Friday, March 23, 2012

A Visit To Catholic Answers Forum # 10

It's always interesting to see a Catholic Answers Forum locked down by the ever-vigilante Michael Francis after 68 comments. (the normal lockdown is after 1,000).

#1
Old Mar 13, '12, 6:57 pm

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Religion: Lutheran

I'm a Protestant who has been wrestling with the idea of Catholicism for a while. I'm getting hung up on the Papacy in the early Church and how it seemed to have developed in scope from limited authority and importance from the 1st and 2nd centuries to central authority towards the 4th and 5th centuries. It bothers me that the Church Fathers quotes in the "Authority of the Pope" tract on this site start out kind of weak and then get stronger in the third century and beyond. Specifically, the history put forth by Hans Kung on this subject I find most unsettling. He seems to describe this development as a series of ruthless power grabs by Rome. I don't agree with Kung on very much theologically, so I should hope that there is solid evidence to answer his claims.

Please help me out here. I would also really appreciate if someone can point me to further, more in-depth reading on the subject.

Thanks everyone!
#23
Old Mar 14, '12, 10:01 pm
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vwtaylorii: I would want to marshal an inference to the best explanation argument. I suppose there are other ways of going about arguing for my position though. So, I would compare my hypothesis 'There was no Roman monepiscopate until the mid-2nd Century' with its contradiction 'There was a Roman monepiscopate before the mid-2nd Century'. We'd examine various evidences, textual (Ignatius' letters, Clements, Shepherd of Hermas etc. etc.), archeological (1-2nd cent. Churches found in Rome, the catacombs, etc.), or whatever, and see which competing hypothesis best explains them. This would take some time though. Earlier I recommended Peter Lampe's book on Roman Christianity in the first two centuries. In it, he thoroughly examines each document relevant to Roman Christianity of this period, a host of archeological data and concludes thus. So, I'd definitely recommend it again here. I'll see if I can compile a more composite case when I get the chance, for now I'll cite some scholars (Catholic and non-Catholic) who agree:

"As for Peter, we have no knowledge at all of when he came to Rome and what he did there before he was martyred. Certainly he was not the original missionary who brought Christianity to Rome (and therefore not the founder of the church of Rome in that sense). There is no serious proof that he was the bishop (or local ecclesiastical officer) of the Roman church --a claim not made till the third century. Most likely he did not spend any major time at Rome before 58 when Paul wrote to the Romans, and so it may have been only in the 60s and relatively shortly before his martyrdom that Peter came to the capital." - Brown, Raymond Edward., and John P. Meier. Antioch and Rome: New Testament Cradles of Catholic Christianity. New York: Paulist, 1983. P. 98.

(Note, Brown and Meier who are (were, Brown died) both Catholic are (were) like the Hawking's of NT and Early Church scholarship)

"In the late 2nd or early 3rd cent. the tradition identified Peter as the first bishop of Rome. This was a natural development once the monarchical episcopate, i.e., government of the local church by a single bishop as distinct from a group of presbyter-bishops, finally emerged in Rome in the mid-2nd cent." - Kelly, Joseph F. The Concise Dictionary of Early Christianity. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1992. p. 6.

"Later, as the close of the first and even in the second century, the two terms are still used in like manner for the same office. The Roman bishop Clement, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians says, that the apostles, in the newly founded churches, appointed the first fruits of the faith, i.e., the first converts, 'bishops and deacons.' Here he omits the (presbuteroi), as Paul does in Phil. 1:1, for the simple reason that they are in his view identical with (episkopoi); while conversely, in c. 57, he enjoins subjection to presbyters, without mentioning bishops. The Didache mentions bishops and deacons, but no presbyters. Clement of Alexandria distinguishes, it is true, the deaconate, the presbyterate, and the episcopate; but he supposes only a two-fold official character, that of presbyters, and that of deacons--a view which found advocates so late as the middle ages, even in pope Urban II, A.D. 1091. Lastly, Irenaeus, towards the close of the second century, though himself a bishop, makes only a relative difference between episcopi and presbyteri; speaks of successions of the one in the same sense as the other; terms the office of the latter 'episcopatus'; and calls the bishops of Rome 'presbyters.' The express testimony of the learned Jerome, that the churches originally, before divisions arose through the instigation of Satan, were governed by the common council of the presbyters, and not till a later period was one of the presbyters placed at the head, to watch over the church and suppress schisms. He traces the difference of the office simply to 'ecclesiastical' custom as distinct from divine institution." - Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church, Volume II: Ante-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 100-325. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2002. p. 89.

P.S. Schaff's remark about Jerome is fascinating...

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001146.htm

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001069.htm - read n. 3.
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13 comments:

James Swan said...

I've been going through a lot of medieval church stuff lately, and the papacy certainly did gather momentum throughout history.

Let us not forget the importance of the Donation of Constantine!

Algo said...

Yes,
And even Aquinas was misled by forgeries and false decretals:

http://www.christiantruth.com/articles/forgeries.html

Martin Yee said...

Thanks. Extremely interesting stuff. The foundation of the Roman papacy is built on sand rather than a rock.

James Swan said...

Algo-- I read an interesting comment from someone banned from CA recently:

"I had to laugh at the comment by James Swan about CatholicAnswers.... I went to that site for several years, AMAZED at the horrible "apologetics" they seem to allow there. Then I had enough and HAD to post! I did for a few weeks until the Staffer emailed me and said I'd been reported a lot - but staff had always concluded that I had violated no rules. But they had complaints that I (like some others) were "distrubing souls" "conflicting with the purpose of the site" (the exact, verbatim terminology used in the email to me) and that I was therefore being "terminated" (they didn't say banned). I wrote back and he said they did this from time to time... He assured me I had violated no rules and wished me well. There ARE a few solid Protestants that seem to survive (including a Lutheran) but they seem to stay under the radar. By the way, that Staffer gave me permission to appeal their decision and request Staff to reconsider - I decided not to. I honestly think that anyone going there quickly notes the pathetic stuff that sadly abounds there...."

http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php?3508-quot-Authority-quot-Luther-vs-the-Catholic-Church-(continued)&p=2700513&viewfull=1#post2700513

Algo said...

James,
This is very funny. Very similar to my experience:


Forum Message
Your account has been locked for the following reason:
Contempt for Catholicism and proselytizing
This change will be lifted: Never

vwtaylorii said...

Algo,

If you read the rest of my comments in the thread, I consistently asked him what evidence do these scholars have that showed Peter did not find the Church in Rome. I used evidence from Scripture and Church Fathers that support the Catholic view of Peter finding the Roman Church.

Paul explicitly showed in Rm 15 someone founded the Roman Church before he wrote his letter because he would not lay another foundation. In Act 12: 17, it says Peter traveled to other places after he left Jerusalem, but it did not specify where. The Church Fathers were unanimous about Peter finding the Church in Rome, starting with Ignatius of Antioch who directly communicated with the Apostles.

Everytime I asked him/her where these scholars got their evidence, they would not give it to me. Reading from the scholars that claim Peter did not find the Church in Rome (especially Raymond Brown, since we talked about him more) you can summarize there writings by saying the Bible does not say Peter found the Roman Church. His last post directed to me was a passage from Raymond Brown. I sent them a personal message (since they closed the thread) saying the they proved my point and still did not give me any refernces of historical evidence.

I ask you: Where did these scholars get this information? What historical evidence they have that showed these Church Fathers were wrong about Peter finding the Church in Rome?

Algo said...

vwtaylor,
Here is a response to you from perplexity.

He seemed to be willing to continue this discussion.

http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=9075264&postcount=27

Since neither of you have been banned from c.a.f (yet) you can send him a message there and invite him to respond here.

vwtaylorii said...

Did you read my message? I told you I responded to him in a personal message because they closed the thread. I cannot post anything else when a thread is closed.

As for the website you sent me, I responded to that message on post number 33 and 34 asking him what authority do these scholars carry (along with other things). They sent a message (post 40) back giving me a list of their credentials, but still did not give me an answer to my question. They said they didn't have time (which I understand), but I told them just look in the reference page in the book and point what reference the author(s) used for that particular passage. I told them they can also look at the footnote as well. They just showed me a reference Raymond Brown used from O'Conner, which does not say anything about Peter not finding the Church in Rome. (I even read O'Conner passage, and he did not reference any historical evidence).

They finally sent me a message answer my question (post 50) with a passage from Raymond Brown, but did not give me any historical reference he used. That is why I said you can conclude that the authors like Raymond Brown saying the Bible did not say he found the Church in Rome.

That is when I sent him a private message.

vwtaylorii said...

This is what I sent to Perplexity

Hello,

I cannot reply to you on the thread because it has been closed, and I still want to reply to what you sent me. Thank you for sending me a reply, but it still does not prove anything.

You mentioned these scholars credentials to show their authority. Just because they are highly credited for their works, does not mean they carry authority. Even though they presented good works, that does not mean they cannot or did not get criticized, like Raymond Brown. If these scholars do not present any historic evidence, they should be challenged.

As for the passages you posted from Raymond Brown book, you proved exactly what I said before: you can conclude from Brown passage that the Bible does not say Peter did not find the Church in Rome.

Even Raymond Brown says that he does not know where Peter went after leaving Jerusalem. At the same time, the Bible does not say he did not go to Rome. If it does, please tell where.

We know that Luke did not write everything down. Where does it show that Luke knew or wrote down everything Peter did?

There could be multiple possibilities why Paul did not put Peter name down. One of the possibilities is that Peter may have left Rome and traveled to other places and came back when 1 Peter was written. All the apostles did not stay in one part of the countries they had to spread the Gospel across the world.

As for the Early Church Fathers, the earliest (as I said before) evidence is from Ignatius of Antioch (and not later like Raymond Brown said, and he acknowledge that it was going to be hard to refute Peter finding the Church in Rome because of Ignatius and another person he mentioned). Your rebuttal about Ignatius could be referring to Peter and Paul letters is not very strong because those letters said they were already there (1 Pt) or going to visit (Paul to the Romans). In addition, Peter letters were not address to Rome specifically. They were address to every Christian Church. If Ignatius was referring to their letters, then Ignatius should have said John, James, and Jude also founded the Church in Rome because their letters were addressing Rome as well.

The claim was not made because of Eusebius and Jerome chronology. However, Eusebius was consider as a great historian of his time. The claim was made because of the unanimous evidence from the Church Fathers, starting from Ignatius who had direct contact with the apostles.

I never claim that Peter went to Rome right after leaving Jerusalem and that Eusebius and Jerome chronology is right. In fact, you will find that many Catholics would believe that Peter did not stay in Rome for 25 years. You will find many of us believing that he founded the Roman Church and leaving to travel to other places, like Corinth.

However, with Paul explicitly saying in Rm 15 that somebody founded the Church in Rome and the unanimous statements from the Church Fathers saying that Peter founded the Roman Church, we can safely conclude that Peter did find the Church in Rome.

Martin Yee said...

Ironically, I liked Raymond Brown and Joseph Fitzmeyer's commentaries and writings. They are good Biblical scholars.

James Swan said...

Some Roman Catholics say those scholars are liberals and not to be trusted.

Wendy said...

I have seen that quote before about no evidence about being in Rome. The fact is that the Bible said Paul had not yet been in Rome when a church was already there--how does that make Paul a co-founder of the church in Rome as is claimed! I can only conclude that the church is founded "in SPIRIT" by Peter and Paul BY BEING FOUNDED ON THEIR TEACHING--or that they perhaps encouraged the church there though PAUL was not actually a founder... I would only go so far as that biblically. <3+Wendy

Wendy said...

TRUST THE HOLY SPIRIT. PRAY AS JESUS SAID TO THE FATHER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT--HE SAID THAT HE WOULD NOT GIVE A SCORPION OR A STONE WHEN ASKED FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT! JESUS SAID THE HOLY SPIRIT WOULD TEACH US ALL THING FROM HIM/THE FATHER--AND THAT THE MESSIAH IS THE ONLY TEACHER! HE TOLD US TO WAIT UNTIL WE ARE CLOTHED WITH THE POWER FROM ON HIGH--AS THE APOSTLES IN ACTS AT PENTECOST AND LATER WITH AND WITHOUT VISIBLE FLAMES!! THE PROMISE IS FOR ALL--AND IS THE BASIC STUFF: "BAPTISMS" REFERRED TO AS WHAT WE NEED TO MOVE BEYOND... THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE GROUNDWORK. WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU WILL KNOW NOT TO TRUST SOME BOGUS STATEMENT AND RELY ON AUTHORITY THAT IS NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT. <3+WENDY--ONE WILL INSTEAD GO TO THE RIGHT SOURCE THAT JIVES WITH THE WORD OF GOD IN THE HOLY BIBLE PROCLAIMED BY THE CHURCH