Early Development of the Papacy: Random Reflections

Why establish an office (Peter, in effect, was made the prime minister of the Church by Jesus, as the exegesis of the “keys of the kingdom” establishes, with much Protestant exegetical support), only to have it cease with the death of Peter? That makes no sense. The very nature of an office is to be carried on; to have a succession. One doesn’t start a business, e.g., with a president, and then after the first president dies, the office ceases to exist and everyone is on their own. His former office is made into a lounge . . .

via Early Development of the Papacy: Random Reflections

1 thought on “Early Development of the Papacy: Random Reflections

  1. What is to be made of the fact that in the Acts of the Apostles Peter never exercises the powers that we bestow on him today under the words that Christ directed toward him? I would have expected to see a very commanding Peter and a differential cohort of Apostles in Acts if that was the case, but that is not what we see. After the Spirit descends on the Apostles, when they are faced with questions that arise in their ranks without the presence of Christ to guide them, the Apostles come together in council to decide how to proceed. Nowhere in this episode in the Bible is Peter given any sort of unilateral authority or is even required to ratify what his peers determine to be the best course of action. In face of trying to understand what Jesus was saying to Peter when he named him Rock and said that he would have the keys to the Kingdom and the power to bind and lose I have no choice by the follow what the Catechism already prescribes for how we are to approach Scripture; being attentive to the whole of Scripture (CCC 112), considering the living tradition of the church (CCC 113) and being attentive to the analogy of faith (CCC 114). I find it troubling that the Magesterium has to depart from its own teaching on Scriptural interpretation in order to conform the words of Christ toward the establishment of the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome.

    And what to make of what is essentially a giant theological and dogmatic drama playing out between Peter and Paul throughout the early Church. One is adamant that gentiles must become Jews and follow the law before becoming Christian, the other throws that entire concept out of the window, and yet today it is Paul’s understanding that remains within the church, and not Peter’s. That simply does not make any sense if the authority of the Bishop of Rome was present during those early days, the fact it that it was not.

    And any discussion about the power and authority of the Bishop of Rome cannot honestly be progressed without mentioning the disturbing links between the Holy Pontiff and the office of the Roman Emperor. Furthermore, the historical development of the unilateral authority of the Bishop of Rome through out the middle ages (for entirely temporal and political reasons that we know for a fact and were entire unChristian in their approach), and the fact that up until the formal codification of the doctrine (which was ironically done unilaterally exercising the power it seeks to promulgate, “With the authority of this decree, I decree that I have authority to make this decree.”) there was absolutely no consensus within the Church regarding the supremacy and infallibility of the Bishop of Rome (something which modern Roman Catholics seem to forget when they speak of the Papacy today).

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