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CHAPTER XXIII.

Concerning the Supreme Pontiff (90.)

What is the Supreme Pontiff? “ He is Christ's Vicar upon earth, and the visible head of his church.

“ Christ instituted the church of the New Testament upon earth, not on the plan of an aristocratic or democratic government, but on the plan of a monarchical government, yet tempered by that which is best in an aristocracy, as was said No. 81.

“ But when Christ was about to withdraw his visible presence by his ascension into heaven, he constituted his Vicar the visible head of the church, he himself remaining the supreme,

essential and visible head. “Who is called Supreme Pontiff, and wherefore?

“ The Roman Pontiff, not only because he holds the highest honour and dignity in the church, but principally, because he has supreme and universal authority, power and jurisdiction over all bishops and the whole church.

“ He is also called the pope, which word signifies either father, or by antonomasia the father of fathers; also the Chief Priest of the Apostolic See; so that the Roman See by way of eminence is called without any addition the Apostolic See."

Concerning the Supremacy of Peter. (91.) “As heretics can not only deny the superiority of present popes, but also the supremacy of the apostle Peter himself, therefore this must be asserted against them.

“I. But it is proved that Peter received supremacy from Christ above the other apostles, from Matt. xvi. 18., where the supremacy is promised, and John, ch. xxi., where it is conferred.

“Christ says, Matt. xvi. 18: 'thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, v. 19., and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and whatsoever

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thou shalt bind upon earth,' &c. Here although the name of supremacy is not expressed; yet it is manifestly promised under two metaphors: the former metaphor is taken from the plan of a foundation and a building : but what the foundation is in a building, this the superior is in a community, the king in a kingdom, &c. : the other is borrowed from the delivery of keys: for he to whom the keys of a city are delivered is constituted or declared king or governor of the city. Add to this, the interpretation and authority of the Holy Fathers, as may be seen in Bellarmine, Sylvius, Tournely, &c.

“Calvin objects: that by the word, rock, upon which it is said the church shall be built, is to be understood not Peter but Christ, and therefore the Evangelist changes the term, and afterwards said, “Thou art Peter,' by saying 'not upon this Peter,' but “ upon this rock.'

Ans. I deny the antecedent: how foolish this observa. tion of Calvin is, is plain from the Syriac, which idiom Christ used, in which the difference of gender is not found, which is in the Latin and Greek : and hence Christ said with one and the same word: • Thou art Cephas, and upon this Cephas,' which in Latin should be rendered, thou art a rock, and upon this rock ;' but the Latin translator ren. ders, Thou art Peter,' in the masculine, because the remark was made concerning a man, having followed the rule of the Greeks, among whom the word Petra received a masculine and feminine termination, (mérgos, m. and mérga, f.,) which the Latin word, Petra, does not receive; therefore when Christ says, upon this rock, the pronoun this manifestly refers to the rock, concerning which mention was just made; but immediately before, Christ had called not himself but Peter the rock; therefore, &c.

“ Hence the mystery of the change of the name Simon into Peter, or a rock, John i. 42. Besides, if these words, upon this rock,' should be referred to Christ and not to Peter, Christ would in vain have said to Peter; • I tell thee because thou art Peter;' nor ought he to have said, I will build, but I have built, or I build.

“ You will urge, St. Aug. in the last treatise upon John, by this rock understands Christ. It is confirmed by his opioion, Bk. I. Retract. chap. xxi., where he says; ·For it was

not said to him, thou art a rock, put thou art Peter; but Christ was the rock.'

Ans. St. Augustine formerly proposed this interpretation, pleading against the Donatists, who deduced the power and efficacy of the Sacraments from the holiness of the min. ister, and hence he preferred placing this foundation in Christ rather than in Peter, lest the Donatists might thence have deduced a confirmation of their error. Yet he admitted our interpretation, which is the common one; indeed in the passage adduced, mentioning both he subjoins : “Of these two opinions, let the reader choose that which is the more probable.'

“ This doubt of St. Aug. arose from ignorance of the Hebrew or Syriac and of the Greek; to those skilled in which, it is known that the phrase • Thou art Cephas,' is the same as "Thou art a rock.'

“You may rejoin: Christ alone is the foundation of the Church, according to that 1 Cor. iii. 11. "For no one can lay another foundation but that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus ;' therefore, by this rock Peter is not meant, but Christ.

Ans. I deny the antecedent : Christ alone is indeed the essential and primary foundation which consists in itself and depends on no other, but sustaining all those things which belong to the building of the church, and, therefore, Peter himself: yet it is consistent with this that Peter is the secondary foundation, founded on Christ by the virtue and authority received from himself.

“ The Lutherans object : by the rock upon which the Church is said to be built, Peter is not meant, but the faith or confession of Peter. They confirm it from St. Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, St. Hilary, &c.

“ Ans. I deny the antecedent: for it is plain from what has been said, that the person of Peter ought to be understood, which the following words, "I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,' evidently show.

“To the confirmation from the Holy Fathers, it must be said, that they sometimes speak thus in a causal sense; because, indeed, Peter confessing the divinity of Christ, obtained for the sake of the merit of his faith, that he should be the foundation of the Church.

Besides, those saints do not mean that the Church is

founded upon the faith in itself considered, without relation to the person of Peter, but upon his personal faith, which is the same as upon the person itself of Peter having faith : and hence, when they say, that the Church is founded upon the faith of Peter, or that Peter's faith, or confession of faith, is the foundation of the Church, they mean it in this sense, that Peter by reason of his own indefectible faith, indefectibly sustains and confirms all in it.

“ Against the argument deduced from the delivery of the keys, the heretics object : the keys are promised immediately to the Church, and not to the person of Peter.

“ The antecedent is proved from St. Augustine, treatise 50 upon John, where he says thus, • Peter, when he received the keys, signified Holy Church;' therefore, &c.

“ Ans. I deny the antecedent: for it is evident that from what was before said, it is clear that the remark was directed to the person of Peter.

“ As for St. Augustine and the other fathers, it must be said that they only mean that Peter did not receive the keys as a private person, but on the condition of the Supreme Pastor, and for the advantage of the Church, from whom, by ordinary right, the power of the keys was to be conferred upon the other superiors of the Church, the bishops and pastors.

“ Add to this, that the fathers do not always quote Sacred Scripture in the literal sense, but often in the mystic sense, and sometimes in the accommodatory sense.

Obj. The same which is promised to Peter, Matt. xvi. 19. "I will give thee the keys,' &c. is promised to the other apostles, Matt. xviii. 18. • Whatever ye shall bind upon earth,' &c.

“ Ans. I deny the antecedent : for the power of the keys promised to Peter alone, Matt. xvi., and given, John xxi., is something greater and better than the power of binding and loosing, which is only an inadequate act of the keys.

Observe, although the other apostles received the power of preaching everywhere, and founding churches, and thus a certain universal jurisdiction through universality of place, that this, although such, was still only extraordinary, and with subjection to Peter, and to become extinct with them. selves : hence the proposition which placed St. Peter and St. Paul as the two-fold head of the church, was justly con. demned as heretical by Innocent X.

“Prove that the primacy of Peter is gathered through those words, John xxi. 17, · Feed my sheep !!

“ II. Because, by these words, under a metaphor deduced from the pastor of sheep, the office of pastor and ruler of the universal church is enjoined upon Peter, &c., therefore the power is conceded to the whole church. It is proved : because to feed signifies not only to teach, but also to have authority and to rule: just as it belongs to a pastor of sheep, not only to afford food, but also to conduct and bring back, to defend and restrain.

“By my lambs—my sheep,' is signified the universality of Christ's faithful, for the pronoun my is equivalent to a universal sign, as Christ speaks indefinitely and all the faithful are Christ's sheep or lambs.

The heretics object: it was not said to Peter alone : Feed my sheep,' therefore, &c.

They prove the antecedent from St. Augustine, Book concerning the Christian Combat, chap. xxx, where he says, When it is said to him (to Peter), it is said to all: Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.'

“I deny the antecedent: because circumstances show that those words were spoken to Peter alone: for Christ ad. dresses Peter alone, accosting him by his proper name, • Simon, son of Jonas ;' so that indeed others are excluded by these words : Lovest thou me more than these?'

“ As for St. Augustine we reply, that it may be said to all other superiors of the church, 'Feed my sheep,' in so far, namely, as the part of the flock which was committed to them is concerned; or according to the accommodatory sense, inasmuch as they ought to imitate the model of Peter in feeding and governing.

“ III. The third argument in order to prove Peter's su. premacy from Sacred Scripture can be borrowed from various prerogatives, with which Peter was endowed before the other apostles.

“The first prerogative is the change of name: • Thou shalt be called Cephas.' John i. 42.

“ The second is, that in the order of the enumeration of the apostles, Peter is always named in the first place by the

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