by Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Bishop and Doctor of the Church
From the "Catholic Controversy" (originally published by Burns and Oates, London 1886)
Translated by Rev. Henry Benedict Mackey, O.S.B.
Of the first promise made to St. Peter: upon this rock I will build my Church.
Resolution of a difficulty.
Of the second promise made to St. Peter: and I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
Of the third promise made to St. Peter: I have prayed for thee.
Feed my sheep.
The order in which the evangelists name the apostles.
Of some other marks which are scattered through the Scriptures of the primacy of St. Peter.
Testimonies of the Church to this fact.
That Saint Peter has had successors in the vicar-generalship of our Lord. The conditions required for succeeding him.
That the bishop of Rome is true successor off St. Peter, and head of the militant Church.
Short description of the life of St. Peter, and of the institution of his first successors.
Confirmation of all the above by the titles which antiquity has given to the pope.
In how great esteem the authority of the pope ought to be held.
How the ministers have violated this authority.
Of the first promise made to St. Peter: upon this rock I will build my Church.
WHEN Our Lord imposes a name upon men he always bestows some particular grace according to the name which he gives them. If he changes the name of that great father of believers, and of Abram makes him Abraham, also of a high father he makes him father of many, giving the reason at the same time: Thou shalt be called Abraham; because I have made thee the father of many nations.( Gen. xvii. 5.) And changing that of Sarai into Sara, of lady that she was in Abraham's house, he makes her lady of the nations and peoples who were to be born of her. If he changes Jacob into Israel, the reason is immediately given: For if thou halt been powerful against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men. (Ib. xxxii. 28.) So that God by the names which he imposes not only marks the things named, but teaches us something of their qualities and conditions. Witness the angels, who have names only according to their offices, and S. John Baptist, who has the grace in his name which he announced in his preaching; as is customary in that holy language of the Israelites. The imposition of the name in the case of S. Peter is no small argument of the particular excellence of his charge, according to the very reason which Our Lord appended: Thou art Peter, &c.
But what name does he give him? A name full of majesty, not common, not trivial, but one expressive of superiority and authority, like unto that of Abraham himself. For if Abraham was thus called because he was to be father of many nations, S. Peter has received this name because upon him as upon a firm rock was to be founded the multitude of Christians. And it is on account of this resemblance that S. Bernard "calls the dignity of Peter " patriarchate of Abraham." (de Consid. ii)
When Isaias would exhort the Jews by the example of Abraham, the stock from which they sprang, he calls Abraham Peter: Look unto Abraham, unto the rock (petram)-whence you are hewn: . . look unto Abraham your father; (li. 1,2)' where he shows that this name of rock very properly refers to paternal authority. This name is one of Our Lord's names; for what name do we find more frequently attributed to the Messias than that of rock ? (Eph. ii. 20; Ps. Cxvii. 21; I Cor x. 4) This changing and imposition of name is then very worthy of consideration. For the names that God gives are full of power and might. He communicates Peter's name to him; he has therefore communicated to him some quality corresponding with the name. Our Lord himself is by excellence called the rock, because he is the foundation of the Church, and the corner-stone, the support, and the firmness, of this spiritual edifice: and he has declared that on S. Peter should his Church be built, and that he would establish him in the faith: Confirm thybrethren.(Luke xxii. 32) I am well aware that he imposed a name upon the two brothers John and James, Boanerges, the sons of thunder;(Mark iii. 17) but this name is not one of superiority or command, but rather of obedience, nor proper or special but common to two, nor, apparently, was it permanent, since they have never since been called by it: it was rather a title of honour, on account of the excellence of their preaching. But in the case of S. Peter he gives a name permanent, full of authority, and so peculiar to him that we may well say: to which of the others hath he said at any time, Thou art Peter? -showing that S. Peter was superior to the others.
But I will remind you that Our Lord did not change S. Peter's name, but only added a new name to his old one, perhaps in order that he might remember in his authority what he had been, what his stock was, and that the majesty of the second name might be tempered by the humility of the first, and that if the name of Peter made us recognise him as chief, the name of Simon might tell us that he was not absolute chief, but obeying and subaltern chief, and head-servant. S. Basil seems to have given support to what I am saying, when he said (Hom. de Peonit. 4): " Peter denied thrice and was placed in the foundation. Peter had previously not denied, and had been pronounced blessed. He had said: Thou art the Son of the living God, and thereupon had heard that he was Peter. The Lord thus returned his praise, because although he was a rock, yet he was not the rock; for Christ is truly the immovable rock, but Peter on account of the rock. Christ indeed gives his own prerogative to others, yet he gives them not losing them himself, he holds them none the less. He is a rock, and he made a rock; what is his, he communicates to his servants; this is the proof of opulence, namely, to have and to give to others." Thus speaks S. Basil.
What does he [Christ] say? three things; but we must consider them one after the other : Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: (Matt. xvi.): he says, that Peter was a stone or rock, and that on this rock or this stone he would build his Church.
But here we are in a difficulty: for it is granted that Our Lord has spoken to S. Peter, and of S. Peter as far as this- and upon this rock -but, it is said that in these words he no longer speaks of S. Peter. Now I ask you:-What likelihood is there that Our Lord would have made this grand preface: Blessed art thou Simon Bar jona ; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven and I say to thee, &c., in order to say no more than Thou art Peter,-and then suddenly have changed his subject and gone on to speak of something else ? And again, when he says : And on this rock I will build my church,-do you not see that he evidently speaks of the rock of which he had previously spoken? and of what other rock had he spoken but Simon, to whom be had said: Thou art Peter? But this is the ambiguity which may be causing hesitation in your mind; you perhaps think that as Peter is now the proper name of a man, it was so then, and that so we transfer the signification of Peter to rock by equivocation of masculine and feminine. But we do not equivocate here; for it is but one same word, and taken in the same sense, when Our Lord said to Simon: Thou art Peter, and when he said: and on this rock I will build my church. And this name of Peter was not a proper name of a man, but was only [then] appropriated to Simon Bar-jona. This you will much better understand, if you take it in the language in which Our Lord said it; he spoke not Latin but Syriac. He therefore called him not Peter but Cephas, thus: Thou art Cephas, and on this Cephas I will build: as if one said in Latin: Thou art saxum, and on this saxum; or in French: Thou art rocher, and on this rocher I will build my church. Now what doubt remains that it is the same person of whom he says: Thou art Rock, and of whom he says And on this Rock ? Certainly there is no other Cephas spoken of in all this chapter but Simon. On what ground then do we come to refer this relative hanc to another Cephas besides the one who immediately precedes?
You will say:-Yes, but the Latin says: Thou art Petrus, and not: Thou art Petra: now this relative hanc, which is feminine, cannot refer to Petrus, which is masculine. The Latin version indeed has other arguments enough to make it clear that this stone is no other than S. Peter, and therefore, to accommodate the word to the person to whom it was given as a name, who was masculine, there is given it a corresponding termination; as the Greek does, which had put: Thou art neTpos, and on this Tn neTpa. But it does not come out so well in Latin as in Greek, because in Latin Petrus does not mean exactly the same as petra, but in Greek neTpos and neTpa is the very same thing. Similarly in French rocher and roche is the same thing, yet still so that if I had to predicate either word of a man, I would rather apply to him the name of rocher than of roche, to make the masculine word correspond with the masculine subject. I have only to add, on this interpretation, that nobody doubts that Our Lord called S. Peter Cephas (for S. John records it most explicitly, and S. Paul, to the Galatians), or that Cephas means a stone or a rock, as S. Jerome says (In Gal. ii. 13.).
In fine, to prove to you that it is really S. Peter of whom it is said: And on this rock,-I bring forward the words that follow. For it is all one to promise him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and to say to him: Upon this rock; now we cannot doubt that it is S. Peter to whom he promises the keys of the kingdom of heaven, since he says clearly: And to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven: if therefore we do not wish to disconnect this piece of the Gospel from the preceding and the following words in order to place it elsewhere at our fancy, we cannot believe but that all this is said to S. Peter and of S. Peter: Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. And this the Catholic Church, when, even according to the admission of the ministers, she was true and pure, has confessed loudly and clearly in the assembly of 630 Bishops at the Council of Chalcedon (Act iii.).
Let us now see what these words are worth and what they import. (i.) We know that what the head is to a living body, the root to a tree, that the foundation is to a building. Our Lord then, who is comparing his Church to a building, when he says that he will build it on S. Peter, shows that S. Peter will be its foundation-stone, the root of this precious tree, the head of this excellent body. The French call both the building and the family, house, on this principle, that as a house is simply a collection of stones and other materials arranged with order, correspondence and measure, so a family is simply a collection of persons with order and interdependence. It is after this likeness that Our Lord calls his Church a building, and when he makes S. Peter its foundation, he makes him head and superior of this family.
(2.) By these words Our Lord shows the perpetuity and immovableness of this foundation. The stone on which one raises the building is the first, the others rest on it. Other stones may be removed without overthrowing the edifice, but he who takes away the foundation, knocks down the house. If then the gates of hell can in no wise prevail against the Church, they can in no wise prevail against its foundation and head, which they cannot take away and overturn without entirely overturning the whole edifice.
He shows one of the differences there are between S. Peter and himself. For Our Lord is foundation and founder, foundation and builder; but S. Peter is only foundation. Our Lord is its Master and Lord in perpetuity; S. Peter has only the management of it, as we shall explain by and by.
(3.) By these words Our Lord shows that the stones which are not placed and fixed on this foundation are not of the Church, although they may be in the Church.
That the pretended reformers had no mediate mission either from the people or from the Bishops.
BUT a great proof of the contrary, as our adversaries think, is that, according to S. Paul: No one can lay another foundation but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus" ( 1 Cor. 3 11); and according to the same we are domestics of God; built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone.(Eph. Ii, 19,20) And, in the Apocalypse, (xxi., 14) the wall of the holy city had twelve foundations, and in these twelve foundations the names of the twelve Apostles. If then, say they, all the twelve Apostles are foundations of the Church, how do you attribute this title to S. Peter in particular? And if S. Paul says that no one can lay another foundation than Our Lord, how do you dare to say that by these words: Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church S. Peter has been established as foundation of the Church? Why do you not rather say, asks Calvin, that this stone on which the Church is founded is no other than Our Lord? Why do you not rather declare, says Luther, that it is the confession of faith which Peter had made?
But in good truth it is an ill way of interpreting Scripture to overturn one passage by another, or to strain it by a forced interpretation to a strange and unbecoming sense. We must leave to it as far as possible the naturalness and sweetness of the sense which belongs to it.
In this case, then, since we see that Scripture teaches us there is no other foundation than Our Lord, and the same teaches us clearly that S. Peter is such also, yea and further that the Apostles are so, we are not to give up the first teaching for the second, the second for the third, but to leave them all three in their entirety. Which we shall easily do if we consider these passages in good faith and sincerely.
Now Our Lord is in very deed the only foundation of the Church; he is the foundation of our faith, of our hope and charity; he is the foundation of all ecclesiastical authority and order, and of all the doctrine and administration which are therein. Who ever doubted of this? But, some one will say to me, if he is the only foundation, how do you place S. Peter also as foundation? (I.) You do us wrong; it is not we who place him as foundation. He, besides whom no other can be placed, he himself placed him. So that if Our Lord is true founder of the Church, as he is, we must believe that S. Peter is such too, since Our Lord has placed him in this rank. If any one besides Our Lord himself had given him this grade we should all cry out with you: No one can lay another foundation but that which is laid. (2.) And then, have you well considered the words of S. Paul? He will not have us, recognise . foundation besides Our Lord, but neither is S Peter nor are the other Apostles foundations besides Our Lord they are subordinate to Our Lord: their doctrine is not other than that of their Master, but their very Master's itself. Thus the supreme charge. which S. Peter had in the militant Church, by reason of which he is called foundation of the Church, as chief and governor, is not beside the authority of his Master, but is only a participation in this, so that he is not the foundation of this hierarchy besides Our Lord but rather in Our Lord: as we call him most holy Father in Our Lord, outside whom he would be nothing. We do not indeed recognise any other secular authority than that of His Highness [of Savoy], but we recognise several under this, which are not properly other than that of His Highness, because they are only certain portions and participations of it. (3.) In a word, let us interpret S. Paul passage by passage: do you not think he makes his meaning clear enough when he says: You are built upo the foundations of the Prophets and Apostles But that you may know these foundations to be no other than that which he preached, he adds: Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. Our Lord then is foundation and S. Peter also, but with so notable a difference that in respect of the one the other may be said not to be it. For Our Lord is foundation and founder, foundation without other foundation, foundation of the natural, Mosaic and Evangelic Church, foundation perpetual and immortal, foundation of the militant and triumphant, foundation by his own nature, foundation of our faith, hope and charity, and of the efficacy of the Sacraments.
S. Peter is foundation, not founder, of the whole Church; foundation but founded on another foundation, which is Our Lord; foundation of the Evangelic Church alone, foundation subject to succession, foundation of the militant not of the triumphant, foundation by participation, ministerial not absolute foundation; in fine, administrator and not lord, and in no way the foundation of our faith, hope and charity, nor of the efficacy of the Sacraments. A difference so great as this makes the one unable, in comparison, to be called a foundation by the side of the other, whilst, however, taken by itself, it can be called a foundation, in order to pay proper regard to the Holy Word. So, although he is the Good Shepherd, he gives us shepherds (Eph. iv, 11) under himself, between whom and his Majesty there is so great a difference that he declares himself to be the only shepherd (John x, 11; Ezech. xxxiv. 23).
At the same time it is not good reasoning to say all the Apostles in general are called foundations of the Church, therefore S. Peter is only such in the same way as the others are. On the contrary, as Our Lord has said in particular, and in particular terms, to S. Peter, what is afterwards said in general of the others, we must conclude that there is in S. Peter some particular property of foundation, and that he in particular has been what the whole college has been together. The whole Church has been founded on all the Apostles, and the whole on S. Peter in particular; it is then S. Peter who is its foundation taken by himself, which the others are not. . For to whom has it ever been said Thou art Peter, &c.? It would be to violate the Scripture to say that all the Apostles in general have not been foundations of the Church. It would also be to violate the Scripture to deny that S. Peter was so in particular. It is necessary that the general word should produce its general effect, and the particular its particular, in order that nothing may remain useless and without mystery out of Scriptures so mysterious. We have only to see - for what general reason all the Apostles are called foundations of the Church: namely, because it is they who by their preaching have planted the faith and the Christian doctrine ; in which if we are to give some prerogative to any one of the Apostles it will be to that one who said: I have laboured more abundantly than all they.' (I Cor. xv. 10)
And it is in this sense that is meant the passage of the Apocalypse. For the twelve Apostles are called foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem, because they were the first who converted the world to the Christian religion Lwhich was as it were to lay the foundations of the glory of men, and the seeds of their happy immortality. But the passage of S. Paul seems to be understood not so much of the person of the Apostles as of their doctrine. For it is not said that we are built upon the Apostles, but upon the foundation of the Apostles - that is, upon the doctrine which they have announced. This is easy to see, because it is not only said that we are upon the foundation of the Apostles, but also of the Prophets, and we know well that the Prophets have. not otherwise been foundations of the Evangelical Church than by their doctrine. And in this matter all the Apostles seem to stand on a level, unless S. John and S. Paul go first for the excellence of their theology. It is then in this sense that all the Apostles are foundations of the Church; but in authority and government S. Peter precedes all the others as much as the head surpasses the members; for he has been appointed ordinary pastor and supreme head of the Church, the others have been delegated pastors intrusted with as full power and authority over all the rest of the Church as S. Peter, except that S. Peter was the head of them all and their pastor as of all Christendom. Thus they were foundations of the Church equally with him as to the conversion of souls and as to doctrine; but as to the authority of governing, they were so unequally, as S. Peter was the ordinary head not only of the rest of the whole Church but of the Apostles also. For Our Lord had built on him the whole of his Church, of which they were not only parts but the principal and noble parts. "Although the strength of the Church," says S. Jerome (ad Jovin. I. 27), "is equally established on all the Apostles, yet amongst the twelve one is chosen that a head being appointed occasion of schism may be taken away." "There are, indeed," says S. Bernard to his Eugenius (de Consid. ii. 8), and we can say as much of S. Peter for the same reason, "there are others who are custodians and pastors of flocks, but thou hast inherited a name as much the more glorious as it is more special."
The pretended reformers had no immediate or extraordinary mission from God.
Our adversaries are so angry at our proposing to them the chair of S. Peter as a holy touchstone by which we may test the meanings, imaginations and fancies they put into the Scriptures, that they overthrow heaven and earth to wrest out of our hands the express words of Our Lord, by which, having said to S. Peter that he would build his Church upon him, in order that we might know more particularly what he meant he continues in these words: And to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. One could not speak more plainly. He has said: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar jona, because flesh and blood, &c. And I say to thee that thou art Peter, . . . and to thee will I give, & c. This to thee refers to that very person to whom he had said: And I say to thee ; it is then to S. Peter. But the ministers try as hard as they can to disturb the clear fountain of the Gospel, so that S. Peter may not be able to find his keys therein, and that we may turn disgusted from the water of the holy obedience which we owe to the vicar of Our Lord.
And therefore they have bethought them of saying that S. Peter had received this promise of Our Lord in the name of the whole Church, without having received any particular privilege in his own person. But if this is not violating Scripture, never did man violate it. For was it not to S. Peter that he was speaking? and how could he better express his intention than by saying: And I say to thee. . .. I will give to thee? Put with this his having just spoken of the Church, and said: The gates of hell shall not prevail against it, which would have prevented him from saying: And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom, if he had wished to give hem to the whole Church immediately. For he does not say to it, but, to thee, will I give. If it is allowed thus to go surmising over clear words, there will be nothing in the Scripture which cannot be twisted into any meaning whatever; though I do not deny that S. Peter in this place was speaking in his own name and in that of the whole Church, not indeed as delegated by the Church or by the disciples (for we have not the shadow of a sign of this commission in the Scripture, and the revelation on which he founds his confession had been made to himself alone-unless the whole college of Apostles was named Simon Bar jona), but as mouthpiece, prince and head of the Church and of the others, according to S. Chrysostom and S. Cyril on this place, and " on account of the primacy (Ult. In Joan.) of his Apostolate," as S. Augustine says. It was then the whole Church that spoke in the person of S. Peter as in the person of its head, and not S. Peter that spoke in the person of the Church. For the body speaks only in its head, and the head speaks in itself not in its body; and although S. Peter was not as yet head and prince of the Church, which office was only conferred on him after the resurrection of the Master, it was enough that he was already chosen out for it and had a pledge of it. As also the other Apostles had not as yet the Apostolic power, travelling over all that blessed country rather as scholars with their tutor to learn the profound lessons which afterwards they taught to others than as Apostles or Envoys, which they afterwards were throughout the whole world, when their sound went forth into all the earth (Ps. xviii. 5.). Neither do I deny that the rest of the prelates of the Church have a share in the use of the keys; and as for the Apostles I own that they have every authority here. I say only that the giving of the keys is here promised principally to S. Peter, and for the benefit of the Church. For although it is he who has received them, still it is not for his private advantage but for that of the Church. The control of the keys is promised to S. Peter in particular, and principally, then afterwards to the Church; but it is promised principally for the general good of the Church, then afterwards for that of S. Peter; as is the case with all public charges.
But, one will ask me, what difference is there between the promise which Our Lord here makes to S. Peter to give him the keys, and that which He made to the Apostles afterwards? For in truth it seems to have been but the same, because Our Lord explaining what he meant by the keys said: And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose, &c- which is just what he said to the Apostles in general: Whatsoever you shall bind, &c (Matt. xviii. 18). If then he promises to all in general what he promises to Peter in particular, there will be no ground for saying that S. Peter is greater than one of the others by this promise.
I answer that in the promise and in the execution of the promise Our Lord has always preferred S. Peter by expressions which oblige us to believe that he has been made head of the Church. And as to the promise, I confess that by these words: And whatsoever thou shalt loose, Our Lord has promised no more to S. Peter than he did to the others afterwards Whatsoever you shall bind, &c. For the words are the same in substance and in meaning in the two passages. I admit also that by these words: And whatsoever thou shalt loose, said to S. Peter, he explains the preceding: And I will give to thee the keys, but I deny that it is the same thing to promise the keys and to say: Whatsoever thou shalt loose. Let us then see what it is to promise the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And who knows not that when a master, going away from his house, leaves the keys with some one, what he does is to leave him the charge and governance thereof. When princes make their entrance into cities, the keys are presented to them as an acknowledgment of their sovereign authority.
It is then the supreme authority which Our Lord here promises to S. Peter; and in fact when the Scripture elsewhere wishes to speak of a sovereign authority it has used similar terms. In the Apocalypse(i. 17, 18) when Our Lord wishes to make himself known to his servant, he says to him: I am the first and the last and alive and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell. What does he mean by the keys of death and of hell, except the supreme power over the one and the other? And there also where it is said These things saith the Holy one and the True one, who hath the key of David: he that openeth and no man shutteth, shutteth and no man openeth (Ibid. iii. 7) , what can we understand but the supreme authority of the Church? And what else is meant by what the Angel said to Our Lady (Luke i. 32): The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever?-the Holy Spirit making us know the kingship of our Lord, now by the seat or throne, now by the keys. But is the commandment which in Isaias (xxii.) is given to Eliacim which is parallel in every particular with that which Our Lord gives to S. Peter. In it there is described the deposition of a sovereign-priest and governor of the Temple: Thus saith the Lord God of hosts: go get thee into him that dwelleth in the tabernacle, to Sobna who is over the temple; and thou shalt say to him what dost thou here? And further on: I will depose thee. See there the de position of one, and now the institution of the other. And it. shall come to pass in that day that I will call my servant Eliacim the son of Helcias, and I will, clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand : and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda. And I will lay the key of the house David upon his shoulder; and he shall open and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open.
Could anything fit better than these two Scriptures? For: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, because flesh and blood have not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven- is it not at least equivalent to: I will call my servant Eliacim the son of Helcias? And I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell, &c. -does this not signify the same as: I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand, and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Juda? And what else is it to be the foundation or foundationstone of a family than to be there as father, to have the superintendence, to be governor there? And if one has had this assurance: I will lay the key of the house of David on his shoulder, the other has had no less, who had the promise: And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And if when he has opened no one shall shut, when he has shut no one shall open; so, when the other shall have loosened no one shall bind, when he shall have bound no one shall loosen. The one is Eliacim son of Helcias, the other, Simon the son of Jonas; the one is clothed with the pontifical robe, the other with heavenly revelation; the one has power in his hand, the other is a strong rock; the one is as father in Jerusalem, the other is as foundation in the Church; the one has the keys of the kingdom of David, the other those of the Church of the Gospel; when one shuts nobody opens, when one binds nobody looses; when one opens no one shuts, when one loosens nobody binds. What further remains to be said than that if ever Eliacim son of Helcias was head of the Mosaic Temple, Simon son of Jonas was the same of the Gospel Church? Eliacim represented Our Lord as figure, S. Peter represents him as lieutenant; Eliacim represented him in the Mosaic Church, and S. Peter in the Christian Church. Such is what is meant by this promise of giving the keys to S. Peter, a promise which was never made to the other Apostles.
But I say that it is not all one to promise the keys of the kingdom and to say: Whatever thou shalt loose, although one is an explanation of the other. And what is the difference? -certainly just that which there is between the possesion of an authority and the exercise of it. It may well happen that while a king lives, his queen, or his son, may have just as much power as the king himself to chastise, absolve, make gifts, grant favours: such person, however, will not have the sceptre but only the exercise of it. He will indeed have the same authority, but not in possession, only in use and exercise. What he does will be valid, but he will not be head or king, he must recognise that his power is extraordinary, by commission and delegation, whereas the power of the king, which may be no greater, is ordinary and is his own. So Our Lord promising the keys to S. Peter remits to him the ordinary authority, and gives him that office in ownership, the exercise of which he referred to when he said: Whatsoever thou shalt loose, &c. Now afterwards, when he makes the same promise to the other Apostles, he does not give them the keys or the ordinary authority, but only gives them the use and exercise thereof. This difference is taken from the very terms of the Scripture for to loose and to bind signifies but the action and exercise, to have the keys, the habit. . . . See how different is the promise which Our Lord made to S. Peter from that which he made to the other Apostles. The Apostles all have the same power as S. Peter, but not in the same rank, inasmuch as they have it as delegates and agents, but S. Peter as ordinary head and permanent officer. And in truth it was fitting that the Apostles who were to plant the Church everywhere, should all have full power and entire authority as to the use of the keys and the exercise of their powers, while it was most necessary that one amongst them should have charge of the keys by office and dignity,- "that the Church, which is one," as S. Cyprian says, (Ad Jubaianum) "should by the word of the Lord be founded upon one who received the keys thereof."
An answer to the two objections which are made by the supporters of the theory of immediate mission.
To which of the others was it ever said: I have prayed or thee Peter, that thy faith fail not, and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren (Luke xxii. 32)? Truly they are two privileges of great importance, these. Our Lord, when about to establish the faith in his Church, did not pray for the faith of any of the others in particular, but only of S. Peter as head. For what could be the object of this prerogative ? Satan hath sought you (vos)-you all; but I have prayed for thee Peter,-is not this to place him alone as responsible for all, as head and guide of the whole flock? But who sees not how pregnant this passage is for our purpose? Let us consider what precedes, and we shall find that Our Lord had declared to his Apostles that there was one of them greater than the others: He, who is the greatest among you.. and he that is the leader,- and immediately Our Lord goes on to say to him that the adversary was seeking to sift them, all of them, as wheat, but that still he had prayed for him in particular that his faith should not fail. I pray you, does not this grace which was so peculiar to him, and which was not common to the others, according to S. Thomas, show that S. Peter was that one who was greatest among them? All are tempted, and prayer is made for one alone. But the words following render all this quite evident. For some Protestant might say that he prayed for S. Peter in particular on account of some other reason that might be imagined (for the imagination ever furnishes support enough for obstinacy), not because he was head of the others or because the faith of the others was maintained in their pastor. On the contrary, gentlemen, it is in order that being once converted he might confirm his brethren. He prays for S. Peter as for the confirmer and support of the others; and what is this but to declare him head of the others? Truly one could not give S. Peter the command to confirm the Apostles without charging him to have care of them. For how could he put this command in practice without paying regard to the weakness or the strength of the others in order to strengthen or confirm them? Is this not to again call him foundation of the Church? If he supports, secures, strengthens the very foundation-stones, how shall he not confirm all the rest? If he has the charge of supporting the columns of the Church, how shall he not support all the rest of the building? If he has the charge of feeding the pastors, must he not be sovereign pastor himself? The gardener who sees the young plant exposed to the continual rays of the sun, and wishes to preserve it from the drought which threatens it, does not pour water on each branch, but having well steeped the root considers that all the rest is safe, because the root continues to distribute the moisture to the rest of the plant. Our Lord also, having planted this holy assembly of the disciples, prayed for the head and the root, in order that the water of faith might not fail to him who was therewith to supply all the rest, and in order that through the head the faith might always be preserved in the Church.
But I must tell you, before closing this part of my subject, that the denial which S. Peter made on the day of the Passion must not trouble you here; for he did not lose the faith, but only sinned as to the confession of it. Fear made him disavow that which he believed. He believed right but spoke wrong.
That the invisible church from which the innovators pretend to derive their mission is a figment, and that the true Church of Christ is visible.
WE know that Our Lord gave a most ample procuration and commission to his Apostles to treat with the world concerning its salvation, when he said to them (John xx.) : As the Father hath sent me I also send you . . receive ye the Holy Ghost whose sins you shall forgive, &c. It was the execution of that promise of his which had been made them in general: Whatsoever you shall bind, &c. But it was never said to any one of the other Apostles in particular: Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, nor was it ever said to one of the others: Feed my sheep (John xxi. 17). S. Peter alone had this charge. They were equal in the Apostolate, but into to the pastoral dignity S. Peter alone was instituted: Feed my sheep. There are other pastors in the Church; each must feed the flock which is under him as S. Peter says (I. Ep. v. 2), or that over which h the Holy Ghost hath placed him bishop, according to S. Paul (Acts xx. 28). But, "to which of the others," says S. Bernard, (De Consid. ii. 8.)" were ever the sheep so absolutely, so universally committed: Feed my sheep?"
And to prove that it is truly S. Peter to whom these words are addressed, I betake myself to the holy Word. It is S. Peter only who is called Simon son of John, or of Jona (for one is the same as the other, and Jona is but the short of Joannah); and in order that we may know that this Simon son of John is really S. Peter, S. John bears witness that it was Simon Peter- Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? It is then S. Peter to whom in particular Our Lord says: Feed my sheep.
And Our Lord puts S, Peter apart from the others in that place where he compares him with them: Lovest thou me- there is S. Peter on the one side- more than these- there are the Apostles on the other. And although all the Apostles were not present, yet the principal ones were: S. James, S. John, S. Thomas and others. It is only S. Peter who is grieved, it, is: only S. Peter whose death is foretold. What room is there then for doubting that it was to him alone that this word feed my sheep is addressed, a word which is united to all these others ?
Now that to feed the sheep includes the charge of them, appears clearly. For what is it to have the charge of feeding the sheep, but to be pastor and shepherd; and shepherds have full charge of the sheep, and not only lead them to pasture, but bring them back, fold them, guide them, rule them, keep them in fear, chastise them and guard them. In Scripture to rule and to feed the people is taken as the same thing, which is easy to see in Ezekiel (xxxiv.); in the second Book of Kings (v.2) and in several places of the Psalms, where, according to the original there is to feed, and we have to rule: and in fact, between ruling and pasturing the sheep with iron crook there is no difference. In Psalm xxii., verse I, The Lord ruleth me, i.e., as shepherd governeth me, and when it is said that David had been elected to feed Jacob his servant and Israel his inheritance: and he fed them in the innocence of his (Ps. lxxvii.,71,72) it is just the same as if he said to rule, to govern, to preside over. And it is after the same figure of speech that the people are called sheep of the pasture of Our Lord (Ps. xcix. 3) so that, to have the commandment of feeding the Christian sheep is no other thing than to be their ruler and pastor.
It is now easy to see what authority Our Lord intrusted to S. Peter by these words: Feed my sheep. For in truth the charge is so general that it includes all the faithful, whatever may be their condition; the commandment is so particular that it is addressed only to S. Peter. He who wishes to have this honour of being one of Our Lord's sheep must acknowledge S. Peter, or him who takes Peter's place, as his shepherd. " If thou lovest me "-I quote S. Bernard (De Consid. ii. 8.) - "feed my sheep. Which sheep ? The people of this or that city or region or even kingdom? My sheep, Christ says. Is it not clear to everybody that he did not mean some, but handed over all. There is no exception where there is no distinction. And perhaps the others, his fellow-disciples, were present when, giving a charge to one, he commended unity to all in one flock with one pastor, according to that (Cant. vi.): One is my dove, my beautiful one, my perfect one. Where unity is there is perfection."
When Our Lord said: I know my sheep, he spoke of all; when he said feed my sheep, he still means it of all; for Our Lord has but one fold and one flock. And what else is it to say: feed my sheep, but: Take care of my flock, of my pastures, or of my sheep and my sheepfold? It is then entirely under the charge of S. Peter. For if he said to him: Feed my sheep, either he recommended all to him or some only; if he only recommended some-which? I ask. Were it not to recommend to him none, to recommend to him some only without specifying which, and to put him in charge of unknown sheep? If all, as the Word expresses it, then he was the general pastor of the whole Church. And the matter is thus rightly settled beyond doubt. It is the common explanation of the Ancients, it is the execution of his promises. But there is a mystery in this institution which our S. Bernard does not allow me to forget, now that I have taken him as my guide in this point. It is that Our Saviour thrice charges him to do the office of pastor, saying to him first: Feed my lambs; secondly, my lambs; thirdly, my sheep: not only to make this institution more solemn, but to show that he gave into his charge not only the people, but the pastors and Apostles themselves, who, as sheep, nourish the lambs and young sheep, and are mothers to them.
And it makes nothing against this truth that S. Paul and the other Apostles have fed many peoples with the Gospel doctrine, for being all under the charge of S. Peter, what they have done belongs also to him, as the victory does to the general, though the captains have fought : nor, that S. Paul received from S. Peter the right hand of fellowship (Gal. ii, 9), for they were companions in preaching, but S. Peter was greater and chief in the pastoral office ; and the chiefs, call the soldiers and captains comrades.
Nor that S. Paul was the Apostle of the Gentiles and S. Peter of the Jews; because it was not to divide the government of the Church, nor to hinder either the one or the other from converting the Gentiles and the Jews indifferently, nor because the chief authority was not in the hands of one; but it was to assign them the quarters where they were principally to labour in preaching, in order that each one attacking impiety in his own province the world might the sooner be filled with the sound of the Gospel.
Nor that he would seem not to have known that the Gentiles were to belong to the fold of Our Lord, which was confided to him: for what he said to the good Cornelius: In truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh justice is acceptable to him (Acts x.), is nothing different from what he had said before: Whosoever shall call upon, the name of the Lord shall be saved (ii.), and the prophecy which he had explained: And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed (iii.). He was only uncertain as to the time when the bringing back of the Gentiles was to begin, according to the holy Word of the Master: You shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth (i.), and that of S. Paul: To you behoved us to speak first the word God but seeing you reject it, we turn to the Gentiles (xiii.), just as Our Lord had already opened the mind of the Apostles to the intelligence of the Scriptures when he said to them: Thus it behoved.. . . that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginningwith Jerusalem (Luke ult.).
Nor that the Apostles instituted deacons without the command of S. Peter, in the Acts of the Apostles (vi.); for S. Peter's presence there sufficiently authorised that act; besides, we do not deny that the Apostles had full powers of administration in the Church, under the pastoral authority of S. Peter. And we bishops, in union with the Holy See of Rome, ordain both deacons and priests without any special authorisation.
Nor that the Apostles sent Peter and John into Samaria (Ib. viii.), for the people also sent Phinees, who was the High Priest, and their superior, to the children of Ruben and Gad (Jos. xxii.); and the centurion sent the chiefs and heads of the Jews, whom he considered to be greater than himself (Luke vii.); and S. Peter being in the council, himself consented to and authorised his own mission.
Nor finally, that which is made so much of- at S. Paul withstood S. Peter to the face (Gal ii. ) for every one knows that it is permitted to the inferior to correct the greater and to admonish him with charity and submission when charity requires; witness our S. Bernard in his books On Consideration; and on this subject the great S. Gregory (In Ezech. ii. 6) says these all golden words: " "He became the follower of his inferior, though before him in dignity; so that he who was first in the high dignity of the Apostolate might be first in humility.”
Answer to the objections made against the visibility of the Church.
IT is a thing very worthy of consideration in this matter that the Evangelists never name either all the Apostles or a part of them together without putting S. .Peter ever at the very top, ever at the head of the band. This we cannot consider to be done accidentally; for it is perpetually observed by the Evangelists; and it is not four or five times that they are thus named together, but very often. And besides, as to the other Apostles, they do not keep any particular order.
The names of the twelve Apostles are these, says S. Matthew (x.): The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Mathew the publican, James of Alpheus and Thaddeus, Simon Chananeus, and Judas Iscariot. He names S. Andrew the 2nd; S. Mark names him the 4th; and to better show that it makes no difference, S. Luke, who in one place has put him 2nd, in another puts him 4th. S. Matthew puts S. John 4th; S. Mark puts him 3rd; S. Luke in one place 4th, in another 2nd. S. Matthew puts S. James 3rd; S. Mark puts him 2nd. In short, it is only S. Philip, S. James of Alpheus and Judas who are not sometimes higher, sometimes lower. When the Evangelists elsewhere name all the Apostles together there is no principle except as regards S. Peter, who goes first everywhere. Well now, let us imagine that we were to see in the country, in the streets, in meetings, what we read in the Gospels (and in truth it is more certain than if we had seen it)-if we saw S. Peter the first and all the rest grouped together,-should we not judge that the others were equals and companions, and S. Peter the chief and captain.
But, besides this, very often when the Evangelists talk of the Apostolic company they name only Peter, and mention the others as accessory and following: And Simon and who were with him followed after him (Mark i.): But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep (Luke ix.). You know well that to name one person and put the others all together with him, is to make him the most important and the others his inferiors.
Very often again he is named separately from the others, as by the Angel: Tell his disciples and Peter (Mark xvi): But Peter standing up, with the eleven . . . they said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles (Acts ii.): Peter then answering and the Apostles said, Have we not power to lead about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord and Cephas (i Cor. ix.)? What does this mean, to say: Tell his disciples and Peter-Peter and the Apostles answered? Was Peter not an Apostle? Either he was less or more than the others, or he was equal. No man, who is not altogether mad, will say he was less. If he is equal and stands on a level with the others, why is he put by himself? If there is nothing particular in him, why is it not just as well to say: Tell his disciples and Andrew, or John? Certainly it must be for some particular quality which is in him more than in the others, and because he was not a simple Apostle. So that having said: Tell his disciples, or, as the rest of the Apostles, how can one longer doubt that S. Peter is more than Apostle and disciple? Only once in the Scriptures S. Peter is named after S James, James and Cephas and John gave the right hands of fellowship (Gal. ii.).
But in truth there is too much occasion to doubt whether in the original and anciently S. Peter was named first or second, to allow any valid conclusion to be drawn from this place alone. For S. Augustine, S. Ambrose, S. Jerome, both in the commentary and in the text, have written Peter, James, John, which they could never have done if they had not found this same order in their copies: S. Chrysostom has done the same in the commentary. All this shows the diversity of copies, which makes the conclusion doubtful on either side. But even if the copies we now have were originals, one could deduce nothing from this single passage against the order of so many others; for S. Paul might be keeping to the order of the time in which he received the hand of fellowship, or without concerning himself about the order might have written first the one which came first to his mind.
But S. Matthew shows us clearly what order there was amongst the Apostles, that is, that one was first, and the remainder were equal without 2d or 3d. First,says he, Simon who is called Peter; he does not say 2d, Andrew, 3d, James, but goes on simply naming them, to let us know that provided S. Peter was first all the rest were in the same rank, and that amongst them there was no precedence. First, says he, Peter, and Andrew. From this is derived the name of Primacy. For if he were first (primes), his place was first, his rank first, and this quality of his was Primacy.
It is answered to this that if the Evangelists here named S. Peter the first, it was because he was the most advanced in age amongst the Apostles, or on account of some privilege which existed amongst them. But what is the worth of such a reason as this, I should like to know? To say that S. Peter was the oldest of the society is to seek at hazard an excuse for obstinacy; and the Scripture distinctly tells us he was not the earliest Apostle when it testifies that S. Andrew led him to Our Lord. The reasons are seen quite clearly in the Scripture, but because you are resolved to maintain the contrary, you go seeking about with your imagination on every side. Why say that S. Peter was the oldest, since it is a pure fancy which has no foundation in the Scripture, and is contrary to the Ancients? Why not say rather that he was the one on whom Christ founded his Church, to whom he had given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, who was the confirmer of the brethren? -for all this is in the Scripture. What you want to maintain you do maintain; whether it has a base in Scripture or not makes no difference. And as to the other privileges, let anybody go over them to me in order, and none will be found special to S. Peter but those which make him head of the Church.
That in the Church there are good and bad, predestinate and reprobate.
IF I wanted to bring together here all that is to be found, I should make this proof as large as I want to make all the section, and without effort on my part. For that excellent theologian, Robert Bellarmine, would put many things into my hands. But particularly has Doctor Nicholas Sanders treated this subject so solidly and so amply that it is hard to say anything about it which he has not said or written in his books On the Visible Monarchy. I will give some extracts.
Whoever will read the Scriptures attentively will see this Primacy of S. Peter everywhere. If the Church is compared to a building, as it is, its rock and its secondary foundation is S. Peter (Matt. xvi.).
If you say it is like a family, it is only Our Lord who pays tribute as head of the household, and after him S. Peter as his lieutenant(lb xvii.).
If to a ship, S. Peter is its captain, and in it Our Lord teaches (Luke v.).
If to a fishery, S. Peter is first in it; the true disciples of Our Lord fish only with him (Ib. and John xxi.).
If to draw-nets (Matt. xiii.), it is S. Peter who casts them into the sea, S. Peter who draws them; the other disciples are his coadjutors. It is S. Peter who brings them to land and presents the fish to Our Lord (Luke v., John xxi).
Do you say it is like an embassy? S. Peter is first ambassador (Matt. x.).
Do you say it is a brotherhood Peter is first, the governor and confirmer of the rest (Luke xxii.).
Would you rather have it a kingdom? S. Peter receives its keys (Matt. xvi.).
Will you consider it a flock or fold of sheep and lambs? S. Peter is its pastor and shepherd-general (John xxi.).
Say now in conscience, how could Our Lord testify his intention more distinctly. Perversity cannot find use for its eyes amid such light. S. Andrew came the first to follow Our Lord; and it was he who brought his brother, S. Peter, and S. Peter precedes him everywhere. What does this signify except that the advantage one had in time the other had in dignity?
But let us continue. When Our Lord ascends to heaven, all the holy Apostolic body goes to S. Peter, as to the common father of the family (Acts i.).
Peter rises up amongst them and speaks the first, and teaches the interpretation of weighty prophecy (Ib.).
He has the first care of the restoration and increase of the Apostolic college (Ib.). It s he who first proposed to make an Apostle, which is no act of light authority; for the Apostles have all had successors, and by death have not lost their dignity. But S. Peter teaching the Church shows both that Judas had lost his Apostolate and that another was needed in his place, contrary to the ordinary course of this authority, which in the others continues after death, and which they will even exercise on the Day of Judgment, when they shall be seated around the Judge, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Apostles have no sooner received the Holy Ghost than S. Peter, as chief of the Evangelic Embassy, being with his eleven companions, begins to publish, according to his office, the holy tidings of salvation to the Jews in Jerusalem. He is the first catechist of the Church, and preacher of penance; the others are with him and are all asked questions, but S. Peter alone answers for all as chief of all (Acts ii.).
If a hand is to be put into the treasury of miracles confided to the Church, though S. John is present and is asked, S. Peter alone puts in his hand (lb. iii.).
When the time comes for beginning the use of the spiritual sword of the Church, to punish a lie, ,it is S. Peter who directs the first blow upon Animas and Sapphira (Ib. v.): from this springs the hatred which lying heretics bear against his See and succession; because, as S. Gregory says (In Ezech. ii, 18) " Peter by his word strikes liars dead."
He is the first who recognises and refutes heresy in Simon Magus (Ib. viii): hence comes the irreconcileable hatred of all heretics against his See.
He is the first who raises the dead, when he prays for the devout Tabitha (Ib. ix.).
When it is time to put the sickle into the. harvest of paganism, it is S. Peter to whom the revelation is made, as to the head of all the labourers, and the steward of the farmstead (Ib. x.).
The good Italian centurion, Cornelius, is ready to receive grace of the Gospel; he is sent to S. Peter, that the Gentiles may by his hands be blessed and consecrated: he is the first in commanding the pagans to be baptized (Acts x.).
When a General Council is sitting, S. Peter as president therein opens the gate to judgment and definition; and his sentence [is] followed by the rest, his private revelation becomes a law (lb. xv.).
S. Paul declares that he went to Jerusalem expressly to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days (Gal i.). He saw S. James there, but to see him was not what he went for, only to see S. Peter. What does this signify? Why did he not go as much to see the great and most celebrated Apostle S. James as to see S. Peter? Because we look at people in their head and face, and S. Peter was the head of all the Apostles.
When S. Peter and S. James were in prison the Evangelist testifies that prayer was made without ceasing by the Church to God for S. Peter, as for the general head and common ruler (Acts xii.).
If all this put together does not make you acknowledge S. Peter to be head of the Church and of the Apostles, I confess that Apostles are not Apostles, pastors not pastors, and doctors not doctors. For in what other more express words could be made known the authority of an Apostle and pastor over the people than those which the Holy Ghost has placed in the Scriptures to show that S. Peter was above Apostles, pastors, and the whole Church?
Answer to the objections of those who would have the Church to consist of the predestinate alone.
IT is true that Scripture suffices, but let us see who wrests it and violates it. If we were the first to draw conclusions in favour of the Primacy of S. Peter, one might think that we were wresting it. But how do things stand? It is most clear on the point, and has been understood in this sense by all the primitive Church. Those, then, force it who bring in a new sense, who gloss it against the natural meaning of the words, and against the sense of Antiquity. If this be lawful for everybody, the Scripture will no longer be anything but a toy for fanciful and perverse wits.
What is the meaning of this: that the Church has never held as patriarchal sees any but those of Alexandria, of Rome, and of Antioch? One may invent a thousand fancies, but there is no other reason than that which S. Leo produces (Ad Anat..): because S. Peter founded these three sees they have been called and esteemed patriarchal, as testify the Council of Nice, and that of Chalcedon, in which a great difference is made between these three sees and the others. As for those of Constantinople and Jerusalem, the abovenamed Councils show how differently they are considered from those three others founded by S. Peter.
Not that the Counil of Nice speaks of the See of Constantinople.; for Constantinople was of no importance at all at that time, having only been built by the great Constantine, who dedicated and named it in the twenty-fifth year of his Empire: but the Council of Nice treats of the see of Jerusalem, and that of Chalcedon of the see of Constantinople.
By the precedence and pre-eminence of these three sees, the ancient Church testified sufficiently that she held S. Peter for her chief, who had founded them. Otherwise why did she not place also in the same rank the see of Ephesus, founded by S. Paul, confirmed and assured by S. John; or the see of Jerusalem, in which S. James had conversed and presided ?
What else did she testify, when in the public and patent letters which they anciently called formatae, after the first letter of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, there was put the first letter of Peter, except that after Almighty God, who is the absolute King, the lieutenant's authority is in great esteem with all those who are good Christians?
As for the consent of the Fathers concerning this point, Surius, Sanders, and a thousand others have taken away from posterity all occasion of doubting it. I will only bring forward the names by which the Fathers have called him, which sufficiently show their belief concerning his authority.
Optatus of Milevis called him "the head of the Churches" (Contra Parm. ii).
They have called him "Head of the Church," as S. Jerome (adv. Jov. i.), and S. Chrysostom (Hom. ii in Matt.).
"Happy foundation of the Church," as S. Hilary (in Matt. xvi.), and
"Janitor of heaven, the first of the Apostles," as S. Augustine (in J. 56) after S. Matthew.
"Mouth and crown of the Apostles," as Origen (in Luc. xvii.), and S. Chrysostom (in Matt. 55).
“Mouth and prince of the Apostles," as the same S. Chrysostom (in J. 87).
"Guardian of the brethren, and of the whole world " (Ib. ult.).
“Pastor of the Church and head stronger than adamant " (Id. in Matt. 55).
"The immovable rock, immovable pedestal, the great Apostle, first of the disciples, first called and first obeying " (Id. in Poen. 3).
" Firmament of the Church, leader and master of Christians, column of the spiritual Israel, guardian of the feeble, master of the heavens, mouth of Christ, supreme head of the Apostles " (Id. in ador. caten. et glad. Apost. princ. Petri).
" Prince of the Church, port of faith, master of the world" (Id. in SS. P. et P. et Eliam).
"First in the supremacy of the Apostolate " (Greg. in Ezech. xviii.).
" High Priest of Christians " (Euseb. in Chron. 44).
" Master of the army of God " (Id. Hist. ii. 14).
"Set over the other disciples" (Bas. de Judie. Dei 9).
" President of the world " (Chrys. in Matt. I I ).
"The Lord of the house of God, and prince of all his possession" (Bern. Ep. 137, ad Eugen.).
Who shall dare to oppose this company? Thus they speak, thus they understand the Scripture, and according to it do they hold that all these names and titles are due to S. Peter.
The Church then was left on earth by her Master and Spouse with a visible chief and lieutenant of the Master and Lord. The Church is therefore to be always united together in a visible chief-minister of Christ.
That the Church cannot perish.
I HAVE clearly proved so far that the Catholic Church was a monarchy in which Christ's head-minister governed all the rest. It was not then S. Peter only who was its head, but, as the Church has not failed by the death of S. Peter, so the authority of a head has not failed; otherwise it would not be one, nor would it be in the state in which its founder had placed it. And in truth all the reasons for which Our Lord put a head to this body, do not so much require that it should be there in that beginning when the Apostles who governed the Church were holy, humble, charitable, lovers of unity and concord, as in the progress and continuation thereof, when charity having now grown cold each one loves himself, no one will obey the word of another nor submit to discipline.
I ask you: if the Apostles, whose understanding the Holy Spirit enlightened so immediately, who were so steadfast and so strong, needed a confirmer and pastor as the form (forme) and visible maintenance of their union, and of the union of the Church, how much more now has the Church need of one, when there are so many infirmities and weaknesses in the members of the Church? And if the wills of the Apostles, so closely united in charity, had need of an exterior bond in the authority of a head, how much more afterwards when charity has grown so cold is there need of a visible authority and ruler? And if, as S. Jerome says, in the time of the Apostles: " One is chosen from amongst all, in order that, a head being established, occasion of schism may be taken away," (Adv. Jov. i. 26) how much more now, for the same reason, must there be a chief in the Church? The fold of Our Lord is to last till the consummation of the world, in visible unity: the unity then of external government must remain in it, and nobody has authority to change the form of administration save Our Lord who established it.
All this has been well proven above, and it follows therefrom that S. Peter has had successors, has them in these days, and will have them even to the end of the ages.
I do not profess here to treat difficulties to the very bottom. It is enough for my purpose to indicate some principal reasons and to expose our belief precisely. Indeed, if I were to take notice of the objections which are made on this point, while I should find small difficulty I should have great trouble, and most of them are so slight that they are not worth losing time over. Let us see what conditions are required for succeeding to an office.
There can only be succession to one who, whether by deposition or by death, gives up and leaves his place; whence Our Lord is always head and sovereign Pontiff of the Church, to whom no one succeeds, because he is always living, and has never resigned or quitted this priesthood [or] pontificate; though here below, in the Church militant, he partly exercises it by his ministers and servants, his authority, however, being too excellent to be altogether communicated. But these ministers and representatives, as many pastors as ever there are, can give up and do give up, either by deposition or by death, their offices and dignities.
Now we have shown that S. Peter was head of the Church as prime minister of Christ, and that this office or dignity was not conferred on him for himself alone, but for the good and profit of the whole Church; so that Christianity being alway to endure, this same charge and authority must be perpetual in the Church militant: but how would it be perpetual if S. Peter had no successor? For there can be no doubt that S. Peter is pastor no longer, since he is no longer in the Church militant, nor is he even a visible man, which is a condition requisite for administration in the visible Church.
It remains to learn how he made this quittance, how he left this pontificate of his; whether it was by laying it down during his life or by natural death. Then we will see who succeeded him and by what right.
And on the one hand nobody doubts that S. Peter continued in his charge all his life. For those words of Our Lord: Feed my sheep, were to him not only an institution into this supreme pastoral charge, but an absolute commandment, which had no other limitation than the end of his life, any more than that other: Preach the Gospel to every creature, (Mark ult.) which the Apostles laboured in until death. Whilst therefore S. Peter lived this mortal life, he had no successor, -he did not lay down his charge, and was not deposed from it. For he could not be so (except by heresy, which never had access to the Apostles, least of all to their head) unless the Master of the fold had removed him, which was not done.
It was death then which removed him from this guard and general watch which he was keeping as ordinary pastor over the whole sheepfold of his Master. But who succeeded in his place? As to this, all antiquity agrees that it was the Bishop of Rome, for this reason that S. Peter died Bishop of Rome -therefore the diocese of Rome was the last seat of the head of the Church: therefore the Bishop of Rome who came after the death of S. Peter, succeeded to the head of the Church, and consequently was head of the Church. Some one might say that he succeeded the head of the Church as to the bishopric of Rome, but not as to the kingship of the world. But such a one must-show that S. Peter had two sees., of which the one was for Rome, the other for the universe, which was not the case. It is true true that he had a seat at Antioch, but he who held it after him had not the Vicar-generalship, because S. Peter lived long afterwards, and had not laid down that charge; but having chosen Rome for his see he died Bishop thereof, and he who succeeded him, succeeded him simply, and sat in his seat, which was the general seat over the whole world, and over the bishopric of Rome in particular. Hence, the Bishop of Rome remained general lieutenant in the Church, and successor of S. Peter. This I am now about to prove so solidly that only the obstinate will be able to doubt it.
The counter-arguments of our adversaries, and the answers thereto.
I HAVE presupposed that S. Peter was Bishop of Rome and died such. This the opposite party deny; many of them even deny that he ever was at Rome; but I am not obliged to attack all these negatives in detail, because when I shall have fully proved that S. Peter was and died Bishop of Rome, I shall have sufficiently proved that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of S. Peter. Besides, all my proofs and my witnesses state in express terms that the Bishop of Rome succeeded to S. Peter, which is my contention, and from which again will follow a clear certainty that S. Peter was at Rome and died there.
And now here is my first witness, S. Clement, disciple of S. Peter, in the first letter which he wrote to the brother of the Lord; which is so authentic that Rufinus became the translator of it about twelve hundred years ago. Now he says these words: "Simon Peter, the chief apostle, brought the King of ages to the knowledge of the city of Rome, that it also might be saved. He being inspired with a fatherly affection, taking my hand in the assembly of the brethren, said: I ordain this Clement, Bishop, to whom alone I commit the chair of my preaching and doctrine." And a little further on: "to him I deliver the power of binding and loosing which was delivered to me by the Lord." And as to the authority of this epistle, Damasus in the Pontifical, in the life of Clement, speaks of it thus: "In the letter which was written to James you will find how to Clement was the Church committed by Blessed Peter." And Rufinus, in the preface to the book of the Recognitions of S. Clement, speaks of it with great honour, and says that he had turned it into Latin, and that S. Clement bore witness in it to his own institution, and said "that S. Peter had left him as successor in his chair." This testimony shows us both that S. Peter preached at Rome and that he was Bishop there. For if he had not been Bishop how would he have delivered to S. Clement a chair which he would not have held there?
The second, S. Irenaeus (iii. 3): To the greatest and oldest and most famous Church, founded by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul." And a little further on: "The blessed Apostles therefore, founding and instituting the Church, delivered to Linus the office of administering it as Bishop; to him succeeded Anacletus; after him, in the third place from the Apostles, Clement receives the episcopate.
The third, Tertullian (de Pr. xxxii.) : "The Church also of the Romans publishes,"-that is, shows by public instruments and proofs-" that Clement was ordained by Peter." And in the same book (xxxvi.): "Happy Church, into which the Apostles poured with their blood their whole doctrine!" -and he speaks of the Roman Church, "where Peter's passion is made like to the Lord's." Whereby you see that S. Peter died at Rome and instituted S. Clement there. So that joining this testimony to the others, it is seen that he was Bishop there and died teaching there.
The fourth, S. Cyprian (Ep. 55, ad Corn.): "They dare to sail off to the chair of Peter, and to the head Church, whence the sacerdotal unity has come forth;" and he is speaking of the Roman Church.
Eusebius (Chron. ann. 44) : "Peter, by nation a Galilaean, the first pontiff of Christians, having first founded the Church of Antioch, proceeds to Rome, where, preaching the Gospel, he continues twenty-five years bishop of the same city."
Epiphanius (ii. 27) : "The succession of bishops at Rome is in this order; Peter and Paul, Linus, Cletus, Clement, &c."
Dorotheus (in Syn.) : " Linus was Bishop of Rome after the first ruler, Peter."
Optatus of Milevis (de Sch Don.) : "You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was first intrusted to Peter, in which Peter, head of all the Apostles, sat." And a little further on: " Peter sat first, to whom succeeded Linus, to Linus succeeded Clement."
S. Jerome (ad Dam.): " With the successor of the fisherman and the disciple of the cross do I treat : I am united in communion with thy Blessedness, in the chair of Peter."
S. Augustine (Ep 53, ad Gen.): " To Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus Clement."
In the Fourth General Council of Chalcedon (Act. iii.), when the legates of the Holy See would deliver sentence against Dioscorus, they speak in this fashion: "Wherefore, most holy and blessed Leo, of the great and older Rome, by us and by the present holy. synod, together with the thrice blessed and ever to be praised Apostle Peter, who is the rock and the foundation of the Catholic Church, has stripped him of the episcopal dignity and also ejected him from the priestly ministry." Give a little attention to these particulars; that the Bishop of Rome alone deprives him, by his legates and by the Council; that they unite the Bishop of Rome with S. Peter. For such things show that the Bishop of Rome holds the place of S. Peter.
The Synod of Alexandria, at which Athanasius was present, in its letter to Felix II., uses remarkable words on this point, and amongst other things, relates that, in the Council of Nice it had been determined that it was not lawful to celebrate any Council without the consent of the Holy See of Rome, but that the 'canons which had been made to that effect had been burnt by the Arian heretics. And in fact, Julius I., in the Rescript against the Orientals in Favour of Athanasius (CC. 2, 3), cites two canons of the Council of Nice which relate to this matter, which work of Julius I. has been cited by Gratian, four hundred years ago, and by Isidore nine hundred: and the great Father, Vincent of Lerius, makes mention of it a thousand years back. I say this because all the canons of Nice are not in existence, only twenty remaining: but so many grave authors cite others beyond the twenty, that we are obliged to believe what is said by those good Fathers of Alexandria above-named, that the Arians have got the greater part destroyed. For God's sake let us cast our eyes on ancient and pure Church of the first six centuries, and regard it from all sides. And if we find it firmly believes that the Pope was successor of S. Peter, what rashness will it be to deny it?
This, methinks, is a reason which asks no credit, but pays in good coin. S. Peter has had successors in his vicarship: and who has ever in the ancient Church had the reputation of being successor of S. Peter, and head of the Church, except the Bishop of Rome? In truth all ancient authors, whosoever they be, all give this title to the Pope, and never to others.
And how then shall we say it does not belong to him ? Truly it were to deny the known truth. Or let them tell us what other bishop is the head of the Church, and successor of S. Peter. At the Council of Nice, at those of Constantinople and Chalcedon, it is not seen that any bishops usurp the primacy for himself: it is attributed, according to ancient custom, to the Pope; no other is named in equal degree. In short, never was it said, either certainly or doubtfully, of any bishop in the first five hundred years that he was head or superior over the rest, except of the Bishop of Rome; about him indeed it was never doubted, but was held as settled that he was such. On what ground, then, after fifteen hundred years passed, would one cast doubt on this ancient tradition? I should never end were I to try to catalogue all the assurances and repetitions of this truth which we have in the Ancients' writings: but this will suffice just now to prove that the Bishop of Rome is the successor of S. Peter, and that S. Peter was and died Bishop at Rome.
That the Church has never been dispersed or hidden.
THERE is no question which the ministers fight over so pertinaciously as this. For they try by force of conjectures, presumptions, dilemmas, explanations, and by every means, to prove that S. Peter was never at Rome: except Calvin, who, seeing that this was to belie all antiquity, and that it was not needed for his opinion, contents himself with saying that at least S. Peter was not long Bishop at Rome: "On account of the consent of writers, I do not dispute that he was at Rome. But that he was bishop, especially for a long time, I cannot admit." But in truth, though he were Bishop of Rome for but a very short time, if he died there he left there his chair and his succession. So that as to Calvin we should not have great cause for discussion, provided that he was resolved to acknowledge sincerely that S. Peter died at Rome, and that he was bishop there when he died. And as to the others we have sufficiently proved above that S. Peter died Bishop of Rome.
The statements which are made to the contrary are more captious than hard to resolve; and because he who shall have the true account of the life of S. Peter before his eyes will have enough answer for all the objections, I will briefly say what I think the more probable, in which I will follow the opinion of that excellent theologian, Gilbert Genebrard, Archbishop of Aix, in his Chronology, and of Robert Bellarmine, Jesuit, in his Controversies, who closely follow S. Jerome, and Eusebius in Chronico.
Our Lord then ascended into heaven in the eighteenth year of Tiberius, and commanded his Apostles to stay in Jerusalem twelve years, according to the ancient tradition of Thraseas, martyr, not all indeed but some of them (to verify the word spoken by Isaias (lxv.), and as SS. Paul and Barnabas seem to imply (Acts xiii. 46)), for S. Peter was in Lydda and in Joppa before the twelve years had expired:- it was enough that some Apostles should remain in Judaea as witnesses to the Jews. S. Peter then remained in Judaea about five years after the Ascension, preaching and announcing the Gospel, and at the end of the first year, or soon afterwards, S. Paul was converted, who after three years went to Jerusalem to see Peter,(Gal. i. 18), Iwith whom he stayed fifteen days. Peter then having preached about five years in Judaea towards the end of the fifth year went to Antioch, where he remained Bishop about seven years, that is, till the second year of Claudius,_but meanwhile making evangelic journeys into Galatia, Asia, Cappadocia, and elsewhere, for the conversion of the nations. From thence, having committed his episcopal charge to the good Evodius, he returned to Jerusalem, on his arrival in which place he was imprisoned by Herod to please the Jews (Acts xii. 6) about the time of the Passover. But escaping from the prison soon afterwards under the direction of the angel, he came, that same year, which was the second of Claudius, to Rome, where he established his chair, which he held about twenty-five years, during which he did not omit to visit various provinces, according to the necessity of the Christian commonwealth; but amongst other things, about the eighteenth year of the Passion and Ascension of the Saviour, which was the ninth of Claudius, he was driven with the rest of the Hebrews from Rome, and went away to Jerusalem, where the Council of Jerusalem was celebrated, in which S. Peter presided. Then Claudius being dead, S. Peter returned to Rome, taking up again his first work of teaching and of visiting from time to time various provinces, where at last Nero, having imprisoned him for death, with S. Paul his companion, Peter, yielding to the holy importunities of the faithful, was about to make his escape and get out of the city by night; when meeting Our Saviour by the gate he said to Him: Domine quo vadis?-Lord, whither goest thou? He answered: I go to Rome to be crucified anew:* (* Amb. contra Aux. ; Origen in Gen. iii ; Athan. pro fuga ; Jerome de Vir. ill. ; Eusebius in Chron ; Ado; Tertull. de praescr.) an answer which S. Peter well knew pointed towards his cross. So that, after having been about five years in Judaea, seven years in Antioch, twenty-five years at Rome, in the fourteenth year of Nero's empire he was crucified, head downwards, and on the same day S. Paul had his head cut off.
But before dying, taking by the hand his disciple S. Clement, S. Peter appointed him his successor, an office which S. Clement would not accept nor exercise till after the death of Linus and of Cletus, who had been coadjutors of S. Peter in the administration of the Roman bishopric. So that to him who would know why some authors place S. Clement first in order after S. Peter, and others S. Linus, I will make him an answer by S. Epiphanius, an author worthy of credit, whose words are these (Haer. 27):
“Let no man wonder that Linus and Cletus took up the episcopate before S. Clement, he being a disciple of the Apostles, contemporary with Peter and Paul; for they also were contemporaries of the Apostles; whether therefore whilst they were alive he received from Peter the imposition of the hands of the episcopate, and refusing the office waited, or, after the departure of the Apostles was appointed by the bishop Cletus, we do not clearly know."
Because therefore S. Clement had been chosen by S. Peter as he himself testifies, and yet would not accept the charge before the death of Linus and Cletus, some, in consideration of the election made by S. Peter, place him the first in order, others, looking, at the refusal he gave and at his leaving the exercise of it to Linus and Cletus, place him the fourth.
Besides, S. Epiphanius may have had reason to doubt about the election of S. Clement made by S. Peter, for want of having had sufficient proofs; while possibly Tertullian, Damasus, Rufinus, and others may have had means of ascertaining the truth; and this may be the reason why S. Epiphanius speaks thus indecisively. Tertullian, who was more ancient, states positively: "The Church of the Romans publishes that Clement was ordained by Peter," that is, proves by documents and public acts. As for myself I prefer, and reasonably, to place myself on the side of those who are certain; because he who doubts what a man of probity and sense distinctly certifies contradicts the speaker; on the contrary, to be sure of that which another doubts about is simply to imply that the doubter does not know all, as indeed he has first confessed himself, by doubting, for doubting is nothing but not certainly knowing the truth of a thing.
And now, having seen by this short account of the life of S. Peter, which bears every mark of probability, that S. Peter did not always stay in Rome, but, having his chair there, did not omit to visit many provinces, to return to Jerusalem and to fulfil the apostolic office, all those frivolous reasons which are drawn from the negative authority of the Epistle of S. Paul will no longer have entrance into your judgments. For if it be said that S. Paul, writing to Rome and from Rome, has made no mention of S. Peter, we need not be surprised, for, perhaps, he was not there at that time.
So, it is quite certain that the First Epistle of S. Peter was written from Rome, as S. Jerome witnesses (De Vir. Ill.: “Peter," says he, "in his first Epistle, figuratively signifying Rome under the name of Babylon, says "The Church which is in Babylon, elected together, saluteth you." This that most ancient man Papias, a disciple of the Apostles, had previously attested, as Eusebius records. But would this consequence be good- S. Peter, in that Epistle, gives no sign that S. Paul was with him, therefore Paul was never in Rome? This Epistle does not contain everything, and if it does not say that he was there, it also does not say that he was not. It is probable that he was not there then, or that if he were it was not expedient to name him in that place for some reason. I say the same of S. Paul's letter.
Lastly, to adjust the times of the life of S. Peter to the reigns of Tiberius, Caius Caligula, and Nero, we can lay them out something in this fashion. In the eighteenth year of Tiberius, Our Lord ascended into heaven, and Tiberius survived Our Lord in this world about six years; five years after the Ascension, in the last year of the Empire of Tiberius, S. Peter came to Antioch, where having stayed about ten years, that is, what remained of Tiberius, four years of Caius Caligula, and two of Claudius -towards the end of the second of Claudius he came to Rome, where he remained seven years, that is, till the ninth of Claudius, when the Jews were driven out of Rome, which caused S. Peter to withdraw into Judaea. About five years afterwards, Claudius being dead in the fourteenth year of his reign, S. Peter returned to Rome, where he stayed till the fourteenth and last year of Nero. This makes about thirty-seven years that S. Peter lived after the death of his Master, of which he lived twelve partly in Judaea partly in Antioch, and twenty-five he lived as Bishop of Rome.
The Church cannot err.
HEAR in few words what the Ancients thought of this matter, and in what rank they held the Bishop of Rome. This is the way they speak, whether of the See of Rome and its Church, whether of the Pope: for all comes to the same.
Chair of Peter. - Cyp. Lib. i., EP- 3,[Editio Erasmi].
Principal Church - Ib. 55 [ad Corn.]
Commencement of sacerdotal unity - lb. iii. 13.
Bond of unity: sublime summit of the priesthood lb. iv. 2.
Church in which is the superior authority Iren. iii. 3,
Root and matrix of the Church Cyp. iv. 8.
Seat on which our Lord established the whole Church Anac. Ep. i, ad omnes Episc., &c. [from S. Siricius, Ep I ad Himer.]
Hinge and head of all Churches Ib. 3
Refuge of bishops Marcellus, Ep. i, ad Episc. Antioch.
Supreme Apostolic seat Syn. Alex. Ep. ad Fel. ubi Ath.
Head of the pastoral honour Prosper "de Ingratis" [lin. 40].
Supremacy of the Apostolic chair. Aug. Ep. 162 [Migne 43].
Principal dignity of the Apostolic priesthood Prosper "de Voc. Gen." ii. 16. In prxf. Cone. Chat.; Valent. Imperator.
Head of all Churches Victor Ut. "de persec. Van." ii.; Justinianus "de summa Trin."
Head of the world, of the universe, by religion . Leo M. in Nat. SS. P. et P.; Prosper "de Ingratis."
Set over the rest of the Churches - Syn. Rom. sub Gelasio.
The presiding Church - Ign. ad Rom. in inscriptione.
The first see to be judged by no one - Syn. Sinuessana 300 Episc.
First seat of all Leo Ep. 61 [ad Theod.]
Most safe harbour of Catholic communion Hieron. Ep. 16.
Apostolic fountain Innoc. ad Patres Milev. inter .Epist. S. Auf. 93 [Migne 182].
Thus do they name the Roman Church; now see how they style the Pope:
Bishop of the most holy Catholic Church - Cyp. iii. 11.
Most holy and most blessed Patriarch - Conc. Chalc., Act iii.
Head of the Council of Chalcedon. - In relatione.
Head of the Universal Church Ibid. xvi.
Most blessed Lord ; elevated to the Apostolic Dignity; father of fathers; supreme pontiff of all prelates - Steph. Episc. Carthag. in Ep. ad Damas. nomine Cone. Carthag.
High Priest - Hieron. Proef. Evang. ad Dam.
Prince of Priests Id testatur tota antiq. apud. Valent. ep. ad Theodos. initio. Cone. Chalc.
Ruler of the house of the Lord - Amb. in I Tim. iii.
Guardian of the Lord's vineyard - Cone. Chalc. ep. ad Leon.
Vicar of Christ - Cy. i. 3
Confirmer of the brethren - Bern. Ep. 190.
Great priest; supreme pontiff; prince of bishops; heir of the Apostles; Abel in primacy; Noe in government; Abraham in patriarchate; Melchisedech in order; Aaron in dignity; Moses in authority; Samuel in judgment; Peter in authority; Christian unction; shepherd of the Lord's fold; key-bearer of the Lord's house; shepherd of all shepherds; called in plenitude of power. - Ib. de Consid. ii. 8.
I should never end if I tried to heap together all the titles which the Ancients have given to the Holy See of Rome and to its Bishop. The above ought to suffice to make even the most perverse wits see the extravagant lie which Beza continues to tell after his master Calvin, in his treatise On the Marks of the Church, where he says that Phocas was the first to give authority to the Bishop of Rome over the rest, and to place him in Primacy.
What is the use of uttering so gross a lie? Phocas lived in the time of S. Gregory the Great, and every one of the authors I have cited is earlier than S. Gregory, except S. Bernard, whom I have quoted, from his books On Consideration, because Calvin holds these so true that he considers truth itself has spoken in them.
It is objected that S. Gregory would not let himself be called Universal Bishop. But universal Bishop may be understood of one who is in such sort bishop. of the universe that the other bishops are only vicars and substitutes, which is not the case. For the bishops are truly spiritual princes, chiefs and pastors; not lieutenants of the Pope, but of Our Lord, who therefore calls them brethren. Or the word may be understood of one who is superintendent over all, and in regard of whom all the others who are superintendents in particular are inferiors indeed but not vicars or substitutes. And it is in this sense that the Ancients have called him Universal Bishop, while S. Gregory denies it in the other sense.
They object the Council of Carthage, which forbids that any one shall call himself Prince of Priests; but it is for want of something to go on with that they put this in:- for who is ignorant that his was a provincial Council affecting the bishops of that Province, in which the Bishop of Rome was not, the Mediterranean Sea lies between them.
There remained the name of Pope, which I have kept for the ending of this part of my subject, and which is the ordinary one by which we call the Bishop of Rome. This name was common to bishops; witness S. Jerome, who thus styles S. Augustine in an Epistle (97): "May the Almighty keep thee safe, Lord, truly holy and reverend pope." But it has been made particular to the Pope by excellence, on account of the universality of his charge, whence, he is called in the Council of Chalcedon, Universal Pope, and simply Pope, without addition or limitation. And this word means nothing more than chief father or grandfather. Paposaviasque trementes anteferunt patribus seri nova curd nepotes.(ausonius ad nep.)
And that you may know how ancient this name is amongst good men-[hear] S. Ignatius, disciple of the Apostles: "When thou wast," says he, "at Rome with Pope Linus." (Ad Mariam Zarbensem) Already at that time there were papists, and of what sort!
We call him His Holiness, and we find that S. Jerome already called him by the same name: "I beseech thy Blessedness, by the cross, &c. . . . I following Christ alone am joined in communion with thy Blessedness, that is, the chair of Peter" (Ad Dam. ep. 15). We call him Holy Father, but you have seen that S. Jerome so calls S. Augustine.
For the rest, those who, explaining chapter ii. of the 2nd of Thessalonians, to make you believe the Pope is Antichrist, may have told you that he makes himself be called God on earth, or Son of God, are the greatest liars in the world: for so far are the popes from taking any ambitious title, that from the time of S. Gregory they have for the most part called themselves Servants of the Servants of God. Never have they called themselves by such names as you say except in the ordinary acceptation, as every one can be if he keep the commandments of God, according to the power given to them that believe in His name (John i.). Rightly indeed might those call themselves children of the devil who lie so foully as do your ministers.
The ministers have violated the authority of the Church.
IT is certainly not without mystery that often in the Gospel where there is occasion for the Apostles in general to speak, S. Peter alone speaks for all. In S. John (vi.) it was he who said for all: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that thou art the Christ the Son of God. It was he, in S. Matthew (xvi.), who in the name of all made that noble confession: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. He asked for all: Behold we have left all things, &c. (Matt. xxvii.) In S. Luke (xii.): Lord, dost thou speak this parable to us, or likewise to all?
It is usual that the head should speak for the whole body; and what the head says is considered to be said by all the rest. Do you not see that in the election of S. Matthias it is he alone who speaks and determines?
The Jews asked all the Apostles: What shall we do, men and brethren? (Acts. ii.). S. Peter alone answers for all: Do penance, &c. And it is for this reason that S. Chrysostom and Origen have called him "the mouth and the crown of the Apostles," as we saw above, because he was accustomed to speak for all the Apostles; and the same S. Chrysostom calls him "the mouth of Christ," because what he says for the whole Church and to the whole Church as head and pastor, is not so much a word of man as of Our Lord: “Amen, I say to you he that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me (John xiii.). Therefore what he said and determined could not be false. And truly if the confirmer be fallen, have not all the rest fallen? -if the confirmer fall or totter, who shall confirm him? -if the confirmer be not firm and steady, when the others grow weak who shall strengthen them? For it is written that if the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch, and if the unsteady and the feeble would hold up and support the feeble, they shall both come to ground. So that Our Lord; giving authority and command to Peter to confirm the others, has in like proportion given him the power and the means to do this; otherwise vainly would he have commanded things that were impossible. Now in order to confirm the others and to strengthen the weak, one must not be subject to weakness oneself, but be solid and fixed as a true stone and a rock. Such was S. Peter, in so far as he was Pastor-general and governor of the Church.
So when S. Peter was placed as foundation of the Church, and the Church was certified that the gates of hell should not prevail against it, -was it not enough to say that S. Peter, as foundation-stone of the ecclesiastical government and administration, could not be crushed and broken by infidelity or error, which is the principal gate of hell? For who knows not that if the foundation be overthrown, if that can be sapped, the whole building fails. In the same way, if the supreme acting shepherd can conduct his sheep into venomous pastures, it is clearly visible that the flock is soon to be lost. For if the supreme acting shepherd leads out of the path, who will put him right? if he stray, who will bring him back?
In truth, it is necessary that we should follow him simply, not guide him; otherwise the sheep would be shepherds. And indeed the Church cannot always be united in General Council, and during the first three centuries none were held. In the difficulties then which daily arise, to whom could one better address oneself, from whom could one take a safer law, a surer rule, than from the general head, and from the vicar of Our Lord? Now all this has not only been true of S. Peter, but also of his successors; for the cause remaining the effect remains likewise. The Church has always need of an infallible confirmer, to whom she can appeal; of a foundation which the gates of hell, and principally error, cannot overthrow; and has always need that her pastor should be unable to lead her children into error. The successors, then, of S. Peter all have these same privileges, which do not follow the person but the dignity and public charge.
S. Bernard calls the Pope another "Moses in authority." Now how great the authority of Moses was every one knows. For he sat and judged concerning all the differences amongst the people, and all difficulties which occurred in the service of God: he appointed judges for affairs of slight importance, but the great doubts were reserved for his cognizance: if God would speak to the people, it is by his mouth and using him as a medium. So then the supreme pastor of the Church is competent and sufficient judge for us in all our greatest difficulties; otherwise we should be in worse condition than that ancient people who had a tribunal to which they might appeal for the resolution of their doubts, particularly in religious matters. And if any one would reply that Moses was not a priest, nor an ecclesiastical pastor, I would send him back to what I have said above on this point. For it would be tedious to make these repetitions. In Deuteronomy (xvii.): Thou shalt do whatsoever they shall say that preside in the place which the Lord shall choose, and what they shall teach thee according to his law: neither shalt thou incline to the right hand nor to the left hand. But he that shall be yroud, and refuse to obey the commandment of the priest . . . that man shall die. What will you say to this necessity of accepting the judgment of the sovereign pontiff? -that one was obliged to accept that judgment which was according to the law, not any other? Yes, but in this it was needful to follow the sentence of the priest; otherwise, if one had not followed it but had examined into it, it would have been vain to have gone to him, and the difficulty and doubt would never have been settled. Therefore it is said simply: He that shall be proud, and refuse to obey the commandment of the priest and the decree of the judge shall die. And in Malachy (ii. 7): The lips of the priest shall keep knowledge; and they shall seek the law at his mouth. Whence it follows that not everybody could answer himself in religious matters, nor bring forward the law after his own fancy, but must do so according as the pontiff laid it down. Now if God had such great providence over the religion and peace of conscience of the Jews as to establish for them a supreme judge in whose sentence they were bound to acquiesce, there can be no doubt he has provided Christianity with a pastor, who has this same authority, to remove the doubts and scruples which might arise concerning the declarations of the Scriptures.
And if the High Priest wore on his breast the Rational of judgment (Ex. xxviii.), in which were the Urim and the Thummim, doctrine and truth, as some interpret them or illuminations and perfections, as others say (which is almost the same thing, since perfection consists in truth and doctrine is only illumination) -shall we suppose that the High Priest of the New Law has not also the efficacy of them? In truth, all that was given out and out to the ancient Church, and to the servant Agar, has been given in much better form to Sara and to the Spouse. Our High Priest then still has the Urim and the Thummim on his breast.
Now whether this doctrine and truth were nothing but these two words inscribed on the Rational, as S. Augustine seems to think and Hugh of S. Victor maintains, or whether they were the name of God, as Rabbi Solomon asserts according to Vatablus and Augustine bishop of Eugubium, or whether it was simply the stones of the Rational, by which Almighty God revealed his will to the priest, as that learned man Francis Ribera holds; -the reasons why the High Priest had doctrine and truth in the Rational on his breast was without doubt because he declared the truth of judgment, as by the Urim and Thummim the priests were instructed as to the good pleasure of God, and their understandings enlightened and perfected by the Divine revelation: thus the good Lyra understood it, as Ribera has in my opinion sufficiently proved. Hence when David wished to know whether he should pursue the Amalecites he said to the priest Abiathar: Bring me hither the ephod (I Kings xxx. 7), or vestment for the shoulders, which was without doubt to diacover the will of God by means of the Rational which was joined to it, as this Doctor Ribera continues learnedly to prove. I ask you, -if in the shadow there were illuminations of doctrine and perfections of truth on the breast of the priest to feed and confirm the people therewith, what is there that our High Priest shall not have, the priest of us, I say, who are in the day and under the risen sun? The High Priest of old was but the vicar and lieutenant of Our Lord, as ours is, but he would seem to have presided over the night by his illuminations, and ours presides over the day by his instructions; both of them as ministering for another and by the light of the Sun of Justice, who though he is risen is still veiled from our eyes by our own mortality; -for to see him face to face belongs ordinarily to those alone who are delivered from the body which goes to corruption. This has been the faith of the whole ancient Church, which in its difficulties has always lead recourse to the Rational of the See of Rome to see therein doctrine and truth. It is for this reason that S. Bernard has called the Pope "Aaron in dignity, " and S. Jerome the Holy See "the most safe harbour of Catholic communion," and " heir of the Apostles," for he bears the Rational to enlighten with it the whole of Christendom, like the Apostles and Aaron, in doctrine and truth. It is in this sense that S. Jerome says to S. Damasus: "He who gathereth not with thee scattereth, that is, he who is not of Christ is of Antichrist;" and S. Bernard says (Ep. 190) that the scandals which occur, particularly in the faith, must be brought before the Roman See : "for I think it proper that there chiefly should the damage of faith be repaired where faith cannot fail; for to what other see was it ever said : I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not?" And S. Cyprian (Ep. 55): “They dare to sail off to the Apostolic See and to the chief (principalem) Church, forgetting that those are Romans, to whom wrong faith cannot have access." Do you not see that he speaks of the Romans because of the Chair of S. Peter, and says that error cannot prevail there. The Fathers of the Council of Milevis with the Blessed S. Augustine demand help and invoke the authority of the Roman See against the Pelagian heresy, writing to Pope Innocent in these terms: "We beseech you to deign to apply the pastoral solicitude to the great dangers of the infirm members of Christ; since a new heresy and most destructive tempest has begun to arise amongst the enemies of the grace of Christ" And if you would know why they appeal to him, what do they say? "The Lord has by his highest favour placed thee in the Apostolic See." This is what this holy Council with its great S. Augustine believed, to whom S. Innocent replying in a Letter which follows the one just quoted amongst those of S. Augustine: " Carefully and rightfully," he says, "have you consulted the secret oracles of the Apostolic honour: his, I say, with whom, besides those things which are outside, remains the solicitude of all the churches as to what doctrine is to be held in doubtful things. For you have followed the fashion of the ancient rule, which you and I know to have been always held by the whole world. But this I pass over, for I do not believe that it is unknown to your wisdom; how indeed have you confirmed it by your actions, save knowing that throughout all the provinces answers to petitioners ever emanate from the Apostolic See? Especially when questions of faith are discussed, I consider that all our brethren and co-bishops must refer to Peter only, that is, to the author of their name and honour; even as your charity has now referred that which may advantage all churches in general throughout the whole world.” Behold -the honour and credit, in which was the Apostolic See with the most learned and most, holy of the Ancients, yea with Entire Councils. They went to it as to the true Ephod and Rational of the new law. Thus did S Jerome go to it in the time of Damasus, to whom, after having said that the East was cutting and tearing to pieces the robe of Our Lord, seamless and woven from the top throughout, and that the little foxes were spoiling the vineyard of the Master, he says: "As it is difficult, amongst broken cisterns that can hold no water, to discern where is that fountain sealed up, and garden enclosed, therefore I considered, that I must consult the Chair of Peter and the faith praised by Apostolic mouth." I shall never end if I try to bring forward the grand words which the Ancients have uttered on this point: he who wishes can read them quoted in the great Catechism of Peter Canisius, in which they have been given in full by Busembaum. S. Cyprian refers all heresies and schisms to the contempt of this chief minister( Ad Comel. contra Feliciss.); so does S. Jerome (Ep. 165 adv. Lucif.); S. Ambrose holds for one same thing ".to communicate and agree with the Catholic bishops and to agree with the Roman Church (De excessu Fratris, 46.): "he protests that he follows in all things and everywhere the form of the Roman Church. S. Irenaeus will have every one be united to this Holy See, "on account of its principal power." The Eusebians bring before it the accusations against S. Athanasius; S. Athanasius, who was at Alexandria, a principal and patriarchal see, went to answer at Rome, being called and cited to appear there: his adversaries would not appear, "knowing," says Theodoret, " that their lies were manifested in open court." The Eusebians acknowledge the authority of the see of Rome when they call S. Athanasius thither, and S. Athanasius when he presents himself. But particularly do those Arian heretics the Eusebians confess the authority of the see of Rome when they dare not appear there for fear of being condemned.
But who does not know that all the ancient heretics tried to yet themselves acknowledged by the Pope? Witness the Montanists or Cataphrygians, who so deceived Pope Zephyriilus, if we may believe Tertullian (not now the man he had been but become a heretic himself), that he issued letters of reunion in their favour, which, however, he promptly revoked by the advice of Praxeas. In fine, he who despises the authority of the Pope will restore the Pelagians, Priscillians and others, who were only condemned by provincial councils with the authority of the Holy See of Rome. If I wished to occupy myself in showing you how much Luther made of it in the beginning of his heresy I should astonish you with the great alteration in this old dotard. Look at him in Cochlaeus: "Prostrate at the feet of Your Beatitude, I offer myself with all I am and have; give me life, slay me, call, recall, approve, reject; I shall acknowledge the voice of Christ presiding and speaking." These are his words in the dedicatory letter which he wrote to Pope Leo X. on certain conclusions of his, in the year 1518. But I cannot omit what this great archminister wrote in 1519, in certain other resolutions of other propositions; for in the thirteenth he not only acknowledges the authority of the Holy Roman See, but proves it by six reasons which he holds to be demonstrations. I will summarise them:
1st reason- the Pope could not have reached this height and this monarchy except by the will of God; but the will of God is always to be venerated, therefore the primacy of the Pope is not to be called in question.
2nd. We must give in to an adversary rather than break the union of charity; therefore it is better to obey the Pope than to separate from the Church.
3rd. We must not resist God who wills to lay on us the burden of obeying many rulers, according to the word of Solomon in his Proverbs (xxviii. 2).
4th. There is no power which is not from God, therefore that of the Pope which is so fully established is from God.
5th. Practically the same.
6th. All the faithful so believe, and it is impossible that Our Lord should not be with them; now we must stay with Our Lord and Christians in all things and everywhere: He says afterwards that these reasons were unanswerable, and that all the Scripture comes to support them. What do you think of Luther, -is he not a Catholic? And yet this was at the beginning of his reformation. Calvin gives the same testimony, though he goes on to embroil the question as much as he can; for speaking of the See of Rome he confesses that the Ancients have honoured and revered it, that it has been the refuge of bishops, and more firm in the faith than the other sees, which last fact he attributes to a want of quickness of understanding.
The ministers have violated the authority of the Church.
UNDER the ancient law the High Priest did not wear the Rational except when he was vested in the pontifical robes and was entering before the Lord. Thus we do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII; or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was (*). Now when he is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as S. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric. (Acts i.) When he errs in his private opinion he must be instructed, advised, convinced; as happened with John XXII, who was so far from dying obstinate or from determining anything during his life concerning his opinion, that he died whilst he was making the examination which is necessary for determining in a matter of faith, as his successor declared in the Extrazagantes which begins Benedictus Deus. But when he is clothed with the pontifical garments, I mean when he teaches the whole Church as shepherd, in general matters of faith and morals, then there is nothing but doctrine and truth. And in fact everything a king says is not a law or an edict, but that only which a king says as king and as a legislator. So everything the Pope says is not canon law or of legal obligation; he must mean to define and to lay down the law for the sheep, and he must keep the due order and form. Thus we say that we must appeal to him not as to a learned man, for in this he is ordinarily surpassed by some others, but as to the general head and pastor of the Church and as such we must honour, follow, and firmly embrace his doctrine, for then he carries on his breast the Urim and Thummim, doctrine and truth. And again we must not think that in everything and everywhere his judgment is infallible, but then only when he gives judgment on a matter of faith in questions necessary to the whole Church; for in particular cases which depend on human fact he can err, there is no doubt, though it is not for us to control him in these cases save with all reverence, submission, and discretion. Theologians have said, in a word, that he can err in questions of fact, not in questions of right; that he can err extra cathedram, outside the chair of Peter, that is, as a private individual, by writings and bad example.
But he cannot err when he is in cathedra , that is, when he intends to make an instruction and decree for the guidance of the whole Church, when he means to confirm his brethren as supreme pastor, and to conduct them into the pastures of the faith. For then it is not so much man who determines, resolves, and defines as it is the Blessed Holy Spirit by man, which Spirit, according to the promise made by Our Lord to the Apostles, teaches all truth to the Church, and, as the Greek says and the Church seems to understand in a collect of Pentecost, conducts and directs his Church into all truth: But when that Spirit of truth shall come, he will teach you all truth or, will lead you into all truth (John xvi. 13). And how does the Holy Spirit lead the Church except by the ministry and office of preachers and pastors? But if the pastors have pastors they must also follow them, as all must follow him who is the supreme pastor, by whose ministry Our God wills to lead not only the lambs and little sheep, but the sheep and mothers of lambs; that is, not the people only but also the other pastors: he succeeds S. Peter, who received this charge: Feed my sheep. Thus it is that God leads his Church into the pastures of his Holy Word, and in the exposition of this he who seeks the truth under other leading loses it. The Holy Spirit is the leader of the Church, he leads it by its pastor, he therefore who follows not the pastor follows not the Holy Spirit.
But the great Cardinal of Toledo remarks most appositely on this place that it is not said he shall carry the Church into all truth, but he shall lead; to show that though the Holy Spirit enlightens the Church, he wills at the same that she should use the diligence which is required for keeping the true way, as the Apostles did, who, having to give an answer to an important question, debated, comparing the Holy Scriptures together; and when they had diligently done this they concluded by the: It hath seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us; that is, the Holy Spirit has enlightened us and we have walked, he has guided us and we have followed him, up to this truth. The ordinary means must be employed to discover the truth, and yet in this must be acknowledged the drawing and presence of the Holy Spirit. Thus is the Christian flock led,-by the Holy Spirit but under the charge and guidance of its Pastor, who however does not walk at hazard, but according to necessity convokes the other pastors, either partially or universally, carefully regards the track of his predecessors, considers the Urim and Thummim of the Word of God, enters before his God by his prayers and invocations, and, having thus diligently sought out the true way, boldly puts himself on his voyage and courageously sets sail. Happy the man who follows him and puts himself under the discipline of his crook! Happy the man who embarks in his boat, for he shall feed on truth, and shall arrive at the port of holy doctrine !
Thus he never gives a general command to the whole Church in necessary things except with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who, as he is not wanting in necessary things even to second causes, because he has established them, will not be more wanting to Christianity in what is necessary for its life and perfection. And how would the Church be one and holy, as the Scriptures and .Creeds describe her? -for if she followed a pastor, and the pastor erred, how would she be holy; if she followed him not, how would she be one? And what confusion would be seen in Christendom, while the one party should consider a law good the others bad, and while the sheep, instead of feeding and fattening in the pasture of Scripture and the Holy Word, should occupy themselves in controlling the decision of their superior?
It remains therefore that according to Divine Providence we consider as closed that which S. Peter shall close with his keys, and as open that which he shall open, when seated in his chair of doctrine teaching the whole Church.
If indeed the ministers had censured vices, proved the inutility of certain decrees and censures, borrowed some holy counsels from the ethical books of S. Gregory, and from S. Bernard's De Consideratione, brought forward some good plan for removing the abuses which have crept into the administration of benefices through the malice of the age and of men, and had addressed themselves to His Holiness with humility and gratitude, all good men would have honoured them and favoured their designs. The good Cardinals Contarini the Theatine, Sadolet, and Pole, with those other great men who counselled the reformation of abuses in this way, have thereby deserved immortal commendation from posterity. But to fill heaven and earth with invectives, railings, outrages,to calumniate the Pope, and not only in his person, which is bad enough, but in his office, to attack the See which all antiquity has honoured, to wish to go so far as to sit in judgment upon him, contrary to the sense of the whole Church, to style his position itself anti-Christianism- who shall call this right? If the great Council of Chalcedon was so indignant when the Patriarch Dioscorus excommunicated Pope Leo, who can endure the insolence of Luther, who issued a Bull in which he excommunicates the Pope and the bishops and the whole Church? All the Church gives him (the Pope) patents of honour, speaks to him with reverence. What shall we say of that fine preface in which Luther addressed the Holy See: "Martin Luther to the most Holy Apostolic See and its whole Parliament, grace and health. In the first place, most holy see, crack but burst not on account of this new salutation in which I place my name first and in the principal place." And after having quoted the Bull against which he was writing, he begins with these wicked and vile words: "Ego autem dico ad papam et bullce hujus minas, istud : qui prce minis moritur ad ejus sepulturam compulsari debet crepitibus ventris." And when writing against the King of England,- “Living," said he, "I will be the enemy of the papacy, burnt I will be thy enemy." What say you of this great Father of the Church? Are not these words worthy of such a reformer? I am ashamed to read them, and my hand is vexed when it lays out such shameful things, but if they are hidden from you, you will never believe that he is such as he is,- and when he says: "It is ours not to be judged by him but to judge him."
But I detain you too long on a subject which does not require great examination. You read the writings of Calvin, of Zwingle, of Luther: take out of these, I beg you, the railings, calumnies, insults, detraction, ridicule, and buffoonery which they contain against the Pope and the Holy See of Rome, and you will find that nothing will remain. You listen to your ministers; impose silence upon them as regards railings, detraction, calumnies against the Holy See, and you will have your sermons half their length. They utter a thousand calumnies on this point: this is the general rendezvous of all your ministers. On whatever subjects they may be composing their books, as if they were tired and spent with their labour they stay to dwell on. the vices of the Popes, very often saying what they know well not to be the fact. Beza says that for a long time there has been no Pope who has cared about religion or who has been a theologian. Is be not seeking to deceive somebody?-for he knows well that Adrian, Marcellus, and these five last have been very great theologians. What does he mean by these lies? But let us say that there may be vice and ignorance: "What has the Roman Chair done to thee," says S. Augustine, (Contra lit. Petil. ii. 51 )" in which Peter sat and in which now Anastasius sits? . . . Why do you call the Apostlic Chair the chair of pestilence? If it is on account of men whom you consider to be declaring and not keeping the law- did Our Lord, on account of the Pharisees, of whom He said: they say and do not do any injury to the chair in which they sat? Did He not commend that chair of Moses, and reprove them, saving the honour of their chair? For He says: Super cathedram , &c., (Matt. xxiii. 2). If you considered these things you would not, on account of the men you speak against, blaspheme the Apostolic chair, with which you do not communicate. But what does it all mean save that they have nothing to say, and yet are unable to keep from ill-saying.”