Sunday, August 17, 2008

4 questions

Given the recent discussions surrounding the infallibility of the Roman Magisterium, I have 4 questions to help further mutual understanding.

1) Please name one, just one, Bible verse that the Roman Magisterium has infallibly interpreted.
2) Please state how you know the answer to #1. (Edit: I want to know the source for your answer and how you know that particular proclamation is infallible.)
3) Please explain whether the answer to #2 is infallible.
4) Please explain if you know the answer to #2 infallibly.

Thanks!

34 comments:

Alexander Greco said...

I'll take a quick stab at this because I'm curious where you will take it.

1) John 3: 5 (Why is this important? It isn't a matter of infallible interpretation of Biblical verses per se, but sound infallible doctrines which can also be derived or implicit in Scripture...so your question really narrows the Magisterium's role as infallible teacher of faith and morals. So in reality I have a problem with the premise of your question.)

2) The Magisterium proclaims her infallibility, and that this authority comes from Christ himself. I know that the Church is infallible by default...there is nothing else to persuade me otherwise. The best I can do is look at it objectively and come to that conclusion, but of course faith is a requirement as you would also need to have faith in order to believe in Scripture as being God-breathed.

3) It is infallible so long as the Magisterium would teach it as being so.

4) I am a fallible human being, but if the Church teaches it as dogmatic truth, then Her infallibility suffices.

Allow me to make use of some questions which Alasdair MacIntyre wrote regarding Aristotelianism, adjusting it some to better reflect our discussion:

Does the Catholic Church possess the resources to resolve the difficulties and problems internal to it? How far have its adherents been successful in making use of those sources? Is Catholicism superior to its major rivals in this respect? Is it able to provide explanations of why those rivals should confront the particular sets of difficulties and problems which arise for each of them? Is it able to show that the resources of those rivals for so doing are inadequate and to explain why?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Sacred Scripture gives a written witness to some of what the Church teaches. It doesn't have to infallibly define any interpretation of any Scripture passage because the Church is a living witness to the same Gospel. These type of questions clearly demonstrate why the Church, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture cannot be separated. The same reason you can't separate the Holy Trinity. This stuff really gets old after awhile.

Rhology said...

Greco,

Where I would take this? Bellisario gave me what I wanted - a clear statement of Sola Ecclesia.

You have a problem with the premise of my question? I got it straight from Romanist lips. Y'all challenge: You can't know the interpretation of any given verse of Scr, infallibly.

I answer - can you? With my 4 questions.

But I want to know HOW you know the answer to #1 is infallible. Please give the source of the infallible judgment and explain how you know that source is an infallible proclamation.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I will give a secular comparison here. How do we know that going over the posted speed limit is breaking the law? Is it infallible? can I misinterpret the speed limit sign? No one would say that the written document given us the speed limit, nor any other secular law is the authority, because without the state or government to back them up and make them so there is no authority.

The Church gives us the Gospel in written and oral form very clearly. How do we know that it is correct when she defines? Because Christ divinely inspired the Church and He is the head of it, that's how. This is mostly common sense here folks. No true Christian believes that the written Word can ever be separated from the authority from which it has derived from. God Himself gave us the Church guided by the Holy Spirit, which in turn also gave the written and oral proclaimed Gospel, in which all 3 are inseparable.

Alexander Greco said...

Rhology, my point was that the role of the Magisterium is much more than infallible interpretations of Scripture. The Magisterium teaches infallibly on faith and morals.

The point Matthew made, which I agree with, is that it is not the Church divorced from Scripture, where you would posit Sola Ecclesia or Sola Scriptura, but the Holy Spirit acting infallibly through both, due to the fact that the Holy Spirit cannot err. So we can know that the proclamation of dogma is true based upon who it is teaching it, whether that be the Scriptures (God-breathed), or the Official Magisterium (guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore cannot err in her dogmatic teachings).

I would like to ask you to not use the term "Romanist." The historical origins of this word, up to this day, show that this word is a derogatory term. We Catholics have never used this term to refer to ourselves. I understand, as Turretinfan mentioned (which I used to think he was simply trying to be offensive, but know I believe that he is being sincere), that it is difficult for some of you to call us Catholics because you do not believe that we fit the term. However, I do not believe that you guys fit the term Christian. I believe that you hold some anti-Chrisitian doctrines...but I would not call you anti-Christians.

Rhology said...

However, I do not believe that you guys fit the term Christian. I believe that you hold some anti-Chrisitian doctrines...but I would not call you anti-Christians.

We get that from others anyway.
"Romanists" describes you well.

Would you mind answering my modified question #2? I want to know your source, how you know the source is infallible, and if you know that infallibly.

GeneMBridges said...

John 3: 5

Since this text denies baptismal regeneration, your Magisterium is mistaken.

Can an infallible teaching authority be mistaken?

Where is the set of commentaries where the Magisterium has actually spoken on this verse? Saying that it does so via its dogmatic proclamations, doesn't select for this verse meaning what you think it means.

2. The Magisterium proclaims her infallibility, and that this authority comes from Christ himself.

--A vicious regress. You're now appealing to the traditional Roman Catholic understanding of the texts on ecclesiastical authority in order to prove that authority. This also question-begging.

I know that the Church is infallible by default...there is nothing else to persuade me otherwise.

Let the record show that Mr. Greco confesses to ecclesiolatry.

The best I can do is look at it objectively and come to that conclusion

But you're not, for the appeal is viciously circular. You are letting the Magisterium dictate the meaning of Scripture for you by it's dogmas. You believe the Magisterium no matter what it says. If you were really objective, you wouldn't let dogma dictate exegetical conclusions.

3) It is infallible so long as the Magisterium would teach it as being so.

So, if the Magisterium altered it's teaching such that this verse was no longer a prooftext for baptismal regeneration?

I am a fallible human being, but if the Church teaches it as dogmatic truth, then Her infallibility suffices.

So you're now on epistemic par with the Protestant who interprets the infallible Bible. Remind me again how you are in an epistemically superior position?No doubt an infallible commentary is on an epistemologically higher plane than a fallible one. Where has the Magisterium produced an infallible commentary on the Bible?

The point Matthew made, which I agree with, is that it is not the Church divorced from Scripture, where you would posit Sola Ecclesia or Sola Scriptura, but the Holy Spirit acting infallibly through both, due to the fact that the Holy Spirit cannot err.

The Scriptures are infallible, it does not therefore mean that everything the writers of it said outside of the inspiration of Scripture is infallible. Ditto for the Magisterium.

The Holy Spirit cannot err. True. Is the Magisterium inspired? Is that what Catholicism teaches? If so, then we should canonize every dogmatic proclamation as Scripture.

Even if the Magisterium had interpreted the whole Bible, if the Magisterium keeps that interpretation to itself, then it's not teaching the laity what Scripture means in all those cases.

In addition, you and Bellicosario must define what the Magisterium is for yourselves and define what it means to you both. Therefore, the right of private judgment is inescapable. That's an argument for the Protestant position.

Sacred Scripture gives a written witness to some of what the Church teaches.

1. "Some?" I thought you affirmed material sufficiency.

2. You just admitted you don't have a list or need a list. So how does your nonexistent list of Magisterial clarifications put Catholics on a higher plane that Protestants?

Because Christ divinely inspired the Church and He is the head of it, that's how. This is mostly common sense here folks.

1. You only know about that tradition because it was written down at some point. You also need to show that what you call oral tradition is the same thing as apostolic tradition.

2. The Bible talks about inspired men: writers, prophets, apostles, etc. not the inspiration of "the Church." Is the whole of Roman Catholicism inspired, including you? No, so you're equivocating over "the Church" to "the Magisterium." Where's the supporting argument.

3. Notice the bait and switch. MB is moving from the inspiration of Scripture's authors and the Apostles in particular to bishops, cardinals, etc. in succeeding generations. Apostles have now dropped out of the process entirely in favor of "the Church."

GeneMBridges said...

I would like to ask you to not use the term "Romanist." The historical origins of this word, up to this day, show that this word is a derogatory term.

Sorry, I'm not going to give up on that term. You are ecclesiolaters for Rome. The Bible is full of rough, derogatory language for false teachers, and you're qualifying for it with just about every post.

GeneMBridges said...

The point Matthew made, which I agree with, is that it is not the Church divorced from Scripture, where you would posit Sola Ecclesia or Sola Scriptura, but the Holy Spirit acting infallibly through both, due to the fact that the Holy Spirit cannot err. So we can know that the proclamation of dogma is true based upon who it is teaching it, whether that be the Scriptures (God-breathed), or the Official Magisterium (guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore cannot err in her dogmatic teachings).

1. Where does the Holy Spirit promise (a) an infallible Magisterium, (b) that he guides the Magisterium indefectably?

2. How can we verify that the Magisterium is, itself, infallible?

Where is the Magisterium? What is its address? http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/08/magisterial-cat-and-mouse-game.html

3. How can we verify that the Magisterium is guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit. Let's take the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. How can we know, since by Roman Catholics' own admission this is not to be found in Scripture, that the Holy Spirit infallibly guided the Roman Magisterium into this dogma.

4. The Magisterium, by Roman Catholics own argumentation, is constantly clarifying itself and clarifying the clarifications ad infinitum.

Hmmm, but one of the standard arguments they employ against Sola Scriptura is that Scripture isn't clear (perspicuous). So, apparently, the Holy Spirit not only inspires Scripture that needs to clarified by an infallible Magisterium, He also guides the Infallible Magisterium to issue teachings that have to be clarified and clarifications of clarifications that need to be clarified and so on. Yet the Magisterium is apparently clearer than Scripture itself.

Indeed, here's a little statement from Cardinal Dulles:

Except for the definition of the Immaculate Conception, there is little clarity about which papal statements prior to Vatican I are irreformable. Most authors would agree on about half a dozen statements (72)

So much for the allegedly clarity an infallible Magisterium confers.

Again, remind us how the Roman rule of faith is superior to ours.

Frank Luciani said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alexander Greco said...

How about this, if you would like for me to engage in a discussion with you then you will stop calling me Papist, Romanist, or any other derogatory name. If you want to attack my positions, then fine. If you want to call me names, then I will have nothing to do with you. If you are too immature to address me with respect, then there is no need for me to discuss anything with you. I don't have a problem with you attempting to point out the flaws in my argumentation, but I refuse to allow you to continue to call me names; otherwise, I will end up joining you at your level, and I really do not want to do that.

Augustinian Successor said...

Greco, Bellisario, Luciani, etc., you all are Romanist simply because you all are not Catholics. To be a Catholic is to uphold the Gospel. Romanists deny the Gospel. The Gospel is the righteousness of God in justifying sinners. Thus, triadology and christology cannot be divorced from a proper understanding of the Gospel. Also, catholicity is not veneration of the BVM, cult of the saints, purgatory, indulgences, etc. etc. But catholicism is about the Gospel. It is the Gospel which creates, sustains and preserves the universal Church, the Church Catholic. A false gospel create only a false church. Hence, a false church is no catholic church.

James Swan said...

Hey, let me get in on the name calling while were at it.

Frank, I don't allow the kind of language you used, so your post was deleted, and any other posts with similar words will be deleted.

If you'd like to use that particular nomenclature in an environment that allows such comments, I strongly suggest visiting Catholic blogs.

Rhology said...

SOURCE PLEASE.

Why is it so hard to get a straight answer?

PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR SOURCE FOR THE INFALLIBLY-INTERPRETED PASSAGE. Let's start there. I'll keep my fingers crossed that someone will actually man up and answer a simple question.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi All,

Mr. Bridges writes:

"John 3: 5. Since this text denies baptismal regeneration, your Magisterium is mistaken."

Hmmm...Let's see...where to start...

Yes, Catholics (and Orthodox and Lutherans and Anglicans, etc...)do believe in baptismal regeneration.

Yes, the Catholic Magisterium has officially defined John 3:5.

No, the Catholic Magisterium has not officially defined John 3:5 to mean baptismal regeneration.

At the Council of Trent, March 3, 1547 in the Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, canon 2, it states:

"If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5)" are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema."

Thus, the Catholic Magisterium has officially defined that text to be proof for the necessity of the sacrament of Baptism and for a Christian to be baptized by water. However, it does not state that it is a proof text for baptismal regeneration as suggested by Mr. Bridges.

Rhology, I hope that this helps you in your discussion and perhaps suggest to you the flaw in the premise underlying your four questions.

God bless!

Rhology said...

THANK you, Paul.
At least someone here can read.

What does it mean when Trent says "distorted into some sort of metaphor"?
Please let me know if that interpretation is infallible.
If not, where did Trent or any other infallible proclamation define that phrase?
Please also inform me which part of the verse John 3:5 is not supposed to be metaphorical.
"Born again"? Will a man enter again into his mother's womb?
"of the Spirit"? Does the Spirit have a birth canal?
"of water"? Does water have a birth canal? A womb? What is water's gestational period? How did water become the mother so that a man might be born by it?

Also, how do you know that Trent is infallible? Please cite your source.

anne said...

Please name one, just one Bible verse that YOU YOURSELF have infalliby interpreted.

Did the word of God originate with you? Do you think you are a prophet or spiritually gifted? 1COR 14:36

Do you understand what you are reading? Or in your humility do you admit, like the Ethiopian eunich, the need for a guide?

If Jesus is the way the TRUTH and the light JN 14:6, and the church is the pillar and ground of TRUTH 1TIM 3:15, and we are told to listen to the church MATT 18:17, and all men are called to know the TRUTH, and there can be only one TRUTH, which church is true?

If "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches" JN 8:44, is the Holy Spirit so confused as to guide different denominations and individuals in different directions?

Did God in His infine wisdom provide a way for "all men to come to know the truth" regardless of levels of intelligence, income, or geographics?

Throughout biblical history, God has always provided a visible head to guide His people (EX 18:13-27) in the form of prophets kings etc. Why would He leave us without guidance now?

Rhology said...

anne,

Your very challenges indicate that you agree that the Roman position wants to show it has an epistemic ADVANTAGE over the Sola Scripturist position.
We claim they are on par - each has the problem of fallibility to deal with.

just one Bible verse that YOU YOURSELF have infalliby interpreted.

None.
Now, 1) Please name one, just one, Bible verse that the Roman Magisterium has infallibly interpreted.
2) Please state how you know the answer to #1. (Edit: I want to know the source for your answer and how you know that particular proclamation is infallible.)
3) Please explain whether the answer to #2 is infallible.
4) Please explain if you know the answer to #2 infallibly.

Did the word of God originate with you?

No.
Please prove it originated with the Roman church now.


Do you think you are a prophet

No.
Please prove the Roman church is.

or spiritually gifted?

Yes.


Do you understand what you are reading? Or in your humility do you admit, like the Ethiopian eunich, the need for a guide?

Both. I have far more info than the eunuch did, by God's grace.
And God has provided that other believers, including my elders, help me understand the Word better.
Do you understand what you are reading when you read a papal proclamation or Magisterial document? Or in your humility do you admit, like the Ethiopian eunich, the need for a guide in reading those?
Where will you find that guide? Will he be infallible? What will you do when you need a guide to what the guide said?
And on and on, to infinity.
You can't escape fallibility. God has not provided that we overcome it in this lifetime. It is the Roman delusion that claims we can.


which church is true?

The one that follows the Scr.
The one that says, with Jesus, that "the Scr cannot be broken" and "Have you not read what God spoke to you?" and believed that people were to be held acctable for their individual understanding of the Scr.


confused as to guide different denominations and individuals in different directions?

Then why are there denoms splitting off from Rome? Why differences in doctrine?


Did God in His infine wisdom provide a way for "all men to come to know the truth" regardless of levels of intelligence, income, or geographics?

Not in the same way, no. And by no means to the same degree. But all have access to the minimum of general revelation.


Why would He leave us without guidance now?

Who would claim He did leave us alone? We have the Holy Spirit to illumine us in our reading of the Scr.

Now, I've answered lots of your questions. Please be so kind as to answer just 4 of mine.

David Waltz said...

Hey Gene,

You posted:

>>Since this text denies baptismal regeneration, your Magisterium is mistaken.>>

Me: The text “denies baptismal regeneration”??? Hmmm…one of the greatest NT scholars of the twentieth century, R.C.H. Lenski (an evangelical Lutheran) certainly thought otherwise (see pages 236-238 of his The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel). Lenski summarized the ‘clear’ view of this text with:

“Jesus tells Nicodemus just what he asks, namely the ‘how’ of regeneration. How is it possible? By Baptism! But Jesus cuts off a second how: How by Baptism? by using the description of Baptism, ‘water and Spirit.’ Because not merely water but God’s Spirit effective in the sacrament, therefore works the new birth.” (Page 238.)

Think I will go with Lenski on this one…


Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

But how do YOU know, David W, that it refers thereto? Wouldn't that be an exercise in individual, private, fallible interpretation of another guy's individual, private, fallible interpretation?

Or perhaps you disagree with your brethren in this combox...

GeneMBridges said...

Thus, the Catholic Magisterium has officially defined that text to be proof for the necessity of the sacrament of Baptism and for a Christian to be baptized by water.

Trent did not therefore define the exegesis of the text, only the application of the text.

However, it does not state that it is a proof text for baptismal regeneration as suggested by Mr. Bridges

"It is Trent." I'm not talking about Trent.

On the contrary, Roman Catholicism teaches that water baptism regenerates. Trent is not the only Magisterial commentary on baptism.

ARTICLE 1
THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua),4 and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word

I. WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or "immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as "a new creature."6

1215 This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the kingdom of God."

This document right here links to a footnote:

7 Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5.

Ergo, this text becomes a prooftext for baptismal regeneration.

It's a pity the minds of Roman Catholics can't follow their own teachings to their logical end and don't bother to follow their own footnotes.

Roman Catholics need to actually do better than get their theology from Hahn, Sungensis, Sippo, and Mother Angelica.

Here's Dulles, you know CARDINAL Dulles in his latest book on the Magisterium:

In the manuals published before and during Vatican II, it was customary to attach theological notes or qualifications to every proposition being taught. Was it a matter of faith, to be believed by all under pain of heresy, or did it have some lesser degree of obligatory force? These theological notes depended primarily on the degree to which the Magisterium had engaged its authority. A very simplified list would include the following:

1. Doctrine of faith
a. defined (by pope or council)
b. taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium
2. Doctrine infallibly taught as inseparably connected with revelation
3. Doctrine authoritatively but non-infallibly taught by Magisterium
4. Theological conclusion logically deduced from a proposition of faith
5. Probable opinion” (p.84)

Remember, this is just an abbreviated list.Magisterial statements must be subjected to a fivefold screening process to assign the correct degree of obligatory force.Ioachim Salaverri, in the treatise De Ecclesia of the multivolume Sacrae Theologiae Summa, lists fourteen theological ‘notes’ used in the series, with the ‘censures’ of errors opposed to each” (83n1).

So Magisterial statements are actually subject to no fewer than 14 gradations of obligatory force.

“In the decade following the council these theological notes disappeared from textbooks. There was a period of confusion as to what doctrines were binding, on what grounds, and it what measure” (84).

To remedy the growing confusion, the Holy See took a series of steps, several of which may be mentioned here” (85).

In 1968 Pope Paul…promulgated a profession of faith popularly known as ‘the Credo of the People of God’…In 1973 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae…In 1983, the pope promulgated the revised Code of canon Law…the Extraordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1985 asked Pope John Paul to draw up a universal catechism…In 1989 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a new Profession of faith. It replaced the much briefer Profession of Faith of 1967, which had itself replaced the Tridentine Profession of Faith…In may 1998 Pope John Paul II in the motu propiro Ad tuendam fidem amended the Code of Canon Law…using the publication of ad tuendam as the occasion, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, together with Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation, used a joint commentary on the three concluding paragraphs of the Profession of Faith” (84-86).

The document that I just quoted above on John 3:5 is the universal Cathechism of the Catholic Church. According to Dulles, you know Cardinal Dulles, what is the function of this document?

GeneMBridges said...

The text “denies baptismal regeneration”??? Hmmm…one of the greatest NT scholars of the twentieth century, R.C.H. Lenski (an evangelical Lutheran) certainly thought otherwise (see pages 236-238 of his The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel). Lenski summarized the ‘clear’ view of this text with:

Mr. Waltz, thanks for begging the question. Lenski is a Lutheran. Lutherans affirm:

Baptismal regeneration.

Lutherans affirm believers' baptism, for the efficacy of the sacrament is indexed to the actual faith of the infant and the preaching of the Word of God.

Lenski is assuming, w/o benefit of argument that "water" refers to "baptism." He's also assuming w/o benefit of argument that baptism is the instrumental cause of regeneration, and he's assuming Lutheran views on what constitutes the efficacy.

So, baptismal regeneration for the Lutheran and the Catholic aren't exactly the same. In Lutheranism, it's the Word, not the water, that does the washing. It's the Spirit working not via the water, but the Word and what the water signifies, that regenerates.

What Lenski doesn't mention is the context in which Jesus stated this.

Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. In the immediate text before, these same leaders refuse to be baptized.

Baptism, in John, is prospective, designed to reveal the Christ (Kostenburger). To deny being baptized, in John, is to deny the Christ. So, their denial of their need to be baptized is a denial of their need to repent and a denial, for John, of the identity of Christ.

So, if "water" refers to baptism, one is born again by the Spirit through the testimony (repentance and faith) that baptism signifies...and that, by the way is on the Baptist views on it.

But where is the supporting argument for water = baptism? Lenski was notorious for making such question-begging statements, and Beasley-Murray fares no better. Both merely assert this and do no actually argue for it.

I affirm that the text is a reference to Ezekiel.Ezek. 36:25-27, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26"Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27"And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." I'll take Carson and Blomberg over Lenski and Beasley-Murray.

Instead of quoting Lenski, why don't you the job of:

1. Exegeting the text itself.

2. Compare and contrast different commentators and tell us why you think that the regenerationist view is the better one.

Oh, and one more thing, David, thank you, yet again, for trading on a straw man of perspicuity. We don't affirm that everything alike is clear. Try again, David.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Rhology, you have asked some very fair questions. Thus, I will attempt to answer them.

“What does it mean when Trent says "distorted into some sort of metaphor"?”

In the context of this Canon, this phrase refers to heretics who denied that a person had to be baptized with water or even be baptized at all in order to be a Christian.

“Please let me know if that interpretation is infallible.”

Yes.

“If not, where did Trent or any other infallible proclamation define that phrase?”

I believe this to be N/A as there are numerous passages of NT Scripture that refer to a baptism by water. However, If you are looking for a specific definition within the context of the Council of Trent, I could go travel approximately 120 miles to the nearest library (Pontifical College Josephinum) that I am aware of that has at least a partial copy of the transcript in something other than Latin or German and see if they define “distorted into some sort of metaphor” more definitively for you. As a brother in Christ, I would be willing to do this for you if you perceive it to be a matter of import to your faith.

“Please also inform me which part of the verse John 3:5 is not supposed to be metaphorical.
"Born again"? Will a man enter again into his mother's womb?
"of the Spirit"? Does the Spirit have a birth canal?
"of water"? Does water have a birth canal? A womb? What is water's gestational period? How did water become the mother so that a man might be born by it?”

Based on a plain reading of the text, “of water.”

Also, how do you know that Trent is infallible? Please cite your source.

I believe that Trent is infallible because I believe that Christ established the Catholic Church (i.e. the mystical Body of Christ referenced in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 12) and promised that the Church He established would be forever guided by the Holy Spirit until His Second Coming. I accept Christ’s words as the truth because God cannot lie nor deceive. I have given my assent and pledged my obedience and fealty to the Church Christ founded based on my assent, obedience, and fealty to Christ Himself.

The verity of what I believe comes from the very fact , despite bad popes, fallible followers, and the comings and goings of the world, the Church has stood as a stalwart witness, watchful guardian and faithful servant to the Word of God. Though I believe that the Holy Scriptures is the very voice of that Church, we still need it to be interpreted by Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium in order for us to properly understand its true meaning. Scripture shows us that the methods that the Church uses to authoritatively interpret the Word of God is through apostolic succession (Acts 1:12-26), councils (Acts 15) and bishops (see Epistles of St. Paul, St. James, St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude) all of which are found in the Catholic Church.

Scripture passages which support my view include, but are not limited to, Mt. 5:14; Mt. 13:10-11; Mt. 16:18-19; Mt. 28:20; Mk. 4:20; Lk. 10:16; Lk. 24:44-51; Jn. 15:2-16; Jn. 16:12-15; Jn. 20:30; Jn. 21:15-17; Acts 15-16; Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 3:10-11; 1 Cor. 12; Rom. 6:17; Eph. 2:19-20; Eph. 3:2-11; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim. 3:2,15; 1 Tim. 4:11-16; Titus 1:7; Titus 2:15; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; 1 Jn. 2:27; Rev. 2:11.

My favorite passage with respect to this subject though is found at Jn. 17:20-26 where Jesus is praying for not only his disciples but for us, His Church: “And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world. Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.”


I could also cite to the writings of the Apostolic and Early Church fathers who I believe corroborate my understanding of the scriptural sources above but you would probably think (and rightly so) that I was engaging in some exercise of sola ecclesia.

Hello Mr. Bridges and Dave W!

As far as Cardinal Dulles' interpretation of John 3:5 goes, please note that I am not disagreeing with it. I have already stated that I believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of baptismal regeneration. However, Mr. Bridges, you need to be aware that Jn 3:5 must be read in context with Titus 3:5 in order for the Church to properly teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

However, Rhology asked for a Scripture passage infalliblly interpreted as defined by the Roman Magisterium. I cited to the Council of Trent as an example of such an interpretation specifically as requested by Rhology particularly since it is the highest level of teaching and has the surety of infallibility at least as the Catholic Church teaches. Cardinal Dulles, teaching alone, would not be an example of the Magisterium exercising such authority.

Rhology said...

Thank you Paul.
You're about the only one interacting with my questions.
However, I think you've allowed your private, individual interpretations to rule the day.

In the context of this Canon, this phrase refers to heretics who denied that a person had to be baptized with water or even be baptized at all in order to be a Christian.

You're not the Magisterium, not even in the clergy. How can I know this is infallible?


I believe this to be N/A as there are numerous passages of NT Scripture that refer to a baptism by water.

You mean, according to your private, personal interp.


I could go travel approximately 120 miles to the nearest library (Pontifical College Josephinum)

That is extremely generous.
Don't worry about it, though. It's less a matter of import to my own faith than it relates to the question at hand.
See, once again I'm engaging the questions on the Roman grounds. These thoughts would never (indeed, never did) enter into my mind except Roman epologists and apologists bring them up in an effort to overcome exegetical challenges to the Roman position.
I'm concerned that the Pontifical College Josephinum is not sufficiently Magisterial to render any infallible pronouncement.
Further, reading the transcript in English, let alone Latin or Deutsch, would be to insert (once again) my personal, private interpretation into the picture. We can't allow that (according to the typical Roman argument).


Based on a plain reading of the text, “of water.”

Yet that's a metaphor. Water doesn't give birth to anything.
But Trent told us that it MUST NOT BE “distorted into some sort of metaphor”.
What they apparently meant was: "it must not be distorted by using the metaphors we don't want it to, though other metaphors that we like are A-OK."


I believe that Trent is infallible because I believe that Christ established the Catholic Church

Then apparently ANYTHING that church says is infallible.
But you don't believe that.
So you believe that SOME things the church says are infallible.
That's what I'm trying to figure out - how can I, or you, or anyone, know when the Church is speaking infallibly?
Heck, I'll even take a decent yardstick for figuring out when the Church HAS spoken infallibly in the past. Forget the present/future.
So, how do you know this one is not among the fallible statements of the Church?


Scripture passages which support my view include, ... Rev. 2:11.

Which ones of those are infallibly interped by the Magisterium?
How do you know?


I was engaging in some exercise of sola ecclesia.

Nothing is more obvious, honestly. Little is sadder.

Peace,
Rhology

GeneMBridges said...

As far as Cardinal Dulles' interpretation of John 3:5 goes, please note that I am not disagreeing with it. I have already stated that I believe in the Roman Catholic doctrine of baptismal regeneration. However, Mr. Bridges, you need to be aware that Jn 3:5 must be read in context with Titus 3:5 in order for the Church to properly teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

Perhaps I wasn't clear.

You said the Magisterium had not said that John 3:5 was about baptismal regeneration. Trent was your citation.

I quoted Dulles on the Magisterium, from his new book: Magisterium: Teacher & Guardian of the Faith (Sapientia Press 2007).

I also quoted the Catechism - not John 3:5.

The Catechism references John 3:5 as a prooftext for baptismal regeneration.

What, according to Dulles,is the function of the Catechism? It's a Magisterial clarification. So, Trent isn't the only reference to this. You would do well to read Dulles' book.

If Titus is being read "in concert" then you have a problem. It speaks of "the washing of regeneration." That's all.

This is a good place to make a wider point, namely, this is the sort of grade school prooftext from which the Reformation liberated us. John 3 (baptism, Spirit, born) plus Titus 3 (regeneration, Spirit) = baptismal regeneration. If that the best Rome can cook us for dinner, we shall soon starve.

Based on a plain reading of the text, “of water.”

This begs the question for a "plain reading of the text."

I would add Mr. Waltz has above denied the text is "plain." So now we have two Catholics in this thread making mutually exclusive claims about the text. One says it is "plain," the other says it isn't.

Errors:

Semantic anachronism, for you've assumed w/o benefit of argument that "water" refers to "baptism," probably from your Catholicism. Even if it does, how do we get to baptismal regeneration? That involves mapping Titus 3 (regeneration, Holy Spirit) back onto John 3 (water, eg. "baptism," Spirit, born)

It's also semantic incest: This is where a disputant uses one Bible writer’s usage to interpret another Bible writer’s usage.

It's also semantic inflation: The disputant will equate the mere occurrence of a word with a whole doctrine associated with the word. This is the root fallacy of equating the instances of "water" with baptism.

So, what you're doing is adding John 3 and Titus 3 and getting baptismal regeneration. That involves at least 3 exegetical fallacies on your part.

Cardinal Dulles, teaching alone, would not be an example of the Magisterium exercising such authority.

So Dulles, who is called "The Dean of Catholic Theologians" in the US doesn't know what's he's talking about when he writes the standard monograph on the Magisterium? Okay. So, what you're saying here is that you should be believed but not Dulles. I think you need to think long and hard on that one, Paul.

David Waltz said...

Hi Rhology,

Thanks for responding. You posted:

>>But how do YOU know, David W, that it refers thereto? Wouldn't that be an exercise in individual, private, fallible interpretation of another guy's individual, private, fallible interpretation?>>

Me: Since I am not infallible, I cannot make such bold statements as Gene did in his post (i.e. “this text denies baptismal regeneration”). As for my comments, I chose to place myself into your paradigm (sola scriptura); while in that paradigm I find that the text in question is not ‘clear’, but rather, open to more than one plausible/valid interpretation. Now, armed with this, when I move to the ECF’s, I find very solid support for Lenski’s view, and little (any?) for the traditional Baptist and/or Reformed view.

As for “private judgment”, my take is represented HERE; and for the views of some early Church Father’s GO HERE.

Grace and peace,

David

David Waltz said...

Hello Gene,

You wrote:

>>Mr. Waltz, thanks for begging the question.>>

FOR THE RECORD: I was not addressing any question at all, but rather, your rather bold comments.

Grace and peace,

David

Rhology said...

It's interesting, David W.
From your first post.
To which Knox replies:

“I could not have imagined, if I had not heard it with my own ears, the accent of surprise with which Protestants suddenly light upon this startling discovery, that the belief we Catholics have in authority is based upon an act of private judgment. How on earth could they ever suppose we taught otherwise?..."


How on earth indeed?

Dozie said:
We need interpreters (as with Phillip and Ethiopian Eunuch) to help us understand a particular message in conformity with the totality of God’s entire revelation.



Alexander Greco said:
Yet all of you would admit that these confessions and commentaries provide some clarification, otherwise what is their usefulness? If they are functionally equivalent to Scripture (apart from their fallibleness) then they are useless...The relevant differences reside in the fact that the Official Magisterium's dogmatic teachings are infallible. I believe that that is certainly better than your fallible confessions.


Frank Luciani said:
It is common sense that tells you to follow the Bible in its historical setting, which doesn't include your man made self appointed "pastor" who teaches his own interpretations of it. Any parrot can rattle off Scripture verses and claim to know what they mean. But only the Church can prove that it has been teaching by Christ's authority and it has existed since Christ. Use your heads for a change.


Alexander Greco said:
I would submit to you that the charism of infallibility provides clarity in the sense that when the Church makes a dogmatic proclamation that something is true, if the Magisterium is indeed infallible, then what is being proclaimed as being true is free from all error and therefore the source is 100% reliable. It is the confidence in the source's proclamation which we have as Catholics. As a reply to Gene, this concept is independent from our personal comprehension of the teaching.



And on and on.
It's b/c Romanists tell us this very thing.
I would never have thought of it had I not been hammered by this very objection in Steve Ray's DCF forums a few yrs ago. I quote a Bible psg with exegesis, suddenly I'm engaging in private interpretation, THEREFORE it's invalid.

Or see the quotes above - the Bible is inerrant, but the Magisterium is infallible too and somehow it's preferable, more assuring of correct teaching to listen to the Mag than the Bible. Why?


At any rate, I'd be very interested in knowing your answers to the 4 questions, David.

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

Or see the quotes above - the Bible is inerrant, but the Magisterium is infallible too and somehow it's preferable, more assuring of correct teaching to listen to the Mag than the Bible. Why?

Because WE say it is!
Don't you know who WE are?

Before the NT was, WE ARE!

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Brideges, I am sorry if you have misapprehended what I have said and I apologize for my apparent lack of clarity. Growing up and living as a Catholic all my life, my worldview contains certain assumptions that I must recognize Protestants do not share. Here, I assumed that you knew that there was a difference between ordinary and extraordinary teachings of the Magisterium.

In this instance, I understood Rhology to want someone to provide an extraordinary teaching of the magisterium based on him wanting to know a verse that the Catholic Church has given an INFALLIBLE interpretation to. To address your point head on, it is not a matter of whether I perceive Cardinal Dulles to be correct; since he was exercising his magisterial perogative as a bishop to teach, as a part of the ordinary magisterium, which is not held to be teaching infallibly. Thus, even if I believe Cardinal Dulles' teaching to be correct or true is not relevant to the discussion at hand.

Personally, I find it fascinating that you want to pick a fight with me on the meaning of John 3:5 particularly when you and I happen to agree that this passage alone does not definitively teach baptismal regeneration. I can only attribute your upset to the fact that I am disabusing you of a false construct that you apparently adhere to about the Catholic Church.

Even though I may not be a theologian, a member of the clergy, a doctor of the Church, a member of the extraordinary, ordinary, or even any sort of kindergarten level of the magisterium, if I am moved by the Holy Spirit to correct a misapprehension, a simpleton or village idiot like me can impart something that a person may learn from.

I will try to clarify my previous remarks since they have been misunderstood here using terminology I am familiar with. I realize this may blow up in my face, but I will attempt to use the legal notion of judicial review to explain the difference of authority between what the Council of Trent teaches in its canons and what Cardinal Dulles teaches.

In the law, there are different levels of interpretative authority. There are trial judges who render judgments. That decision is binding on the parties and can set predecent for others to follow. A good portion of the time, a judge will invoke, rely upon, make a correct legal precedent to render his decision. However, his decision can be reviewed by a court of appeals which can review the legal grounds for the decision and determine whether the trial judge issued his ruling in error. If so, it has the authority to reverse that decision. Additionally, there is a final level of appeal where a decision can be reviewed, which is at a supreme court level. That decision must be accepted by all as authoritative, binding and final.

Here, what a theologian, priest, or bishop may teach may be likened to the decision of a trial court or even a court of appeals. These decisions carry weight, may be considered as persuasive authority, or treated as binding on the faithful until such decisions are reviewed be overruled or modified by the Pope in certain instances or an ecumenical council of the bishops.

Additionally, while a precedent may be authoritative, circumstances may arise when that precedent is reviewed and clarified. (The difference here is that unlike a Supreme Court which can change its mind and reverse its decision, an infallbly defined doctrine can not be reversed.)

I realize that this example is not a perfect analogy, and there are differences between how the judicial system and the Magisterium work, but I hope my summary analogy gives you an idea how I view what you claim Cardinal Dulles is saying and what the Council of Trent defined. What Cardinal Dulles says may be 100% accurate, true in every sense, but it is not infallibly true until the sense of that Scripture passage he has given it has been reviewed and accepted as an infallible teaching in a manner recognized by the Catholic Church. [This happens to illustrate why the Magisterium does not write an authoritative commentary on every Bible verse-the Catholic Church does believe that there can be multiple senses of what a particular passage means. Another topic for another day.]

Now baptismal regeneration has been infallibly defined by my Church. I do believe in that doctrine which is shared by many non-Catholics, too (BTW, is that a secondary issue or primary issue of faith for Protestants?). However, as I have pointed out John 3:5 has not been infallibly interpreted to be the penultimate proof text for that doctrine. Cardinal Dulles' reference to it is certainly persuasive authority which I am bound to consider seriously, but I am not required to accept it, if I had good reasons to believe otherwise, as a dogmatic interpretation of that passage. I am only bound to give my full assent and accept what Trent teaches that passage to mean, not to mention my full assent to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Not to quibble here, but I would also note that my copy of the 1923 English translation of the Trent Catechism does not list John 3:5 as one of the verses used to prove baptismal regeneration (pages 187-188). It is used a lot in the section on baptism, but not for that particular meaning.

Frankly, despite your attempts to exegete my words, I need to make it clear that I have not expressed my opinion of what John 3:5 means to me. I have shared a little bit with you what it does not mean for me. I have also shared with you what the Catholic Church states at the minimum I, as a believer, must accept about that passage in response specific to the question asked by Rhology. Thus, you can choose to misconstrue my words if you want or believe that I actually engaged in some sort of exegetical exercise if you wish to discredit my words, but if you had really wanted to know my understanding of that passage and had but asked, you would have found that my view and Mr. Waltz's are not as different as you lead others to believe.

You can claim as many flaws you desire while you are guessing what my opinion is through your exegetical pronouncements if you want to, but since you do not sport a miter or a zucetto, I am not obliged to accept your views, infallible or otherwise, based on your conclusory say-so.

Since you claimed that you exegeted this passage, can you honestly say that prior to your analysis of my view, you objectively rose above the constraints of denominational orthodoxy to interpret John 3:5 using an exegetical method that was not merely reflective of nor designed to confirm your already-held beliefs? Did you actually engage in the exegesis of the passage after I wrote here or are you relying upon someone else's exegetical effort? Which scholarly method did you use to arrive at your conclusions? Historical-critical? Literal sense? Historical-grammatical? Midrashic? Biblical Rationalism? Analogy of faith? Since you claim that I ecegeted this passage do you know what methodology I would have used to exegete it? (Hint: I did not use any as I was merely answering Rhology's question!!!! I was not asked to exegete the passage.)

Let's take this in another direction. Assuming arguendo, you are right, and we discard your zeitgeist notion of a Popish-Patriarchical-Chief-cook-and- bottle-washer, infallible Magisterium-, what do you have left? How are doctrinal disputes infallibly resolved?

If the 4th century Church had cottoned to your notion of Sola Scriptura and private judgment, tell me how that dispute would have been infallibly resolved? (Please state your answer by explaining why Arius, who believed in sola scriptura could have come to the wrong conclusion on the divinity of Christ in contrast to St. Athanasius who did not believe in sola scriptura.) Please state why we should accept your opinion as infallibly correct over that of Arius? To whom could we go to if we can not decide who is right if the Church lacks the authority to infallibly interpret the doctrine of Christ's divinity? As I see it, without a Church with the final and infallible authority to decide questions of doctrinal dispute, there is no way to resolve the Arian dispute.

We see how a council lacking infallible authority works from the example of the Marburg Colloquy. It didn't.
Can a Protestant objectively say that the Marburg Colloquy successfully resolved the dispute between Fr. Luther, Brenz, and their party on one hand and Zwingli and Oecolampadius and their party on the other? If there is anything that proves the error in sola scriptura and private judgment is how those men disputed over the meaning of just one bible passage, "Hoc est corpus meum." Since that time, has any Protestant infallibly defined the passage so that all Protestants would be required to give their full assent to the meaning attached to it?

Thank you for your thoughts. I will try to remember in the future not to assume that all here understand the basics of Catholic doctrine and provide a more detaiked preface to my remarks. Also, I hope to read Cardinal Dulles book in the near future. I have it on order and am awaiting its arrival.

God bless!

Augustinian Successor said...

Belief in baptismal regeneration is not necessary to salvation. It is not the same as belief in justification by faith alone.

Dozie said...

"Belief in baptismal regeneration is not necessary to salvation. It is not the same as belief in justification by faith alone."

Who is making this irresponsible judgment? Is it just you or are you getting it from someone else?

Mario said...

Here ya' go: this are the infallible interpreted verses:

Rom 5:12 - Council of Trent, June 17, 1546, "Decree on Original Sin", section 2.

If anyone asserts that the transgression of Adam has harmed him alone and not his posterity, and that the sanctity and justice, received from God, which he lost, he has lost for himself alone and not for us also; or that he having been defiled by the sin of disobedience has transfused only death "and the punishments of the body into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul," let him be anathema, since he contradicts the Apostle who says: "By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned. [Rom 5:12]"

Jn 3:5 - Council of Trent, March 3, 1547, "Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism," canon 2.

If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit [John 3:5]" are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.

Mt 26:26 ff; Mk 14:22l; Lk 22:19 ff; 1 Cor 11:23 ff - Council of Trent, October 11, 1551, "The Real Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist", chapter 1

First of all the holy Synod teaches and openly and simply professes that in the nourishing sacrament of the Holy Eucharist after the consecration of the bread and wine our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially [canon 1] contained under the species of those sensible things. For these things are not mutally contradictory, that our Saviour Himself is always seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven according to the natural mode of existing, and yet that in many other places sacramentally He is present to us in His own substance by that manner of existence which, althogh we can scarcely express it in words, yet we can, however, by our understanding illumintated by faith, conceive to be possible to God, and which we ought most steadfastly to believe. For thus all our forefathers, as many as were in the true Church of Christ, who have discussed this most holy sacrament, have most openly professed that our Redeemer instituted this so wonderful a sacrament at the Last Supper, when after the blessing of the bread and wine He testified in clear and definite words that He gave them His own body and His own blood; and those words which are recorded [Matthew 26:26ff; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19ff] by the holy Evangelists, and afterwards repeated by St. Paul [1 Cor 11:23 ff], since they contain within themselves that proper and very clear meaning in which they were understood by the Fathers, it is a most disgraceful thing for some contentious and wicked men to distort into fictitious and imaginary figures of speech, by which the real nature of the flesh and blood of Christ is denied, contrary to the universal sense of the Church, which, recognizing with an ever grateful and recollecting mind this most excellent benefit of Christ, as the pillar and ground of truth [1 Tim 3:15], has detested these falsehoods, devised by impious men, as satanical.

Jn 20:22 ff - Council of Trent, October 25, 1551, "Canons on the Sacrament of Penance," canon 3

If anyone says that those words of the Lord Savior: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained [John 20:22ff]", are not to be understood of the power of remitting and retaining sins in the sacrament of penance, as the Catholic Church has always understood from the beginning, but, contrary to the institution of this sacrament, distorts them to an authority for preaching the Gospel: let him be anathema.

James 5:14 - Council of Trent, October 25, 1551, "Canons on Anointing of the Sick," canon 1

If anyone says that anointing of the sick is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ [cf. Mark 6:13], and promulgated by blessed James the Apostle [James 5:14], but is only a rite accepted by the Fathers, or a human fiction: let him be anathema.

Lk 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24 - Council of Trent, September 17, 1562 "Canons on the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," canon 2

If anyone says that by these words: "Do this for a commemoration of me [Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24], Christ did not make the apostles priest, or did not ordain that they and other priests might offer His own body and blood: let him be anathema.

Mt 16:16; Jn 21:15 ff - Vatican I, July 18, 1870 "The Institution of Apostolic Primacy in Blessed Peter," chapter 1

[Against heretics and schismatics]. So we teach and declare that according to the testimonies of the Gospel and the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For the one Simon, to whom He had before said: "Thou shalt be called Cephas [John 1:42]", after he had given forth his confession with those words: "Thou art Christ, Son of the living God [Matthew 16:16], the Lord spoke with these solemn words: "Blessed art thou, Simon bar Jonah; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and I shall give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven [Matthew 16:17ff]." [Against Richerieus etc.] And upon Simon Peter alone Jesus after His resurrection conferred the jurisdicition of the highest pastor and rector over his entire fold, saying: "Feed my lambs," Feed my sheep [John 21:15ff]." To this teaching of Sacred Scriptures, so manifest as it has been always understood by the Catholic Church, are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His Church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone, before the other apostles, whether individually or all together; was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ; or, of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed upon the blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through this Church upon him as the minister of the Church herself.