Monday, June 27, 2016

Augustine on Peter and the Rock issue of the Papacy claims

  • Augustine
Augustine explains that his view that Peter is the rock of Matthew 16 was later replaced by the view that Christ is the rock. Notice that he refers to his former view being *replaced*, not just adding a second interpretation to it. He says that the reader can decide for himself which interpretation is more likely. He expects the reader to choose between the two, not accept both. Thus, Augustine advocated the *rejection* of the view that Peter is the rock, and he said that others could do the same:

"In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: 'On him as on a rock the Church was built.'...But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained what the Lord said: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,' that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed saying: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,' and so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven.' For, 'Thou art Peter' and not 'Thou art the rock' was said to him. But 'the rock was Christ,' in confessing whom, as also the whole Church confesses, Simon was called Peter. But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable." (The Retractions, 1:20:1)

 [See discussion below on the Latin word, "Retractationes", which is more accurately translated as something like "Review and Corrections" or "Corrections" or "Reconsiderations".]

Augustine held the Roman church and its bishop in high regard, but he had a non-papal view of church government. Roman Catholic historian Robert Eno comments:
"Elsewhere I have argued in detail Augustine's views of authority in the Church and that, in my opinion, the council [not the Pope] was the primary instrument for settling controversies....I believe that Augustine had great respect for the Roman church whose antiquity and apostolic origins made it outshine by far other churches in the West. But as with Cyprian, the African collegial and conciliar tradition was to be preferred most of the time." (The Rise of the Papacy [Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1990], p. 79)

From Jason Engwer's "Catholic, but not Roman Catholic" series, preserved by "Peace by Jesus" at http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/Ancients_vs_papacy.html#Augustine




Addendum: (July 2, 2016)
Scott Windsor pointed out about the Latin word "Retractationes", that it does not mean "Retractions", but more like "Review and Correct":  
From the combox:
Scott,
Thanks for your comments. I take your word for it on the Latin word, as I looked around some to confirm it; and as far as I can tell, you are correct. It seems the Latin means more like "Review and Correct"

Thanks for the link, and I will use some of that from William Jurgens, unless someone else comes along and convinces me that this is not accurate. It seems accurate to me.

Augustine wrote The Retractationes (also known as Retractationum) between 426-427.

His purpose was to clarify and enhance his previous efforts to explain and defend them.

As the patristic scholar, William A. Jurgens, explains,
English-speaking authors usually avoid the problem of what the title means by the simple expedient of referring to it by its Latin title, Retractationes. When it is mentioned in English and in the English translations now available it is invariably referred to as Retractations or Retractions. The first is an affront to English and the second is incorrect. Actually, Augustine had very little to retract, and the meaning of Retractationes is Reconsiderations, Revisions, Second Thoughts, or, as I have called it, Corrections. With the Corrections, Augustine again invented a new literary genre: a summation and criticism of his own writings. He had originally intended to include in his review his books, letters, and sermons. But when he had completed the review of his books in 426 or 427, he was persuaded to publish the whole work as it then stood. (The Faith of the Early Fathers [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1979] 3:163)
Dr. White's article that deals with the issue you raised. (if that is what you meant by your link - the link is different now. see below)

Did he use the words "Rome has spoken?" No, but he did say Rome responded (sent rescripts) and then stated "causa finita est" (the cause is ended, or the case is closed). He obviously accepted the decision made by the pope.  (Scott Windsor, Sr.)

Except in Augustine's time, he would not have used "Pope" in the sense of jurisdictional authority - that claim comes much later. As far as I know, all presbyters/bishops / ministers (in other areas around the Christian world in the early centuries, not just the bishop of Rome.)  were called "papa" or "father", meaning "spiritual father", as in 1 Cor. 4:15-17 and 1 Timothy 1:2, 1:18, etc.

Dr. White's relevant section of that excellent article: ( Also Linked below) 
The final words of the sermon, then, in which we find the key phrase (placed in bold), are in reference to this heresy, this error (Pelagianism), and its denial of grace. I simply point out that throughout the sermon you have had one source of authority cited over and over again: Holy Scripture. No quotations of Popes or prelates, just Scripture. With this in mind, we come to the actual passage:
10. What then was said of the Jews, the same altogether do we see in these men now. “They have a zeal of God: I hear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” What is, “not according to knowledge”? “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” My Brethren, share with me in my sorrow. When ye find such as these, do not hide them; be there no such misdirected mercy in you; by all means, when ye find such, hide them not. Convince the gainsayers, and those who resist, bring to us. For already have two councils on this question been sent to the Apostolic see; and rescripts also have come from thence. The question has been brought to an issue; would that their error may sometime be brought to an issue too! Therefore do we advise that they may take heed, we teach that they may be instructed, we pray that they may be changed. Let us turn to the Lord, etc.
It is a measure of the utter desperation of the Roman position to have to make reference to such things, in our opinion. The topic is not the bishop of Rome nor the authority of Rome. It is obvious, beyond question, that Augustine’s point is that Pelagianism is a refuted error. It is not refuted because the bishop of Rome has refuted it. It is refuted because it is opposed to Scripture. Two councils have concluded this, and the bishop of Rome has agreed. From Augustine’s position, the error has been exposed and refuted. If only those who are in error would come to know the truth! Augustine exhorts his hearers to teach the gainsayers, and pray that they may be dissuaded from their errors.
This then is the context and content of Sermon 131 of Augustine (which is, btw, Sermon 81 in the Eerdman’s set, pp. 501-504 of volume VI for those who wish to read the entirety of the work). It is now painfully obvious that to place the words “Roma locuta est, causa finita est” in quotation marks and attribute them to Augustine in the context of Papal Infallibility is simply inexcusable. But, there is more to the situation than that. For history shows us that Augustine would never have uttered such words in the context Keating alleges. How he responded when Zosimus became bishop of Rome and attacked the North African churches for condemning Pelagius proves, to any person even semi-desirous of fairly dealing with Augustine’s position, that Augustine did not view the bishop of Rome as the infallible leader of the Christian Church. But to appreciate fully the depth of the error of Roman Catholic controversialists at this point, we must take a few moments to study the history.  (James White, "Catholic Legends and How they Get Started", see link below.)
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2000/04/11/catholic-legends-get-started-example/


9 comments:

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...

I have a couple issues here. First, St. Augustine - considered a Father and Doctor of the Catholic Faith - certainly did not reject the papacy. He also never produced a work entitled "Retractions" - that's sloppy Latin - his work is called "Retractations" which he intended as clarifications, not "retractions" of earlier works. Catholic Answers responds well to this here.

I engaged James White over the "roma locuta est" (Rome has spoken) statement. Did he use the words "Rome has spoken?" No, but he did say Rome responded (sent rescripts) and then stated "causa finita est" (the cause is ended, or the case is closed). He obviously accepted the decision made by the pope.

Scott<<<

Ken said...

Scott,
Thanks for your comments. I take your word for it on the Latin word, as I looked around some to confirm it; and as far as I can tell, you are correct. It seems the Latin means more like "Review and Correct"

Thanks for the link, and I will use some of that from William Jurgens, unless someone else comes along and convinces me that this is not accurate. It seems accurate to me.

Augustine wrote The Retractationes (also known as Retractationum) between 426-427.

His purpose was to clarify and enhance his previous efforts to explain and defend them.

As the patristic scholar, William A. Jurgens, explains,

English-speaking authors usually avoid the problem of what the title means by the simple expedient of referring to it by its Latin title, Retractationes. When it is mentioned in English and in the English translations now available it is invariably referred to as Retractations or Retractions. The first is an affront to English and the second is incorrect. Actually, Augustine had very little to retract, and the meaning of Retractationes is Reconsiderations, Revisions, Second Thoughts, or, as I have called it, Corrections. With the Corrections, Augustine again invented a new literary genre: a summation and criticism of his own writings. He had originally intended to include in his review his books, letters, and sermons. But when he had completed the review of his books in 426 or 427, he was persuaded to publish the whole work as it then stood. (The Faith of the Early Fathers [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1979] 3:163)

Ken said...

why don't they translate it more accurately in English?

Ken said...

Dr. White's article that deals with the issue you raised. (if that is what you meant by your link - the link is different now. see below)

Did he use the words "Rome has spoken?" No, but he did say Rome responded (sent rescripts) and then stated "causa finita est" (the cause is ended, or the case is closed). He obviously accepted the decision made by the pope.

Except in Augustine's time, he would not have used "Pope" in the sense of jurisdictional authority - that claim comes much later. As far as I know, all presbyters/bishops / ministers were called "papa" or "father", meaning "spiritual father", as in 1 Cor. 4:15-17 and 1 Timothy 1:2, 1:18, etc.

Dr. White's relevant section of that excellent article: (Linked below)

The final words of the sermon, then, in which we find the key phrase (placed in bold), are in reference to this heresy, this error (Pelagianism), and its denial of grace. I simply point out that throughout the sermon you have had one source of authority cited over and over again: Holy Scripture. No quotations of Popes or prelates, just Scripture. With this in mind, we come to the actual passage:

10. What then was said of the Jews, the same altogether do we see in these men now. “They have a zeal of God: I hear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” What is, “not according to knowledge”? “For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and wishing to establish their own, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” My Brethren, share with me in my sorrow. When ye find such as these, do not hide them; be there no such misdirected mercy in you; by all means, when ye find such, hide them not. Convince the gainsayers, and those who resist, bring to us. For already have two councils on this question been sent to the Apostolic see; and rescripts also have come from thence. The question has been brought to an issue; would that their error may sometime be brought to an issue too! Therefore do we advise that they may take heed, we teach that they may be instructed, we pray that they may be changed. Let us turn to the Lord, etc.

It is a measure of the utter desperation of the Roman position to have to make reference to such things, in our opinion. The topic is not the bishop of Rome nor the authority of Rome. It is obvious, beyond question, that Augustine’s point is that Pelagianism is a refuted error. It is not refuted because the bishop of Rome has refuted it. It is refuted because it is opposed to Scripture. Two councils have concluded this, and the bishop of Rome has agreed. From Augustine’s position, the error has been exposed and refuted. If only those who are in error would come to know the truth! Augustine exhorts his hearers to teach the gainsayers, and pray that they may be dissuaded from their errors.

This then is the context and content of Sermon 131 of Augustine (which is, btw, Sermon 81 in the Eerdman’s set, pp. 501-504 of volume VI for those who wish to read the entirety of the work). It is now painfully obvious that to place the words “Roma locuta est, causa finita est” in quotation marks and attribute them to Augustine in the context of Papal Infallibility is simply inexcusable. But, there is more to the situation than that. For history shows us that Augustine would never have uttered such words in the context Keating alleges. How he responded when Zosimus became bishop of Rome and attacked the North African churches for condemning Pelagius proves, to any person even semi-desirous of fairly dealing with Augustine’s position, that Augustine did not view the bishop of Rome as the infallible leader of the Christian Church. But to appreciate fully the depth of the error of Roman Catholic controversialists at this point, we must take a few moments to study the history.


http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2012/12/19/catholic-legends-and-how-they-get-started-an-example-vintage/

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...

Ken,
I really do appreciate your zeal here - but I have been all through this with both James White and David King in great detail. Your links to White's article, BTW, come back with a "404 error - Page not found." I do, however, include ALL of the article you refer to in my response to White (he was responding to me). If you want to see all of White's article with my side-by-side response to it, click here.

For my summary of what transpired, including White and King admitting to their mistakes (King moreso than White), click here.

For the whole "Roma Locuta Est Sage" click here.

There's a LOT to read - but if you're interested in the whole truth, there you have it.

I hope this helps.

Scott<<<

Ken said...

Try this.

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2000/04/11/catholic-legends-get-started-example/

Ken said...

I hope to find time to study the details later.

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...

Hi Ken,
our recent URL works. As for finding time, I understand, and there's a LOT there. Take your time, but please notify me when you post a response.

Scott Windsor, Sr. said...

I would add, St. Augustine's Retractations was not to "review and correct" but to "clarify." Have you made any progress in the "Roma Locuta Est Saga?"