2 July 2019

Petrine Primacy

An interesting piece on Erick Ybarra's blog about Byzantine perspectives on the Petrine Primacy. He concludes it by wondering what S Maximus the Confessor (perhaps the most explicitly papalist Eastern Father) could have said about PF.

When the Fathers of Chalcedon shouted "Peter has spoken through Leo", I do not for one moment believe that they meant "What an exciting novel doctrine! How clever of Leo to think it up!" I think they meant something very much more like "Leo has discharged the Petrine duty of defending us against heretical innnovation".

In both the East and in the West, the Papacy has at least wished to function as an obstacle against doctrinal innovation. Blessed John Henry Newman, whose imminent canonisation was happily made official yesterday, called this function that of being a remora, a barrier. Vatican I most felicitously asserted that the Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that, by His inspiration, they could teach new doctrine. Dr Trevor Jalland, a predecessor of mine in my last Anglican job, devoted his monumental Bampton Lectures to making just this point.

The ultrapapalism of Bergoglianism is not something more than Catholicism; it is something very greatly less.

The clique around PF has, in fact, deprived us of the Papacy we are entitled to have, a Papacy bestowed by God and devoted to guarding and expounding carefully what has been handed down. Instead of this, an "aggressive, insolent faction" (Newman puts things so succinctly!) has endeavoured and is still endeavouring to foist upon us a fake Papacy which Vatican I explicitly repudiated, operating as a pseudoPapacy which is an indefatigable engine of doctrinal innovation, ambiguity, and disorder, disguised as inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I have myself collaborated in documents attempting to specify and enumerate the heretical positions that PF has favoured. I do not repent of having done this. They were valuable contributions to the Universal Church. But I do feel that the essence of PF's doctrinal delinquency lies in his de facto repudiation of what Vatican I taught about the limitations and purpose of the papal ministry.

Doellinger, poor fellow, was (to Newman's sorrow) excommunicated for feeling unable to subscribe to the teaching of Vatican I. (Little did he realise that, in God's most merciful providence, Vatican I would be a monument against papal misbehaviour.)

PF is undoubtedly the one and only genuine pope, as Professor Ratzinger again recently made clear. Let there be no doubt about that. Sedevacantism is a disorder equal to Bergoglianism.

But geese; ganders; sauces; Doellinger; Bergoglio.


GOR said...

I have no truck with sedevacantism. That Cardinals got together prior to the conclave to discuss or promote potential papabile candidates doesn’t bother me. Does anyone think that this hasn’t gone on in other conclaves? We just didn’t hear about it and Cardinals were more faithful to observing strict secrecy about matters pertaining to conclaves.

Today, with modern means of communication and the propensity of some cardinals to crave the limelight by revelations - explicit or implicit - of what took place, is reprehensible and demeaning to their office.

My concern with the ‘current administration’ is not that we don’t have a valid Pope, but that we don’t have a true shepherd who “confirms the brethren” and upholds without ambiguity the truths of the Faith. That is the real scandal of today.

But the Church has been here before. It has and will survive. As for us, we must hold true to the Faith of our Baptism regardless. “The Devil (or anyone else) made me do it” will not be an excuse when we face the Final Judgment.

frjustin said...

I do not know if Erick Ybarra refers to Theophanes Cerameus, the 12th-century Byzantine writer, but the latter's Homily 55 [PG 132, 960-965]is about "the Petrine duty of defending us against heretical innovation". he writes:

"The gates of hell which will not prevail against the Church are no doubt the tyrants who persecute it, and the founders of heresies. They are called the gates of hell figuratively because they drag their followers toward the snares of hell.

"'And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven'. But what are the keys, and of what kind of door is Peter appointed the guardian? Christ is the door, as he himself declared; and the key to that door is faith, the faith which he entrusted to his chief disciple.

"The Lord has given the keys to Peter and his successors, then, to keep the door to the kingdom of heaven inaccessible to heretics and impenetrable by them, but easy for the faithful to enter".

Unknown said...

Thank you.

As part of my extensive conversion process, I examined Pastor aeternus as, I suppose, every prospective convert should so do. A simple and clear document as so many pre-Vatican 2 documents are, it lays out the teaching of the Church in a forthright manner and very quickly erased my then-Protestant concerns with the dogma of the...dreaded...infallibility.

Two-fold in nature, Pastor describes both the authority possessed by a Pope and the limitations of that authority which are in fact expressed in the need to defend the faith.

Possibly a rather long run of above-average Popes gave an impression, which became a culture which became a pseudo-dogma, that Popes could not exercise free will in the course of their own duties {or shirking thereof} and could only, with feet planted firmly on the ground or for that matter standing on a moving object hurtling at some 30,000 feet above it, declare, support and promote wondrous things of deep and profound orthodoxy.

Well, now, that little misunderstanding has been put to rest.

Liam Ronan said...

Very straightforward, Father. Thank you for your always useful and thought provoking guidance. As for things touching on Newman, I am certain you are well aware he delivered some extraordinarily prescient sermons on the Antichrist and the Last Times. I believe these sermons are still widely available. Well worth the read of them, I'd say.

Fr. VF said...

Professor Ratzinger is not competent (I refer only to his office [whatever that is]) to adjudicate the issue of the validity of the conclave of 2013.

Aqua said...

Why do you call him professor Ratzinger? He clearly does not go by that title. “His Holiness ...” He took the name with him when he left the Ministerium behind, and it remains his signature title. In his most recent picture, with US Ambassador Callista Gingrich, he posed with his Piscatory Ring prominently displayed on his right hand folded on his lap. No professor gets to do that.

We need to deal with what is. It is not wrong to note and insist on the reality of what is.

Catherina of Siena said...

Aqua wrote re: former Pope Benedict XVI that "he posed with his Piscatory Ring prominently displayed on his right hand folded on his lap".

If by this Aqua means the "fisherman's ring"/papal ring which B16 wore as Pope, he is quite wrong.
The ring he wears is not at all the papal ring he used from 2005 until his resignation. It is a new one, now 6 years old, or perhaps one which he wore as bishop/Cardinal. I forgot the exact details.
They visual difference between the rings is quite big and obvious.

Aqua said...

@ Catherine Of Sienna:

I was surprised to see your comment in regards the Fisherman’s Ring. I had read much that this Ring was not destroyed and he was still wearing it. I assumed this was so, since I had not heard anyone speak contra to this. Until now. Further research of your assertion appears to confirm what you say. Looking at pictures carefully, it does seem to be different.

Interestingly, Francis did not design his own, but uses one that belonged to Pope Paul VI - when he wears it - since he frequently uses his Argentinian Bishops Ring instead.

Apparently Popes are not required to wear the Fisherman’s Ring at all times. Who knew?

I found this comment, during my research of this question, to speak precisely my own sentiments: “Unfortunately the only one besides God that can clear this up is Benedict himself. I have closed my mind and soul to anything new coming out of the Vatican. Come Lord Jesus your bride has mental problems and needs your direct guidance!”

Closed my mind and soul to them. Yep.

Mary Kay said...

GOR, Fr. Justin, and Unknown, and of course Fr. Hunwicke, this post and these comments neatly summarize much that is wrong in the topic at hand. There is so much to be incensed about, but also clear evidence for the reality of the teachings of our Church. Thank you! This is a great help to people on the peripheries, who may not have so much time for reading and study.

Gregory Orcutt said...

And there are rumors that PF now wants to tinker with the Lord's Prayer in English.
PF apparently thinks he is wiser than Jesus: "If Christ had been as smart as me, He would have ended the prayer with..."
The man has definitely gone off the reservation in which Vat 1 so thoughtfully sought to constrain the Popes.

From Fr. Khouri said...

Let us remember that Pio Nono and his Council pushed ultramontanism which now comes back to bite the Church in Francis and his pals. Interestingly, it is the liberals who are pushing such an ignorant idea of Petrine ministry now.

Thanks, Pio Nono, thanks for foisting a skewed and anti traditional understanding of the Petrine ministry on the Church. Whether Vatican was truly a "free" Council given Pius' intimidation and hounding of bishops is to me debatable.

May he never be canonized.

frjustin said...

Khouri: Maximos V Hakim, Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, has an interesting approach to this topic. In an interview in "Eastern Churches Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2 for Summer 1997, p. 12, he said:

"It must be recognised that all the Councils after the first millennium, including Vatican I and II, cannot be described as ecumenical. For, the imposing group of bishops of the Eastern Church did not take part. Yet, even Rome has never ceased to acknowledge their episcopal validity. This inhibits us from attributing these Councils - even though they were approved by the Bishop of Rome - with the same portent as the Councils of the first centuries.

"They should be considered Councils of a particular Church, the Church of the West. The decisions taken in those assizes cannot regard the Eastern Churches which did not participate in them.

"It was Paul VI who in 1974, at the 700th anniversary celebrations of the Council of Lyons, lent credence to re-definition by describing this latter, not as an ecumenical council but as 'the sixth of the general synods held in the West'.

"He was explaining that all that the Church of Rome defined and established unilaterally cannot be imposed on the East. What holds for the Council of Lyons obviously holds for the Councils that came after".

t said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t said...

I apologize for saying anything rude or incorrect. Pleasant Sunday, all.

Peter Aiello said...

The only real Christian unity that there can be is “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Other than this, there is only political maneuvering to maintain control.