The Following is a list of Answers to common Objections to the Papacy
The Word in Greek, for rock is 'Petra', which means a large, massive stone. The word used for Simon's new name is different--it's 'Petros', which means a little stone, a pebble. Does this imply that Christ was contrasting himself with the Peter who was only to be a small rock?
However although it is truth that we need to get behind the English to the Greek but, it can also be said that we must get behind the Greek to the Aramaic, as after all Aramaic was the language Jesus and the apostles and all the Jews in Palestine spoke. It was the common Language of the Jews during that time. Also we note that Matthew's Gospel was written by him in Aramaic--we know this from records kept by Eusebius of Caesarea--but it was translated into Greek early on, perhaps by Matthew himself. We also know that Jesus spoke Aramaic because some of his words are preserved for us in the Gospels. Just Look at Matthew 27:46, where he says from the Cross, 'Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani.' That is Aramaic, and it means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
"To go even further is the fact that in Paul's epistles--four times in Galatians and four times in First Corinthians--we have the Aramaic of Simon's new name preserved for us. In our English Bibles it comes out as 'Cephas.' That isn't Greek. That's a transliteration of the Aramaic word Kepha.
The word Kepha means a large, massive stone, the same as 'Petra' (It doesn't mean a little stone or a pebble--the Aramaic word for that is 'evna.') What Jesus said to Simon in Matthew 16:18 was this: 'Thou art 'Kepha,' and upon this 'kepha' I will build my church.'
From this we know that Jesus was saying that St Peter was the rock not contrasting himself. Yet if Matthew wanted to say that Simon was a small stone, he would have used the common Greek word for small stone, 'lithos.' Thus we would expect Matthew 16:18 to read, 'Thou art 'Lithos', and upon this 'Petra' I Will build my church.' But it doesn't read that way precisely because Christ makes it clear that Peter is the rock on which he would build his Church.
The Word Pope means father but Christ said Call no man Father?
A Here one must ask what do we call our own fathers?
We however should thus not take what Christ is saying out of context as all Christ meant by saying this is that the no man can or should replace God. However in regards to calling priests father we should all profess with St Paul saying I "Bend my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all fatherhood [(paternity) some Protestant bibles replace the word with family] in heaven and on earth is named! (Ephesians 3: 14) .You see all earthly fathers take their father hood from the Supreme father, the Father of our lord Jesus Christ. St Paul goes a step further and tells us that he is our father saying "I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me (1 Cor. 4:14-16).
From the Scriptures it is clear that the apostles regarded themselves as spiritual fathers of their flock, as we read in the book of 1 Thessalonians 2:11 "As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children...". St John himself exhorts the fathers to remain faithful (1 John 2:13-14).Our superiors in the Church are also called fathers because they are to be respected as the ministers of God: "Remember your prelates, . . . whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." And again: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me." We honor them by showing them due respect and obedience: "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them."
The word father is undeniable used many times throughout the Old Testament and the new as Christ came not abolish the prophets or the law but to fulfil them (Matthew 5: 17).
The Popes don't marry but St Peter was married.
Here we should note a great Parallel between St Peter and Moses as just as Moses was married and yet God called him to lead his people so to it was with St Paul as Christ said to him if you love me more than these (referring to the other apostles) then "feed my sheep" (John 21:17). In regards to the issue of marriage however even St Paul counsels people to refrain from marrying. He says, "It is well for a man not to touch a woman. But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband . . .. I say this by way of concession, not of command. (Exactly like the Catholic Church teaches, as it is a disciplinary rule not a Defined Dogma.) He even goes on to say he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do better"
Isn't the Pope the Anti-Christ, as he seems to conform to the description given in the Apocalypse?
As to the issue of 666 and the Anti-Christ many are not aware that those numbers can actually add up to equal almost any person you would like it to if you fiddle with the numbers well enough as some great apologists have proven. However if we read the passage from the book of the apocalypse (chapter 13:16 - 18) it states following:
"[The beast] forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast's name or the number that stood for its name. Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six."
Now, a question that must be asked to all who claim the Pope to be anti-Christ is that they must prove that they fall into the category of those "who understand" let them prove that they are the ones that have the wisdom that is mentioned in apocalypse 132:16-18 . Secondly, Apocalypse 13:18 says that the number of the beast, 666, stands for a person, and not an office. The Papacy is an office, not a person, unless one points to one specific Pope, which no protestant does. They say that the office of Pope, whosoever occupies it, is the anti-Christ. They do not point to one particular Pope and say, "he's the beast."
The third point to be aware of ones personal prejudice as with our preconceived ideas we often seek to use the bible as an instrument to make it to conform to our ideas rather than reading it in light of Tradition and of Magisterial texts as it was intended (1 Tim 3:15 - The Church is stated to be the foundation and Pillar of Truth, and it is this Church which is the lawful expounder of the deposit of Faith). For example in order to arrive at 666, Protestants take all kinds of descriptions of what the Pope is. For instance, the Greek phrase "the Latin speaking man" adds up to 666. But this is ridiculous! Latin is the sacred language of the Church, just Hebrew is for the Jews, but to say that the Pope is the anti-Christ because he speaks Latin, and that phrase in Greek adds up to 666 is nothing more than a joke! Why did they not choose "the Latin speaking king" or "the Latin speaking Pontiff" or anything like that? Because it doesn't add up to 666! That's why. They tried all kinds of descriptions of the Pope (even one so silly as "the Latin speaking man") until they finally came up with that one. That proves pure bias and hatred toward the Catholic Church, nothing else. This is also evident from the fact that all the titles that Protestants use to make add up to 666 are not ones used by the Church but made up by them to suit their particular purpose.
Note that the Antichrist is to open his mouth into blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name in his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven. But the Popes have made God's holy name honored and adored in every clime and at all times; through their works the world converted to Christ; further the Popes honor and venerates them that dwell in heaven, it is the Protestants who dishonor and blaspheme the angels (those who deny they exist) and saints (to whom they give no recognition), them that dwell in heaven; hence it's clear that the Pope is not Antichrist.
The above text seem more to prove that Protestantism has worked for the cause of AntiChrist and not the Roman Pontiffs.
But what do we Catholics say the 666 applies to?
While we do not presumptuously proclaim to know it (that is the exact person) as the Protestants falsely do, we like to point to the emperor Nero, who persecuted Christians. His title in Greek, Neron Caesar, indeed adds up to 666. Furthermore, this understanding also explains the fact why some manuscripts actually even read 616 instead of 666, in the apocalypse. If expressed in Latin, Neron Caesar becomes Nero Caesar. The "N" is worth 50 points. Subtract 50 from 666 --> 616. Now, again, we Catholics do not accuse anyone of being the anti-Christ. This is just speculation, but it seems to make sense. Let us keep in mind the words of St. Peter 2 Peter 3:15-16: And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
Is it clear from Scripture that Rome will not be the seat of Antichrist but Jerusalem as in Matth chap, xxiv, Christ speaks first of the temple of Jerusalem, and immediately after connects this with the abomination of desolation to be seen standing in the holy place; evidently pointing out that temple as the holy place where the beast should be enthroned: and this is clearly confirmed by the Apoc. chap. xi, 8, where, speaking of the wars to be carried on by Antichrist, and of those that were to be slain by him, St. John says: "And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, WHERE THEIR LORD ALSO WAS CRUCIFIED."
Does Peter Show his Authority above the others in the Scriptures?
We notice that Peter is the first person to speak (and only one recorded) after Pentecost, so he was the first Christian to "preach the gospel" in the Church era we read " But Peter Standing up with the Eleven Lifted up his Voice..."(Acts 2:14-36), Notice how all the other apostles were present but only Peter lifts up is their Spokes Person.
In regards however to the book of acts Peter is regarded by the common people as a leader as we see in Acts 2:37-41, that it read "and Said To PETER and to the rest of the apostles..." notice how Peter is distinguished amongst the other apostles.
His high authority is also made evidence when he speaks at first general Council ( Acts, chap. xv, 28) and says "It hath, seemed good to the HOLY GHOST and TO US, to lay no farther burden upon you." Here he equates himself with the Holy Ghost where unless he had the authority to speak in the name of the Church he would other wise be committing the sin of blasphemy.
But Saint Paul Rebuked St Peter so then how can he be the leader?
In regards to the Fact that St Peter was rebuked this hold no ground at all as throughout Church history many Popes that have been rebuked even some by Lay people. This only serves to affirm St. Peter's position because if you notice that people began to follow his example, Because they looked up to him. Further when he was rebuked, like any good leader as he learned from it, instead of hardening his heart, he began to strengthened the faithfull. St Paul makes his position clear saying on his own position in the church saying " I am Least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God" (Corinthians 15:9).
But we sometimes read in Scripture that Christ is referred to as the foundation of the Church e.g. 1st Cor. 10:4
These are not contradictory, as it is a matter of there being a double sense of many words and functions. We are given many examples of this as just as Christ is the Light of the world " I am the way the Truth and the Life" yet he says that we should be the Light of the world (Matthew 5:16). Christ can be referred to as "foundation" or "cornerstone" but so to can the Apostles. That is the main problem here. As Likewise, God is Judge, but we have judges also have Judges, Christ is the Good Shepherd, but priests are shepherds, too. He is the Creator and we are procreators (e.g. we propagate the human race), etc. There is no contradiction, as both Peter and Christ are the "foundation" or "rock" of the Church in different senses. Jesus was the cornerstone, author, and foundation of both salvation and Christianity, so Peter who was the head of the apostles is in a lesser way - was the cornerstone of the Church.
The Papacy has remained in Rome yet it is claimed that Peter never went to Rome?
The teaching of the Church is that both St Peter and Paul were both martyred in Rome thus consecrating it (Rome) in their own blood what a better place for the Papacy to remain. . The scriptures show us that St Peter was in fact in Rome as we read "The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God's election, sends you her greeting..." (1 Pet. 5:13). "Babylon" is Rome. It is used that way in Revelations 14:8: "A second angel followed, who cried out, Babylon, great Babylon is fallen..."
As for historical evidence Eusubius, who wrote the first Church history (c. 300), had no doubt. He wrote: "the Apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as bishop, preaching the Gospel for twenty-five years." He also gives an account of his martyrdom there. Earlier writers such as Ignatius of Antioch A.D. 110, Dionysius of Corinth A.D. 170, Irenaeus of Lyons A.D. 189, Clement of Alexandria A.D. 200, Tertullian A.D. 200 , Peter of Alexandria A.D. 306, Cyril of Jerusalem A.D. 350, Pope Damasus I A.D. 382 , Jerome A.D. 396, Augustine A.D. 402 and many other early Church fathers also provide written historical evidence. Although one may feel inclined to reject the scriptures, yet the historical evidence on this issue itself should prove sufficient.
Here a some quotes taken from such Church Fathers.
Dionysius of Corinth, To Pope Soter (C. 170 A.D.): "You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome."
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies (C. 180 A.D.): (noted that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel): "While Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church."
Clement of Alexandria (+217 A.D.)1 : "When Peter preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been for a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed."
Tertullian (+C. 220 A.D.), De Praesciptione Haereticorum 36, 1: "How happy is that Church...where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John's."
Eusebius Pamphilius, Historia Ecclesiastica 2, 15, 4 (303 A.D.): "It is said that Peter's first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon."
Eusebius Pamphilius, Chron. ad an. Dom 42 ad an. Dom. 68: "The second year of the two hundredth and fifth Olympiad (42 A.D.) the apostle Peter, after he has established the Church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains a bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty five years...Nero is the first, in addition to all other crimes, to make a persecution against the Christians, in which Peter and Paul died gloriously in Rome."
Peter of Alexandria, De Paenitentia, Canon 9 (311 A.D.): "Peter, first chosen of the apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome."
Q. Didn't Pope St. Pope Gregory I rebuke John the Faster (Bishop or Patriarch of Constantinople at the time) for using the term "Universal Bishop".
First you should note the apparent contradiction in the question, how could a Pope deny his own authority as Pope when he in fact exercised that authority as Pope!
Pope Gregory knew that he was Pope. Far from refusing the title, he showed that he was universal Bishop by excommunicating John the Faster, over whom he could not have had such jurisdiction had he not the privilege of being universal Bishop. In his 21st Epistle Gregory writes, "As to what they say of the Church of Christ, who doubts that it is subject to the Apostolic See [i.e. Rome] ?"
In many of his letters, also, he insists that the bishop of Rome holds the place of Peter, that he is the head of the "Faith," and "of all the Churches." And he declares that all the bishops are subject to the Apostolic See.
To understand the sense in which Pope Gregory condemned the expression "universal Bishop," you must understand the sense in which John the Faster intended it. It has always been Catholic teaching that the bishops are not mere agents of the Pope, but true successors of the Apostles. The supreme authority of Peter is perpetuated in the Popes; but the power and authority of the other Apostles is perpetuated in the other bishops in the true sense of the word. The Pope is not the "only" Bishop; and, although his power is supreme, his is not the "only" power. But John the Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople, wanted to be bishop even of the dioceses of subordinate bishops, reducing them to mere agents, and making himself the universal or only real bishop. Pope Gregory condemned this intention, and wrote to John the Faster telling him that he had no right to claim to be universal bishop or "sole" bishop in his Patriarchate.
Had the Patriarch of Constantinople been indeed acknowledged as the sole bishop, then it would have been true to say that the rest were not really bishops, which is heretical to say the least.
Like his predecessors and successors, Gregory promulgated numerous laws, binding on all other bishops, on issues such as clerical celibacy (1:42,50; 4:5,26,34; 7:1; 9:110,218; 10:19; 11:56), the deprivation of priests and bishops guilty of criminal offenses (1:18,32; 3:49; 4:26; 5:5,17,18), and the proper disposition of church revenues (1:10,64; 2:20-22; 3:22; 4:11).
Gregory's writings show that he regarded and conducted himself as the universal bishop of the Church. He calls the diocese of Rome "the Apostolic See, which is the head of all other churches" (13:1). He said, "I, albeit unworthy, have been set up in command of the Church" (5:44). He taught that the pope, as successor to Peter, was granted by God a primacy over all other bishops (2:44; 3:30; 5:37; 7:37). He claimed that it was necessary for councils and synods to have the pope's approval to be binding and that only the pope had the authority to annul their decrees (9:56; 5:39,41,44).
He enforced his authority to settle disputes between bishops, even between patriarchs, and rebuked lax and erring bishops (2:50; 3:52,63; 9:26,27). When Gregory denounced John the Faster's attempt to lay claim to the title Universal Bishop, his words were in accord with his actions and with his teachings. He was unequivocal in his teaching that all other bishops are subject to the pope: "As regards the Church of Constantinople, who can doubt that it is subject to the Apostolic See? Why, both our most religious Lord the Emperor and our brother the Bishop of Constantinople continually acknowledge it" (Epistles 9:26).
Further if we read what Pope Gregory actual wrote to John the Faster it only confirm the above as he clearly states: Epistle v:44 "You pretended to be anxious to avoid the patriarchate, but now you have got it you act as though you had canvassed for it. Having confessed yourself unworthy to be called a bishop, you now seek to be called the only bishop. You disregarded the admonitions of Pope Pelagius, you neglected my own. Though your office is to teach humility to others, you have not yet learnt yourself the elements of this lesson.
Pope Gregory in his appeal to the Emperor Maurice -- (Epp v:37) also states: "It is clear to every one who knows the Gospel that the CARE of the WHOLE CHURCH has been committed to the blessed PETER, CHIEF of the Apostles. For him it is said: [quotes from John 21:15-17; Luke 22:31-32; and Matt 16:18-19].
Behold, he receives the keys of the kingdom of heaven; to him is given the power of binding and loosing; to him the CARE and PRIMACY of the WHOLE CHURCH is committed; and yet he is never called the Universal Apostle. But that most holy man, my fellow-bishop John, wishes to be called the Universal Bishop. I am compelled to exclaim, O tempora! O mores!" "Most Religious Lord, am I defending my own cause, am I vindicating a wrong done to myself alone? NO; it is the cause of Almighty God, the cause of the UNIVERSAL CHURCH. We know of a truth that many bishops of the Church of Constantinople have fallen into the whirlpool of heresy, and have become not only heretics, but heresiarchs."
The context in which Pope Gregory took the term is hence evident. He rejects the term "Universal Bishop" as meaning the "only Bishop" a thing which the Pope himself does not claim. The Pope is not the only Bishop, even if he is supreme head of the Church.
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