Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fr Peter Robinson on the papacy
There is very little or no evidence that St. Peter was given any jurisdiction over the other Apostles. He was simply the first among equals. A clear majority of the Early Fathers see Peter's profession that Jesus is the Christ, rather than Peter himself as being the Rock upon which He shall build the Church. Modern Papal claims of jurisdiction were built more upon Rome's prestige as the (former) capital of the Empire and its Apostolic origin, rather than any ancient jurisdiction over the Church.

However, Petrine
primacy is ancient, but it has to be remembered that jurisdiction and primacy are two quite distinct issues. Universal Ordinary Jurisdiction confers the right to intervene in any diocese at any time. That power just did not belong to the Papacy before the schism between East and West in 1054. Primacy, and the idea of Rome as a sort of final Court of Appeal in disputes, is ancient understanding (5th century) of the extent of Papal claims.

Based upon the ancient understanding of Papal authority, not to accept the Universal Jurisdiction of the Pope is
not a matter of disobedience, but of resisting false claims to a jurisdiction which was not given by Christ to St. Peter. Quite frankly, Papal claims to universal jurisdiction are based upon - erm - creative reading of Church history! Now if one accepts the doctrine of development ennunciated by Cardinal Newman, it is easy enough to swallow Papal ordinary jurisdiction over the whole Church, but the theory of doctrinal development can also be twisted. It is only because in theory Papal authority is hedged about with safeguards (e.g. the Pope cannot go against Holy Tradition) that the Roman Church has not been subjected to the sort of doctrinal revolution that has rocked the liberal Protestants.

That said, there are plenty of R.C. clergy who are in open rebellion, and they have suffered a post-Vatican II liturgical revolution that has done incalculable damage to the Church.
In the spirit of the university, which can debate every point in the catechism much like St Thomas Aquinas did in writing...

If there is universal jurisdiction, why bishops?

And the ancient and mediæval church couldn’t have run on the model described by the RC neocons (which they hold to often for this reason) even if it wanted to: of course the average Catholic didn’t flip on EWTN or go online; the immemorial custom of his parish was the church as far as he was concerned.

As Tripp might put it, I’m just sayin’, y’all.

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