Skip to comments.Papal Supremacy Is Against Tradition
Posted on 02/06/2006 10:11:00 AM PST by AnalogReigns
Papal Supremacy Is Against Tradition
Cyprian (200-258 A.D.)
"For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another" [Ante-Nicene Fathers, 5:565, "The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian"]. As James White points out, the clergy in Rome were addressing letters to Cyprian, "Pope Cyprian." It simply meant "father."
The Council of Nicea (325 A.D.)
In Canon 6, this council declared that each center was to be ruled by its own bishop and not by one head over all bishops. [Ante Nicene Father, 7:502, "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles"] The Council of Chalcedon, in Canon 28, declares that Rome's rank was based on its political significance rather than any spiritual superiority.
St. Jerome (342-420 A.D.)
"Wherever a bishop may be whether at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of the same worth...for all of them are the successors of the apostles."
Gregory I (540-604)
"Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself or desires to be called Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others" and compares the man who chooses the title "universal bishop" to Satan. [Gregory I of Rome, Book V, Epistle 18, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, 12:166]
The Roman Catholic Council of Trent
As the gavel came down to close the final session of the Council of Trent in 1563, Rome had officially and, according to her own commitment down to the present moment, irreversably, declared the preaching of the Gospel in the Reformation "anathema." The most relevant Canons are the following:
Canon 9. If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone...let him be anathema.
Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins...or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.
Canon 12. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy (supra, chapter 9), which remits sins for Christ's sake...let him be anathema.
Canon 24. If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema.
Canon 30. If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.
Canon 32. If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit an increase of grace, and eternal life...let him be anathema.
. . .
Where Do We Stand Today?
There was a popular slogan in the middle ages, "God will not deny his grace to those who do what lies within their power." A modern equivalent might be, "God helps those who help themselves." According to recent surveys, 87% of today's evangelical Protestants affirm this view of salvation, with 77% agreeing with the statement that "man is basically good by nature." Not even at the Council of Trent did Rome tolerate this essentially Pelagian concept, and yet it is affirmed by the clear majority of the supposed heirs of the Reformation.
Therefore, this is not an exercise in bigotry, nor an attempt to renew ancient hostilities; it is a battle for the Gospel in the face of any--whether pope or evangelist, who would allow this doctrine to be hidden from those who even today will be passing from this world to face the judgment of our God and of his Christ.
Bearing the nihil obstat and Imprimatur of the Roman Church, Sacramentum Mundi is a modern encyclopedia of Roman doctrine. In its article on Justification we read that justification "implies a relation with a judgment rather than a mode of being." The term for Paul "always has a certain forensic flavour which prevents its becoming a mere synonym of regeneration or re-creation. In later theology, however, this sense is often lost, and justification comes to mean nothing more than the infusion of grace (D 799). Now when St. Paul applies the juridical terminology to the new Christian reality, it acquires an entirely new meaning. It refers now not to the future but to the past (Rom.5:9), not to the just man but the sinner (Rom.4:5). And so the basis of justification must also be different. It can no longer be observance of the law. It must be Christ, whom God has made our righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor.1:30), which is the same thing as saying that we are justified by faith in Christ (Rom.3:28)." [ by Ricardo Franco, pp. 239-240]
Furthermore, arguably the two most widely respected Roman Catholic biblical scholars, J. A. Fitzmyer and Raymond Brown, have recognized that justification is understood in the biblical text to mean legal acquittal and not a process of growth in inherent righteousness. "Justification in the Old Testament," writes Fitzmyer, "denotes one who stood acquitted or vindicated before a judge's tribunal...This uprightness (righteousness) does not belong to human beings (Rom. 10:3), and is not something that they produced or merited; it is an alien uprightness, one belonging to another (Christ) and attributed to them because of what that other had done for them...This justification comes about by grace and through faith" (Romans, AB 33, pp.116-19).
And yet, Roman Catholic theologian Johann Baptist Metz calls for a second Reformation precisely because he sees the immediate relevance: "The question is said to belong to another, noncontemporary world," he writes. "I do not share this position at all. The heart of the Reformation's question--How can we attain to grace? --is absolutely central to our most pressing concerns. Just look for a moment at the human person of today: a part of this late bourgeois world of ours, stretched between doubt and commitment, between apathy and a meager kind of love, between ruthless self-assertion and a weak form of solidarity, confused and more uncertain of himself than he was even a few generations ago...And we are asked to believe that this person cannot understand the cry for grace, the pressing question as to whether and how grace can come to us? I do not accept that for a moment. This second Reformation concerns all Christians, is coming upon all of us, upon the two great churches of our Christianity."
Please, let everyone be charitable...NO NAME CALLING!!!
"There'll be a hot time in the old town Tonight..."
Actually that's a good question...and probably one reason for the survey results.
Since every person is made in God's image we all have some "good" in us. However, since every person (past, present, & future) except Jesus Christ, is poluted by an inborn fallen sin-nature....being descendent of Adam, no one is purely good, which, by older definitions is the only kind of moral good...totally pure. Evil is the pollution of good...hence by that definition anything evil is partly (or even basically) good...however also BASICALLY polluted (and therefore evil) in every capacity...even in the ability to reason, desire and choose.
I think a lot of Christians if they understood that, would agree that everyone is basically a sinner....still with some "good" in us, but only in a relative sense. No one, save Christ, is purely and basically Good, in that sense.
This is a basic Augustinian understanding of the nature of good and evil.
It's threads like this one that remind me how much fun we used to have before biblewonk was banned.
Anybody else miss ol' biblewonk?
(from the same webpage as "What Can Protestants Expect from the New Pope" posted earlier by Gamecock)
Biblewonk was banned? I must have missed that thread.
I must have, too - and yes, Biblewonk is missed!
I'm curious as to Eastern Orthodox opinions of the Western Church's Reformers. I realize y'all are NOT fans of St. Augustine....on which much of the original Protestant theology was built on. (not even regarded with the title "Saint" is he? Can't say I've ever understood that attitude toward St. Augustine of the EO theologians.)
"I'm curious as to Eastern Orthodox opinions of the Western Church's Reformers. I realize y'all are NOT fans of St. Augustine...."
Please read "The River of Fire" by Alexandre Kalomiros for a great introduction to your question. It's short, 20 pages, and available on line at http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm .
The first 5 pages will pretty much cover the significant problems we have with St Augustine writings and the long term effect they've had to western theology, the eventual creation of the great schism, the Protestant fragmentation which was destined to follow, and ultimately the agressive Atheism we see in the world.
Another instance of development of doctrine, and essential to the understanding of this paper, is that of Papal supremacy. Newman tells us that the early Christians knew that they must live in unity, and recognized that they were so living. It was a sacramentum unitatis. The determination of its essence and means of securing this unity was to be supplied as necessity grew. While Christians were of one heart and one soul, it would be suspended; when unity was threatened, it was invoked. Newman says:
When the Church was thrown upon her own resources, first local disturbances gave exercise to bishops, and next ecumenical disturbances gave exercise to Popes; and whether communion with the Pope was necessary for Catholicity would not and could not be debated till a suspension of that communion had actually occurred.
With marked clarity Newman reasoned that, "if the whole of Christendom is to form one Kingdom, one head is essential; at least this is the experience of eighteen hundred years." And so:
As the Church grew into form, so did the power of the Pope develop; and wherever the Pope has been renounced, decay and division have been the consequence. We know of no other way of preserving the Sacramentum Unitatis but a centre of unity.
It was quite obvious to Newman that, even though the full deposit of faith had been given to the Apostles by Christ, and transmitted by them to the Church, there was a need of correctly understanding this deposit as conflicting opinions arose among the members of the one Church. To this end, a supreme authority was needed; otherwise, the body of Revelation would be open to endless confusion; and decay, not unity, would be the mark of the Church. This could not be since Christ had not only commanded his disciples to teach "all things that He had commanded," but also had assured them that he would be with them until the end of time (Matt. 28:18).
Newman saw that the Divine Author had intended Christianity to have "a wide expansion of the ideas proper to it"; but realized that this great benefit could be hindered by "the evil birth of cognate errors which acted as its counterfeit." He, therefore, assigned certain characteristics of faithful developments, which would discriminate them from corruptions. He defined corruption as "an incipient disorganization." It is characteristic of modern sects and of dissident theologians within the Church that they give evidence of corruption through the excesses in their conduct and the errors in their doctrine. The Church has been harassed by their innovations, but has ever revived from the force of their attacks. She is ever herself; "doctrine is where it was, and usage, and precedence, and principle, and policy." In a word, she is "incorrigible," cannot change the deposit of faith that has been given her by our Divine Savior.
As we have seen, Newman came to the overwhelming realization that the Catholic faith was logically, as well as historically, the representative of the ancient faith. As a result of his studies, he assigned certain characteristics of faithful development, as distinct from corruptions. He set down seven Notes to discriminate healthy developments of an idea from its decay: (1) a one and same type of life, that is, a religion which, while developing, remains identically what it was; (2) continuity of principles, the "special laws" of a development; (3) a power of assimilation, achieving a "unitive" incorporation into the life of the faith; (4) a logical sequence, that is, a teaching that issues from its original teaching; (5) an early anticipation of future development; (6) a conserving of the course of antecedent developments, an addition which illustrates and corroborates the thought which precedes; and (7) a chronic vigor, marked by duration. These seven Notes marks of fidelity in the development of an ideaare to be applied to the current developments of Christian doctrine. And here Newman advises us to watch for "the unity and identity of the idea with itself through all stages of its development."
Augustine had it wrong. He even mistranslated parts of the original fall. The Eastern Orthodox Church has many fundamental differences with his understanding.
Many Eastern Orthodox Theologians believe that Augustines writings play a significant role in the eventual demise of the West, including the necessity for Papal Infallibility, the Protestant fragmentation, and, played to its eventual end, agressive Atheism (since the rational mind confronted with conflicting mistruth will falsely accept one, the other, or reject them both).
See http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm for a very good, yet short explaination of this problematic paradigm between EO and Western Theology.
Not by nature...as our first father before his choice to disobey, was innocent, but by descent--everyone has inheritied the trait...(almost like a mutation...)---the doctrine of orginal sin is quite a mystery--but vital to a right understanding of the gospel of the "new Adam" Jesus Christ.
Why did then THE most agressive atheistic ideology, namely Communism, find its most fertile soil...and fearful results in the lands of the Eastern Church?
Just asking, not being argumentative, and have yet to read your suggested site.