Thursday, January 21, 2010

Taking Irenaeus out of context

And then shall every word also seem consistent to him, if he for his part diligently read the Scriptures in company with those who are presbyters in the Church, among whom is the apostolic doctrine, as I have pointed out.

(Against Heresies, IV, 32, 1) [only the last sentence]

DA, by quoting only this last sentence of Irenaeus' section, is trying to make Irenaeus sound like a Roman Catholic; although in "seed" form (binding authority, apostolic succession) whereas if one reads the context of the whole section, both before and after, we find that what Irenaeus is saying is consistent with what any doctrinally sound Reformed Protestant would say today.

Let's look at the whole passage of Irenaeus' point here:

Against Heresies, Book IV, 32

Chapter XXXII.—That one God was the author of both Testaments, is confirmed by the authority of a presbyter who had been taught by the apostles.

1. After this fashion also did a presbyter, a disciple of the apostles, reason with respect to the two testaments, proving that both were truly from one and the same God. For [he maintained] that there was no other God besides Him who made and fashioned us, and that the discourse of those men has no foundation who affirm that this world of ours was made either by angels, or by any other power whatsoever, or by another God. For if a man be once moved away from the Creator of all things, and if he grant that this creation to which we belong was formed by any other or through any other [than the one God], he must of necessity fall into much inconsistency, and many contradictions of this sort; to which he will [be able to] furnish no explanations which can be regarded as either probable or true. And, for this reason, those who introduce other doctrines conceal from us the opinion which they themselves hold respecting God, because they are aware of the untenable and absurd nature of their doctrine, and are afraid lest, should they be vanquished, they should have some difficulty in making good their escape. But if any one believes in [only] one God, who also made all things by the Word, as Moses likewise says, “God said, Let there be light: and there was light;” (Genesis 1:3) and as we read in the Gospel, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was nothing made;” ( John 1:3) and the Apostle Paul [says] in like manner, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and in us all” ( Ephesians 4:5-6) this man will first of all “hold the head, from which the whole body is compacted and bound together, and, through means of every joint according to the measure of the ministration of each several part, maketh increase of the body to the edification of itself in love.” ( a combination of Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19) ,And then shall every word also seem consistent to him, if he for his part diligently read the Scriptures in company with those who are presbyters in the Church, among whom is the apostolic doctrine, as I have pointed out.

2. For all the apostles taught that there were indeed two testaments among the two peoples; but that it was one and the same God who appointed both for the advantage of those men who were to believe in God, I have proved in the third book from the very teaching of the apostles; and that the first testament was not given without reason, or to no purpose, or in an accidental sort of manner; but that it subdued those to whom it was given to the service of God, for their benefit (for God needs no service from men), and exhibited a type of heavenly things, inasmuch as man was not yet able to see the things of God through means of immediate vision; and foreshadowed the images of those things which [now actually] exist in the Church, in order that our faith might be firmly established; and contained a prophecy of things to come, in order that man might learn that God has foreknowledge of all things."

So, at first glance, the last sentence by itself that he quotes is made to look like some kind of Roman Catholic doctrine of a "seed" that will develop into the infallibility of the church leaders and then the Bishop of Rome and then centuries and almost two millennia later, in 1870, finally be revealed for the people of God for guidance and knowing the right interpretations and solving all problems of disunity with the supposed ability to walk into the room and say "Thus says the Lord".

Irenaeus is fighting Gnosticism, and the various forms of it; Valentinian, Basiledes, and Marcion ( and others also). Gnosticism was not monolithic. Protestants disagree vehemently with Gnosticism; so most of the points that RCs try to score in debate by using Irenaeus and Tertullian and others are anachronistic with the way they are trying to make them be anti-Protestantism. We are not claiming that the early church was Protestant, only that they are what they are, the early church, and that they are not Roman Catholic. As Dr. White says all the time, "let the early church be the early church".

Every time Irenaeus spells out the content of the "rule of faith", it is a doctrinal summary in simple form of the main doctrines of the ecumenical creeds of the first 5 centuries. (see Against Heresies, 1:10:1-2 and 3:4:2) Protestants agree with this. There are no Roman Catholic distinctives or "seeds" to develop ( in a Biblical or legitimate exegetical way) later in these doctrinal summaries or creeds. To claim that is anachronistic and not dealing with history fairly. The Roman Catholic "developments" later in history are exaggerations, distortions, mutations, deformities, corruptions.

Irenaeus shows at the beginning of his section here, that a presbyter learned the apostles doctrine that is in Scripture, that the OT is inspired Scripture and the God of the OT is the same God in the NT and so he is refuting the idea of the Gnostics of an evil god (a demiurge) in the OT who created matter (and the Gnostics claim that matter is evil); and refuting the Gnostic idea that the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is a different good God from the OT "god". Protestants agree with this. We believe in church leaders/presbyters (elders)/pastor-teachers/overseers (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5ff; I Timothy 3; Acts 20:17, 28; I Peter 5:1-5) Irenaeus is saying the same thing we do; one must read the Scriptures and read the Scriptures with the presbyters. But Irenaeus also says that the Presbyters follow the Scriptures as their final authority, because the apostles doctrine was written down, and he just quotes from the writings to prove his point.

Irenaeus goes on to quote Scripture proving his point, so no where is he talking about Roman Catholic distinctives or dogmas here. Since the presbyter was taught from an apostle, and the content of that teaching was Scripture, as Irenaeus shows by extensive quoting from it; and the interpretation of the Presbyters is the same all throughout the churches that the OT is inspired Scripture and the God of the OT is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the last statement is only saying that the average Christian, when he reads the Scriptures, will find that the Scriptures are clear and he will be build up in the faith and grow, as Ephesians 4 teaches, as he reads the Scriptures with the Presbyters (Elders) of the church at that time, that were interpreting the Scriptures rightly, that there is only one good Creator God, Sovereign, all mighty and who is the same, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no promise that future presbyters will be infallible. If in the future, they do not follow Scripture, then they have no authority.

So, these kinds of methods are all throughout DA's kind of argumentation, and it is not necessary, as he keeps claiming and whining about, that everyone must deal with every word that he has written and cut and pasted or else he will not deal with their arguments at all. I hope Jason Engwer keeps it up and stays in the battle and responds fully to all of the significant issues; even though DA requires someone to respond to every word, it seems. All we have to do is to shoot holes in some of his argumentation, as we have time, which we have done (Jason Engwer, Steve Hayes, Turretinfan, and simple me) (DA has not answered the points I made in my earlier article concerning how he misread Philip Schaff and Ireneaus on the barbarian tribes who had the basic gospel before the Scriptures were translated) and DA refused to deal with Turretinfan's excellent critiquehere and the whole Roman Catholic claims of infallible authority are exposed as false and not Biblical nor existent in early church history, then the whole edifice of the Papacy and infallibility crashes to the ground. Furthermore, the very nature of their definition of 1870 shows that if they made one mistake, the whole thing is false, because one mistake means they are not infallible. Since they have made many mistakes both doctrinally (and morally), they are not infallible. And this shows that David Waltz was right to leave the Roman Catholic church.


Richard Froggatt said...
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Richard Froggatt said...
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Edward Reiss said...

I agree that Irenaeus is taken out of context when used in a simplistin way to "prove" Apostolic Succession.

From a blog post of mine:

"For Irenaeus, all the apostolic churches taught correct doctrine because they were founded by apostles and faithfully passed down what the Apostles taught--which incidentally was also written down in the Scriptures according to Irenaeus--the true churches could trace their bishops/elders/presbyters back to the Apostles through showing this faithful traditioning from the days of the Apostles down to Irenaeus' day. It was easy to spot the innovations of the various Gnostic sects because their doctrines were contrary to what was preserved by the bishops/elders/presbyters in succession to the Apostles in the Church, and it was equally as easy to show they believed contrary to Scripture. However, Irenaeus apparently assumes that if a Church is in Apostolic Succession, it has the rule of faith, which is similar to the Apostles' Creed and contradicts the Gnostics who also contradict each other. That last is key for Irenaeus, because he often compares the cacophony of the Gnostic doctrines with the homogeneous teachings of the Apostolic Churches.

His system breaks down when one or more bishops/elders/presbyters disagree on what constitutes Apostolic Doctrine and anathematize each other--something which didn't really happen much in his day. It is even worse if groups of bishops/elders/presbyters do this. This causes a breakdown for two reasons. First, if division is evidence against the Gnostics, it is evidence against a group of churches claiming AS. Second, as Irenaeus assumes ipso facto that what the Apostolic Churches teach is the true Apostolic Doctrine, if Apostolic Churches disagree there is now no way to simply say "here is the Church in valid succession to the Apostles because they teach ABC" as could be done in Irenaeus' day. Basically, the schisms of the later Church cause the old wineskins of Irenaeus' AS to burst due to circumstances which did not obtain in his day."

Basically, even if we allow that Irenaeus wqs teaching AS, the situation in his day does not obtain today--there is more than one claimant to "Apostolic Succession" as has been discussed here. And as pointed out in the blog post, Irenaeus' "rule of faith" is doctrine, not th efact that there are churches in succession. Also, he spends a lot of time discussing the ridiculous interpretations of Scripture offered by the Gnostics.

Basically, we should not take a RC or EO interpretation of what a church father says at face value. Having said that, some fathers actually do support EO or RC doctrine.


Ken said...

Excellent, Edward, very helpful. Thanks for your contribution!

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Irenaeus was in fact making it eveident that doctrines taught and handed down by the Apostles were to effect and distinguish our rules of faith. Since James Swan is not within the lineage under discussion, his understanding of what the doctrines are and should be, is highly suspect.

Edward Reiss said...


Irenaeus wrote:

Against Heresies III 1-2

1. We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed “perfect knowledge,” as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God. Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

2. These have all declared to us that there is one God, Creator of heaven and earth, announced by the law and the prophets; and one Christ the Son of God. If any one do not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord; nay more, he despises Christ Himself the Lord; yea, he despises the Father also, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics.

He also said that if a bishop violates this rule of faith--which looks like the Scriptures--believers should flee from him

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reiss:

Irenaeus isn't arguing for the material or formal sufficiency of Scripture, but rather that the Apostles perserved the declaration that there is one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. He is writing specificaly of the Creator and Redeemer, not setting the stage for 'sola scriptura'.

So, I agree with you and Irenaeus that any who deny this truth are condemned.

Edward Reiss said...


Irenaeus in Against Heresies said:

"We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith. For it is unlawful to assert that they preached before they possessed “perfect knowledge,” as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles."

This can befound in 3.1.1. Will you admit that if Scripture is the pillar and ground of our faith that this sounds like "setting the stage for 'sola scriptura'"?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reiss:

No, I cannot agree that he was laying the groundwork for 'sola scriptura'. After all, the title of III.1.1 is that the heretics were using texts of the Scripture to support their opinions. If Scripture is to be our only source of theological guidance, then the interpretations of the gnostics are at least defensible, so long as they can be supported by some plausible reading of the texts. In fact, the Saint tells us of a party [Valentinians/Protestants] who literally pervert Scripture. The texts is not our finaly authority and to argue otherwise is to 'dress the Scriptures up anew' [Bk 1. VIII]

Sorry, but there needs to be some final authority, and I, unlike you, can easily point in its direction.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reiss,

Would you agree that the Scriptures are to "the ground and pillar of our faith" as the Church is to "the ground and pillar of the truth" ? Does it follow that, if the first sets the stage to sola scrpt, then the second would likewise set to sola eccls ?
The challenge remaining is to determine the relationship between faith and truth. Now each gospel, written and preached, presuppose members of Christ's faithful. But Apostolic witness and election (if these can be distinguished from the gospel) doesn't automatically suppose being faithful (Judas).

Edward Reiss said...


He says the Scripture is the pillar and ground of the truth. These are his words. This seems to contradict your claim.

Also, your equation of Valentinians with Protestants is a gratuitous rhetorical trick. In fact, in my experience it is either brought out in the very beginning, or when the data goes against the RC/EO apologist.

BTW, Irenaeus stated that it is the Gnostics who require special, secret knowledge to understand the Scriptures, not the Catholics. Doesn't that sound like RC teaching? And wouldn't that make your formal authority structure "Gnostic" if you were consistent?

"When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of this world.” And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or has even been indifferently in any other opponent, who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself."

Against Heresies 3.2.1

Basically, you are not interacting with what St. Irenaeus actually wrote, but repeating apologetic tropes.


Sola Scriptura understood in its historic sense, does not mean the Scriptures are read outside the Church. As Irenaeus said, the tradition was written down by the Apostles, so the Apostolic Churches have publicly preached what was handed down by the Apostles. So, there is no difference between what the Scriptures teach and what the Church upholds as the pillar and ground of truth. Fr. Behr, an EO theologian, says as much, too. So, if you mean by "Sola Ecclesia" that all authority resied in the institutional Church, I diesgree. Because as is the case of both "pillars" we are discussing, they uphold the Gospel, which, as Irenaeus has said, was written down by the Apostles. In effect, Sola Scriptura (understood in its historic Reformation sense) is stating nothing more than that what the Apostles wrote down is the tradition which was preserved.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reiss:

You abuse the word 'pillar' to your detriment. St. Paul teaches that the church is the pillar and foundation [I Ti 3:15] and St. John describes the man who overcomes till the end as the pillar in the Temple of God [Rev 3:12]. So, it looks like we may hove more than one pillar and I would agree with all three [Church, Saints and Scripture].

The RC is gnostic? Now that sound like a 'gratuitous trick' to me. Rome doesn't teach or claim to possess 'secret knowledge' but rather solely judges the meaning of Sacred Scripture by the Church's divinely confered commission [CCC 119]. That isn't even CLOSE to gnosticsm!

Irenaeus is railing against those who, like the Protestants, place truth is the hands of mere men whom he names [Marcion, Cerinthus, etc]. Protestants too follow after the likes of Marcion/Calvin/Luther/Joseph Smith who offer the most recent and exciting exegesis of Scripture which almost certainly 'deprives the system of truth and preaches yourselves'.

Edward Reiss said...


I have given citations while you swim in generalities.

Interestingly, your "context" and what Irenaeus is "railing against" go against what he actually wrote. It seems that you start with "context" and then decide what he must have meant.

If Irenaeus says the Scriptures are the ground and pillar of our faith, and that it is the Gnostics and not the Catholics who claim we need tradition to understand the Scriptures, you are not left with too much ammunition until you explain why your generalities should take precedence over what St. Irenaeus actually wrote.

The "gnostic" statement by me was just to show you how ridiculous it is to make Valentinians into Protestants. Turnabout is fair play. If you hadn't made the gratuitous remark I wiyuld have seen no reason to argue the way I did.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reiss:

Swimming in generalities? Really? By citing both Sts Paul and John, not to mention the Catechism? There appear to be three pillars [Church, Saints and Scripture].

I put Irenaeus in context he lived in, rather than the prism of 'reformed' apologetics.

It is you who are not left with too much ammunition until you read my comments a little closer.

Edward Reiss said...


Your lack of interaction with what Irenaeus actually states is indeed swimming in generalities. Merely saying I abuse something is not taking what Irenaeus said seriously--since he said the Scriptures are the pillar and ground of faith--but a trope used to avoid the issue. You assume he meant the same thing as St. Paul despite his saying the opposite. Such a thing has to be shown, not merely asserted. It is as If I cited St. Basil's statement that Scripture is an umpire between competing traditions--it is true but it has little to do with what St. Irenaeus wrote.

BTW, his statement about the Gnostics needing tradition to understand the Bible also contradicts the typical RC arguments about the perspicuity of Scripture. You haven't interacted with that, either.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reissers:

So now Irenaeus carries more weight than Sts Paul and John? I am shocked at you.

In fact, stating that I am not interacting with Irenaeus is not taking either me or Irenaeus seriously.

The Church holds that the Scriptures are materially sufficient, not formally sufficient, so right Tradition compliments right Scripture. Both of which are kept sacred by the Church in spite of Gnostics, Mormons and other Protestant groups wanting a say in it. Keeping it Catholic keeps the 30k Protestant denominations away.

Let's see now. So, a church with any traditions is equivilant to Gnosticsm? Is that it? So, that would make adherants to the Westminister Confession no more than a Gnostic cult? In fact, the moment the church drafted its first Creed, it became a de facto Gnostic cult, right? Seems to be true to your line of reasoning.

Edward Reiss said...


I never said Irenaeus carries more weight than St. Paul. And in any case I responded to EBW regarding that passage.

Nor did I say every church tradition equals Gnosticism. That is another trope to change the subject from the fact that Irenaeus is taken out of context to support RC doctrines.

You were the one who started specious claims about Gnosticism, not me. When the tables are turned you try and blow it up into a major argument by me.

Tthis thread is about how the RCC takes Irenaeus out of context. If you want to claim Irenaeus "holds" the same thing the RCC does you can show that instead of just asserting it. Your lack of a response to substantive seems to confirm you cannot deal with the evidence. Irenaeus says the Scriptures *are* the Tradition, so even in that case what the RCC "holds" is not what Irenaeus claims--IOW it is another example of taking him out of context. But if you had digested my citation of Irenaeus' works you would have already known that.

Will you deal with what Irenaeus said, or will you continue to bring up extraneous issues to avoid the obvious?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

I have dealt with your poor reading of the selected text, and am commenting on your own thoughts as well.

You tried earlier to draw a connection between Gnosticism and Tradition, and since Creeds are a form of Tradition, it follows that the WCoF is a Gnostic Creed.

Now, as I have stated, both Sts Paul and John also describe 'pillars' as well [ibid]. So, the Scripture being our guide, the Scripture is not the sole pillar faith or reason.

And yes, the Gnostics/Muhamamdans/Mormons and other Protestant groups over the ages have all come to rather strange readings of the Scripture, when left to their own immaginations.

Edward Reiss said...


"I have dealt with your poor reading of the selected text, and am commenting on your own thoughts as well."

No, you just point to other passages without engaging either those passages or what I have cited. A good example is your pointing to the place where Irenaeus states that the Gnostics move pieces of the mosaic around. This is nothing more than a trope, because there is no reason to believe it is not the RCC which is moving the pieces around. The same with your gratuitous equivocation of Protestants with Mormons and Muslims. Your assumptions are so baked in that these claims are nothing more than empty rhetoric because I don't share your assumptions and your arguments from authority don't mean anything to me.

And, as I pointed out, it is trivial to turn the tables because Irenaeus states it is the Gnostics who claim tradition is required for reading the Scriptures. This is another passage you do not deal with.

So, on balance, I will stick with my claim you are swimming in generalities.

"Now, as I have stated, both Sts Paul and John also describe 'pillars' as well [ibid]. So, the Scripture being our guide, the Scripture is not the sole pillar faith or reason."

I replied to this already. I suppose you don't have a rejoinder.

When will you deal with what Irenaeus actually says, instead of trying head fakes such as equivocating Protestants with Muslims?

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

I have dealt with the context, not isolated a verse or two, as Mormons and other Protestants are prone to do.

Also, I cited Scripture to enlighten our reading of Irenaeus, so I guess Scripture doesn't count as a menaingful authority to you?

You made out Traditions to be inherantly Gnostic and I countered with a hard blow to the WCoF. You backed off and supplemented your comments.

Nearly anyone can go over this thread and see that your stubborness isn't up to the challenge.

Your denials don't mean anything to me, so I guess we are at logger heads.

Edward Reiss said...


Throwing out quotes without printing them or an explanation is not interacting with Irenaeus' writings, period. Especially given the more extensive citations I have supplied.

You keep hitting this gnostic thing. Here is what I wrote:

"BTW, Irenaeus stated that it is the Gnostics who require special, secret knowledge to understand the Scriptures, not the Catholics. Doesn't that sound like RC teaching? And wouldn't that make your formal authority structure "Gnostic" if you were consistent?"

Did you miss the conditional? Apparently so:

"Also, your equation of Valentinians with Protestants is a gratuitous rhetorical trick."

You apparently didn't even read my comments, and want to act like you have some kind of awesome argument against me because I call RC tradition gnostic. You don't even understant what I claimed even after I told you on more than one occasion. I am not claiming the RCC is gnostic, I am claiming that if Protestants are gnostic because you decide Irenaeus was talking about a Protestant approach to Scripture, then the RCC is gnostic because the RCC claims we need Tradition to understand the Scriptures--i.e. because of RC approaches to Scripture.

Regarding the Scripture quotes, as I have also stated repeatedly, I have dealt with the argument about the Church being the pillar and ground of the truth. I harmonized them, you just cite the Scriptures and and pretend that is an argument in itself--even claiming I think Irenaeus is greater than the Scriptures which no fair reading of my posts would allow. Of course, showing I did so instead of asserting it would mean interacting with data instead of asserting your POV as fact.

If you are going to claim you are an apologist, you need to show you can interact with data and not just throw quotes around and misrepresent the other guy's positions. During this thread, you have written about everything except the sections of Irenaeus I have cited--instead you always point to somewhere else or have some trope instead of real arguments. Irenaeus is not writing as a Roman Catholic no matter how many redirects you attempt. He states the Tradition was written down in the Scriptures, he uses Scripture to refute the Gnostics, he says that the Scriptures can be interpreted without a secret oral Tradition. All of those are anathema to RCism, no matter how many times you act like his statements are not there.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Let's see if we can't agree on an important point. When the Roman Catholic Saint named Irenaeus used the term 'Scripture', what list of books was he refering to?

Also, if the RCC needs to throw out Tradition to be more 'catholic' then out goes Luther, Calvin and in fact, all the Church Fathers. Tradition is a source of authority. And don't dare pretend that you protestants rely on 'scripture alone'. Your own creeds refute that.

As I pointed out, there more than one pillar and the Church is one of them, your tirade notwithstanding.

I am an apologist who deals with the text, tradition and common sense. You should consider the three as complimentary.

I have read your comments, in context, and refuted them.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Mr. Reiss:

In one of your comments above, you said that the RCC could not, no matter how long we tried, make Irenaeus into a RC? Is that right? Did I read that right?

You do realize he was a priest in Lyons, right? Then later a Bishop? He was sent to Rome with letters on behave of his diocese [177-178AD]. You do realize that he interceded with Pope Victor to lift the sentence of excommunication laid by that pontiff upon the Christian communities of Asia Minor, right? He didn't decide it on his own! He appealed to Rome. I don't see any evidence that he was running off on his own!

What a great Roman Catholic he was! I'll celebrate his feast [28 June].