Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tu es Petrus (You are Peter)

After Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Supreme Pontiff, he took the name Pope Benedict XVI. He is the 265th Pope, the 264th Successor of the original Fisherman of the Church, St. Peter. Therefore, Pope Benedict XVI is now charged with the duty of being the shepherd of the flock that is the Roman Catholic Church. He is Peter. Following his acceptance of being elevated to Pope, the cardinals most likely read to him the passage from the St. Matthew's Gospel when Jesus Christ says to Peter:

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt 16:18-19)

In Latin: Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam. This is the phrase that now appears at the top of our blog. Pope Benedict XVI, truly you are Peter. Guide the Church in faith and with strength.


Fred8478 said...

As the saying goes, there is text and there is context. If you believe the primacy of Peter (as did the early church fathers), Matthew 16:13-20 needs no further explanation. If on the other hand, you are compelled to reject the primacy of Peter, it is easy to string together a patchwork of bible verses devoid of their context to argue your point. However, only one of these points of view can be the Truth. I choose the view articulated by the universal church since the first century AD. A complete treatment of this issue (including the writings of early church fathers) can be found at www.catholic.com. As St Paul said, “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Fred8478 said...

My response referenced the entire passage of Peter’s Confession of Christ (Matthew 16:13-20) not just verses 18-19 quoted at the start of this topic. I didn’t reproduce the passage due to space constraints.

If one starts from the position that papacy is an errant concept, then it is not hard to string together a series of Bible verses to support that position. Equally, one could string together a series of Bible verses to support the papacy. But which position is the Truth?

A complete reading of Matthew 16:13-20 reveals the following:

1. Simon (Peter) acknowledges Jesus as “Christ, the Son of the living God”. (v16)

2. Jesus blesses him saying “this was not revealed to you by man, but by my father in heaven”. (v17)

3. Jesus changes Simon’s name to Peter (in Aramaic-Cepha, in Greek-Cephas or Petros, meaning rock). (v18)

4. Jesus says “On this rock I will build my church” (v18). Now this is a sort of double entendre linking both Peter (rock) and his acknowledgement of Christ as the Son of the living God. Because in the next verse:

5. Jesus gives Peter the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” and the power to bind and loose. (v19). This refers to disciplinary and doctrinal authority that is conferred in a special way upon Peter (different to the other apostles after the resurrection [John 20:23]).

The primacy of Peter and his successors as Bishop of Rome has been the consistent teaching of the Universal Church for 2000 years. Hermas (AD80), Ignatius of Anitoch (AD110), Irenaeus (AD189), Clement of Alexandria (AD200), Tertullian (AD220), and Origen (AD248) all supported this teaching (and well before Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire).

Jesus Christ is indeed the way, the truth, and the light that leads to God the Father. He is indeed the Church’s one foundation and the head of the Universal Church. But he saw fit to leave behind a supreme visible shepherd to tend his flock here on earth. Why? I don’t know, but maybe we can ask him one day.

Unknown said...

Let's hope so !

robert said...

"... if the church was built on the person of Peter, then when he died the church must utterly fail." - John Owen from 'Christologia'. The words of the Messiah quoted in the Gospel of Matthew do not use the phrase "he (referring to Peter) and his successors as Bishops of Rome", quoted by Fred8478. That phrase was added by the Roman Universal Church. That would be a modification of scriptural teaching. See I Peter 2:4,5 where Peter the apostle speaks of a "living stone."