Monday, April 21, 2008

What Does It Say?

I originally posted this as a comment on the preceeding thread, "They Did Sign It," but it occurred to me that this should appear separately, for separate comment.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains a section entitled The episcopal college and its head, the Pope. I present it here, in full:

880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them."398 Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another."399

881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.400 "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head."401 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful."402 "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."403 (My emphasis. The footnote here, 403, directs us to Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Christus Dominus 2,9.)

883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff. 404 (My emphasis. Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can 336.)

884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council."405 But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."406 (My emphasis)

885 "This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one head."407

886 "The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches."408 As such, they "exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them,"409 (my emphasis) assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches.410 The bishops exercise this care first "by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church," and so contributing "to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches."411 They extend it especially to the poor,412 to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.

887 Neighboring particular Churches who share the same culture form ecclesiastical provinces or larger groupings called patriarchates or regions.413 The bishops of these groupings can meet in synods or provincial councils. "In a like fashion, the episcopal conferences at the present time are in a position to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegiate spirit."414

It does not even take a careful reading of the above to conclude that the CCC speaks of the absolute supremacy of the pope, and I cannot think of any Anglican who would, in good conscience, agree to that. I do not.

If that were genuinely the TAC's view, then I would not be able to acknowledge the TAC as even being an Anglican jurisdiction. It would be interesting to see what constitutional steps were taken in advance of the signing of letter/book. If I recall correctly, I was told that the synods of virtually every diocese in the TAC approved of the action, but it would be interesting to see the wording of the resolution(s) presented for approval.

7 comments:

Fr. Robert Hart said...

"For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."

This is exactly what the majority of patriarchs rejected in 1054. It is not the belief of the Church that we see in the first millennium, and it overrules the colleagiality clearly visible in the concilar process they exercised.

It is obvious that the Patriarch of Rome was under the authority of the college of bishops in any decision reached by concilar process, not the other way round. In this matter we reject what is stated in the CCC, and cannot accept this Protestant innovation of the Church of Rome (yes, Protestant-just ask the Orthodox).

Canon Tallis said...

I think it would be extremely difficult if not impossible for anyone to read the canons of the first four General Councils of the Church and then agree to the statements about the Roman See made in the CCC. It was precisely this disagreement between the historical fact of what the councils agreed upon and what the Roman Church taught even at that time that caused the Church of England to distance itself from Rome even as the bishops and people of the Eastern Church had done so earlier.

However we may label the statements made about the Roman See and its bishop, one thing is only too clear; they do not represent Biblical nor eccumenical Truth such as should be the goal of all who call themselves Christian. The bishops and priests of the ACA/TAC should read Littledale's The Petrine Claims and The Primative Saints and the See of Rome and reconsider just what they have done.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

This is why some of the modern Orthodox perform a terrible disservice by the flat out falsehood that the Great Schism in 1054 was about filioque. It was about the sudden, unexpected claim of the Bishop of Rome to universal jurisdiction, which,in the eyes of all four of his fellow patriarchs, was not a logical conclusion of Primacy as first in honor.

By the way, the immediate cause of the controversy (that moved the pope to declare his singular authority) was use of enzymes in Communion bread. I kid you not.

Nicholas said...

That being said paragraph 884 was bolded, but is it really an issue? Isn't that true of *any* of the Patriarchs?
=============================
884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council."405 But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."406 (My emphasis)
=============================

The emphasis is misleading, but it isn't wrong is it?

Albion Land said...

Nicholas,

I think you are being a bit disingenuous here. What you say would require that this paragraph say "... by Peter's successor and all the other patriarchs."

It does not mention the other patriarchs, because the whole purpose of this section is to state that the RCC believes in the supremacy of the pope.

Nicholas said...

None implied nor intended. Its a serious question and as I am neither Roman Catholic or Anglican meant in good faith. While I would agree that the implication of the text as a whole is to support the universal jurisdiction of the Pope, the paragraph, in and of itself, doesn't seem troublesome.

After all, the reason we haven't had another ecumenical council is not that we can't gather all of the bishops, since that has never happened, its that we can't get The Big Five in the same room together.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The Orthodox and Continuing Anglicans believe in the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The RCC believes in something like about 21 Ecumenical Councils (I forget the number), and so does not regard the unanimous agreement of the patriarchs to matter anymore. Considering the history of the seven Ecumenical Councils, the RCC is on very weak footing.