought with My blood, so that it may be born again and return to its former state … But this you shall know of a surety, that if you do not obey My will, judgment will be passed upon you as upon a prelate who is degraded and deprived of his ecclesiastical vestments. Everything that has formerly been peace and honor to you shall then be damnation and shame. …And every devil in hell shall have a piece of your soul and fill it with everlasting damnation.” 

St. Catherine of Sienna wrote to the same pope, “Most Holy Father … because He [Christ] has given you authority and because you have accepted it, you ought to use your virtue and power. If you do not wish to use it, it might be better for you to resign what you have accepted; it would give more honor to God and health to your soul. … If you do not do this, you will be censured by God. If I were you, I would fear that Divine Judgment might descend on me.”

St. Vincent Ferrer stood up to “Pope” Benedict XIII many times and finally rejected him as pope.

In no way does Gal. 2:11 demonstrate that Peter is equal in authority to the rest of the Apostles.

No reasonable explanation can be given against papal authority. All we see from the Eastern Orthodox is the same old tired arguments that have been refuted by their own fathers. If the Eastern Orthodox would only listen to the Eastern Fathers, but alas, people only hear what they want to hear.

 

 

Further reading:

 

Fr. Reuben Parsons, Some Lies and Errors of History, The “Orthodox” Russian and the Schismatic Greek Churches
https://archive.org/stream/somelieserrorsof00pars#page/304/mode/2up

Fr. Sylvester Berry, The Church of Christ, The Papal Primacy

Bp. Francis Kenrick, The Primacy of the Apostolic See Vindicated
https://archive.org/details/PrimacyOfTheApostolicSeeVindicated

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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