|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Papism|
|The «primacy» and the «infallibility» of the Pope|
Two of the centermost dogmas of Papism are the “infallibility” and the “primacy”. The purpose of these dogmas is the reinforcement of Papism, and the subsequent acceptance of any heretic teaching whatsoever by its faithful. However, these dogmas also constitute the very building blocks of the heretic edifice of Papism itself. These are dogmas that are opposed to every Christian logic and tradition. They are opposed to the very Gospel itself.
The papist dogma regarding the Pope’s infallibility - as is recorded in the 1st Vatican Synod (4th Session, 18th July 1870, chapter 4) – is the following:
“….we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.”
As ‘evidence’ of this supposed infallibility of the Pope, the Papists use the following three verses from the New Testament:
“16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth will be unbound in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16-19)
The “rock” upon which the Church has been built is not the person of the Apostle Peter; the “rock” refers to Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of God. This is a fact that nobody can deny!
If Jesus Christ meant Peter, He would have said: “…you are Peter, and on you I will build My Church….”. Christ would not have said “…you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church….”
Saint John the Chrysostom writes:
“You are Peter, and on this rock shall I build My Church”; that is, on the faith of that confession. These words foreshadowed that there would be many future believers (along with the existing ones); they strengthened Peter’s conviction, and they also made a shepherd of him…” (Homily to Matthew, N.2, PG 58,534)
This confession is the foundation “of apostles and of prophets” (Ephesians 2: 20)... The cornerstone of the Church is naturally Christ Himself.
Corinthians I, 3: 11: “For no other foundation can anyone lay, than that which is already there, which is Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 2: 20: “..having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone”.
Yet, even though it says very clearly in the above verses that the Cornerstone is Christ, and we are even told that “no other foundation can be laid other than Christ”, in the second verse above we are clearly shown that all of the apostles constitute the foundation; Christ does not isolate any one apostle especially!
Of course the same is evident in Revelations, 21 and 19, where the apostles are portrayed symbolically as the foundations of the Church, made of precious stones. No one apostle is distinguished from the others.
In many Patristic and liturgical texts, the apostle Peter is referred to as the first amongst the apostles. Saint Augustine refers to Peter as “first” (primus) and Paul as “last” (novissimus), stressing however that they are all peers. He also explained that Peter was chronologically the first apostle to have confessed Christ, but, was not the head of all the other apostles (Sermo 299c) and furthermore, that his zeal and his outspokenness earned him numerous other honorary titles…
Besides, the authority vested in Peter was also vested to the remaining apostles. Christ had said: “Amen, verily I say unto you (Greek plural ‘you’), that whatever you (Greek plural ‘you’ = the apostles) shall bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
The keys to the Kingdom of Heaven lie in the authority of the apostles to forgive people so that they can enter the Kingdom; in other words, to open its door.
“..for I have prayed for you (Peter), that your faith does not desert you; and that, upon returning to Me,
you will support your brethren.” (Luke 22: 32)
There is in no way that this verse ‘proves’ the Pope is ‘infallible’ and ‘head of the Church’! Christ here is merely advising the Apostle Peter to support the apostles as his brothers, not “herd” them as his “children”…..
Furthermore, the fact that Peter’s faith remained steadfast (after the three times that he denied Christ), does not pertain to the Pope. After all, the other apostles had likewise remained faithful to the death. That doesn’t mean all bishops are infallible! Or, perhaps, because Peter was a martyr, all Popes are martyrs? Let’s not forget Pope Leo I (1513-1521) who, in an epistle of his, actually denied Jesus!
“…..Jesus said to him (Peter): ‘graze My sheep’.” (John 21: 17)
So? Isn’t every apostle and every bishop a shepherd? “Therefore watch over yourselves, and all those of the flock, in which the Holy Spirit placed you (plural) as its ‘bishops’ (bishop: from the Greek epi-skopos, =over-seer), to herd the Church of the Lord and God.” (Acts 20:28).
Besides, Christ here is merely reinstating Peter in the chorus of the Apostles, after his downfall…
In view of the apostolic succession, the bishops of Rome had a prominent position in the Church. But that doesn’t mean the Pope had any right to control all the other bishops, nor that he possessed any kind of infallibility. If the Pope were truly the head of the entire Church, wouldn’t there have been such a mention in the Holy Bible or in the rest of Christian Tradition?
No bishop has unlimited authority in ecclesiastic issues, because the Head of the Church is only Christ (Colossians 1:18).
We have certainly read in the Gospel how – in two instances – certain apostles had asked for primacy, but Christ had told them not to ask for primacies because they are all equals. (Mark 10: 35-45, Luke 22:24-30) Christ did not highlight “Peter’s primacy” anywhere!
Saint Peter himself had made certain poemantic errors – EX CATHEDRA so to speak – but was corrected by the apostle Paul.
In his Epistle to Galatians 2: 11-21, Paul says: “..for when Peter came to Antioch, I confronted him personally, for he was blameworthy;…..and the remaining Jews also behaved hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with them in this hypocrisy..”
If the apostle Peter was indeed ‘infallible’ (as the Pope supposedly is), how did Paul dare to “confront him personally” and to actually refer to him as “blameworthy” for “his hypocritical behavior”, and in the presence of the entire Church?
Peter had also denied Christ three times, after the Arrest of the God-human in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26: 69-75).
So, if the Apostle Peter himself was not infallible, how can the tiara-topped monarch of the Vatican proclaim himself as infallible? At the Apostolic Synod in Jerusalem, the final decision was made by the bishop of Jerusalem, Jacob (James), the Lord’s Brother, who was the head speaker. Not Peter!! (Acts 15: 13-21) Furthermore, the apostles were the ones who “dared” to send Peter to Samaria with John (Acts 8: 14), which would have been a highly improbable act, if Peter was truly vested in more authority than the others.
But even if the Pope were indeed infallible, then what was the need for so many Councils (Synods)? Why not simply ask for the “divinely inspired” opinion of the currently reigning Pope? Because it is the Church that is the “pillar and the base of the truth” (Timothy I, 3: 15), not the Pope! «God is true; while every man is a liar» (Romans 3: 4). It is only the Church as a whole that can teach the pure word of the Lord…..
-Pope Liberius (352-366 AD.)
himself was unfrocked, because –after being pressured by the Emperor Constantine II- had conceded to signing the quasi-Areian confession regarding the “homiousion” issue, and the condemnation of Saint Athanasius (St.Athanasius, History of Areians E41, Sozomenou Ecclesiastic History D 8-11). This was an official decision of a Pope…… “in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians”…
-Pope Onorius I (625-638 A.D.)
not only lacked infallibility, he actually embraced the heresy of “Monotheletism” (a conviction that Jesus Christ has only one will, not two: divine & human)! In 634 A.D., he wrote in an official (and not an anonymous) letter of response to the Monothelete Patriarch of Constantinople, Sergios: “therefore we also confess Jesus Christ as having only one will.”
He was promptly anathematized as Bishop of Old Rome, by the 6th Ecumenical Council, along with the bishops Sergios, Theodoros, Cyrus, Peter, Pyrrhus and Paul (Rulings 13, 16 18). He was also referred to as ‘an instrument of the ancient serpent’ and a hindrance to the Church. (Ruling 18). He was accused before the emperor, by the very Pope of Rome, Agathon (Ruling 13)!
It is likewise evident that Pope Leo II also anathematized Onorius, in his letter to the emperor confirming the rulings of the 6th Ecumenical Council, in his letter to the Spanish bishops and in his letter to the Spanish king, Ervig (Charles J. Hefele, "A History of the Councils of the Church", Edinburgh: Clark, 1896, Volume V, pp. 181-187).
-Pope Innocentius IV (1243-1254)
ordained that heretics must be tortured by Inquisitors, although later Popes also approved (with their official seals!) the burning of heretics. This was an official decision of the Papist “Church” that was faithfully upheld for centuries………
Was this Pope also “infallible”?
The (orthodox) Pope Leo III (796-816) persistently fought against the “filioque” concept.
-Pope Sergios IV (1009-1012) had arbitrarily inserted the “filioque” into the Symbol of Faith (Creed).
Were both these popes “infallible”?
-Pope Paul VI
eliminated the names of a number of saints (such as Saint Barbara) from the Latin Book of Saints. With this act, he not only defied the Holy Tradition of the Church, but also his predecessor-Popes!
We shall close this study, with the words of father Justin Popovic:
Every kind of European humanity, from the most primitive to the most sensitive, from fetishist to papist, is based on the faith of man, as he himself is, within his own, given, psycho-physical empirical state and historicity.
Indeed, the essence of every humanism is man = homo. Summarized in its ontology, every humanism is nothing more than hominism (homo-hominis). Man is the supreme value, the all-value. Man is the highest criterion, the all-criterion, “the measure of all things is man”. In short, this is the essence of every humanism, every hominism. Thus, all the types of humanism, all hominisms are, after all is said and done, of an idolatrous, polytheist origin.
Every European humanism, from pre-Renaissance, Renaissance and thereafter - protestant, philosophical, religious, social, scientific, cultural and political - strove (knowingly or unknowingly) and continue to incessantly strive, for one thing: to replace the faith in the God-human (Christ) with a faith in man; to replace the Gospel according to man, the philosophy according to the God-human with the philosophy according to man, the culture according to the God-human with culture according to man. In short, to replace life according to the God-human with life according to man.
This was taking place for centuries, until up to the past century, 1870, when, during the Vatican’s first synod, all of the above were recapitulated, in the dogma of the Pope’s infallibility. From that point on, this dogma came to be the central dogma of Papism. This is why in our day, in the 2nd Vatican Council, the ‘inviolable’ and ‘irreformable’ status of this dogma was so fervently discussed and supported. This dogma is of an epoch-making significance that can affect the entire fate of Europe, and especially in the apocalyptic times that it has begun to enter.
Through this dogma, all the European humanisms acquired their ideal and their idol. Man had now been proclaimed as the supreme Divinity, an all-divine being. The European humanist pantheon had now acquired its Jupiter.
Sincerity, is the language of the Truth. The 20th-century dogma on Papal infallibility is nothing short of a rebirth of idolatry and polytheism. A renaissance of idolatrous evaluations and critiques.
There can be no compromise, between a world that conscientiously “remains in wickedness”, and a person that voluntarily follows the God-human Christ. A person who follows the God-human Christ cannot make any compromises detrimental to the Evangelical Truth, with a person who justifies such things and promotes them to a dogma.
This is forever an issue of a decisive and extremely critical dilemma and choice: either the God-human, or the plain human. [……]
The “infallible” human, and opposite him, the “supreme sinner” human; humility on the one hand and haughtiness on the other.
The incomparable song-bird of the God-human Gospel, saint John the Chrysostom, evangelizes the following: “The foundation of our philosophy is humility”. Humility is the foundation of our philosophy regarding life and the world, regarding time and eternity, regarding the God-human and the Church, whereas the foundation of every type of humanism – even those that have been elevated to a dogma – is haughtiness and a faith in the word of man, in the mind of man, in the logic of man. Haughtiness converted that most radiant Lucifer into a devil. Haughtiness is an incurable sickness of the mind by the devil. Within this sickness are found (and from it, spring forth) all the other diabolical evils.
(Archmandrite Justin Popovic: Man and God-man – page.149-151).
The Holy Tradition of the Church, History, and even common logic, prove how irrational the claims of primacy and infallibility of the heretic bishop of Rome are…
Translation by A.N.
Supervision: Thomas F. Dritsas
Article published in English on: 17-9-2005.
Last update: 12-10-2005.