Obamaweek: You know who’d make a great Pope?

posted at 11:00 am on July 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

It seems as Barack Obama’s polling numbers increasingly come down to Earth, his media apologists get more desperate to hail him as the secular Messiah.  Perhaps no effort gets quite so embarrassingly sycophantic as Newsweek’s decision to print this mash note from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on the occasion of Obama’s first visit with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican this week.  Townsend argues that Obama is literally more Catholic than the Pope.  Here are Newsweek’s alpha and omega:

In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s. …

Notre Dame awarded the president an honorary degree because it saw the need to highlight the best of Catholic teaching as applied to politics: the ability to open the eyes of those who would prefer to keep them closed, and to open the hearts of those who would prefer not to know the pain that their actions cause. The pope has a lot to learn about Catholic politics in America. Barack Obama can teach him.

In between these two paragraphs, Townsend fills the pages with the usual liberal complaints about the church, including gay rights, abortion, and — this is the best part — a complaint that the church hierarchy doesn’t listen to the congregations and change religious doctrine to match public opinion.  She lauds Obama for his ability to “listen” to other points of view, apparently missing the months-long repetition that no one had an alternative to Porkulus when Republicans and Democrats both tried to get votes for smaller and more intelligently-crafted alternatives.

Townsend makes the same mistake about religion that many other Catholics (and not just Catholics) make about it.  A church isn’t a democracy, nor is it a nation.  The Catholic Church serves what its sees as eternal truths about God, Jesus Christ, and the world, and invites those who believe similarly to join.  No one is forced to remain a Catholic anywhere in the world, nor are Lutherans, Episcopalians, and so on.  Certainly one can disagree on policy and practices, as many Catholics do, but on doctrine, the church does not take polls.

Thus, one can agree on the doctrine of social justice but disagree on the best policies to achieve it.  One can agree on the dignity of human life and still disagree on issues like incarceration, executions (which, contrary to popular belief, is not proscribed by Catholic doctrine), charity for the poor, and the economic policies of free nations.  But someone who believes that infants born during botched abortions should not be protected by a law requiring the abortionists to seek independent medical help for them is acting contrary to Catholic doctrine, which is and should be immutable.

At least Obama doesn’t claim to be Catholic, even if Townsend thinks he’s more Catholic than Benedict.  Townsend wants a church that bends to the will of the mob, which isn’t a church at all but a social club or a political party.  Let Obama remain the head of his political party, and perhaps Catholics like Townsend should pay more attention to the church’s teachings — or find a social club to join instead.


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Comment pages: 1 3 4 5

I didn’t post that correctly.

Peter was not rebuked at the Council of Jerusalem

is my quote, not Maximus’

sorry

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 4:06 PM

Townsend wants a church that bends to the will of the mob, which isn’t a church at all but a social club or a political party. Let Obama remain the head of his political party, and perhaps Catholics like Townsend should pay more attention to the church’s teachings — or find a social club to join instead.

Well said, Ed. Churches are not about polls.

PersonalLiberty on July 13, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Sure he said he would give him the keys but he didn’t actually give them to him yet. . ..

I have extensively looked at this from the view of the early church fathers. They differ in their opinions on what is meant by rock but they emphasize on the confession of Christ like I do.

shick on July 13, 2009 at 11:38 AM

I now see what you are saying. Sorry I didn’t catch that at first.

So you believe that Jesus promised Peter the keys, but never gave them to him? Is that right?

Well, it would be hard to believe that Jesus promised He would and then broke that promise. And just because we do not see Jesus in Scripture at a later date conferring the keys officially as He departed doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Not every event was recorded in Scripture.

Plus that was all inferred in His promise. When the King leaves the Kingdom for a while, the chief steward has the keys of authority. That is what Jesus was talking about. The King didn’t have to continually restate the obvious each time he left the Kingdom.

But if you think Jesus changed His mind and will not believe from early Church tradition that Peter was the head of the early Church and that he and the Apostles had Christ’s authority, then there is nothing I can say. We see Peter throughout the New Testament demonstrating his authority. But that is the only Scriptural proof. Actual events and activities. We don’t see Jesus saying as He ascended, “OK, Peter, now you have the keys.”

And it is certainly true that early Christian fathers said that Jesus based His Church on Peter’s faith. We Catholics believe that today. But not ONLY his faith. It was based on Peter himself because of his faith. Because his declaration pointed him out as the chosen one for the mission. You will see the early fathers saying that. The primacy of Peter, the orthodoxy of Rome’s teaching, the chair of Peter. I already quoted some of them to Maximus here

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 10:31 AM

But certainly, it was Peter’s faith that mattered and set him apart, blessed by God for his calling as leader. We agree with that. As do Catholic theologians from the first century on till today.

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 4:12 PM

You also are ingnoring the future perfect tense of will give. It’s simple.

shick on July 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Calling Jesus a liar is simple? Or is He just what we as kids so politically incorrectly referred to as an ‘Indian giver’? When did he change his mind? Perhaps when he said, “Go behind me, Satan”? Funny that he didn’t banish Peter if he had decided Peter was Satan. And wouldn’t he have known this about Peter and never offered him the keys to begin with, much less set him out to convert the world? Most of us realize this was merely a chastisement to Peter for being too attached to the earthly things and for tempting (though well intentioned) Christ into refusing the will of God. Peter was, after all, human, and Christ would be teaching him, so that he would be prepared when the time came for Peter to actually receive the keys, upon Christ’s ascension into Heaven. He would know that man needed a shepherd. Jesus gave Peter the keys on the third visitation to the apostles following His resurrection.

15 When therefore they (the apostles) 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.
16 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. 17 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. 18 Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

He said Feed my lambs to Simon Peter, Simon the rock. Not to anyone else. He is passing on the duty of Shepherd to Peter. In John 10 Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd and that he has sheep in other ‘flocks’ but that there will be only one shepherd. Only one. Peter is made the one shepherd when he is told “Feed my lambs”. I don’t see how it could be more clear.

There is other scriptural evidence for the primacy of Peter and therefore his successors. For instance:

Mt 10: 2 And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter,

Acts 2:14 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words.

Acts 5:12
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch… 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least, might overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities.

29 But Peter and the apostles answering, said: ….

Acts 15: 6 And the apostles and ancients assembled to consider of this matter. 7 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.

Paul on Christ’s appearance first to Peter following His resurrection: 1 Cor15: 5 And that He was seen by Cephas (Peter); and after that by the eleven.

My understanding is that Peter is referenced 191 times in scripture as opposed to the rest of the apostles 130 times combined, with John the beloved one second at 48. Peter is so often referenced specifically when spoken of with the other apostles. Why?

But we will all believe what we chose to believe. As for me. I trust Jesus’ word.

17 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. 18 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. 19 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.

Feed my sheep.

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Enjoy the rest of the day everyone.

Don’t know if I will have time to come back here later tonight. I will try to at least come back and read what I haven’t finished reading yet. May not have time to write.

Isn’t that a blessing. LOL

God bless you all. Each and every one of you and your families.

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Hmm, lets take a world poll — who thinks Jesus Christ died for your sins? Ruh roh! Only 33% of you? That’s it — no more Christianity!

Dark Star on July 13, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Dark Star on July 13, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Many are called; few are chosen.

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Townsend insists that Obama is more Catholic than the Pope. Well, of course, just note who his theology mentor has been for the past 20 years……. Jeremia.

highninside on July 13, 2009 at 4:29 PM

perhaps you should familiarize yourself with Acts 15 where the Holy Spirit shows the Church how to arrive at correct doctrine..through Holy Synods of all the bishops of the church…not papal infallibility. All the Apostles were equal and under the headship of Christ

Christ gave all the Apostles(and the bishops and priests they ordained)the keys to the kingdom and the ability to bind and loose.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 1:06 PM

I’m not quite sure what Peter getting clarification from the elders on the Law of Moses as it may or may not have applied to Gentiles has to do with getting divine revelation from Jesus on who the next leader of His Church should be. But, whatever.

The fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts tells of a high-level council meeting in Jerusalem that brought together the leaders of the church that

The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ among non-Jewish people raised questions of doctrine and procedure that the young church had not encountered when missionary work was done among Jews only. Little more than fifteen years after the death of Christ, problems were encountered that made a top-level resolution necessary. The decisions not only would affect the Church in matters of doctrine but also would have a bearing on missionary procedures and the practice of religion in individual families.

The council was not held in a vacuum, nor was it a mere academic exercise. It was attended by people of strong opinions, religious convictions, traditions, and biases whose lack of agreement made the council necessary. There was, in effect, a crisis forming in the young church, and the moderate, inspired resolution by Church leaders was the best possible response for the time.

The need for the council was the consequence of doctrinal and cultural factors that had been at work among both Jews and Gentiles for centuries. These influences came together in the growing Church of Jesus Christ. A review of some events covered in the first fifteen chapters of Acts will explain the thrust and direction of the early Church and see what led to the Jerusalem Council.

It is recorded in the first chapter of Acts that the resurrected Christ, preparing to ascend into heaven, told the surviving eleven members of the Twelve not to extend their ministry beyond Judea until after they received the Holy Ghost. They would then be empowered to go to Jews, Samaritans, and the “uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8)—among the Gentiles. Matthias, one who had been a witness of Christ’s ministry from its beginning, was chosen to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve (Acts 1:15–26).

The second chapter of Acts records that about one week after the Ascension, at the annual feast of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended on the Twelve and they spoke in tongues to people who were present. Thousands of Jews from more than a dozen nations were gathered at Jerusalem for the feast; following the manifestation of the Spirit, three thousand of these visitors were converted to the Lord in one day (see Acts 2:41). It is of particular importance to note that the people who came from all those nations were both “Jews and proselytes” (Acts 2:10). The term proselytes as used in the New Testament always means Gentile converts to Judaism.

Among the three thousand converts to the Church of Jesus Christ on that day of Pentecost, some certainly would have been from among the proselytes—and these would be the first persons of Gentile lineage to join the Church in that dispensation. But note this important fact: even though they were of Gentile lineage, they had all previously converted to Judaism, which means they were circumcised, ate only foods sanctioned by the law of Moses, offered sacrifice, and honored the Sabbath day in proper Jewish style. Religiously, they were Jews, and thus the Church membership remained exclusively of Jewish background. This reflected the instruction of Jesus to the Twelve more than two years earlier, when they were starting on their first missions, not to go among the Gentiles or Samaritans at that time (see Matt. 10:5).

Chapters three to six of Acts deal with the ministry of the Twelve among the Jews in and around Judea. The Church grew rapidly with Jewish converts, and persecution came from Jewish leaders. Growth brought the need for administrative enlargement in the Church, and seven men were called to assist the Twelve. Among these were some with Gentile-sounding names, such as Stephen, Parmenas, and Nicolas, who is further identified as a proselyte from Antioch (see Acts 6:5). Stephen was subsequently accused by the Jews of having taught that Jesus would destroy Jerusalem and the temple and “change the customs Moses delivered us” (Acts 6:14). (He is the earliest noted in our records to face this latter accusation.) He was brought before the Sanhedrin; his bold testimony, recorded in chapter seven, so angered the Sanhedrin that he was stoned to death.

Chapter eight reports the official establishment of the Church in Samaria. Culturally, this was a half step beyond teaching only the Jews, yet the beliefs of the Samaritans were similar to the traditions of Jewish converts to the Church. A genealogically Israelitish people mixed with other nations, the Samaritans were technically not Jews, but still they practiced the law of Moses.

However, the conversion of Cornelius and his family at Caesarea, recorded in the tenth chapter of Acts, was a major step for the new church’s missionary system—a full step toward taking the gospel to all the world. A vision (see Acts 10:9–18) taught Peter not only that the Mosaic law’s strict prohibition of certain foods was about to end, but also that he and the Church must be ready to accept all those whom God was willing to cleanse. Note Peter didn’t get consensus among the elders to say or do this.

Cornelius’s baptism is the first clear case of a Gentile coming into the Church without having obeyed the requirements of the law of Moses—circumcision, the law of carnal commandments, ceremonial law, and so forth. Many Jewish brethren in the Church objected to this direct membership process and complained to Peter, but he answered their criticism with a recital of his vision and of the workings of the Spirit in the matter (see Acts 11). Despite this divine direction through the Lord’s anointed, however, some Jewish members of the Church remained reluctant to accept the change, “preaching the word to none but … Jews only” (Acts 11:19).

But at Antioch of Syria, there began to be so many Gentiles joining the Church that the Brethren in Jerusalem sent Barnabas there to oversee the growth (see Acts 11:20–26). Barnabas was a good choice diplomatically: a Jew of the tribe of Levi by lineage, reared in Cyprus (a Gentile environment), a convert to the gospel, “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith” (Acts 11:24). Seeing the magnitude of Church growth among the Gentiles in Antioch, Barnabas sent for Saul (later known as Paul the Apostle), whom he had long known (see Acts 9:26–27), to come and assist him.

Chapters 13 and 14 of Acts tell of a yearlong missionary journey in which Barnabas and Paul visited Barnabas’s home country of Cyprus, and many cities in what is now central Turkey. They preached first to the Jews, then to the proselytes who came to the synagogue, and organized branches and ordained elders in the cities they visited. The Jews who did not believe their teachings opposed their efforts.

Barnabas and Paul taught that the gospel of Jesus Christ is greater than the law of Moses and that the law on its own could save no one (see Acts 13:38–39). Envious Jews, seeing the multitudes who came to listen to the two disciples of Christ, spoke against their teachings. Barnabas and Paul responded: “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, … lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46) Obviously, many Gentiles were baptized directly into the Church without having observed the law of Moses.

Word of the success of Barnabas and Paul reached Jerusalem, and Acts 15:1 records that certain Judean members of the Church who were much concerned went to Antioch on their own, without authorization from the Twelve or any of the presiding Brethren of the Church, and declared to the new Gentile members that “except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

This clearly stated the problem: Was obedience to the law of Moses, with all its attendant performances, required for salvation now that Jesus Christ had made the Atonement? While the emphasis in the Jewish members’ teachings seems to be on circumcision, that ritual was the token of the covenant that the Lord Jehovah had made with Abraham (see Gen. 17). Both the covenant and the token were to be a heritage for Abraham’s posterity in the generations after him (see Gen. 17:9–10). Circumcision identified one as a believer in the true God and in the covenant. This token was continued in the law of Moses. Throughout the book of Acts and the epistles, circumcision is generally used as a one-word representation for the entire law of Moses; hence when the Jewish members of the Church insisted that Gentiles be circumcised, they really meant that the Gentile converts should obey all of the law of Moses.

Barnabas and Paul contended with the visiting brethren from Judea on this important matter involving not simply a point of tradition or custom but a fundamental doctrinal issue regarding the atonement of Jesus Christ. The dissension became so great that it was decided the matter could only be settled by the presiding officers of the Church at Jerusalem. Barnabas, Paul, and others would go to Jerusalem to place the question before Church leaders (see Acts 15:2).

The significance of the question is threefold:

1. Did Jesus Christ by his earthly ministry and atonement fulfill the law of Moses, with its multitudinous ordinances and performances?

2. If so, would converts from non-Israelite peoples still have to obey the law of Moses in order to become baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ?

3. And should Church members, Jew and Gentile, have their children circumcised as a requirement for salvation?

The settlement of these questions would have profound effect on how members regarded Christ’s mission. It would also affect the missionary procedures of the Church and the religious behavior and practices of every family in the Church with regard to their children for generations.

When Barnabas and Paul arrived in Jerusalem to see the Brethren, they were respectfully received and had opportunity to give account of their success among the Gentiles. However, there were in Jerusalem many Jewish members who had been Pharisees before their conversion to Jesus Christ; many of these would not give up their adherence to the law, insisting that “it was needful to circumcise [the Gentiles], and to command them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). Therefore, “the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter” (Acts 15:6).

After much disputation among the council members, Peter rose to speak of the role God had assigned him in missionary work: “that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” (Acts 15:7). He reminded the congregation that the conversion of the Gentiles was the work of God and that God “put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9). He also declared that both “we” and “they” would be saved “through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:11). This is an affirmation that without God’s grace, none of our works are sufficient to save us.

Following Peter’s testimony, the multitude in the council listened as Barnabas and Paul told of the “miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them” (Acts 15:12).

After these things were heard, the Apostle James, who may have conducted the meeting under Peter’s direction, offered a type of official pronouncement: The Gentiles who wished to come into the Church ought to face only the necessary requirements of being morally pure and of refraining from idol worship or from eating blood (see Acts 15:13–21; Gen. 9:4). The law of Moses was not specifically mentioned by James and is conspicuously absent from the requirements he voiced.

Barnabas and Paul were assigned to return to Antioch, accompanied by Barsabas and Silas, “chief men among the brethren” (Acts 15:22), to report the decision of the council. The Brethren in Jerusalem also prepared an epistle to the Saints in Antioch and the surrounding area. The epistle concludes by conveying the council’s decision in these words:

“For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

“That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well” (Acts 15:28–29).

Acts 15:30–31 reports that when the epistle was read to Saints assembled at Antioch, “they rejoiced for the consolation.”

While this account in Acts is brief, we learn some additional details about the Jerusalem Council from Paul’s later epistle to the Galatians. We learn, for example, that when Paul went up to Jerusalem, he conferred privately with the Brethren to make certain they were in agreement with what he and Barnabas had done in receiving the Gentiles, “lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain” (Gal. 2:2).

Another important fact we learn from this Galatian epistle is that Paul and Barnabas took Titus, a young Gentile convert, with them to Jerusalem. Paul apparently saw in Titus living evidence that an uncircumcised Greek could be a model of faith and virtue, strong in the Spirit; in him, Jewish members might see an example of the grace of God given to the Gentiles without the encumbrance of the law of Moses. Apparently Paul was successful in his purpose, for he declared, “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised” (Gal. 2:3).

As forward-reaching and beneficial as the decision was by the Jerusalem Council, it was limited in its scope. The council did not decisively declare an end to the law of Moses, though it did settle the matter so far as the Gentiles were concerned. Furthermore, the council’s epistle was not addressed to all members of the Church—only to the Gentile members in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. And it should be noted that the council did not say the Gentiles could not or must not practice the law of Moses—only that they need not do so for salvation.

Why would the Brethren be so ambiguous and noncommittal? They seemed to have said as little as they could about the matter. Was it that they wanted to avoid a division in the Church and did not want to alienate the strict Jewish members? Did they not want to invite persecution from Jews outside the Church? James seemed to have had this in mind when, after announcing the moderate decision of the council, he said, “For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day” (Acts 15:21).

By wording the decision the way they did, the Brethren probably avoided a schism in the Church, and no doubt also avoided the ire that would have come from the Jews had the decision been more unyielding. There must have been many who would have preferred a stronger declaration, but the Brethren acted in the wisdom requisite for their situation—not out of mere political or diplomatic expediency, but judiciously, surely acting under the guidance of the Spirit, which the Lord had promised would guide his disciples aright (see John 16:13).
Revelation’s Light on Tradition

The moderate decision of the council made possible continuing accommodation of some members’ traditions without compromise on essential doctrinal points.

Ten years later, as Paul returned to Jerusalem at the end of his third mission among the Gentiles of Greece and Turkey (Galatia and Asia), the Brethren rejoiced with him at his great successes. But they cautioned him against preaching strong doctrine about the law of Moses in Jerusalem. They said:

“Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

“And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs” (Acts 21:20–21).

Because some of these believers would inevitably come to hear Paul preach, the Brethren advised him that before this happened he should make his own public observance of the law; “and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law” (Acts 21:24). Paul followed their advice.

There is no doubt that Peter and the other Brethren knew that the law of Moses was fulfilled. Obedience to the law of Moses was no longer a requirement for salvation since Jesus had completed his atonement. Missionary work among the Gentile nations could go forth directly and without impediment. Yet still there was that conflict between the doctrine of the Church and Jewish culture. The long-standing cultural tradition persisted among many Jewish members for years, even after the doctrinal question was settled.

In like manner today, there may be questions on which the doctrinal foundation is clear but on which tradition or custom are so strong that Church leaders are impressed not to take a firmer stand, trusting, as did Church leaders in New Testament times, that if the basic revealed principles are known, the Holy Ghost will eventually lead the adherents to forsake their tradition, or academic popularity, or peer pressure in favor of the word of God.

The resolution of the problem reported in the book of Acts gives our present generation an informative model as to how both Church members and those of different faiths may react when revelation confronts tradition and long-standing custom.

Again, I have no idea what Acts 15 has to with Papal ascension and why oft times multiple votes must be taken. And only when black (or white..don’t recall) comes out of a chimney do we know who the next Vicar of Christ will be. For it seems to me such an important decision would be through revelation, not consensus.

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Yes but St Peter was also the First Bishop of Antioch and yes He sat in the Bishop’s seat at Antioch longer than he sat on the Bishop’s chair at old rome.

so therefore using your logic it is the Antiochian Orthodox Church that is the true heir of St Peter.

Of course we know that it was not only St Peter that Christ gave the keys to the kingdom,because he gave all of the apostles and the bishops and priests they ordained, the ability to bind and loose and forgive sin. And of course we know that it was not only St Peter that is the “foundation upon which He will build His church because all of the Apostolic churches were founded by the Apostles. St Peter was never the head of the Church. We know without a doubt that it is Christ who is the head of the Church and all of the apostles were the foundation.

Say what you want but it is a documented fact that the writing of 99% of the Fathers of the Church prove this beyond doubt. Go ahead and quote the 1% that disagree if you like.

The Apostles were the foundation upon which Christ built the Church, all of them were equal and matters were decided by way of holy Synod and the consensus of Bishops(as definitively proven in Acts 15).

Old rome only had significance being the capital of the world for the first couple hundred years A.D., after the persecutions ended and the Roman empire became Orthodox Christian..the capital was moved from rome italy to Constantinople which was NEW ROME..the Holy roman empire of the Christians..not the old rome of the pagans.

So yes old rome felt left out and lost their power and eventually the roman bishopric was taken over by the heretical franks and they decided to separate from ALL of the other ancient Patriarchates of christianity..such as The Antiochian Orthodox,The Jerusalem Orthodox Patriarchate,The Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria,Constaninople New Rome Patriarchate ,The Syriac Orthodox,the Ethiopian Orthodox,the Indian Orthodox ,the Armenian Orthodox etc.

It was the bishop of old rome(who was already taken over by the heretical franks) who separated from the Church.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Calling Jesus a liar is simple?

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Yeah. I was calling him a liar./sarcasm You are incredible.
You have no desire to actually listen to what I have said. You are completely putting words in my mouth and ramble on and on about nothing I have said. Go ahead build your strawman of my arguments and burn them down. It will make you feel good. Unless you do a 180 on this, I’m ignoring anything you say after this point. How can you even possibly think that you responded to my point about present perfect tense of “will give”? With your fingers still in your ears you’ll probably shout back, “What’s wrong, can’t you handle the truth?”

shick on July 13, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Correction: present perfect tense future perfect tense.

shick on July 13, 2009 at 4:47 PM

She probably attends a church where the priest is driving around in a Cadillac and living in a 10,000 square foot home, telling elitists like the Kennedy’s that whatever they want to do is condoned by the church.

Bishop on July 12, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Yep, as long as they donate alot and often…then all is forgiven!

Liberty or Death on July 13, 2009 at 5:06 PM

That ugly bi+ch Kathleen Kennedy Townsend can go phuck herself.

If she thinks Catholics are going to heed her musings (and those of her other family members like that tnuc of a sister who recently wrote a book on American Catholicism) about how the Pope or the Bishops should “manage” Catholicism, she’s as deranged as the rest of her pill-popping, booze-swilling, f’d up family.

D2Boston on July 13, 2009 at 5:27 PM

OT: No post yet about the JANE ROE being arrested at the SCOTUS hearing?

gatorboy on July 13, 2009 at 5:38 PM

And Peter in fact asked Clement to succeed him as Bishop of Rome, but Clement declined. So then it went to Linus, I think, and Clement became the 3rd or 4th Bishop of Rome. I can’t remember right now.

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Close. But not quite. This from a paper I wrote in college years ago:

Indeed, the end of the apostolic era carries special fascination. Paul compared the apostles to a parade of men “appointed to death,” a spectacle in the world’s theater on their way to execution. (1 Cor. 4:9.) James, brother of John, was executed in a.d. 44 (Acts 12:2), and James, brother of the Lord, followed in 62. Nero’s persecution then destroyed Peter and Paul in 67. John outlived the rest but was not seen after the “times of Trajan” (a.d. 98 to 117). And things were not to get any better for the Church: predictions of a dark future only deepen in the last books of the New Testament, including the writings of John. What happened after he finished Revelation?

The answer can be found in the writings of the so-called Apostolic Fathers, Christian authors writing soon after the apostles. The writings of three bishops—Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp of Smyrna—are particularly informative of dangerous administrative and doctrinal deviations that occurred twenty to forty years after the Church lost Peter and Paul. Their letters date from the time of John’s Revelation and a little beyond—critical years when nonapostolic church government was first fashioned and, oddly, the most poorly documented years in Christian history. Anyone arguing for Christian continuity has little evidence from the decades after the second century began, even though by the end of that century a rich literature pours from Christian apologists, administrators, scholars, and historians. Doctrine during this time was chaotic, and would not stabilize until the Council of Nicea in a.d. 325 crystallized Christian orthodoxy with the arm of secular tyranny. The pre-Nicene church visibly shows the shock of losing apostolic leadership; the earlier the writing, the deeper that shock.

To many, the Apostolic Fathers have a special interest. Their writings illuminate the front of a very ill-lit tunnel [that] extends from the later apostolic age to the great apologists of the middle and later 2nd century. Commentators recognize that these three bishops present a unified world of ideas, even though they wrote in different sections of the Roman Empire. In all three, we see the same pessimism about the church that marks the close of the New Testament: They battle problems that threaten the church, but they do not voice confidence that it will survive.

To better understand the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, we need to understand the duties of New Testament bishops. They were appointed and supervised by apostles and presided in a defined area, assisted by such local officers as deacons. (See Philip. 1:1.) Their duty was to care for the church as a shepherd did his flock; Paul probably meant bishops when he referred to “pastors.” (Eph. 4:11.) The “Pastoral Epistles,” Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, name the qualities to look for in bishops: A bishop must be respected by both Christians and non-Christians, a successful family man with good judgment in social situations, a leader of absolute integrity and personal self-control, and one happily involved with people who also reads and has the capacity to teach. (See 1 Tim. 3:1–7, Titus 1:7–9.)

New Testament books contain many warnings that such bishops should expect the church’s disintegration in their lifetime. The leading example is Paul’s final speech to the local leaders of Ephesus. While Paul labored at populous Ephesus for a full three years, he reached “almost all Asia,” the surrounding province. Naturally, he should have been enthusiastic about the future of the work. Instead, we find the opposite. He called together the “elders” from Ephesus and alluded to their inspired calling as “overseers” (Acts 20:28), a King James term all other times translated as “bishop.” He warned them of inside dangers: “grievous wolves … among you, not sparing the flock.” False leaders would arise “of your own selves,” seeking power by “speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29–30.) That prophecy, equally plain in English or Greek, helps clarify another of Paul’s prophecies where translation somewhat obscures the meaning. Near the time of his death, Paul wrote Timothy regarding Christian believers: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” (2 Tim. 4:3.) “Having itching ears” describes the false teachers in this English translation, but in Greek the participle can only modify “they.” That is, Christian believers (the topic of Timothy’s instructions) will have fickle ears for new teachers that please them. The result is simply corruption of the Christian gospel: “They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim. 4:4.) Both of these prophecies have this in common: every false doctrine is brought by a false teacher. Paul warns not merely of erroneous teachings, but of the scheming leader.

The Christian letter called 1 Clement reveals exactly that situation in a major Christian center. Eusebius identifies its author, the bishop at Rome, as the same Clement Paul praised as being written in “the book of life.” (Philip. 4:3.) Because Clement’s writings seem to refer to Domitian’s persecution about a.d. 96, his letter is commonly dated then. He thus speaks of Peter and Paul in “our own generation” and seems intimately familiar with the details of Paul’s life. (1 Clement 5:1–7.) His writings reveal Clement as a man of profound love and deep ideals, serving freely despite inconvenience, persecution, or death. Writing to correct Corinthian schism, as did Paul, he similarly emphasizes the power of love to unite and refine the character to Christlike perfection. (1 Clement 49.) Clement’s conviction of the resurrection and the Second Coming is certain and his respect for the apostles and their work unlimited.

More motivated by conscience than authority, Clement writes the Corinthians to express his shock that they had removed their leaders. These deposed officers had been appointed by the apostles, “with the consent of the whole church.” Nothing but the jealousy of “a few rash and self-willed persons” (1 Clement 1) could have brought unlawful rejection of the priesthood leaders: “Your schism has turned aside many, has cast many into discouragement, many to doubt, all of us to grief, and your sedition continues.” (1 Clement 46:9.) A few years afterward John wrote a similar letter concerning Diotrephes, who loved “to have the preeminence” (3 Jn. 1:9) and thus rejected John’s authority. John promised to discipline him when he came.

But what would happen if there were no John in Asia and no Paul in Corinth? Then unstable members could elect the most popular men as leaders. Eusebius, the earliest known Christian historian, seemed to indicate such an occurrence when he wrote that as soon as the body of the apostles left, “the deceit of false teachers” moved into the vacuum with a counterfeit message. In the prophecies of the New Testament as in such historical glimpses of the church, we see not apostolic succession but apostolic subversion.

Clement says that the apostles appointed converts, after “testing them by the spirit, to be bishops and deacons.” (1 Clement 42:4.) The apostles provided that “other approved men should succeed to their ministry” after their deaths. (1 Clement 44:2.) But Clement seems pessimistic about how long this succession would last: “Our apostles also knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the title of bishop.” (1 Clement 44:1.) Thus Clement sees the Corinthian rebellion as a fulfillment of prophecy. Certainly local leaders could be removed, but only by those holding authority—and the Corinthian Christians had just removed those who held that power. They had broken the proper priesthood chain.

Since Clement was third bishop, according to most Roman succession lists, Catholic scholars have suggested that he as Roman bishop was exercising superior jurisdiction. It is true that Clement’s letter was carried by two “witnesses” to the Corinthian church, but his letter is a complaint about their procedure, not a command to correct it. In fact, Clement does not write as their Christian leader. He reminds them that the apostles “appointed” bishops, but gives no hint that he could do the same. Even a scholar who views 1 Clement as establishing Roman authority admits “that it contains no categorical assertion of the primacy of the Roman See” and that Clement “nowhere states expressly that his intervention binds … the Christian community of Corinth.”

In fact, Clement does not even use his title of bishop of Rome. He begins in the name of “the church of God which sojourns in Rome to the Church of God which sojourns in Corinth”—an equal writing to an equal, concerned, but with no authoritative direction. Not one case exists within the New Testament itself of a bishop writing to someone else’s church, or even of a church writing to a church. The openings of New Testament letters invoke an apostle’s power particularly when they are calling a stubborn branch to repentance. Paul’s letter to the Galatians begins intensely: “Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead).” (Gal. 1:1.) In contrast, during the second century local churches frequently and typically gave advice to other churches. Clement’s Roman letter is only one example of Christians expressing concern to other Christians in the absence of apostles who could rightfully require obedience. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, wrote to six churches, including Rome, but no one argues that such acts suggest the primacy of his bishopric.

When persecution descended upon Christians at Antioch, Ignatius was arrested and escorted across Asia Minor by ten soldiers and two faithful eastern Christians who held the lesser priesthood. The date was early second century, perhaps a.d. 107, as Ignatius’ group retraced Paul’s steps across Asia Minor, coming down from interior valleys toward coastal Smyrna, a major city above Ephesus. Almost there, he stood in the Christian meeting at Philadelphia (as he says in their letter) and “with a great voice” cried out to “give heed to the bishop, and to the elders and the deacons.” (Philadelphians 7:1.) Ignatius also spoke on personal living: “Keep your flesh as the temple of God, love unity, flee from divisions, be imitators of Jesus Christ, as was he also of his Father.” (Philadelphians 7:2.) Traveling the few remaining miles to the Aegean coast, the company rested at Smyrna for a time. The captive bishop found many close friends in the church, including the bishop, Polycarp. There, Christian delegates from Ephesus visited him, along with those from Magnesia and Tralles, near Ephesus. So Ignatius wrote to these cities before traveling north to Troas, where an Ephesian brother who had joined the group took dictation for two more letters, to Philadelphia and Smyrna. Ignatius then sailed from Troas, as Paul had done earlier, landing at Neapolis and then moving ten miles inland to Philippi, where Christians assisted him before he traveled across northern Greece on his way to a willing martyrdom in Rome.

That willingness shows in an earlier letter to the Roman saints pleading with them not to obstruct his execution: “I will long for the beasts that are prepared for me; … I will even entice them to devour me promptly.” (Romans 5:2.) Scholars accept seven fairly long letters of Ignatius, which otherwise show him an intelligent person totally dedicated to the Christian cause. Why, then, was he so for martyrdom? Although many have seen only madness in his martyr’s zeal, his position is logical if he truly accepted the apostles’ prophecy that false teachers would succeed them. John’s Revelation had been given to the same churches that Iganatius wrote to, and its early chapters give only two choices: faithful martyrdom or unfaithful apostasy. He does not even discuss the possibility that the faithful saints will perpetuate the church on earth. If that had been a real option, then Ignatius should have hoped for continued life to extend Christianity further. Instead, he thought that his best choice was death for Christ, which exactly fits the apostolic prophecies.

Obedience to the priesthood is the last hope of the faithful, according to Ignatius, but he stresses that he is only giving advice. The Trallians are told: “I did not think myself competent, as a convice, to give you orders like an apostle.” (Trallians 3:3) And he repeats the point to the Romans: “I do not order you as did Peter and Paul; they were apostles, I am a convict.” (Romans 4:3.) He asks the churches to send delegates to his own church in Antioch, left bishopless without him. The churches on his way also send their delegates to visit him. There is no central direction, only grass-roots cooperation. It seems an interim organization, a temporary adjustment. Ignatius’ trademark in every letter is the repetitive cry, “Do nothing without the bishop.” He fears that instability of the church will increase if private meetings and private doctrines are allowed.

It is obvious from his warnings that he fears the worst. He stresses strict obedience to the bishop because it’s the only antidote to the poison of apostasy. He had raised his voice at Philadelphia for obedience, and comments sorrowfully: “Some suspected me of saying this because I had previous knowledge of the division of some persons.” (Philadelphians 7:2.) In a way, he did. Individual churches were terribly vulnerable to factions and pressure groups, and Ignatius’ fiercest criticisms were leveled at “Docetists.” Taking their name from the Greek term “to seem” or “to appear” (dokein), they taught the Gnostic concept that a divine being could not contaminate himself with the material world; consequently, they denied or explained away the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. “Be deaf,” warns Ignatius, if anyone modifies the physical mission of Christ, who was “truly born … truly persecuted … truly crucified … truly raised from the dead.” (Trallians 9.) Since he bears this same testimony eloquently in the letter to Smyrna, Ignatius becomes a valuable supplement to John, where the conviction that “Christ has come in the flesh” becomes the test of the faithful. (See 1 Jn. 4:1–3.)

Another who opposed doctrinal perversions was Ignatius’ younger contemporary, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. Writing to Polycarp’s flock, Ignatius had called him a “godly bishop.” (Smyrnaeans 12:2.) In his letters Ignatius shared spiritual and practical advice, encouraging him to pray, be diligent, and individualize his attention for each member: “Not all wounds are healed by the same plaster.” (Polycarp 2:1.) Moreover, Polycarp was not to allow those who “teach strange doctrine [to] overthrow you; stand firm as a hammered anvil.” (Polycarp 3:1.) Polycarp’s life fits the metaphor. Martyred in the middle of the second century, he had borne testimony of youthful contact “with John and with the others who had seen the Lord,” thus sharing his personal knowledge of the apostles’ preaching and witnessing “about their miracles.”

In Polycarp’s era, bishops were independent. As an aged man, he visited Rome and differed with the Roman bishop on the proper date to celebrate Easter; the two parted peaceably by agreeing to disagree. Irenaeus adds that on this visit the impressive witness of the revered Polycarp “caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God,” a comment illustrating the fierce pressure of the Gnostic movement, which denied the physical aspects of Christ’s mission.

Marcion, a leading Gnostic at that time, was excommunicated at Rome, where he radically revised both the scriptures and their interpretation. In a chance meeting, he asked whether Polycarp recognized him, and the Asian bishop replied, “I recognize the first-born of Satan.”

The only preserved writing of Polycarp is his letter to the Philippians, sent shortly after they had assisted Ignatius on his route to Rome and execution. They had asked for copies of Ignatius’ available letters. In reply, Polycarp makes the most of his contact to “warn the Philippians against certain disorders in the Church at Philippi, and especially against apostasy.” In manner Polycarp is both “earnest and gracious,” but in content he is uncompromising with apostasy. Polycarp quotes John’s test of undeniable truth: “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” (See 1 Jn. 4:1–3, 2 Jn. 1:7.) Quoting this, Polycarp adds, “Whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil”—and whoever denies resurrection or judgment “is the first-born of Satan.” (Philippians 7:1.)

Yet Polycarp’s position in leading the fight against apostasy is highly ambiguous. He acknowledges his limitations in the same letter, telling the Philippians, “I write to you concerning righteousness, not at my own instance, but because you first invited me.” He then adds, “For neither am I, nor is any other like me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul.” (Philippians 3:1–2.) He evidently is saying, as Ignatius had very shortly before, that he is not an apostle and therefore cannot exercise his authority beyond the local sphere of his bishopric. Some scholars use Polycarp to prove doctrinal continuity from the apostles to the second century; but since he claims no apostolic authority, he is far more a question mark than a proof.

Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp present a united picture of three great bishops dedicated to morality, seasoned in love, and vigorously alert against factions. But they all notably lack the quality that enabled the apostles to establish the church and teach the world by the vitality of their writings. This dynamic quality is revelation, manifesting itself in the dramatic new programs that swept Christianity through the ancient world. These are quoters of apostles, not apostles and prophets themselves. Therefore, reading the Apostolic Fathers without assuming that they knew of the predictions of apostasy would be like reading Acts and the epistles without assuming that the apostles knew of Christ’s ministry. All communication has a context in which it is expressed, and the closing books of the New Testament disclose conditions and concepts that dominated the apostolic bishops. John’s letters are roughly contemporary with those of Ignatius and Polycarp, and the apostle refers to the coming of the anti-Christ (not the coming of Christ) by saying that it is “the last time” (literally, “the last hour”) because there are so many anti-Christs who “went out from us.” (1 Jn. 2:18–19.) John’s Revelation is also roughly contemporary with the letters of Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp, and it speaks of the coming power of Satan and his agents “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.” (Rev. 13:7.) Obviously John had been imprisoned or was otherwise unavailable when these bishops struggled against factions in the cities of Greece and Asia, but they could not be unaware of his plain teachings. In fact, he was only the last of many prophets who foresaw total apostasy, and the writings of the earliest Christian bishops reveal events that brought about fulfillment of that prophecy.

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 5:48 PM

sorry Fed but your post or quoted section of a book is a waste because you are simply reading your own ideas into what they are saying or what they were “feeling” and you are denying the promise of Christ.

Christ promised that his Church would never be destroyed!

Yes the gates of hades would attack her and yes heretics would come and try to overcome the Church but Christ himself promised that they would NEVER prevail against his Church.

Believe what you want but realize that you are accusing Christ God of lying if you say otherwise.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 12:17 AM
and
pannw on July 13, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Thank you.

To paraphrase what Adams wrote to Jefferson, ‘you write ten times better than I do.’ Should you ever get the notion, you’re alone. Believe me. You’re not.

Blacksmith8 on July 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM

You also are ingnoring the future perfect tense of will give. It’s simple.

shick on July 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Actually, it’s strictly the future tense. The structure “I will give you” is a pure future construction. “I will have given you” is the future perfect — future action completed in the past.

unclesmrgol on July 13, 2009 at 7:02 PM

Hey all you anti-Catholic trolls: Fed45, Thacker, Shick, Mankai, based on sheer volume looks like you’ve won and have managed to take over a thread about Catholicism completely. Great job! Tell ‘em what they’ve won Don Pardo…

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Infer what you want. I never said I was anti-Catholic. I’m simply trying to engage in theological debate. I’ve said numerous times that I respect each and every person’s choice of worship.

Yes the gates of hades would attack her and yes heretics would come and try to overcome the Church but Christ himself promised that they would NEVER prevail against his Church.

Believe what you want but realize that you are accusing Christ God of lying if you say otherwise.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM

I’ve provided ample references to support my position. That you choose not to look them up is your choice. I’m not accusing Jesus of lying. In fact, I don’t recall quoting Jesus in my last post. I did accurately quote the writings of the apostles, and of the Roman bishops. If you find those to be inaccurate, I suggest you take it up with those that translated the Epistles and the letters of the Roman Bishops.

There is ample historical evidence that the Apostle John was still alive after Peter’s death. There is also ample evidence that only apostles spoke for the Church, not Bishops. The writings of the three Bishops I quoted indicate that. So, one must ask why Peter would appoint a Bishop to lead the Church when John was still alive? There is no Biblical evidence of the fate of John the Beloved. However, the logical succession would have fallen to John the Beloved upon Peter’s death,being the last of the known living Apostles and having been given the authority by Jesus to be a leader of the Church.

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 8:43 PM

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

you sure seem to have a lot of hatred in your heart for someone who claims to be the ONLY saved of all the Christians. I will pray that you get some peace from somewhere. But as long as you want to play the victim, it’s going to be hard for you to find peace. Maybe your priest can comfort you somehow. I’m sure if you ask him, he’ll tell you I’m going to hell. Doesn’t that make you feel better?

ThackerAgency on July 13, 2009 at 9:28 PM

For all you “Despite what see, read or hear, the Catholic Church is really really conservative! If you disagree, you are just full of Catholic-hate!” folks… a reminder about what JPII said about that “Apartheid Wall” in Gaza that is working to keep innocent Israelis from being blown to bits:

Political sources reported in the Vatican that the Prime Minister Qurei’ met with the Pope John Paul II and that during a private meeting that included both dignitaries, the Pope condemned the Apartheid Wall Israel is building throughout the West Bank.

“Nobody should heed the call of despair, hate or vengeance. Reconciliation is what the Holy Land needs; tolerance not vengeance, bridges not walls,” the Pope told PM Qurei’.

The Palestinian premiere’s visit to the Vatican was part of his European tour to muster support for the implementation of the “Road Map” peace plan and explain the Palestinian position towards the Apartheid Wall ahead of the International Court of Justice’s hearings on February 23 in the Hague.

The Pope also called on all the leaders of the Middle East to return back to the road of peace and negotiations table, with the help of the international community.
If Obama had said that in 2004, you’d all be screeching.

I don’t trust the moral compass of anyone who sees a moral equivalence between Hezbollah and Israel… which B16 did in 2006.

mankai on July 13, 2009 at 9:57 PM

Hey all you anti-Catholic trolls: Fed45, Thacker, Shick, Mankai, based on sheer volume looks like you’ve won and have managed to take over a thread about Catholicism Laodicea completely. Great job! Tell ‘em what they’ve won Don Pardo…

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

mm hmm.

daesleeper on July 13, 2009 at 10:13 PM

So, one must ask why Peter would appoint a Bishop to lead the Church when John was still alive?

fed, there is so much confusion in your post. I doubt you have read the apostolic fathers(the Disciples of the apostles).Don’t tell me about not looking up these sources because I actually HAVE read them.

If you haven’t, you can find them online for free here:
http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

First:

There was never one Bishop that led the church.

Bishops are always location specific.(i.e. bishop of Antioch,bishop of Ephesus,bishop of Rome etc.)

The Apostles founded Churches everywhere they went,they catechized Priests and appointed Bishops to be their successors in those locations. St John the Theologian for instance was the Bishop of Ephesus.St peter was the first Bishop of Antioch left a successor(Evodius then St Ignatius of Antioch) then St peter moved to rome italy and was first Bishop there and then appointed St Clement as bishop. Why would he appoint St John the Beloved who was already Bishop of Ephesus?

Second: Christ himself promised that His Church would never be destroyed so this throws out your whole theory anyway.

There is also ample evidence that only apostles spoke for the Church, not Bishops.
Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 8:43 PM

That is nonsense. Read St Ignatius of antioch who says “The Bishop is the Church”.

“Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid”.

Also read what he has to say about the Eucharist

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 10:24 PM

Great job! Tell ‘em what they’ve won Don Pardo…

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

The Charmglow 2600 4 burner 65,000 BTU gas grill, 223 pairs of Fruit Of THh Loom size 2X boxer briefs, and a years worth of Lemon Pledge furniture polish from the Johnson Wax Co.

Retail value of your prizes, $513.00

Jeff from WI on July 13, 2009 at 10:27 PM

$1,513.00

Jeff from WI on July 13, 2009 at 10:27 PM

shick on July 13, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Okay, first of all, I’m running on 3 hours sleep last night and have not been in the best of moods/frame of mind today. I do need my sleep. However, the following certainly didn’t incline me to great civility, even if I’d been well rested.

My whole family is still Catholic and I love them. But I despise their doctrine that will take them to hell if they die believing in it.
shick on July 13, 2009 at 1:59 AM

But regardless, in the spirit of Christian dialogue, I’ll apologize for my snark. It probably wasn’t at all necessary to get my point across, anyway.
However, I haven’t seen you respond to Elisa who said basically the same thing I did, though in admittedly gentler terms.

Well, it would be hard to believe that Jesus promised He would and then broke that promise.

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 4:12 PM

She apparently read your argument the same as I did and we probably aren’t the only ones. I have to admit, offensive or not, that is a very strange view of the way Jesus would possibly treat one of his apostles. You are in essence saying that Jesus took back what He said. I don’t buy it for a half a millisecond, and again, it is quite a contorted leap to make to fit your anti-Catholic view. And before you go pointing fingers and crying ‘she’s crying anti-Catholic bigotry because I disagree with blah blah…. You might want to reread the statement I quoted above.

Also, I did respond to what you wrote—to me.

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 12:17 AM
You also are ingnoring the future perfect tense of will give. It’s simple.
shick on July 13, 2009 at 11:44 AM

You just did not like my reply. And speaking of putting things into someone’s mouth, I would never have said “You can’t handle the truth.” Ever. Now, I might have possibly said you refuse to see the truth that is written as clear as daylight in front of your very eyes, but I don’t think it is necessary. Also you demand I do a 180. I’ll point back at that quote above. If I can tolerate that, I think a little snark is the least you can endure.

Since you refuse to respond to anything else I have to say, we’ll simply have to agree to disagree. I’m too tired for further discussion anyway. Peace.

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

Try not to let it get you down. Sometimes I start to get angry, (not nearly so much on this thread as some others I’ve seen) but then I take comfort in knowing that out of all institutions in the entire world, it is the Church that is constantly under attack and persecuted, from all sides and that Christ knew it would be so. It reinforces my faith.

Blacksmith8 on July 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 11:47 PM

The Apostles founded Churches everywhere they went,they catechized Priests and appointed Bishops to be their successors in those locations. St John the Theologian for instance was the Bishop of Ephesus.St peter was the first Bishop of Antioch left a successor(Evodius then St Ignatius of Antioch) then St peter moved to rome italy and was first Bishop there and then appointed St Clement as bishop. Why would he appoint St John the Beloved who was already Bishop of Ephesus?

Never implied they didn’t. You are confusing a Bishop and an Apostle. There were only 12 Apostles. Chosen by Jesus to lead the Church and spread the Gospel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Catholic Church believes Peter appointed a successor to lead the Church, not a local congregation. My question remains..with John the Beloved still alive, why would there be another leader of the Church?

That is nonsense. Read St Ignatius of antioch who says “The Bishop is the Church”.

Thank you, no. I’ll take the teachings of the Apostles over the writings of a Bishop regarding doctrine and speaking on behalf of the Church

Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid”.

See: confusion between Bishop and Apostle. Are you saying Pope and Bishop are the same thing? If so, why were there multiple Bishops? If not, then what you describe sounds like a Priest. I have no problem with the Church having local leaders to tend to the local flock. I was discussing succession of the head of the Church.

“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes”.

No argument from mo on that. But what does that have to do with succession?

Second: Christ himself promised that His Church would never be destroyed so this throws out your whole theory anyway.

I guess Paul must have been absent that day when Christ supposedly taught that. For in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, he wrote: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thess 2:3) “falling away” was translated from the Greek word “apostasia”

Fed45 on July 14, 2009 at 12:02 AM

Trolls (and you know who you are): If you think Catholics are all heathens damned to the infernal region who refuse to heed your eloquent prosyletizing… you might take a break from name-calling, quarrelling and brow-beating and try a different tact.

Here’s an example, my personal testimony as a Christian and member of His body:

Unmasked

Surpass it.

theCork on July 14, 2009 at 12:12 AM

Thanks for the fascinating thread from everyone. It’s made for interesting reading.

History sometimes peers back at us through the murky film of the ages. Despite the desire to persue the truth, it sometimes is distorted by the perceptions of both the writers of the times and the modern reader, who must place his level of understanding to that of the writer. No where is this more difficult than in the history of a faith.

For believers of all faiths, the question always remains; what do you believe in? There will be some questions which will forever be matters of faith, with verification unattainable except in the conviction of their own souls. While all of these histories are possible, the central core of Christ walking the earth as the confirmation of God’s promise to humanity, His sacrifice to forgive the sins of all mankind, and His call for all people to join Him are the questions that we will ponder so long as humanity wrestles with its soul.

In Ben Hur, the character of Balthasar says to Ben Hur “There are many paths to God, my son.” So long as we find ourselves worthy enough to take the journey and are willing to commit ourselves to a higher standard of morality, we will all be walking our individual winding paths to the Promised Land, sometimes with others, sometimes not, all leading to a noble ideal.

itsspideyman on July 14, 2009 at 12:26 AM

17 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. 18 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. 19 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.

It just seems so very plain. And the contortions one will go to in order to interpret this very straight forward statement in a way that would ‘disprove’ the primacy of the pope is interesting.

Speaking of seeming plain…

John 2:18-20
18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

It seems so plain that Jesus was promising to build the temple in three days! After all, He had just cleansed the temple of the moneychangers, he was standing by the temple, and he said, “this temple.”

But the very next verse continues:

John 2:21-22
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Obviously, “this temple” meant “the temple of my body.” “This” means “the one at hand.” “This rock” could only be Peter, who he had called a stone, or Jesus Himself. Other scripture clearly teaches that Jesus is the foundation of the church, so in calling Peter a rock or stone, He was pointing back to the Conerstone, Himself.

Jesus spoke often in metaphors, and He spoke often of Himself at the center of God’s plan. Not so much of Peter, even though He clearly commends him for his faith after this confession.

But the church is built on Jesus, and while Peter is certainly in the foundation, so are the other apostles and prophets.

If you make Peter the foundation, you contradict other Bible passages which say Jesus is the foundation, and you contradict Paul’s statement that the apostles and prophets are all in the foundation of the church, and you contradict Peter’s own statement that we are all lively stones, but Jesus is the chief cornerstone.

The correct interpretation seems quite plain to me. I have to wonder at the determination to put Peter at the center in contradiction to the rest of Scripture.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 12:56 AM

Hey all you anti-Catholic trolls: Fed45, Thacker, Shick, Mankai, based on sheer volume looks like you’ve won and have managed to take over a thread about Catholicism completely. Great job! Tell ‘em what they’ve won Don Pardo…

theCork on July 13, 2009 at 7:59 PM

You are confusing quantity with quality.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 12:59 AM

I don’t trust the moral compass of anyone who sees a moral equivalence between Hezbollah and Israel… which B16 did in 2006.

mankai on July 13, 2009 at 9:57 PM

A quote from “B16″ buttressing your apparently unsubstantiated statement is in order here. Otherwise you are engaging in puffery.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 1:01 AM

You are confusing quantity with quality.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 12:59 AM

I’m confusing nothing, Uncle, just measuring noise to signal ratio :). Excepting yourself and a few others, I mostly hear an awful din.

theCork on July 14, 2009 at 1:14 AM

built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 12, 2009 at 11:35 PM

You’re a protestant and you acknowledge that Christ built a Church upon the Apostles and that they in turn passed down the Fullness of the Faith and succession(through the laying on of hands)from Bishop to Bishop to this day and that His Church would never be destroyed?

Congratulations..you’re well on your way to becoming Orthodox!

It is only the Orthodox Church that can prove Apostolic Succession and unchanged doctrine.

The roman catholics changed many parts of the Faith(including the Creed),left the Church long ago and therefore do not have an unchanged doctrine nor apostolic succession.

None of the protestant churches have apostolic succession and all of them have different doctrines.

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 12:56 AM

First, you assume too much in calling me a protestant. Protestants are those churches which withdrew from the Catholic church in protest of certain doctrines. They do however trace their history through the Catholic church until the day their church “protested.”

Baptist churches were never part of the Catholic church.

Christ built a spiritual temple of all believers, as Scripture tells us. It’s a mistake to try to tie this to a human organization. What we might well call the Universal Church, made up of all believers, will never physically exist on this earth for the simple reason of constraints of time and space. While all believers are part of one church in a spiritual sense, they cannot assemble together on this earth.

That is, I may be in the same church as the Apostle Paul, but we can’t be part of the same body of believers, since he died generations before I was born.

So no, I don’t believe the Catholic Church or Orthodox Church can be equated to the universal church. On this earth, there are only local churches.

As for apostolic succession, the very fact that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church, and that we’re well past the foundation of the church, indicates that there are no new apostles. Which destroys the whole idea of apostolic succession.

Besides which, there is no independent evidence that Peter ever traveled to Rome, or was ever the bishop of Rome, or that Rome was ever given supremacy over the other churches. Unless you count the claims of the Roman Catholic Church itself, which is hardly a disinterested observer.

You are correct that none of the Protestant churches have apostolic succession. Neither does the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church. Neither does the Baptist church, of course. Apostolic succession is not a Biblical doctrine.

Baptists don’t accept the idea of a pope, or of a hierarchy of churches, or of apostolic succession as such. Certainly none of these things can be found in any scripture.

Of course, I realize you will disagree with much or most of this. My point in addressing the issue at all is to answer the rather arrogant claim that Peter is the foundation of the church, and therefore the Roman Catholic church must be the True Church. As an Orthodox, I presume you disagree, but only to the extent that you consider the Orthodox Church instead to be the True Church.

And the correct position is that the church is built on Jesus Christ, and the better question is how well do you follow Him.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 1:27 AM

So, no it doesn’t make sense that Jesus meant “I will build My Church upon Myself” — it’s a total nonsequitur, given the entire interaction between himself and Simon up to that point. You stand practically alone with that private interpretation of Scripture. You are welcome to your special interpretation, but I’m going to stick with my Church’s, because it makes sense to me.

Scripture itself says that Jesus is the foundation of the church, so I don’t see how accepting the plain meaning of scripture is a “private interpretation.”

Even in the following quotation you give in 1 Peter, Peter refers to other humans as rocks, and seems to refer to himself in a superior sense to the Lord (yet another rock, which Peter himself is laying) by your reading. As they say in Denmark, something is fishy with your scholarship; you might want to rethink your interpretation of that passage in the light of this discussion.

I think you may have read that too quickly, or maybe it was just too late at night. The passage says nothing about Peter laying a stone. In the verse quoted that says, “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious.” it is God Himself Who is speaking, not Peter.

Quoting again for context:

1 Peter 2:3-7
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be
confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

Jesus is a living stone that we come to, and, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house. But it is Jesus Who is the chief cornerstone. Peter is nowhere in here, unless it’s as one of the stones that are built upon Jesus as the chief cornerstone.

Which of course matches what Paul said about the building of God: Jesus the cornerstone, believers as living stones, the apostles and prophets in the foundation.

I fear that the determination to make Peter the foundation of the church stems from the need to make Peter the first pope, since the Bible contains zero mention of a pope.

Now each of us has chosen which Church we believe to be the correct one — you have chosen yours, and I have chosen mine.

unclesmrgol on July 13, 2009 at 1:12 AM

It is getting off topic of the sheer ludicrousness of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend wanting to figuratively crown Obama as an American Pope.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 2:04 AM

Try not to let it get you down. Sometimes I start to get angry, (not nearly so much on this thread as some others I’ve seen) but then I take comfort in knowing that out of all institutions in the entire world, it is the Church that is constantly under attack and persecuted, from all sides and that Christ knew it would be so. It reinforces my faith.

pannw: thanks for this. As a new and ardent Catholic, I’ve heard this often. Don’t know if you were responding to someone, but appreciate hearing someone stand up for the church.

chai on July 14, 2009 at 6:37 AM

To the occasional mention of Jews and Jesus in this thread, I’ll mention the small but growing number of Jewish men and women who have examined the claims of Jesus for themselves and realized that He is the God, Savior and Messiah foretold by the prophets.

Among the better-known “Jews for Jesus” have been British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, composer Felix Mendelssohn (who wrote to music for “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” my favorite carol), and William Herschel, the planetary astronomer who discovered Uranus (no jokes, please).

Disraeli wrote, “Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing. Christianity is incomprehensible without Judaism, as Judaism is incomplete without Christianity…Rome indeed boasts that the authenticity of the second Testament depends upon the recognition of her infallibility. The authenticity of the second Testament depends upon the congruity with the first…

“When Omnipotence deigned to be incarnate, the Infallible Word did not select a Roman, but a Jewish frame. The prophets were not Romans but Jews; she who was blessed above all women, I never heard she was a Roman maiden. No, I should look to a land more distant than Italy, to a city more sacred even then Rome.

“The first preachers of the gospel were Jews, and none else…No one has ever been permitted to write under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, except a Jew. For nearly a century, no one believed in the good tidings except Jews…The pupil of Moses may ask himself, whether all the princes of the house of David have done so much for the Jews as that prince who was crucifed on Calvary. Had it not been for Him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown…Christians may continue to persecute Jews (and by doing so misrepresent their Master) and Jews may persist in disbelieving Christians, but who can deny that Jesus of Nazareth, the Incarnate Son of God, is the eternal glory of the Jewish race?”

In our own time, New York physician Vera Schlamm, a Holocaust survivor (who recently died), wrote, “Do we need to protect ourselves against the ‘disgrace’ of becoming Jews who believe in Jesus? Should we keep a chain on the door of our heart so we don’t have to see if he is out there, if he is real? No, for if Jesus is the Messiah, it is no disgrace for a Jew to believe.”

KyMouse on July 14, 2009 at 7:32 AM

Everyone knows Christ was crucified due to the sins of George Bush.

Jeff from WI on July 14, 2009 at 8:53 AM

Do the pathetic losers who write thousands of words in a single “comment” actually expect anyone to read their rambling?

corona on July 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Do the pathetic losers who write thousands of words in a single “comment” actually expect anyone to read their rambling?

corona on July 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Nope, they just like taking up space.

Jeff from WI on July 14, 2009 at 9:36 AM

The cork:

Here’s an example, my personal testimony as a Christian and member of His body:

Unmasked

Surpass it.

An inspiring story. thanks for sharing…. blessings for the day…

chai on July 14, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Now each of us has chosen which Church we believe to be the correct one — you have chosen yours, and I have chosen mine.

unclesmrgol on July 13, 2009 at 1:12 AM

It is getting off topic of the sheer ludicrousness of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend wanting to figuratively crown Obama as an American Pope.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 2:04 AM

Not quite. I’ve already made earlier an equivalent statement, but the “you” in that statement was Kennedy Townsend. She has her ideas about the Church, and the Church has its own. The word “catholic” means “universal”, not “upper crust connecticut-to-maryland transplant” or “liberal” or even “american”.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Do the pathetic losers who write thousands of words in a single “comment” actually expect anyone to read their rambling?

corona on July 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

We give them the same courtesy and the same attention that we give the pathetic losers who comment on pathetic losers.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Scripture itself says that Jesus is the foundation of the church, so I don’t see how accepting the plain meaning of scripture is a “private interpretation.”

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 2:04 AM

That is, of course, what this argument is about. Jesus is quite clear in Matthew when he makes Peter occupy that position in his “building” simile. In Jesus’ building, the foundation is a rock, a solid, unyielding object.

At the point Jesus makes his statements about Peter, Peter is anything but unyielding. In the end, his martyrdom shows the solidity Jesus foretold.

unclesmrgol on July 14, 2009 at 10:47 AM

pannw on July 13, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Thank you for that excellent post. And I’m sure you know that you could have added even more Scriptural support to your post. But how much could you post? (certainly not a criticism, just an observation for others to note that you did not exhaust examples from the Bible.) Such as who was it in Acts who took the lead in replacing Judas? Who in the Church performed (by the power of God) the first healing? Who in the Church (by His power) first raised someone from the dead? Etc.

I see a lot of discussion about what individuals believe Scripture is saying. But I have noticed on this thread is that it is the Catholics who are by far bringing up the most Scriptural support for our position. (and reading the plain or literal text and having the most lucid comparisons of Scripture interpreting Scripture and reading the Bible as a whole.)

The others are explaining their Protestant/nondenominational tradition with very little Scriptural support. And there is a lot from Sacred Tradition and history that we could have added and didn’t. The Catholics have mostly stuck to Scripture. (Sola Scriptura – lol)

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:26 PM

There are 4 Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Those were all eye witness accounts of Jesus’ time on the earth. None of the authors were Catholic.

The rest of the New Testament (except Revelation) was written by Paul as letters to the early Church. . .. .

There is debate over who wrote the book of Revelation.

While it says the revelation of John, they don’t know if it is the same John of the Gospel.

ThackerAgency on July 13, 2009 at 12:31 PM

We are only sure of Matthew and John being eyewitness accounts. Mark and Luke may have been. Some very interesting traditions (small “t”) say they were, but we aren’t sure from Scripture and Sacred Tradition. And the beginning of Luke’s Gospel seems to say he wasn’t. Not clear.

John Mark was a companion of Peter and Paul. We see the early Christians gathering in his mother’s home. Luke was a companion of Paul. (along with Barnabas who also wrote a letter that was considered Scriptural for a few hundred years until the Church councils in the 4th century (inspired by the Holy Spirit) decided what books were scriptural and what books weren’t. Amongst other things, they decided Hebrew was and Barnabas wasn’t.)

Luke, the physician, is the only New Testament writer (Luke and Acts) who was a Gentile. The rest were Jews who became Christian. Back then Christians were all united under the Apostles and their Bishops. One universal – Catholic – Church.

Luke and Paul wrote the majority (lengthwise) of the New Testament. But these, along with John, were not the only writers. Peter, James and Jude wrote letters. And John also wrote 3 letters (as you know). While some modern scholars like to speculate that the Apostle John did not write the Gospel, 3 letters and Revelation, early Christian tradition says that he did. I go with that.

unclesmrgol on July 13, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Great post.

MaximusConfessor and unglesmrgol, thank you for defending the Eucharist. That is something new and dear to my heart.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:28 PM

correction – near and dear to my heart.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:28 PM

St Peter was also the First Bishop of Antioch and yes He sat in the Bishop’s seat at Antioch longer than he sat on the Bishop’s chair at old rome.

so therefore using your logic it is the Antiochian Orthodox Church that is the true heir of St Peter. . . . .

Say what you want but it is a documented fact that the writing of 99% of the Fathers of the Church prove this beyond doubt. Go ahead and quote the 1% that disagree if you like.

. . . . ..the capital was moved from rome italy to Constantinople which was NEW ROME

MaximusConfessor on July 13, 2009 at 4:38 PM

As uncles has already mentioned, Rome is where Peter sat last. That is the chair of Peter. The office to be filled. During the persecution by the Barbarians, the bishop of Rome moved to Constantinople and later moved back to Rome. It is not geography that matters. It is the office of the chief steward who succeeded Peter’s office.

That Peter was called to be the leader, does take away from the calling and great mission and faith of the other Apostles and first shepherds of the Church.

Your statement about what the Fathers of the Church said is absolutely false. It is the complete opposite of what they wrote. They wrote about the chair of Peter, Petrine authority and the orthodox teachings of Rome. But I will not go through posting all the statements and links, even if I had the time. Anyone reading here with an open heart and open mind can read all the early Fathers for themselves and decide for themselves. They don’t have to believe you or me.

And the Catholic Church is made up of more than just the Patriarch of Rome (the Pope). There are 21 or so other Eastern Catholic Churches, each with their own Patriarch or ArchBishop. All united with the Bishop of Rome for final authority in matters of faith alone. Half of them are Cardinals also. The other half did not want to be Cardinals in the Western Church. Rome respects their independence. It’s nice to know that the Western Church has learned something in the past thousand years.

If anyone watched the funeral of the last Pope on TV, you would have seen them all praying and chanting in Greek in a small circle around the coffin, dressed differently than the Roman Cardinals. You would also have seen the Eastern Patriarchs dressed in black going into the conclave to vote for the next Pope.

List from http://www.EWTN.com:

Eight Rites of the Catholic Church:

1. Roman 2. Armenian 3. Byzantine 4. Coptic 5. Maronite 6. East Syrian 7. West Syrian 8. Ethiopian (often listed as a recension of the Coptic Rite)

The twenty-two Catholic Churches:

* ROMAN RITE * 1. Latin Church

* ARMENIAN RITE* 2. Armenian Church

* BYZANTINE RITE * 3. Italo-Albanian Church 4. Melkite Church 5. Ukrainian Church 6. Ruthenian Church 7. Romanian Church 8. Greek Church (in Greece) 9. Greek Church of Former Yugoslavia 10. Bulgarian Church 11. Slovak Church 12. Hungarian Church 13. Russian Church 14. Belarusan Church 15. Albanian Church

* COPTIC RITE * 16. Coptic Church (in many lists the Ethiopian Church is also placed here)

* MARONITE RITE * 17. Maronite Church

* EAST SYRIAN RITE * 18. Chaldean Church 19. Syro-Malabar Church

* WEST SYRIAN RITE * 20. Syro-Malankara Church 21. Syrian Church

* ETHIOPIAN RITE * 22. Ethiopian Church (often listed under the Coptic Rite)

For an interesting history of all the Churches of the Catholic Church see this great article in Crisis Magazine. Some of the Churches never left unity with Rome during the Schism of 1054. Others returned shortly after the schism and some returned many centuries later.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1438500/posts

(note: the magazine has 2 more Churches in its list than the EWTN list. The Byzantine Church in the USA listed separately and the Georgian Church which is just getting back on its feet from Communism.)

God bless you Maximus. And your family.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM

shick on July 13, 2009 at 4:45 PM

I have to say that I am also confused by what you are talking about with the “future tense” thing.

You seem to be saying that Jesus promised the keys and then didn’t give them? That the keys went to all the Apostles?

If that is the case, I see it as a stretch not to see the plain meaning of the text and you turn yourself into a pretzel to get away from it.

Jesus was only addressing Peter when He made the promise. And He never promised the keys to any one else. We do not see in Scripture Jesus saying He changed His mind. And we (in fact) see him telling Peter alone to “tend my sheep” and “strengthen your brethren.” Even after He failed the Lord.

Luke 22:31-32:
“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that YOUR OWN faith may not fail; and ONCE YOU HAVE TURNED BACK, you must strengthen your bothers.” Jesus knew Peter’s future failings and prayed for him specifically and still picked him to lead.

In order to believe that Jesus did not give Peter the keys of authority as His chief steward you have to believe that Jesus made a promise He knew He would break and did in fact break. And you would have to ignore the rest of the New Testament that shows Peter in fact exercising that authority from the keys. With God’s blessing.

Since Jesus promised Peter the keys of authority and since Peter exercised that authority in Scripture, I think the burden of proof that He did not give Peter the keys is on your side. Where does Scripture say Peter did not receive them? Or that anyone else did?

These are the keys of royal authority of the chief steward, like the Old Testament Davidic Kings. Jesus is our Davidic King forever, as Scripture says. Only one person filled that office at a time. And it was an office with succession. (see my lengthy post here that contains some of the Scriptural support for this and why those during Jesus’ time knew exactly what He was saying to Peter about the keys.

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 1:51 AM

And about Jesus filling the “chair of Moses” transferring rabbinical authority to His Church and His Apostles with the binding and loosing as I mentioned in my post to you here

Elisa on July 13, 2009 at 10:03 AM

If this is not what you are saying, then I am not sure what you are saying about “future tense.” So, unless you clarify, we will have to agree to disagree.

God bless you.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Baptist churches were never part of the Catholic church.
ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 1:27 AM

Your religion was founded by a man, John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606. You are right that it has no continuity to the Apostles nor is it the same Faith that was held by the apostles. Because of this it is essentially a neo-christian cult, I’m sorry but this is the truth.
Another thing, there are many many baptist sects. NONE of them agree with each other on doctrine and they all have widely varying personal interpretations of Scripture.
From this alone, we know that the baptists groups are NOT the Church. Christ clearly and numerous times tells us that the Church is ONE and ONE in doctrine and belief!

Christ built a spiritual temple of all believers, as Scripture tells us. It’s a mistake to try to tie this to a human organization. What we might well call the Universal Church, made up of all believers, will never physically exist on this earth for the simple reason of constraints of time and space.

You’re wrong.The Church is the Body of Christ, that is, those of us in the Orthodox Church WHO PARTAKE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST WHICH IS CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD. We are catechized(discipled) and baptised and we ALL believe the same things. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Unlike the gnostic heretics..we do not hold a radical dualization of body,soul and spirit.

ARE BODIES ARE SANCTIFIED ALSO. This is a very important point that you should consider. We receive the Holy Eucharist and are bodies are deified also. This is the Body of Christ on earth and this is the Fullness of Himself that He told us about in the Bible.
The Body of Christ on earth(the Orthodox Church)is united with the Body of Christ in paradise.The saints are living and not dead(as Christ clearly tells us),they are also part of the body of Christ and this is is why we ask them to pray to Christ for us(“the effective fervent prayer of the righteous avails much”).

Of course the church is physical on earth also. This is an undisputable fact due to the fact that the Bible clearly tells us that the Apostles ordained bishops,priests and deaconate and passed down succession through laying on of hands. They taught us the Holy Tradition(which is what we are to stand fast and hold). This is why “the CHURCH is the guardian and repository of all truth”.

The Church is physical because it is absolutely necessary to administer the blessed mystery of the holy Eucharist which is truly Christ’s body and blood.

Why would Christ go to the trouble of having His Apostles ordain successors through catechesis and laying on of hands,teaching them to catechize and ordain successors and teaching them to hold Holy Synods with all the Bishops of the Church to settle disputes?

Your religion was founded by a man in the 1600′s so therfore you are working under the false premise that the whole world was apostate and that the Church was destroyed for the first 1,600 years until Mr Smyth came along.

In order to believe your illogical statement you would have to accuse Christ of being a liar..because Christ clearly told us that he would build a Church on His Apostles and that His Church would NEVER BE DESTROYED.

That is, I may be in the same church as the Apostle Paul, but we can’t be part of the same body of believers, since he died generations before I was born.

You can’t be the Church because you believe radically different things than us and you have no continuity to the Apostles but I have already addressed this.

As for apostolic succession, the very fact that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church, and that we’re well past the foundation of the church, indicates that there are no new apostles. Which destroys the whole idea of apostolic succession.

That statement makes absolutely no sense. The church does not stop and start..It is continuous. Under your scenario anyone can just make a “new” Church with nothing in common with the Church founded by Christ. That is extremely dangerous and forbidden in Scripture. This may be your idea of what the church is but it is not the Church that is the Bible talks about.

You are correct that none of the Protestant churches have apostolic succession. Neither does the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church. Neither does the Baptist church, of course. Apostolic succession is not a Biblical doctrine.

I have already proven that apostolic succession is a biblical doctrine of the Church. All of the apostolic Orthodox Churches were founded by the apostles and we can prove this and most importantly we(and only we) can prove that our Bishops today hold the same doctrine as the Apostles, we have held and guarded the Holy Tradition without alteration.

My point in addressing the issue at all is to answer the rather arrogant claim that Peter is the foundation of the church,

ALL of the Apostles were the foundation of the Church and they all established Apostolic Orthodox Churches. St Peter was never the head of the Church..Christ was always and always will be, the head of the Church.

You are confusing a Bishop and an Apostle. There were only 12 Apostles. Chosen by Jesus to lead the Church and spread the Gospel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Catholic Church believes Peter appointed a successor to lead the Church, not a local congregation. My question remains..with John the Beloved still alive, why would there be another leader of the Church?

No you don’t know what you are talking about. As for the RC claim..that does not matter and that has never been the case.

I don’t think you understand something. The roman catholic church=the bishop of old rome. The bishop of old rome split from ALL the other Apostolic churches founded by the Apostles. This is equivilant to one of the Apostles splitting from the other 12. Think Judas Iscariot. The Church founded by all the other Apostles remained while the bishop of old rome split from us and starting changing doctrine. You must understands that old rome was no longer the capital of rome since the 300′s. The capital was moved to Constantinople NEW ROME. The bishop of rome changed doctrine and split from us in the 1,000′s AD. That one bishop does not equal the church.

MaximusConfessor on July 14, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Everyone knows Christ was crucified due to the sins of George Bush.

Jeff from WI on July 14, 2009 at 8:53 AM

LOL thanks for that.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Thank you Elisa. I don’t mean to offend you. you are obviously a very pious and Orthodox thinking Roman Catholic,I just think you should come home to the Orthodox Church.

I’ll mention the small but growing number of Jewish men and women who have examined the claims of Jesus for themselves and realized that He is the God, Savior and Messiah foretold by the prophets.
KyMouse on July 14, 2009 at 7:32 AM

Yu should come home to the Jerusalem Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. We are the original Church and have been in Jerusalem for 2,000 years.
Jews for Jesus is a heretical protestant group founded in the 1980′s.

Here is the website for the Jerusalem partiarchate.
http://www.gopoj.org/

Everyone should read this page because it gives you all an idea on what is really happening in the state of israel.

The israeli government is keeping the patriarch of the original Christian Church hostage and is keeping him in house arrest and no one is able to visit him.

MaximusConfessor on July 14, 2009 at 1:06 PM

Do the pathetic losers who write thousands of words in a single “comment” actually expect anyone to read their rambling?

corona on July 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Speaking as a pathetic loser. lol I read everything written on this thread. Because I am involved in the discussion and have an open mind and treat my fellow debaters with respect.

I write only for those who have an open mind and heart and are interested in this discussion. I bold some things for those who want to skim.

And if someone is not interested, they do not have to read what I write at all. I take no offense to that, nor do I think less of that person.

but some may be interested, even if you are not. So I write, when time permits. These are serious and complicated issues and cannot be reduced to soundbites.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 1:08 PM

MaximusConfessor on July 14, 2009 at 1:06 PM

No offense taken. We just disagree, that is all.

I do not care if someone is blunt in their opinions. I just don’t have to agree with them.

May God bless you always.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 1:13 PM

but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s. …

Sounds like typical liberal “if-I-say-it-people-will-believe-it” delusions again.

Sterling Holobyte on July 14, 2009 at 2:00 PM

I accept the presidency of Peter but take the position that the Church was to be built upon the rock of revelation—not on Peter. Further, the point at issue is whether there has been an inspired perpetuation and transmission of Petrine primacy or a deviation and departure from the spirit and intent of the conferred divine commission, as recorded in the New Testament. . . . .

also find it rather perplexing that a Church that believes in divine succession finds it necessary to vote,

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM

his letter is a complaint about their procedure, not a command to correct it. In fact, Clement does not write as their Christian leader. . . .

Not one case exists within the New Testament itself of a bishop writing to someone else’s church. . . .

Clement’s Roman letter is only one example of Christians expressing concern to other Christians in the absence of apostles who could rightfully require obedience. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, wrote to six churches, including Rome, but no one argues that such acts suggest the primacy of his bishopric. . .

These are quoters of apostles, not apostles and prophets themselves. Therefore, reading the Apostolic Fathers without assuming that they knew of the predictions of apostasy would be like reading Acts and the epistles without assuming that the apostles knew of Christ’s ministry. All communication has a context in which it is expressed, and the closing books of the New Testament disclose conditions and concepts that dominated the apostolic bishops.

Fed45 on July 13, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Saved your posts till last. They were very good. I agree with much of what you write. But obviously not all of it and not your conclusions. And those 3 great Bishops are not the only important early fathers we have. And you cannot forget the Didache from the first century.

I will only touch on the few things you mentioned that I quoted above.

I see you accept that Peter was the leader and believe there was no succession. That is a position I can understand, even though I disagree. Especially because of the Old Testament scripture about the chief steward and the keys. We simply disagree on succession.

As I have already mentioned to you, Catholics also believe that the Church is founded on Peter’s faith beliefs (which are ours). But not only on his declaration, on him the man, as a foundation stone. And his declaration pointed out who the leader should be for all to see, the finger of God. So we agree on some points and not others. No sense rehashing it all.

Just to be clear. Popes and their succession are not Divine, nor are they Divine decisions. Church councils (local and ecumenical) debate things. Only a few things from Sacred Tradition that have formally been defined in matters of faith and morals are infallible. These are not new public revelation, but the Holy Spirit explaining further and in more detail the faith from the first century Apostles for those who came later and weren’t there to know everything the Apostles knew and saw and were taught.

So who succeeds a Pope is not Divine Revelation. God has an acting will and a permitting will. So some were not always the best choices. But God brings good out of bad. The election of a Pope is not an infallible decision or declaration. He is rightly the only Pope, but not necessarily the best choice. Hence, the debate to pick him. Of course there is always debate before formal infallible decisions on faith also. It’s the mechanism of the Church that the Holy Spirit uses. God used fallible men to write infallible Sacred Scripture and God uses fallible men to reveal infallible Sacred Tradition. But the election of a Pope does not fall into that category.

It is the office itself that was set up by Christ as a Divine decision of His, not each and every successor. Some men in the Church fail Him. The office is His chief steward here on earth until He comes again. Like in the Old Testament, it was an office with succession. The chief steward had the keys.

As I posted previously, Peter in fact did asked Clement to succeed him as Bishop of Rome, but Clement declined. So then it went to Linus, I think, and Clement became the 3rd or 4th Bishop of Rome. So Peter did have a hand in picking his successor. As you have written, Bishop’s offices were filled.

I disagree with you about Clement’s letter. Yes, we see other Bishops then and today preaching to other Bishops and the faithful in other areas, not under their jurisdiction. But that doesn’t negate the chair of Peter or Rome’s orthodoxy in teaching. There are many early writings that talk about that from the first couple centuries of the Church. Anyone can look them up.

The reason that we do not see any Bishop’s letters (other than Apostles) in the New Testament is because the Bishops in the 4th century Church councils limited what should be considered Scripture to only the writings of the Apostles and their scribes (Mark and Luke.) But for several centuries Barnabas’ letter was considered scriptural. As well as a few other writings. Widely accepted as Scripture, but not universally. Same with some books that were accepted into the Bible. Widely accepted, but not universally. Like Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, Revelation. These along with Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermes, Didache and a 4 Gospel passages in our Bibles were all debated and all in the same category. Widely, but not universally accepted as Scripture.

Most in the West did not accept 1 Clement as Scriptural, but some did. By the 4th century, most even in the East did not. But for a couple hundred years in the East, 1 Clement was considered Scriptural by almost everyone in the Eastern Churches.

These same Bishops who decided (through the Holy Spirit) what is in our Bibles, believed in Sacred Tradition and in the chair of Peter and the orthodoxy of Rome’s authority. You can see it in the actual canons of the councils themselves. Rome had a precedence and honor. Universally.

Because to the early Church, Sacred Scripture was part of Sacred Tradition. And that oral Tradition was from the Holy Spirit and included the chair of Peter.

So just because you don’t see other letters from Bishops in the New Testament doesn’t negate their authority. Or make it less than the authority of the Apostles. The Apostles passed on their authority to these men. We see St. Paul doing that with St. Timothy. And just because other Bishops besides the Bishop of Rome did this, doesn’t negate his office or special authority.

And that the New Testament writers and early fathers wrote and correctly predicted apostasy and false teachers, doesn’t mean that the Church itself, would fall into apostasy. Some would, but not the official Church. Because if the official Church officially taught error on matters of faith and God, then the gates of Hell would have prevailed against it. And at such an early date. As soon as the Apostles died. In fact a couple teachings that Protestants disagree with were written about even when St. John was still alive. Certainly right after John. By the men who heard those Apostles preach or were once removed. And by those who the Apostles selected to succeed them.

I also disagree that Clement’s letter did not carry authority to the Corinthians, who petitioned him for help. When Clement wrote back, he did so with fatherly authority, as if it was expected of him and he even seemed to apologized for taking so long in responding to his responsibilities because of “calamities” that had befallen the Church in Rome.

And he said this:

“If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy.”

Remember, that Peter’s and Clement’s humble attitude to their authority does not negate their authority. Later Pope’s should have learned from their example. Many did. And the official title that Pope’s sign documents with is “Servant of the Servants of God.” The whole washing of the feet thing.

I don’t expect you to agree with me, any more than I agree with you. But I am grateful for your polite and interesting discussion. We will have to agree to disagree. And pray that one day all us Christians are united in the fullness of His truth.

Last night I fell asleep reading HA because I was up so late the night before here. lol I have been busy today and I have a lot to do. I am going away for a few days. So I may not post here again before the thread is gone.

I prayed for all of you at Mass last night. Please keep me in your prayers.

God bless each of you here, including those who read and do not post.

Elisa on July 14, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Baptist churches were never part of the Catholic church.
ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 14, 2009 at 1:27 AM

Your religion was founded by a man, John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1606. You are right that it has no continuity to the Apostles nor is it the same Faith that was held by the apostles. Because of this it is essentially a neo-christian cult, I’m sorry but this is the truth.

Baptist churches existed before Amsterdam. In Switzerland, the Baptist churches have long claimed to be able to trace their heritage back to the time of the apostles. So John Smyth, whoever he was, can hardly have been the first.

Baptist churches also existed in England before 1605.

What you say is not “the truth.” It is an error based on historical ignorance.

The error is at least understandable, since Baptists, unlike Catholics or Protestants, have always believed in independent churches rather than a hierarchy controlled by a central organization. That does make it rather difficult to find the first Baptist church. There always seems to have been an earlier one. And since it only makes sense that later churches came from earlier churches, that should also not be a surprise.

What is fact is that the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches have never been a universal church, even before they split from each other. There have been churches throughout history which refused to align with Catholicism. Even at the church council called by Constantine, the bishop of Rome was not acknowledged by other churches to have authority over them.

It would hardly be possible here to go down history and trace the many groups which were labeled as heretics and persecuted by the Catholic church throughout the ancient and medieval world. There certainly were heretical groups, but it was also a convenient label to apply to churches over doctrinal disputes. Ironically, what finally stopped the persecution was when some of those who had been Catholic, and were therefore used to allying themselves with political benefactors, “protested” the Catholic church and defended themselves. That is, the Protestants fell into the same error their Catholic forebears had of allying with princes and warriors to protect them. To take the classic Roman Catholic allegory, the Protestants decided their church should also have two swords: the sword of spiritual power, and the sword of temporal power. Which ended up in the Thirty Year’s War, where the Catholic Church tried to force them back into their organization at the point of a sword, and found the Protestants had played at the same game and had swords of their own.

The end result, after much destruction, was a bloody draw. The good result of it was that it pretty much marked the end of war between the Protestants and Catholics, at least directly. (Though there were some exceptions, like the war that nearly broke out between Catholic Spain and Protestant Britain, lots of political intrigue, and the curious naming of one queen of England “Bloody Mary” in honor of the number of Protestants put to death in her quest to make England Catholic again.)

The bad result of the Thirty Years War was that the church you belonged to became a matter of where you were born, not which church you chose to attend. If the ruling family where you lived was Catholic, you were Catholic, if Lutheran, so were you, etc.

You’re wrong.The Church is the Body of Christ, that is, those of us in the Orthodox Church WHO PARTAKE OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST WHICH IS CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD. We are catechized(discipled) and baptised and we ALL believe the same things. WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Compelling logic, there. Now that you’ve said that I’m wrong and you’re right, I must yield.

Or I could just say that you’re wrong. The Church is not the Orthodox Church. You are not the body of Christ.

Of course the church is physical on earth also. This is an undisputable fact due to the fact that the Bible clearly tells us that the Apostles ordained bishops,priests and deaconate and passed down succession through laying on of hands. They taught us the Holy Tradition(which is what we are to stand fast and hold). This is why “the CHURCH is the guardian and repository of all truth”.

Where does the Bible teach that the Apostles ordained priests? Bishops and deacons, yes, but they were bishops and deacons of local churches. The Bible does not mention ordination of priests at all.

However, Peter, whom you claim to follow, writing to all Christians, said that we are “an holy priesthood.” It’s ironic then to see that priesthood taken from the body of Christ as a whole and assigned only to a newly created religious order by the same people who proclaim that Peter was the first pope. In the Catholic church, church members are not priests.

The Bible also teaches nothing about succession of apostles. What it does teach is that bishops were to be ordained in every city. The ordaining of bishops and deacons does not translate into the anointing of them as successors to the apostles. It points to them as being ordained by God through the work of apostles, and of those who have been ordained before.

But you’ll never find a passage in the Bible where one man is ordained as a successor to a particular apostle. That is an inference, not a Biblical teaching.

They also did not teach “Holy Tradition.” That sprang up after the fact, and after the New Testament had already been given. The Catholic and Orthodox churches will both proclaim that “Holy Tradition” is binding on the church, but they can’t claim that the scripture specifically teaches that.

The Church is physical because it is absolutely necessary to administer the blessed mystery of the holy Eucharist which is truly Christ’s body and blood.

That would only be true if you believe the Catholic teaching that the priest transforms bread and “fruit of the vine” into the actual body and blood of Jesus. If it is only symbolically representing the body and blood of Jesus, then there’s no particular reason why you need a priest to administer it.

Why would Christ go to the trouble of having His Apostles ordain successors through catechesis and laying on of hands,teaching them to catechize and ordain successors and teaching them to hold Holy Synods with all the Bishops of the Church to settle disputes?

He didn’t. That is, you won’t find a teaching of Christ to ordain “successors,” but simply to ordain the officers of the churches. You won’t find where Christ taught the holding of Holy Synods with all the Bishops of the Church. The only real example you can point to was a gathering specifically of apostles at Jerusalem. There appears to have been no effort to call all pastors of local churches in to participate in the decision-making. You’re taking something that was added much later, “Holy Synods,” and trying to squeeze them into the New Testament where they do not exist. This is bad enough, but then you want to use their existence that you can’t prove or demonstrate as a proof of something else.

Your religion was founded by a man in the 1600’s so therfore you are working under the false premise that the whole world was apostate and that the Church was destroyed for the first 1,600 years until Mr Smyth came along.

Don’t even bother with the ad hominem. I don’t believe the church was apostate for 1600 years and then restored. I believe the church has always been here, though often persecuted. Much of this persecution was at the hands of those who called themselves Christians.

You can’t be the Church because you believe radically different things than us and you have no continuity to the Apostles but I have already addressed this.

Which is exactly how the persecution of other Christians was justified by the Catholic church through the ages.

Fortunately, we have learned to discuss these differences without resorting to the use of the sword to force conformity.

As for apostolic succession, the very fact that the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church, and that we’re well past the foundation of the church, indicates that there are no new apostles. Which destroys the whole idea of apostolic succession.

That statement makes absolutely no sense. The church does not stop and start..It is continuous. Under your scenario anyone can just make a “new” Church with nothing in common with the Church founded by Christ. That is extremely dangerous and forbidden in Scripture. This may be your idea of what the church is but it is not the Church that is the Bible talks about.

This is a straw man you’ve constructed by conflating two different things. If by “apostolic succession” you mean that the church members of today can trace back to the apostles of the early church, then Protestants, Catholics, and Baptists alike all have “apostolic succession.”

But that’s not what is meant by the term, and you should know that. “Apostolic succession” is meant to teach that the apostles of the early church chose successors who inherited the authority the apostles had to lead the church. And that therefore the pope — or the Hierarch — has the same authority over the church that Peter or the apostles had. There is no such biblical teaching. There is such a teaching in Holy Tradition, but not in scripture itself.

That is, “apostolic succession” has to do with inheriting authority, not whether the church started and stopped or existed continuously.

Whether or not a church is a church of God can be measured by how true the church is in faith and practice to God’s word. The ugly truth about the Protestant Reformation is that the Protestant churches succeeded specifically because the Roman Catholic church was no longer true to God in faith and practice. Some “protested” and left the Catholic church, some tried to reform it from within. Those of us on the outside have differing opinions on how well they succeeded at such reform. But the very existence of the Counter-Reformation, as it was called, proves that there was need of reform. So much need that even those most loyal to their church recognized the need of such reforms.

Even in recent years, Vatican II has made more reforms. For example, it was in the past heavily discouraged for Catholic lay members to read their Bibles. The Catholic church even put to death those who sought to translate the scriptures into the common languages. Now, it’s officially encouraged.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 15, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Even in recent years, Vatican II has made more reforms. For example, it was in the past heavily discouraged for Catholic lay members to read their Bibles. The Catholic church even put to death those who sought to translate the scriptures into the common languages. Now, it’s officially encouraged.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 15, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Care to cite a Church document that says that those who read Bibles are to be put to death or punished? No organization on Earth has kept better records more meticulously for so long. Should be a simple task. We’ll wait.

I think you’re (wrongly) referring to the Church discouraging the reading of heavily edited bibles such as Luther’s that threw out or minimized Esther, Hebrews, James (“The Epistle of Straw”), Jude, and Revelation.

theCork on July 15, 2009 at 3:03 AM

Care to cite a Church document that says that those who read Bibles are to be put to death or punished? No organization on Earth has kept better records more meticulously for so long. Should be a simple task. We’ll wait.

I think you’re (wrongly) referring to the Church discouraging the reading of heavily edited bibles such as Luther’s that threw out or minimized Esther, Hebrews, James (”The Epistle of Straw”), Jude, and Revelation.

theCork on July 15, 2009 at 3:03 AM

Strange.After 10 years of Catholic education, I never even saw a bible.

Jeff from WI on July 15, 2009 at 4:53 AM

Strange.After 10 years of Catholic education, I never even saw a bible.

Jeff from WI on July 15, 2009 at 4:53 AM

Strange. I had Catholic education and I certainly did. Every Catholic I’ve ever known has seen Bibles during their Catholic education. What kind of Catholic school was it?

But even if you only attended daily mass… you heard (and read in the missal) the Bible from end to end thrice during your education.

theCork on July 15, 2009 at 8:27 AM

In between these two paragraphs, Townsend fills the pages with the usual liberal complaints about the church, including gay rights, abortion, and — this is the best part — a complaint that the church hierarchy doesn’t listen to the congregations and change religious doctrine to match public opinion

I like my church except for its beliefs

It won’t let me kill babies, and I want to stop the hurt

Protestantism is protest. Originally against Catholicism, but in general, conscience drives the individual and they have to leave the body if their conscience tells them.

Catholicism is the One and Original Church. Top down. They have to obey conscience but the understanding of the faith comes from the top.

It shows the influence of secularism in America

This is not schism in the normal sense. This is schism in the sense of separating oneself from the idea that there is absolute truth and certain morality at the core of one’s faith

I call it blind decadance, afflicting the society that has thrown away the concept of absolute truth.

Without the anchor, the boat drifts.

Last week the top Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, stated that the concept of personal salvation is ‘idolatry’

She said salvation is “the great Western heresy: that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.” – CBN

Her right to say, but what a slide away from the original concepts

entagor on July 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM

If by “apostolic succession” you mean that the church members of today can trace back to the apostles of the early church, then Protestants, Catholics, and Baptists alike all have “apostolic succession.”

Wrong. Apostolic succession is passing of the baton unaltered. Apostolic succession is passing of the Holy Tradition in it’s fullness WITHOUT ALTERATION from Bishop to Bishop from the apostles until today.Every Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church has unaltered apostolic succession,we can show you lists and writings that prove that the most ancient Orthodox Bishops believe exactly the same things as we do today.

It is only the Orthodox Church that has unaltered apostolic succession.

The roman catholics do not have apostolic succession because they have altered many many things(such as the creed which by Holy council was forbidden from alteration).

The Catholic and Orthodox churches will both proclaim that “Holy Tradition” is binding on the church, but they can’t claim that the scripture specifically teaches that.

Of course we can. look read this very carefully and if you are an honest person you will abandon your protestant faith and the unbiblical concept of “sola scriptura”.

2 Thess 2:15

Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the TRADITIONS that you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.

the greek word is paradosis.It is passed down and delivered without alteration. The source of the holy Tradition is from Christ God and it was passed down to the apostles and this is what we are commanded to hold..not just the Bible or the unbiblical concept of sola scriptura. This specifically says that the bible is only a PART of the Holy Tradition.

The Church is physical because it is absolutely necessary to administer the blessed mystery of the holy Eucharist which is truly Christ’s body and blood.
Maximus the Confessor

That would only be true if you believe the Catholic teaching that the priest transforms bread and “fruit of the vine” into the actual body and blood of Jesus. If it is only symbolically representing the body and blood of Jesus, then there’s no particular reason why you need a priest to administer it.

Theregoestheneighborhood

This is one of the most evident subjects in the Bible and it is the entire reason for the Church.

Christ tells us:

If you do not drink my blood and eat my body you have no Life in you.

Christ Himself tells us when instituting the Divine Eucharist:

“THIS IS MY BODY”

If you read the Bible in Greek you will see that the words Liturgy and Eucharist appear frequently and you probably already know that the epistle to the Hebrews mentions repeatedly that Christ is a Liturgist and high priest who practises the Divine Liturgy and institutes the holy Eucharist in heaven. It is completely and unarguably evident that the Apostles knew that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ also.

1 Corinthians 10:16

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

St Paul then chastises them and tells them that heretics cannot partake of the Holy eucharist and later he warns of the grave danger of partaking unworthily of the Holy Eucharist which is Christ’s body and blood and he mentions that heretics have died because they partook unworthily.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

I Corinthians 11:27- 30

MaximusConfessor on July 15, 2009 at 12:18 PM

It is only the Orthodox Church that has unaltered apostolic succession.

MaximusConfessor on July 15, 2009 at 12:18 PM

We Catholics, of course, as subject to the Diocese of Rome, differ, of course.

Who made the first bishop? Who made the forty-ninth one? That’s a really important question, because it gets right to the heart of primacy.

The fact that the Orthodox churches recognize transubstantiation is a big reason why the Catholic Church tells its members we are in communion with you. That and the fact that we recognize your claim to apostolic succession, even if you fail to recognize our paternal claim of primacy.

unclesmrgol on July 15, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Even in recent years, Vatican II has made more reforms. For example, it was in the past heavily discouraged for Catholic lay members to read their Bibles. The Catholic church even put to death those who sought to translate the scriptures into the common languages. Now, it’s officially encouraged.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 15, 2009 at 1:33 AM

Care to cite a Church document that says that those who read Bibles are to be put to death or punished? No organization on Earth has kept better records more meticulously for so long. Should be a simple task. We’ll wait.

I think you’re (wrongly) referring to the Church discouraging the reading of heavily edited bibles such as Luther’s that threw out or minimized Esther, Hebrews, James (”The Epistle of Straw”), Jude, and Revelation.

theCork on July 15, 2009 at 3:03 AM

Thanks for waiting. I’d have responded sooner, but sleep and work get in the way sometimes.

It’s fairly common knowledge that the Catholic church was not exactly on board with the idea of the Bible being translated into the vernacular. I won’t claim this is from memory or is original with me, but it’s not hard to find with Google.

(1) In the year 1215 Pope Innocent III issued a law commanding “that they shall be seized for trial and penalties, WHO ENGAGE IN THE TRANSLATION OF THE SACRED VOLUMES, or who hold secret conventicles, or who assume the office of preaching without the authority of their superiors; against whom process shall be commenced, without any permission of appeal” (J.P. Callender, Illustrations of Popery, 1838, p. 387). Innocent “declared that as by the old law, the beast touching the holy mount was to be stoned to death, so simple and uneducated men were not to touch the Bible or venture to preach its doctrines” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, VI, p. 723).

(2) The Council of Toulouse (1229) FORBADE THE LAITY TO POSSESS OR READ THE VERNACULAR TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE (Allix, Ecclesiastical History, II, p. 213). This council ordered that the bishops should appoint in each parish “one priest and two or three laics, who should engage upon oath to make a rigorous search after all heretics and their abettors, and for this purpose should visit every house from the garret to the cellar, together with all subterraneous places where they might conceal themselves” (Thomas M’Crie, History of the Reformation in Spain, 1856, p. 82). They also searched for the illegal Bibles.

(3) The Council of Tarragona (1234) “ORDERED ALL VERNACULAR VERSIONS TO BE BROUGHT TO THE BISHOP TO BE BURNED” (Paris Simms, Bible from the Beginning, p. 1929, 162).

(4) In 1483 the infamous Inquisitor General Thomas Torquemada began his reign of terror as head of the Spanish Inquisition; King Ferdinand and his queen “PROHIBITED ALL, UNDER THE SEVEREST PAINS, FROM TRANSLATING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE INTO THE VULGAR TONGUES, OR FROM USING IT WHEN TRANSLATED BY OTHERS” (M’Crie, p. 192). For more than three centuries the Bible in the common tongue was a forbidden book in Spain and multitudes of copies perished in the flames, together with those who cherished them.

(5) In England, too, laws were passed by the Catholic authorities against vernacular Bibles. The Constitutions of Thomas Arundel, issued in 1408 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, made this brash demand: “WE THEREFORE DECREE AND ORDAIN THAT NO MAN SHALL, HEREAFTER, BY HIS OWN AUTHORITY, TRANSLATE ANY TEXT OF THE SCRIPTURE INTO ENGLISH, OR ANY OTHER TONGUE, by way of a book, libel, or treatise, now lately set forth in the time of John Wyckliff, or since, or hereafter to be set forth, in part of in whole, privily or apertly, upon pain of greater excommunication, until the said translation be allowed by the ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the council provincial” (John Eadie, The English Bible, vol. 1, 1876, p. 89). Consider Arundel’s estimation of the man who gave the English speaking people their first Bible: “This pestilential and most wretched John Wycliffe of damnable memory, a child of the old devil, and himself a child or pupil of Anti-Christ, who while he lived, walking in the vanity of his mind … crowned his wickedness by translating the Scriptures into the mother tongue” (Fountain, John Wycliffe, p. 45).

(6) Pope Leo X (1513-1521), who railed against Luther’s efforts to follow the biblical precept of faith alone and Scripture alone, called the fifth Lateran Council (1513-1517), which charged that no books should be printed except those approved by the Roman Catholic Church. “THEREFORE FOREVER THEREAFTER NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PRINT ANY BOOK OR WRITING WITHOUT A PREVIOUS EXAMINATION, TO BE TESTIFIED BY MANUAL SUBSCRIPTION, BY THE PAPAL VICAR AND MASTER OF THE SACRED PALACE IN ROME, and in other cities and dioceses by the Inquisition, and the bishop or an expert appointed by him. FOR NEGLECT OF THIS THE PUNISHMENT WAS EXCOMMUNICATION, THE LOSS OF THE EDITION, WHICH WAS TO BE BURNED, a fine of 100 ducats to the fabric of St. Peters, and suspension from business for a year” (Henry Lea, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages).

(7) These restrictions were repeated by the Council of Trent in 1546, which placed translations of the Bible, such as the German, Spanish, and English, on its list of prohibited books and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Catholic bishop or inquisitor.

Following is a quote from Trent: “…IT SHALL NOT BE LAWFUL FOR ANYONE TO PRINT OR TO HAVE PRINTED ANY BOOKS WHATSOEVER DEALING WITH SACRED DOCTRINAL MATTERS WITHOUT THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR, OR IN THE FUTURE TO SELL THEM, OR EVEN TO HAVE THEM IN POSSESSION, UNLESS THEY HAVE FIRST BEEN EXAMINED AND APPROVED BY THE ORDINARY, UNDER PENALTY OF ANATHEMA AND FINE prescribed by the last Council of the Lateran” (Fourth session, April 8, 1546, The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, Translated by H.J. Schroeder, pp. 17-19).

The above found here, if you’d like to look for yourself.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 15, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Concerning “Holy Tradition” as a source of teaching:

The Catholic and Orthodox churches will both proclaim that “Holy Tradition” is binding on the church, but they can’t claim that the scripture specifically teaches that.

Of course we can. look read this very carefully and if you are an honest person you will abandon your protestant faith and the unbiblical concept of “sola scriptura”.

2 Thess 2:15

Therefore brethren stand fast and hold the TRADITIONS that you have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.

the greek word is paradosis.It is passed down and delivered without alteration. The source of the holy Tradition is from Christ God and it was passed down to the apostles and this is what we are commanded to hold..not just the Bible or the unbiblical concept of sola scriptura. This specifically says that the bible is only a PART of the Holy Tradition.

And the traditions referenced here are the same as the “Holy Tradition” claimed by Catholic and Orthodox, even though the early church did not venerate Mary or believe she was perpetual virgin or claim she was co-redeemer or a mediator? (On the contrary, Jesus made quite plain in Matthew 12:45-50 that his mother and brethren had no more claim to Him than any other believer.)

Sorry, but scripture explains scripture much better than your interpretations. The traditions referred to here have to do with the way of life that Paul demonstrated to the Thessalonians. In the next chapter of 2nd Thessalonians, Paul elaborates on these traditions the Thessalonians were to follow.

2 Thes 3:6-12
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after
the tradition which he received of us.
7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;
8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

So the tradition Paul referenced in the verse you quoted was not a source of doctrine, but an example set of proper and moral conduct.

In fact, there are only 13 places where the word “tradition” or “traditions” is used in the New Testament. Of those 13 places, these two passages in 2 Thessalonians are the only ones where traditions are not spoken of as a negative thing.

For example, “For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men.” And, “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” And, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

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Now, as for the “Holy Eucharist” being the literal body and blood of the Lord:

This is one of the most evident subjects in the Bible and it is the entire reason for the Church.

Christ tells us:

If you do not drink my blood and eat my body you have no Life in you.

Christ Himself tells us when instituting the Divine Eucharist:

“THIS IS MY BODY”

If you read the Bible in Greek you will see that the words Liturgy and Eucharist appear frequently and you probably already know that the epistle to the Hebrews mentions repeatedly that Christ is a Liturgist and high priest who practises the Divine Liturgy and institutes the holy Eucharist in heaven. It is completely and unarguably evident that the Apostles knew that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ also.
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MaximusConfessor on July 15, 2009 at 12:18 PM

First, the epistle to the Hebrews says not one word about the Lord’s Supper. Though it speaks of priests and high priest and sacrifice, it is all in the context of the Old Testament system of sacrifice, not any church ordinance. In fact, the whole point seems to be to demonstrate that the sacrifice of Christ was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament laws concerning sacrifices. And the conclusion of the discussion is that the laws of Moses concerning sacrifice involved priests and the high priest making the same sacrifices over and over, while the sacrifice of Christ was once for all.

So it’s a little odd to try to compare this to the mass offered over and over, NOT once for all. Obviously, even if you believe that the bread and wine is transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ, it is not a new sacrifice, or else the sacrifice would be offered more often than the Old Testament sacrifices ever were. In such a case, the argument of Hebrews that Christ was once offered would be ludicrous. The Lord’s Supper is therefore symbolically representing the one sacrifice of Christ Himself on the cross.

ThereGoesTheNeighborhood on July 15, 2009 at 9:51 PM

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