Saturday, October 31, 2009

Papal Primacy vs. Scripture

Pope Boniface VIII, in Unam Sanctam, stated: “Now, therefore, we declare, say, define, and pronounce that for every human creature it is altogether necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff.”

Scripture, in contrast, gives universal jurisdiction to Christ alone: “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15) and the Psalmist declares: “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:6) which the Apostle tells us plainly refers to Christ: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22).

12 comments:

Pax Christus! said...

http://aquinas-martin.blogspot.com/2009/10/turretinfan-and-primacy-of-roman-bishop.html

C. Massa

Tim Harris said...

Can we help Boniface divide the question: we are SAVED INTO THE CHURCH, but not saved into SUBJECTION TO THE PONTIFF.

Turretinfan said...

Right, Mr. Harris. Many Roman Catholic responses are so focused on the "no salvation outside the church" aspect of the issue that they miss the more important issue of alleged papal primacy.

Pax Christus! said...

This is was divides Protestantism from historic Christendom. The bishops were seen as living Icons of Christ, and so of course the faithful were to be subject to the bishops as though he were Christ. Boniface reiterates this eastern Christian understanding. Today it's considered scandalous, but then again so many fundamentals of the Faith are considered scandalous.

Turretinfan said...

"Icons of Christ" is probably a little extreme for most of the fathers, but like the Reformed churches the early church had a high view of the authority of the church.

A number of contra-Reformed folks mistakenly think that the Reformed churches don't recognize that the church has authority. It does. But there is only one head of the entire church - and that head is Christ, not the bishop of Rome.

Pax Christus! said...

Turretifan,

That is certainly a good common ground between Reformed Protestantism and Catholic theology, in this case specifically, Roman. But the Greek Orthodox concede the same, viz. that Christ is the one and only Head of the Church, and that the Bishop of Rome is not the visible Head. But they have Apostolic Succession, both mechanically and doctrinally. Whereas you may claim till His Return that your churches proclaim the Gospel in the purest possible way, as opposed to say Arminian Protestantism which you concede true Christians may be found but doctrinally incorrect, you are outweighed by the evidence from Antioch, Egypt, Russia, and all the Churches. Were I to assume with you the Roman Church has erred, Protestantism would not and could not be my possible option. Orthodoxy, the true Catholic Church if the Roman Church erred, would be my one and only alternative. They have not only Tradition but the Scriptures as well, and like us they revere the fathers and the General Councils. Even they declare the Bishops are Icons of Christ, which phraseology may not be found amongst the earliest fathers, but the concept is certainly there. Christ indeed is Head of the Church, but as long as I find reason to remain Roman Catholic, the Rome Pontiff is the visible Head of the unseen Head, and subjection to him can only come about by subjection to Christ. This is our theology. Pax.

Turretinfan said...

PC:

"But they have Apostolic Succession, both mechanically and doctrinally."

Three questions:

1) How do you know that?

2) Does Apostolic Succession (of whatever kind you have in mind) imply infallibility? (surely it does not and so ... question 3)

3) When you disagree with them, what's your reason and justification for doing so?

-TurretinFan

Pax Christus! said...

Turretinfan,

1) By the testimony of the fathers, the same who testify to the historicity of the New Testament, and the same who knew the Apostles and were ordained by them personally.

2) The ordination of a man into the episcopacy does not endow him with personal infallibility, unless he is the Pope of course. In fact, the bishop may lose his priesthood should he stray in any way from the Apostolic Faith, which Faith is upheld and defended by...

3) ...the Ecumenical Councils, which are my basis for disagreeing with any of the holy fathers, since these Holy Councils are infallible in their unchangable decrees, while the fathers are fallible and individually are subject to err.

Turretinfan said...

"By the testimony of the fathers, the same who testify to the historicity of the New Testament, and the same who knew the Apostles and were ordained by them personally."

The fathers cannot tell you whether Benedict XVI or Bartholomew of Constantinople is a mechanical successor of the apostles. They can try to testify of the state of things up to their own time, and we can examine their trustworthiness in that regard.

Perhaps you meant simply that they can tell us who has the same doctrine as the apostles. However, at least in general, the overwhelming majority approach among the fathers was to appeal to Scripture to determine whether a doctrine was apostolic. Occasionally you see arguments from universal consensus - but we can safely leave that issue aside for the moment, since history demonstrates that universal consensus is unworkable.

And moreover, on any given doctrine, surely we only give some preference to their views: not conclusive weight, since you acknowledge that they were fallible.

"...the Ecumenical Councils, which are my basis for disagreeing with any of the holy fathers, since these Holy Councils are infallible in their unchangable decrees, while the fathers are fallible and individually are subject to err."

1) How do you know that Ecumenical Councils have this property of infallibility?

2) How do you know which councils are Ecumenical?

3) How do you distinguish the unchangeable decrees of those councils from the changeable decrees?

Pax Christus! said...

Mr. Turretinfan,

I've noticed my answers regarding your last questions to me have not yet been posted. I'm sure I sent the answers via comment, but there may have been an internal problem with my computer which perhaps may have prevented my responses from going through. If for some reason you don't have my answers to your 3 questions please let me know and I'll be more than happy to re-produce them. Thanks.

Turretinfan said...

PC ... I'll check - they may be stuck in moderation still ... if so, when they finally post this will look odd, since people will see your response then your comment above, and finally this comment of mine, followed by any response I may have to your response.

ChaferDTS said...

Those who claim an ecumenical church council is infallible if they are a Roman Catholic. You have the 6th Ecumenical Council condemn a dead Pope as a heretic on formal heresy. It was Pope Honorius who was condemned for formal heresy in his office as Pope and not a private theologian by an ecumenical council. So an infalliblen church council condemn a claimed infallible Pope. A most weird circumstances to say the least for a Roman Catholic to try to defend Papal infallibility with that historical fact around. :)