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Monthly Reflection by
Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC
"Behold, I make all things new“(Rev 21:5)

- Fr. Augustine Vallooran VC

Prayer of the Month

Know Your Faith Archives

PAPACY

By Linda Joseph Kavalackal

The Catholic Church follows the Bible in the establishment of perfect order in the Church as taught during the apostolic times. Papacy, by divine authority, enjoys delegated control given by Jesus, over the entire church.

The Pope is recognised as the successor of St Peter, who Jesus called the ‘rock’ of the church. Catholics believe primacy should extend in perpetuity to the Pope over other religious heads through the doctrine of apolstolic succession. This doctrine is called the Primacy of Simon Peter.

As John Chrysostom said, "For what purpose did He shed His blood? It was that He might win these sheep which he entrusted to Peter and his successors." (De Sacerdotio, 53)

The Gospels record Christ handing over to the apostles his own mission.

Jn 17:18

As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.

Jn 20:21

(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

Mt 10:40

Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

Lk 10:16

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.

A source indicating Peter's supremacy can be found in John 21. Christ tells Peter three times to "feed His sheep" and "feed His lambs. Catholics believe that Peter was given charge over Christ's whole flock, that is, the church.

The Vatican lists the Popes from Peter to Benedict XVI. Historians (both secular and ecclesiastical) concur with a final list published by the Vatican Library. There is no greater "order" according to the Bible. The Catholic Church teaches this. Other titles are only honorary and organisational.

Eusebius (260-339) The History of the Church 324 AD

After the martyrdom of Paul and Peter, the first man to be appointed Bishop of Rome was Linus. ... Linus, who is mentioned in the Second Epistle to Timothy as being with Paul in Rome, as stated above was the first after Peter to be appointed Bishop of Rome. Clement again, who became the third Bishop of Rome ... to Miltiades.

Augustine (354-430), Letters, 400 AD

For, to Peter succeeded Linus, to Linus, Clement, to Clement Anacletus, to Anacletus Evaristus,...to Siricius Anastasius.

It is not uncommon for enemies and non-believers of Roman Catholicism to create an argument against the succession and therefore validity of the Bishops of Rome as true successors to Peter by arguing that the authority of Peter ended with his death.

Some reference if also made to the history of the "bad Popes”. Perhaps Peter was the best model for human failure in such a leadership role as he denied Jesus three times. Many men who held the position of Bishop of Rome were not perfect.

Papal infallibility is not the absence of sin. However, the lifestyle of the messenger does not alter the validity of the message or challenge the authority of the Christ, who gave the message.

More reference

Mt 28:18-20

Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Mt 28:20

... teaching them (all nations) to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Jn 14:16-17

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

 
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