Questioning Rome’s Catholic Understanding of Matthew 16:18-20

RICHARD”S THOUGHTS HERE–From a Calvinist brother in Christ (and an eminently fair one by the way) who wants the Catholic perspective on this issue. Please add your comments, and I will gladly forward the best ones on to him. So go to it folks:). This is THE major issue which separates us from Protestants. So it is worth some thoughtful answers. No attacks please. We are all brothers and sisters here if we have been baptized into Christ and are living for Him.

POST-“POSTING”-UPDATE: I wish to add to these few thoughts  after the more-than-lively interactions which have gone on here!!!

First, for the clear record I do not in any way endorse the postings of one particular Catholic brother or sister named “Q,”  who shared heavily in the comment thread.  He/she represents a very small segment of the Church which questions the validity of the last several Popes, denies or at least strongly twists the clear understandings of post Vatican II Catholicism in general, and in the thread is somewhat prone towards personal attack when not being able to prove his or her points in other ways.

In his very last comment he used the word “effeminate” with regard to me (and we were not discussing my sexuality or past in any way), and then proceeded to quote some Marian apparitions to “prove” his point about people such as me (private revelations are something we as Catholics are never required to believe by the way, even if the Church approves them). I just found it comical that I was considered “effeminate” by him but then he defended his position by quoting Our Lady!!! Yikes.

To clarify, when the Church “approves” such visions or appearances it most certainly allows us to believe in them, but does not force us to do so, nor does it consider them part of the Deposit of Faith. In any case they do not contradict the Magisterium over and over as he does in his many slams against our brother and sister Protestant Christians here. He falsely accused me of saying or determining that they were “saved,” something I do not even say of myself, although I do know that, conditionally, if I walk in a “state of grace” and trust Jesus for my salvation I eventually will be–but it is not something I presume for them or me.

At the end the once-meaningful discussion simply began to unravel due to his continual disruptions so I have shared all I intend to at this point about this matter, either on Prayson’s page or here. My suggestion, whether you happen to be Catholic or Protestant, is to go to Prayson Daniel’s page and read the entire post, and then the comments in order–and give yourself around 30 minutes to do so. I attempted to copy most of them here but am not sure I managed to keep the continuity fully, but you surely can read them here as well if you prefer.

Some who read this right now may think I am attacking “Q” by sharing my views so candidly here–I am not. he or she is a fellow Catholic Christian who obviously is very committed to our Lord and I would take nothing away from that–not at all.

I feel however that this entire post and the thread which follows is of utmost importance, including his participation in it, and therefore wish to repost all of what was said–the good, the bad, and the ugly…and then allow the reader to make up your own minds on the matters being discussed.

With already around 60 comments, some very long and hard-hitting on all sides, the thread is closed, at least on my page, but I may possibly revisit it or parts of it at some point in the future.  And again I thank Prayson Daniel for his openness in sharing, not just his views, but his Christ-like attitude. I pray we all may do as well.

With All I Am

Keys Given To Peter

When Christ said: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (verse 18), did He mean Peter or Peter’s confession, was the rock to which He built His church?

Leo the Great(c. 400-461 A.D.), the first Roman Catholic Pope, understood that it was Peter. This passage shows, according to Leo I, the ordination of Peter before the rest of Apostles. He wrote,

For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ. (Leo 1895: 117)

An eminent Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott, following Roman Catholicism perspective, contended…

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13 thoughts on “Questioning Rome’s Catholic Understanding of Matthew 16:18-20

  1. AND NOW REALLY, REALLY FINALLY…I did not wish to lose the content of these last comments. It would seem that headway was made by all except for one very extreme traditionalist who is Catholic. But seeds were sown, and I believe that God was in this project. And I again wish to publicly thank my friend and brother in Christ Prayson Daniel for allowing himself, and others who participated such as Richard Rice too, to be slung with mud for simply asking a question. Very, very sad indeed. And I wish to publicly apologize for the behavior of one person whose confusion and fanaticism threatened to derail an otherwise very civil conversation. He does not represent the Catholic Church in his overall views on this topic. Understand, I did not suggest he was not a committed Catholic, nor was my statement an insult to him. But it was and is a huge concern to me, and a deep roadblock to further interactions…unless we bring the practice of witch-hunting to the point of death back, or consider forced recantations by fire as methods of conversion once again. And I do not think that is going to happen. I pray God it will not.

    Richard L Rice

    March 3, 2013 at 04:10

    There is misunderstanding, and in some cases animosity, toward each side side and from each side. These two daggers seem most often to come from the laity rather than any officially recognized leadership. After so many decades of investigation and dialogue between the Roman Church and the various other groups, there really seems to have been no progress toward mending the divisions; but at least we are not hating and hunting those with whom we disagree.

    As a protestant minister, who has both spoken in a Roman church and had a priest preach in mine, I long for unity among all of our Father’s children, though we, as in any family, will disagree with each other at times and over certain issues we hold near and dear. I appreciate the mostly honest, fair, and charitable dialogue that Prayson’s post has created.

    Sadly, it seems clear that we will not mend the deep divisions in some aspects of our understanding of the Faith apart from the physical and bodily appearance of Jesus Himself. Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Until He comes, however, let us love one another, for it is by this love that Christ said His people would be known.

    catholicboyrichard

    March 3, 2013 at 05:21

    I am not sure Richard L Rice, if you are directing your words towards me at all but if you read any or all of my comments, you will find that I have done my utmost to stay within the unity of the Spirit during this discussion, both towards the Catholic brother I have disagreed with and with the Protestants here. If you will note the quotations from the Catechism which I mentioned above, they thrust of them was and is precisely meant to reach out in love and harmony to our Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ. That in fact has been my whole point.

    I would just add that I normally say very little on these threads, but felt so strongly that another fellow Catholic’s view unfortunately has been rather attacking those of you who are Protestant and I felt I could not remain silent as a result. Had I not felt so strongly about this I would not have continued because, as I mentioned before, I personally feel embarrassed in fact at the in-fighting that has seemingly occurred here. That has not been my intent in the least. I am sure it has not been his either.

    So please do not include me in your assessment of your first two sentences–”There is misunderstanding, and in some cases animosity, toward each side and from each side. These two daggers seem most often to come from the laity rather than any officially recognized leadership.”

    I will clearly state that I have not pretended to be an official representative of the Church. However I have shared my understanding as someone with 7 years of theological training (4 as a Protestant and 3 as a Roman Catholic), and spent 12 years as a Protestant evangelical minister (Assemblies of God) before my return to Catholicism. And I have shared what I have with extreme care, in an attempt to separate myself from the attacks upon Protestants which one–and only one–commenter has been making. I have attacked no one here.

    So I would ask you not to misunderstand my motives nor to assume my lack of credentials. And very perhaps you are not doing so–I am not suggesting that you are–but I would just reiterate that my one motive here has been to keep peace and harmony, while sharing what I believe to be official Catholic teaching.

    And I agree with you that the Lord cannot come soon enough:).

    Richard L Rice

    March 3, 2013 at 06:31

    Richard, my comments were directed to you as a man I can admire and appreciate. I count you as a brother in Christ and appreciate your efforts to bring clarity where others have seemed to only rub salt in wounds created centuries ago.

    I have not made the transition to the Roman Church, but believe we have far more in common than we disagree upon. May we work together as one in Christ; soli Deo gloria. Blessings to you!

    catholicboyrichard

    March 3, 2013 at 06:39

    Thanks so much and that clarification truly helps. God bless you and I agree as we pray and work together for unity. Peace to you!

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 3, 2013 at 11:27

    Reply

    Nothing in what you have quoted here comes close to justifying your bizarre – and perverse, and wrong – assumption that Protestants are probably saved. Also, for the record, I am not ‘attacking’ Protestants, as you so effeminately put it: I love Protestants, that’s why I want to tell them that they are wrong, and that being wrong they are in great peril. Clearly, you hate Protestants, because you desire that they should accept you personally, rather than that they should learn the Truth. I will be delighted if you prove me wrong.

    I have already agreed that Protestants are rightly called brothers and Christians. If somebody is raised a Protestant, I agree that they *may* be saved: that’s all these passages say. They do not, however, in any way, legitimate your wrong assumption that they are mostly saved, and that they don’t very urgently need to convert. They do need to convert: only someone who remains invincibly ignorant of the Church’s Truth can be saved without conversion. It is a sin of presumption to assume of *anybody* that they are saved, but it is doubly wrong to go around imputing salvation to those in a position which is in fact known to be VERY perilous to their souls. (That said, of course we must piously hope for their salvation, even against such steep odds). Why? Because it encourages them to stay where they are! Or do you not think there is any difference, between the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH (which is, visibly, *only* the Catholic Church: I can quote Dominus Jesus as well as the next man – see below in this thread), and these ecclesiastical communities, with no apostolic succession, and no valid Eucharist?

    Dominus Jesus clearly teaches that there is one Church, and that Church is the Catholic Church, and there is no salvation except in it. Whatever may incidentally serve, according to God’s mysterious plan, to bring a Protestant to the Faith from the liturgy or teaching of his own anti-church only does so because it is stolen from the Catholic Church. As *understood* in the Protestant manner however (that is, as *misunderstood*) it is not salvific at all, but damnable. Or will you say that Protestants are in error, but that error can somehow save us?

    Yes, there were faults on both sides in the Reformation, but they were not qualitatively comparable: the faults of the Reformers were faults of infidelity and heresy. The faults of *some representatives* of the Church were carnality and other sins. The Church has never, and will never, err in anything whatever. How desperate you are to slander Holy Church, and how eager you are to flatter Protestants!

    If you ask a Protestant whether he affirms something contrary to the Council of Trent, you will likely find that he does. If a man denies a thing, you must assume that he means what he says: it is possible that he doesn’t know his own mind, but *likely* that he does. Or do you think all Protestants are hopelessly stupid?

    If he does know his own mind, he’s a formal heretic and damned, because under solemn anathema.

    Mr Rice: admittedly many figures in authority in the Church are fully in support of the kind of false ecumenism which catholicboyrichard goes in for. This, to some degree, excuses his mad errors. But we know, from Our Lady’s apparition at Akita, and from her prophesy at Quito, that the church was prophesied to be full of wicked ministers at this time. None of these considerations changes the truth: a truth which, against a great deal of opposition from almost everyone, it is still possible to learn, if you are willing to wrestle with hard sayings.

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  2. AND FINALLY…

    catholicboyrichard

    March 2, 2013 at 16:03

    Prayson I agree with you on the fact, both of our many similarities, and also differences as well. I did not choose to further quote any other sweeping sections of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which is the one we currently follow, revised after over 400 years and solemnly declared by Blessed John Paul II as a “sure norm” for our Faith, clarifying and expanding upon (but not changing) the basic teachings of the Church, however I do not wish to see the Catholic Church position misrepresented here by someone, Catholic or other, who assumes you or other Protestant Christians are hell-bound if you do not accept our theology. That is not what we teach or believe as Roman Catholics.

    I do not see this post as a forum for two Catholics to in-fight (although there are many such quotations from the CCC which clearly assume the ultimate salvation of non-Catholic Christians who sincerely and lovingly follow the same Lord Jesus Christ we do). While it is true that there is a huge difference between invincible or vincible ignorance on both sides in fact, that is just as true within your framework of Sola Scriptura as it is in our belief of the three legged stool of Sacred Scripture/Sacred Tradition (not all tradition is sacred either!) and the Magisterium (which is the teaching of the world’s bishops in union with the Holy Father). Either doctrinal mindset can be thinking or unthinking. Either can be misused by those promoting their own agenda rather than that of our same Lord Jesus Christ.

    All of us have the responsibility to investigate Truth as best we know how, and then follow it going forward. How we go about this may be different, due to different presuppositions or hermeneutics as was mentioned by my esteemed brother quiavideruntoculi in another comment, but the idea that this makes us saved or lost is not the concept behind the Catholic belief of “outside the Church there is no salvation.” Far from suggesting we should not attempt to convince one another or discuss differences, we can do so with full recognition of the Christianity of our non-Catholic neighbors. He had also suggested earlier that I should base my findings upon a “different” Catechism, but the one I quote from (and which I might add has many more pages of clarifications on this issue in fact which very much refute the idea of heaven being only open to Catholics) is indeed the current one we follow as post-Vatican II Catholics. It was fully approved by the bishops of the world in union with the Holy Father, and it is therefore official Magisterial teaching. I cannot say it more clearly than that nor do I wish to belabor the point, but “q” has a minority view which is not accepted by most Catholic theologians or in fact the Vatican itself. That may be why he believes that the last two Popes were not in line with Catholic teaching–but they are. If their official teachings are truly wrong, then I would submit to you that there truly is no such thing as apostolic succession, which is what this thread is primarily about in the first place.

    I will leave the remainder for you to share your insights, but I did find a wonderful YouTube link which is quite timely, in a satirical way, dealing with the upcoming Conclave. Here is the link–I laughed until I nearly cried. Blessed Lent to all, and again thank you for opening up this discussion, Prayson Daniel.

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  3. And THEN it got even more interesting…

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 19:03

    @catholicboyrichard

    My position is entirely Orthodox, in no way denies the apostolic succession – or whatever else you mean to imply – and is congruent with the historic teaching of the Catholic Church AS WELL as the New Catechism.
    Your position is only congruent with a violent perversion of the New Catechism, and completely ignores magisterial teaching on the status of Protestants over 400+ years.

    You can point to no doctrinal statement *anywhere* which legitimates your assumption that Protestants are probably saved. Where is it written? Nowhere. You are jumping on an emotional bandwagon, in which you have been encouraged by BAD Popes – like Blessed John Paul II – wanting to believe oh-so-cosily that those who wilfully put themselves outside of the church are probably saved.

    You talk about what the catechism ‘implies’, and then show yourself completely ignorant of the Church’s traditional position, and hostile to it. How can you know what it does or does not imply UNLESS YOU COMPARE IT WITH PAST TEACHING? I repeat my sound advice that you seek clarity through studying older catechisms in tandem with the present one.

    You mistake, deliberately, it seems, the catechism’s assertion of the BROTHERHOOD of all Christians, and the status of Protestants AS Christians and Brothers, for the idea that Protestants are saved. Where does that follow? Good heavens! The Saints of the Church have been worried enough about the prospects of FULLY PAID UP CATHOLICS, and even themselves, and you presume to impute salvation to those who wilfully oppose the Church!

    WHAT IS MORE, you make no attempt to explain the fact that the Council of Trent INFALLIBLY teaches that ALL PROTESTANTS ARE CERTAINLY DAMNED. You can wave your misinterpretation of post-Vatican II Catholicism at me as much as you like: it won’t wash, it’s dishonest, and you are leading Protestants like Prayson Daniel astray by suggesting to him that he’s alright where and how he is.

    Do you deny that that’s what you’re doing?

    catholicboyrichard

    March 3, 2013 at 01:00

    I definitely and categorically deny the accusation that I am presenting some emotional perversion of the Catholic position on salvation with regard to those not officially part of the Roman Catholic Church. We could argue forever here but I would simply share a number of paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) and would let the reader decide. They are as follows:

    816 “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.… This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.” (830)

    The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”

    Wounds to unity

    817 In fact, “in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church—for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame.” The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body—here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270—do not occur without human sin: (2089)

    Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.

    818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers.… All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.” (1271)

    819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”

    Catholic Church. (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed.) (215–216). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

    I copied this directly from VERBUM, which is the Logos Bible Software (Catholic edition). Great resource by the way. There are many statements within the CCC that I have struggled with at times, so I would needfully say that I am not acting upon my emotions in what I am sharing here. But this one is so important that, despite my desire to end this once and for all, I must share and will leave it here.

    Thanks to Michael B also for sharing a link to the document “Dominus Iesus,” and would clarify that the new Catechism is very heavily footnoted with huge sections based very directly upon the Catechism of Trent. Far from denying earlier traditions it enhances and clarifies them in a way which applies them to the 21st century. Moreover it is even more footnoted with references to Sacred Scripture. Even if one believes, as I did, in Sola Scriptura, when I first began reading and studying it in 2005 after 35 years an evangelical, I found it (even as a non-practicing Catholic) to be both fair and charitable towards those who believe otherwise. And that is a huge part of what drew me back to the Faith. And I appreciate that it admits blame on both sides for the wounds to unity within the Faith too (see above in 817). We are past the days of the Inquisition, at least as it was used in the early post-Reformation days, and either side burning each other at the stake, even figuratively. I pray we are anyway. Thanks for letting me share.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 21:16

    Reply

    Thanks for this.

    IV. UNICITY AND UNITY OF THE CHURCH

    16. The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).48 And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.49 This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9).50

    Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: “a single Catholic and apostolic Church”.51 Furthermore, the promises of the Lord that he would not abandon his Church (cf. Mt 16:18; 28:20) and that he would guide her by his Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) mean, according to Catholic faith, that the unicity and the unity of the Church — like everything that belongs to the Church’s integrity — will never be lacking.52

    The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession53 — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ… which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth’ (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54 With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

    Michael Blissenbach

    March 2, 2013 at 19:26

    Just to clear up any misunderstandings on the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, here’s the authoritative document on the topic, Dominus Iesus. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

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  4. WELL this thread took a true “life on its own” on the original posting by Prayson Daniel…and I did not wish my readers to miss the comments thread so I am re-copying it here. It may repeat some of the above but goes far more in-depth, so I present it “as is” for your interest and pleasure. Here it is:

    49 Comments

    March 1, 2013 at 14:39
    zanspence

    March 1, 2013 at 17:53

    Thanks for this.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 1, 2013 at 21:05

    Thanks for this.

    Re “Leo the Great was not the first pope, so to speak.” – strictly true, but we were using the term Papacy as shorthand for Petrine primacy/supremacy.

    catholicboyrichard

    March 1, 2013 at 14:25

    Per Prayson Daniel’s request, I am posting a couple things from my page which were responses I received after reblogging this…the first is from my friend Tony Layne…Feb 28, 12:32 am

    Tony’s 2 great blogs are as follows:

    http://tonylayne.blogspot.com
    http://impracticalcatholic.blogspot.com

    Because the Gospels were originally written in Greek koine, we tend to think the conversation took place in Greek when Jesus and the Twelve most likely spoke Aramaic as their mother tongue and Hebrew as a liturgical language; Greek would have been a tongue of trade and Latin of little necessity. John gives us a useful clue: “‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (Jn 1:42). And in his letters Paul constantly refers to him as “Cephas”, which is the Aramaic Ke’pa’ transliterated into Greek. Now, there’s no point in any of this if they understood Jesus to be referring to Peter’s faith or his testimony; moreover, Jesus doesn’t mention Peter’s faith, but only that his knowledge has been revealed to him by God (Mt 16:17).

    Cephas took the name “Peter” when dealing with Gentiles because “Petra” would have been a woman’s name. Ke’pa’ is a masculine noun, so there would have been no confusion in gender as there is in the Greek Petros/petra; in fact, his name in Syriac texts is Ke’pa’ Sh’moun. Also, the Greek of verse 18 says, “… and on this same (tautē tē) rock …”, which reinforces the identity of one rock with another — no “big rock/little rock” here!

    Traditional theological interpretation has held that there are as many as four different layers of meaning in some Scriptural passages. Peter’s faith as the rock is possible on the analogical level; however, the analogical is built on the literal: Peter’s faith could be likened to a rock because Peter himself was a rock — steady, constant and (mostly) reliable, like the fisherman he was.

    Summary: The two interpretations aren’t mutually exclusive. But in the end, priority goes to the literal understanding, which tells us that Jesus meant Peter himself.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 13:08

    Excellent!

    I would only remark that it is perhaps not so very unlikely that Christ did speak Greek as well. But I wholly endorse your conclusion.

    catholicboyrichard

    March 1, 2013 at 07:28

    I had reblogged this and have gotten several responses which may be helpful, so I am going to link to those comments here…particularly one is from my friend Tony Layne, and a couple others from David Demboski. Both are very well-versed in some of the questions being asked here. Here is the link…and Prayson if you wish me to post the comments over here I can do that too. Also Michael Blissenbach’s link is good, and he is one of my friends as well. All these guys have a lot of brain power between them:).

    http://catholicboyrichard.com/2013/02/27/4954/

    I also wish to address some comments made by quiavideruntoculi regarding the last several Popes being “bad” and his hinting strongly that those who are Protestants are not likely to be saved. That is NOT the general thinking among Catholics, contradicts our Catechism, and we proudly and gladly accept you as our family in Christ. To deny that there are theological differences would be dishonest obviously, but I believe he goes far beyond orthodoxy in those statements and would simply say that is not Catholic teaching, official or otherwise. If needed I can get some specific quotes from our official Catechism, but if you happen to have one I will just share this much as a reference…Paragraphs 846-848 explain the meaning of statements made in the past such as “Without the Church there is no salvation” for starters. They are not aimed at our Protestant brothers and sisters. Sadly in the past they have been used against you. I would point out that the Catechism was promulgated with the authority of the Pope and the world’s bishops, and it is a synthesis of overall Catholic teaching as we now understand it. While that is another whole issue, I am stating this simply to say that we definitely consider you “part of the Church.” We also believe that there is a fullness and completeness in Catholicism that those from other Christian communions do not have, but that we are nevertheless united in baptism and our personal faith in Christ first and foremost.

    Prayson Daniel

    March 1, 2013 at 11:13

    Thanks Richard. I will so much for you for you to post the comments over here also. I think as far as I read, this has being a brilliant good exchange, full of respect and love for one another in Christ as we try to understand each other.

    Thank you for showing the unity, in diversity. I looking forward to share this thoughts and my position in a future post.

    PD

    catholicboyrichard

    March 1, 2013 at 14:19

    I will gladly do so, and thank you for your willingness to make yourself vulnerable and share this post as well. God bless you and your work. Your brother in Christ, Richard

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 12:53

    PD,

    It gives me no pleasure at all to say this, but the apparent unity of Catholicism and Protestantism is skin deep and illusory. There is a radical difference between the way Protestants conceive of God, and the way Catholics do; I know this, both because my reason tells me it is so, and also from my own sad experience of discovering a huge brick wall dividing myself from former Protestant friends when I started on the path to Catholicism. I don’t think it helps anyone to stress the ways in which we seem to be the same. It’s the differences that matter, if we want to achieve real unity, and you will find – I assure you – that those differences are absolutely radical.

    The whole philosophy of Sola Scriptura (the hall mark, so far as I can see, of most Protestantism) is profoundly anti-Catholic, because it rejects the central Catholic idea that you should first accept divine truths on *blind faith* and then learn to reason about them afterwards. Protestantism says that all the truths you need to know about God are divinely revealed in black and white in the ‘plain text’ of the Bible, and you just have to ‘earnestly and prayerfully’ work them up into a workable theology. It’s an attractive view, but it’s profoundly anti-Catholic. It goes against everything we believe. Theology is not yours to write: it belongs to the Church, and the Catholic response is to practice absolute, religious submission of the will and intellect to the Church’s teachings. Who will claim that Protestantism teaches anything like this?

    Even if you arrive at theological conclusions that look similar to ours on paper by thus reasoning, you will inevitably view and respond to those conclusions in a radically different way, because the hermeneutic by which you derived them is likewise different.

    Prayson Daniel

    March 2, 2013 at 13:35

    Hej,

    I think there a great common ground that Rome and reformers have. We can show unity in loving one another and trying to understand, not necessarily agreeing, each other where we differ.

    When love comes first, disagreement follows at right and proper place. When love comes first, we seek to understand each others positions, correct, and edify one another though we differ in same points.

    Thanks for everything. I am writing an article addressing some of the position rose in this discussion. May the love of Christ be upon you.

    catholicboyrichard

    March 2, 2013 at 16:03

    Prayson I agree with you on the fact, both of our many similarities, and also differences as well. I did not choose to further quote any other sweeping sections of the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), which is the one we currently follow, revised after over 400 years and solemnly declared by Blessed John Paul II as a “sure norm” for our Faith, clarifying and expanding upon (but not changing) the basic teachings of the Church, however I do not wish to see the Catholic Church position misrepresented here by someone, Catholic or other, who assumes you or other Protestant Christians are hell-bound if you do not accept our theology. That is not what we teach or believe as Roman Catholics.

    I do not see this post as a forum for two Catholics to in-fight (although there are many such quotations from the CCC which clearly assume the ultimate salvation of non-Catholic Christians who sincerely and lovingly follow the same Lord Jesus Christ we do). While it is true that there is a huge difference between invincible or vincible ignorance on both sides in fact, that is just as true within your framework of Sola Scriptura as it is in our belief of the three legged stool of Sacred Scripture/Sacred Tradition (not all tradition is sacred either!) and the Magisterium (which is the teaching of the world’s bishops in union with the Holy Father). Either doctrinal mindset can be thinking or unthinking. Either can be misused by those promoting their own agenda rather than that of our same Lord Jesus Christ.

    All of us have the responsibility to investigate Truth as best we know how, and then follow it going forward. How we go about this may be different, due to different presuppositions or hermeneutics as was mentioned by my esteemed brother quiavideruntoculi in another comment, but the idea that this makes us saved or lost is not the concept behind the Catholic belief of “outside the Church there is no salvation.” Far from suggesting we should not attempt to convince one another or discuss differences, we can do so with full recognition of the Christianity of our non-Catholic neighbors. He had also suggested earlier that I should base my findings upon a “different” Catechism, but the one I quote from (and which I might add has many more pages of clarifications on this issue in fact which very much refute the idea of heaven being only open to Catholics) is indeed the current one we follow as post-Vatican II Catholics. It was fully approved by the bishops of the world in union with the Holy Father, and it is therefore official Magisterial teaching. I cannot say it more clearly than that nor do I wish to belabor the point, but “q” has a minority view which is not accepted by most Catholic theologians or in fact the Vatican itself. That may be why he believes that the last two Popes were not in line with Catholic teaching–but they are. If their official teachings are truly wrong, then I would submit to you that there truly is no such thing as apostolic succession, which is what this thread is primarily about in the first place.

    I will leave the remainder for you to share your insights, but I did find a wonderful YouTube link which is quite timely, in a satirical way, dealing with the upcoming Conclave. Here is the link–I laughed until I nearly cried. Blessed Lent to all, and again thank you for opening up this discussion, Prayson Daniel.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 19:03

    @catholicboyrichard

    My position is entirely Orthodox, in no way denies the apostolic succession – or whatever else you mean to imply – and is congruent with the historic teaching of the Catholic Church AS WELL as the New Catechism.
    Your position is only congruent with a violent perversion of the New Catechism, and completely ignores magisterial teaching on the status of Protestants over 400+ years.

    You can point to no doctrinal statement *anywhere* which legitimates your assumption that Protestants are probably saved. Where is it written? Nowhere. You are jumping on an emotional bandwagon, in which you have been encouraged by BAD Popes – like Blessed John Paul II – wanting to believe oh-so-cosily that those who wilfully put themselves outside of the church are probably saved.

    You talk about what the catechism ‘implies’, and then show yourself completely ignorant of the Church’s traditional position, and hostile to it. How can you know what it does or does not imply UNLESS YOU COMPARE IT WITH PAST TEACHING? I repeat my sound advice that you seek clarity through studying older catechisms in tandem with the present one.

    You mistake, deliberately, it seems, the catechism’s assertion of the BROTHERHOOD of all Christians, and the status of Protestants AS Christians and Brothers, for the idea that Protestants are saved. Where does that follow? Good heavens! The Saints of the Church have been worried enough about the prospects of FULLY PAID UP CATHOLICS, and even themselves, and you presume to impute salvation to those who wilfully oppose the Church!

    WHAT IS MORE, you make no attempt to explain the fact that the Council of Trent INFALLIBLY teaches that ALL PROTESTANTS ARE CERTAINLY DAMNED. You can wave your misinterpretation of post-Vatican II Catholicism at me as much as you like: it won’t wash, it’s dishonest, and you are leading Protestants like Prayson Daniel astray by suggesting to him that he’s alright where and how he is.

    Do you deny that that’s what you’re doing?

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 19:14

    PD,

    I agree with you when you say, “When love comes first, disagreement follows at right and proper place. When love comes first, we seek to understand each others positions, correct, and edify one another though we differ in same points.”

    I would want to add, however, that correction and edification can take different forms, and that while it is right to soft-pedal with some, it can be appropriate to play hard ball with others. I also don’t agree that the Reformers and the Catholic Church have any common ground, except on paper. Christ is One, and the Faith is One. You either have the Faith, or you don’t – there’s no middle ground.

    Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli lost the Faith, and are – unless they repented, which is extremely doubtful – presently in Hell. They were baptised, and they were our ‘brothers’ in Christ. But they were damned, because they were heretics, and the murderers of countless souls.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 1, 2013 at 20:31

    @catholicboyrichard

    You misrepresent my views, and you calumniate Holy Church, when you say things like “Sadly in the past they have been used against you.” It is highly dishonest – or plain ignorant – to attempt to sweep the inconvenient truth about the Catholic Church’s historic teaching under the carpet, or to pretend that it has changed. It hasn’t changed: Protestantism is Antichrist, formal Protestants (as opposed to material Protestants) are ipso facto part of the mystical body of Antichrist, and will have Hell except they repent.

    I am sorry to have to call you out on this, but no Catholic teaching permits you, or anyone, by any means, to *assume* or suggest that any Protestant is saved (even though IF he is invincibly ignorant – concerning which we DON’T KNOW – of course he *might* be) because, by definition, he consciously espouses one or other heresy which places him under an anathema of the Council of Trent (at least: many Protestants are at odds with other councils as well). Anyone under solemn anathema is ipso facto excommunicate, and if he persists in this error unto death, he will – we hold DE FIDE – be damned. Your assumption should be, as the assumption of the Church has always been, that every Protestant qua Protestant is damned, and on this basis you should expend every effort to convert him to the Catholic Faith, and not go on about how everything is hunky dory, because we’re all ‘brothers in Christ’. In doing so, you commit an objective mortal sin, and put your own salvation in jeopardy.

    Paragraph 818 has no bearing on the *salvation* of Protestants, as you dangerously imply, it merely affirms that they are rightly called Christians, if validly baptised, and since every Christian is grafted into Christ and adopted as a Son of God, rightly called brothers. But even many of our Catholic ‘brothers’ will be damned (cf. paragraph 837 of the same catechism): do not imagine that this affirmation of Protestantism’s participation in some parts of Catholic heritage in any way permits the opinion that non-Catholics are ‘probably saved’. If anything, Protestantism are in a worse state than the heathen, because of the extra grace they have received and abused, following in errors.

    What the majority Catholic opinion is on the matter makes to me no odds: I am concerned with what the Church teaches, and what the Church teaches – in the Council of Trent – is that any Calvinist, Lutheran, Zwinglian or other Protestant Heretic is damned, except he repents and becomes a good Catholic.

    To say that a Pope was a bad Pope is against no catechism whatever; if you want my reasons, I can give them. To say a Pope can’t have been bad at being Pope – because he’s a Pope, and everyone liked him, &c – , however, IS against the Catholic faith. Even if he is beatified.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 1, 2013 at 21:02

    I would strongly recommend getting hold of some better Catechisms (all of which are valid, and all of which are part of the Ordinary Magisterium). The 1992 one is ambiguous in places (e.g. re Capital punishment, where many theologians – including one of the Pope’s own, Msgr Gherardini – and faithful lay people have pointed to this failing) and, frankly, a bit weak, and as Pope Benedict has said concerning Vatican II, where there is apparent ambiguity or uncertainty, we should refer to the Church’s historic teaching for clarification. Not claim ‘rupture’ and go on as if the uncertainty is an excuse to come up with our own false heretical doctrines: this is precisely what modernists in the Church want you to do!

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 2, 2013 at 13:03

    @catholicboyrichard

    Of the paragraphs 846-8 to which you refer, not one of them says anything about the status of somebody who wilfully chooses to put his faith in a false religion. They only speak about the invincibly ignorant.

    Also, I would draw your attention to 848, 848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

    Notice, “the obligation… to evangelize ALL MEN.” That includes Protestants, and completely supports my position.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 18:52

    @zanspence

    Re binding and loosing, and 1 Tim. 2:5, I want to make the following observation. In wondering why this passage, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” apparently had no purchase on Leo I, you seem to imply that there is something contradictory about God granting powers of binding and loosing to men on the one hand, and the unique mediating role of Christ on the other hand. That seems very untenable: how on earth would you interpret the passage re the power to bind and loose, if not to say that this is a clear example of God delegating his power of judgement to the ministers of the Church? Anything less, and the passage makes no sense.

    I would harmonize the two passages this way: Christ is the one mediator, and all salvation depends on Him, yes, but God enjoys bringing human beings in on his plans. He likes it when we participate, and – IN CHRIST – we can. That’s the wonderful thing about the redemption in Christ, that we can become co-labourers – I will even say co-redeemers – with Christ, doing God’s work for the salvation of Souls.

    zanspence

    February 28, 2013 at 23:10

    Thanks for your response. I’m starting to understand more about Catholic theology. The office of the pope and authority is about trying to get as close to early Christianity as possible. It’s good that even when we come to different conclusions that we can see the original intent and the heart of a matter. I’ve met plenty of sincere Catholics who love God and who are saved by the definition of salvation(Romans 10:9). I have another question. It seems that in scripture and by Jesus renaming Peter to Peter and by Matthew 16:18 Peter is established by the first pope. But in terms of action and result it seems that Paul would be a better candidate as the first pope and example of leadership in early Christianity (given all the letters we have). What do you think about this? Has this ever been discussed in Catholicism? What do you think about Galations 2 where Paul rebukes Peter?

    zanspence

    February 28, 2013 at 23:10

    I meant in the above that Peter is established to be the first Pope by Catholics.

    quiavideruntoculi

    March 1, 2013 at 19:25

    @zanspence

    It’s a pleasure to answer your questions.

    I think you touch on an interesting point re Peter and Paul. The trivial answer is that God chose Peter because He’s God and knows what’s best. But as to *why* God chose Peter – if it is not an impious question to ask -, when we in fact hear more of Peter’s failings than of Paul’s failings in the NT, and when Paul might appear in some respects to have been of stronger leadership material (I personally don’t see this, myself), my own off-the-top-of-my-head explanation of this would be that God wanted to hammer home the point that Peter – especially Peter – was not perfect.

    Papolatry is a serious problem in the Church today; many neoconservative Catholics (and liberals, especially under JP II and Paul VI) have distorted the doctrine of Papal infallibility into the false idea that the Pope can do no wrong, and we need to be strongly reminded of the failings of St Peter, in order to keep our view of the present pontiff in the proper perspective.

    The instance of Paul rebuking Peter in Galatians 2 is there, I think, to embolden us – when the necessity arises – to follow Paul’s example, and that of Athanasius the Great, in opposing *even the Pope* where he urges anything contrary to the Gospel. Popes have been heretics in the past (very few of them, I grant, but an heretic pope is a very very dangerous threat to the Church). The most notorious example is Honorius I. One of the Johns also unwittingly taught heresy concerning purgatory for some time during the middle ages, until he was corrected by a French University and duly recanted. There is a strong argument to be made that John Paul II has (however unintentionally) implicitly taught heresy by e.g. encouraging ecumenical gatherings which seem to set false religions (Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Animism, Buddhism, &c.) up on a par with the Catholic Faith.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 18:30

    @zanspence

    Re “I am sincerely curious about what scriptures drive Catholic theology and doctrine.”

    I am delighted that you want to learn more about the Catholic faith. But if you are looking for the basis of Catholicism in Scripture, you will be disappointed, because the Holy Tradition of the Faith, which subsists uniquely in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, is the basis for Holy Scripture, not the other way around, and the basis of this in turn is a living person, Christ, whose teachings were oral, and not directly written down. Of course, all of Scripture is *consonant* with Catholicism, and naturally amenable to and affirmative of a Catholic reading (after all, the Catholic Church compiled it), but it can be wrested, misconstrued, and distorted out of shape and context: this is what Protestantism invariably does, because its hermeneutic – Sola Scriptura – rashly neglects to avail itself of the sanctifying wellspring of the Holy Tradition, and the consensus fidelium, that is, the consensus of the faithful servants of God throughout the ages. (This is odd, because Holy Tradition is, apart from anything else, Historical evidence, and Protestants are not generally bothered about using e.g. Archaeological findings to inform their exegesis. Why is that, by the way?) Viewed disinterestedly, the scripture can be seen naturally to align itself with Catholic teachings. Especially if you don’t cut books out of it (e.g. the Deuterocanon). But an appeal to Sola Scriptura in dissecting Catholic Doctrine just won’t work: we don’t think like that.

    The Church is called “the pillar and foundation of all Truth”, (1 Tim 3:15); we are, to paraphrase Augustine, moved to believe the truths of the gospel by the authority of the Catholic Church, and Christ came, not to write a book, but to found a Church. If you approach Holy Scripture, which is the single most important repository of that Holy Tradition, without reference to that broader context, and without reasoning in the Holy Spirit, you will make nonsense of it. If, however, you approach the Scripture, seeking to understand what you obediently and humbly acknowledge must be true, according to the infallible witness of the Church, which – I cannot stress this enough – is the PILLAR AND FOUNDATION OF ALL TRUTH, then your search will be rewarded and your understanding will be increased.

    The Holy Tradition is the Catholic Faith, the uniformity of which is guaranteed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each individual believer, according to which – while he perseveres – he is infallibly led unto all Truth. (John 16:13). This is because each individual believer is made part of Christ by baptism, and indeed, even a second Christ. The Church, the mystical body of Christ, literally re-presents (makes present again) Christ in this world, and can do nothing but echo His teachings verbatim. Go to the Catholic Church, and you may have the whole truth on any matter pertinent to Salvation: that is what Christ founded it for. If you go down the Sola Scriptura route, you can get nothing but confusion and discord – which had been the essential condition of the schismatic, heretical Protestant diaspora, from its inception to the present day.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 12:07

    Mr Rice,

    You say; “That doesn’t necessitate him being the leader of any churches outside of Rome. The historical record bears no evidence of Peter’s supremacy among the apostles;” I say, what about the historical testimony of the Church Tradition? Isn’t that historical evidence?

    Also, just think about it: it makes *perfect* sense that the Roman See – being at the heart of the Roman Empire – should have held the primacy. From a purely practical point of view, if you’re going to coordinate a global church (St Thomas got as far as India in his lifetime) the best place to have your nerve centre and commander-in-chief is Rome. You can try to say that the fact that Sts Peter and Paul operated from Rome as their base is purely coincidental if you like, but I don’t see why you want to do that: the obvious inference is that one of the two held Primacy.

    Church Tradition informs us that it was St Peter, and not St Paul; I don’t know if there’s any way of establishing this more certainly from archaeology, but as a matter of sheer common sense, why opt to suspend judgement – or claim rather obtusely that there was no primacy – when the Church’s tradition offers a *perfectly* plausible account, fully in line with Christ’s singling out of Peter in the New Testament, in this respect? Our Lord said to Peter, very deliberately, “Feed my sheep”, three times. In this, we understand that He conferred to him his own primacy; Peter was appointed the vicar of Christ, to be the shepherd the flock par excellence in this world.

    I know that you will resist this, because your religion depends on circumventing the truths of the Holy Tradition, and muddying the historical waters with faithless scepticism, reducing religion down to the sum total of what *you* can make out of scripture unaided. I myself am a convert to Catholicism from Protestantism, and I sympathise. But I implore you simply to try to look at the Scripture with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, if you knew nothing about e.g. the Protestant myth that the Pope is Antichrist, or the foolish notion that the Catholic church is somehow or other the great bogeyman of the Western world (when in fact, it was she that *made* the Western world), or that Priests ‘get between the faithful and God’, or whatever other diabolical fancy you might have succumbed to, would you take from these passages about Peter anything other than that Christ was singling him out for a special task? And would you be at all surprised to find that this differentiated ministry became part of the established order of the Church, through the Apostolic succession? Would it not be the most natural thing in the world, for God, having first thus honoured Peter, to elevate the commander-in-chief of his Church in this World – the Church militant – to the See of Peter, viz. the Roman See?

    catholicboyrichard

    February 28, 2013 at 14:47

    Just to briefly interject, I do not get the sense that anyone is attempting to attack Catholicism here, but rather search out this issue from both sides. I would hope all the commenters bear this in mind in their replies. It is not my page to say this perhaps, but as a brother in Christ and one with deep respect to Prayson Daniel, I am just saying let us not attack one another but learn from each other. God bless.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 15:17

    I do believe Catholicism is being attacked – however unwittingly -, because the raison d’etre of Protestantism is to attack Catholicism, and the Protestant hermeneutic is hostile to the Catholic hermeneutic: this is perfectly logical, and I bear Protestants no ill will on this account.

    I’m not interested in attacking any person, but I am interested in attacking an ideology – viz. Protestantism – because I believe it kills the supernatural life of the soul, and I will have to answer to God for my conduct in this life. I would submit that a debate carried on as if there were not these very significant differences (both re hermeneutics and re conclusions) between the Catholic and Protestant positions on this, as on every other subject, will be a fruitless, and – ultimately – a disrespectful one. I have unqualified respect for any man who holds his ground and argues robustly and honestly for his beliefs like Prayson Daniel and the rest of this blog’s worthy company, but I won’t give an inch where I don’t think an inch can be given, and it would be a sin of omission against to forbear to point out what I take to be an highly dubious and irrationally selective tendency toward scepticism in the approach of some to this issue, amongst others.

    I put to Mr Rice a very reasonable question: Why does he want to sidestep the obvious conclusion that the Petrine primacy of the Holy Tradition is perfectly consonant with the facts of history and the testimony of Holy Writ, and continue to cast doubt on this? Whence this sceptical inclination to call into doubt the received wisdom of the whole Church on no positive evidence? I believe – and I will be delighted if he denies it – that the inclination stems from a systematic desire to discredit the Church of Rome, which is inherent to the Protestant outlook. I don’t believe that there is sufficient matter for doubt in any of these sources of testimony: where are the alternative Traditions or sources claiming that the Church was a democracy, or that St Paul was the first Pope, or that Christ was speaking generally where He apparently is speaking particularly? They do not exist. Therefore I ask: why are Protestants bothered about casting doubt on this issue? What have you got to lose?

    zanspence

    February 28, 2013 at 17:16

    Hey catholicboyrichard, Do you think you or someone could address Leo I’s statement with scripture in the same way I did? Particularly my definition of “arguments” 2-4. I honestly see where Leo I was going with argument 1 and John 1:42 but I think more scripture should be the key driver for all of our conclusions whether we feel someone has misinterpreted the scripture or not. I agree with you that we should not be in the spirit of accusation and attack but unless there is scripture under girding our thoughts and conclusions then I don’t think there is much to say. I am sincerely curious about what scriptures drive Catholic theology and doctrine.

    catholicboyrichard

    March 1, 2013 at 06:43

    A wonderful young brother in Christ and the Church, David Demboski, shared a response which should show up either above or below yours here. Since I re-blogged it will actually show up on my site, but I will list the link. Another helpful one is from Tony Layne. Both of these guys could outsmart me even in my sleep. So hopefully they will be of help:).

    Richard L Rice

    February 28, 2013 at 18:48

    As this is not my “play pen” but that belonging to Prayson, I don’t want to get into arguments. I was simply replying to Prayson’s post as he asked. Let me say that I don’t believe the Pope to be the Antichrist (I’m actually a great supporter of the current and previous pope), the Constantine controversy, or any of the other ideas stacked unfairly on my plate.

    The question of the primacy of Rome is not just a divide with Protestants, but with Copts, the various Orthodox communions, and others.

    I believe you hit the nail on the head to large measure, quiavideruntoculi, when you wrote that my “religion depends on circumventing the truths of the Holy Tradition, and muddying the historical waters with faithless scepticism, reducing religion down to the sum total of what *you* can make out of scripture unaided.” This really is the great divide between historic Romanism & Protestantism: the role of “Holy Tradition.”

    From a purely human standpoint, I agree that it makes sense for Christ’s work to be …. headquartered in the locus of of the world …. but that has not been Rome for many years; and one could argue that the spiritual locus of Christianity was Jerusalem or even Antioch where believers were first called Christians. But are we to take a human standpoint in matters of faith or the clear and established testimony of Holy Writ?

    Quite honestly, it matters not to me where the visible church is headquartered. To me, and all informed Protestants, this issue comes down to the “more sure word of testimony” rather than the traditions of men, whomever those men may be. I happen to stand with Martin Luther: “Since then your imperial majesty and your lordships demand a simple answer, I will give you one without teeth and without horns. Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest evidence…I cannot and will not retract, for we must never act contrary to our conscience….Here I stand. God help me! Amen!”

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 19:13

    Praise God for your candour!

    I hope, splendid fellow, that I did not seem to despise you, when I listed speculatively a number of common Protestant errors concerning the Pope which you might have been entertaining. I know that this is an issue that divides Catholics from both Protestants and the Eastern Schismatics, but e.g. to believe that the pope is Anti Christ seems to me quite a logical and defensible position, if you believe e.g. that the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation were essentially Rome’s fault. I held that position myself for a long time. The Church of Rome is either the supreme work of Satan, or bride of Christ.

    You do certainly fall foul of one great diabolical error, however, and in this you are certainly the child of the Heresiarch Luther, and so my speculations were not wholly wide of the mark. In essence, you say with Luther, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Verily, there you stand, and verily there you will perish, as God is my witness, unless you allow God, through the ministrations of His Church, to lead you, and you follow in humble and blind faith, to the fullness of Catholic truth. As G K Chesterton said, you can only reach truth with logic, once you have first reached it without.

    I don’t trust your ‘more sure word of testimony’ hermeneutic, because, while there seems to me plenty in the Scripture to support and correlate with the Catholic view that Peter had this particular mission (though it is not explicitly stated in so many words, I grant you), and everything in plain common sense to suggest that where Peter left off his successors to the Petrine See would continue, there is *nothing* in Scripture, or in history, or in any tradition whatever to gainsay it categorically. Perhaps at times Peter was less assertive, and maybe James took more of a role at some points. I don’t know. But this sort of consideration proves precisely nothing: modern Popes vary in their approach, and the issue is not to establish the finer detail about how Peter’s papacy worked, but simply to establish in Scripture a solid justification for believing what the Church has always believed, namely that Peter had a special role in God’s plan for the founding of the Church, and his monarchical, vicarious and differentiated pastoral ministry is a necessary part of the organic structure of the Body of Christ, which essentially persists to the present day in the office of the Supreme Pontiff.

    I believe that justification exists, and I don’t believe there is any real justification for doubting it – unless, of course, you just don’t want to obey the Church.

    Richard L Rice

    February 28, 2013 at 20:02

    Quiavideruntoculi, your strawmen are entertaining and your name-calling endearing. I bear each name as a badge of honor, though I wonder if you treat all of your “separated brethren” with such distinction! Your kind words and thoughtfulness outshines that of any of the popes since the Second Vatican Council.

    My cause is not a church but its’ Christ. My standard not a Tradition but the Text of Holy Writ. My leader is no man but the God-Man Jesus. I will march with the army of my Sovereign Lord and King, no matter what tribe they hail from, as long as they bow the knee in full-surrender to Him.

    God’s richest blessing upon you Quiavideruntoculi. Thank you, sincerely, for putting a smile upon my face for this day. If I were not needing to leave from work, I’d be glad to continue this dialog.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 20:47

    Thank you for your blessing; I pray that it will count in your favour on the day of Judgement, as it is written, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3).

    I am glad that you are not repelled by my direct approach, but I don’t want you to think I speak idly, or rashly, when I use these terms. As to Straw Men, we shall see, and let God be the Judge, who has the straw men.

    I am also gratified that you think “[My] kind words and thoughtfulness outshines that of any of the popes since the Second Vatican Council.”, since many mistake the truth for offence. All of the popes since the second Vatican council have been bad popes: that is not to say bad men – only God knows that – but definitely bad popes. And they – with the possible exception of Benedict XVI – have completely failed to stem the tide of modernism and hogwash that has over topped the gunwales of the Barque of Peter.

    As to this: “My cause is not a church but its’ Christ. My standard not a Tradition but the Text of Holy Writ. My leader is no man but the God-Man Jesus. I will march with the army of my Sovereign Lord and King, no matter what tribe they hail from, as long as they bow the knee in full-surrender to Him.”

    I answer:

    My cause is not a church, but Christ; and Christ said, of the Apostles – whose successors are the Bishops – whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they will be retained. (John 20:22). He also said, he that hears you, hears Me (Luke 10:16). And the Holy Ghost tells us that – as I will never, Dei gratia, tire of repeating – the Church is the PILLAR AND FOUNDATION OF ALL TRUTH (1 Tim. 3:15).

    Your standard, I submit, is not Tradition, or the Text of Holy Writ (which is part of Tradition); it is Sola Scriptura, which is a reductionist philosophy, designed to denude the Scripture of its richness and robbing it of its context. My standard is Christ, and the Church is His body, and the Holy Bishops are His mouth. I listen to them, because they speak in one accord, and their voice is my Lord’s voice. The first of them, the Apostles, wrote the Scriptures of the New Testament; their successors preserved them, canonised them and passed them down to us.

    As to the whole marching thing, we agree on paper. But there is no one disobedient to the Church, who can also claim to be obedient to Christ. Quid autem dicit Scriptura? HE WHO HEARS YOU HEARS ME. (Luke 10:16).

    Michael Blissenbach

    February 28, 2013 at 06:31

    Prayson, Catholic apologist Scott Hahn has a good article on the topic here: http://www.catholic-pages.com/pope/hahn.asp

    Richard L Rice

    February 28, 2013 at 05:20

    One other thing. Let’s say for the sake of argument that historically speaking, we could prove that Peter was the leader of the church in Rome. So what? That doesn’t necessitate him being the leader of any churches outside of Rome. The historical record bears no evidence of Peter’s supremacy among the apostles; and the Biblical record is even more clear.

    Richard L Rice

    February 28, 2013 at 05:16

    The only thing I can add to the discussion thus far is this: the Roman church advocates for Jesus setting Peter aside as the primary among the apostles; however, in Acts 15, at the Jerusalem Council, James was at the least the co-leader of the discussion and in Galatians 2:9 & 12, it appears that James held greater weight that Peter.

    catholicboyrichard

    February 28, 2013 at 04:28

    Hey my brother…I just reblogged this to get some of my Catholic (and other) friends from my page to give some input too. I will save my thoughts for later but I will share them too once I gather some from people who follow my blog. This is important stuff. Thanks for sharing in such a fair and impartial way. God bless.

    catholicboyrichard

    February 28, 2013 at 04:26

    Reblogged this on catholicboyrichard and commented:
    From a Calvinist brother in Christ (and an eminently fair one by the way) who wants the Catholic perspective on this issue. Please add your comments, and I will gladly forward the best ones on to him. So go to it folks:). This is THE major issue which separates us from Protestants. So it is worth some thoughtful answers. No attacks please. We are all brothers and sisters here if we have been baptized into Christ and are living for Him.

    Rodrigo

    February 28, 2013 at 01:52

    All we christians have at last ten centuries of common past and faith.
    Remember this because we had many Popes.
    Christ gave the Keys to Peter. The seconde Pope and the ones who followed knew that those Keys where to them too.
    We need a head of the Church. Christ knew that.

    quiavideruntoculi

    February 28, 2013 at 01:50

    As a Roman Catholic, I would want to affirm both interpretations. I don’t see that they are mutually exclusive, but rather mutually reinforcing. Christ is talking about Peter’s faith, yes, but that means He is, by necessary extension, talking about Peter as a person. If Christ were just talking about faith in general, why would he address this to Peter in particular? Whether it’s the person Peter or the faith of the person Peter, there’s no escaping that we’re talking about… Peter, and his apostolic ministry. This is not a generic message about faith being the bedrock of the Church: it is a particular message about the particular role of a particular person, namely Peter, and his faith, and the Church believes that it is also a prophetic message about the role that the Petrine see has had to play in Church history, because of other passages, e.g. “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32).

    It is an historic fact that the fullness of the Catholic faith has only been preserved in Rome in unbroken Tradition, and the role of the Roman see in converting and reconverting the rest of the Church back to the Christ is a striking feature of the Church’s development. In the East, there is still celebrated the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, where the faithful remember the *five* occasions – prior to the Great Schism – when the Popes of Rome gloriously called foul on various heretical movements that had won over all of their brother patriarchates in the East. More shamefully for Protestants, only Rome has managed to hold the line even on *moral* teaching; this is seen particularly in the sphere of sexual ethics, and the rapid disintegration of Protestant ethics into a relativistic mush, in the midst of which moral ruin the Catholic Church alone stands erect and defiant.

    God has form on dignifying his servants’ posterity on account of their faith – Abraham being the prime example. I believe that the institution of Church government by Christ among the Apostles has remained substantially intact in the ordering of Church governance through to the present day, and that Peter *and* his successors according to the laying on of hands have a special and differentiated role to play in the mission of the Church. As St Peter had a special role to play among the apostles, so his successor continues to have a special role to play among the Bishops, who are the successors to the Apostles. This is the sense of the scripture: where’s the difficulty? Is it that if you concede that there’s something more concrete to this Petrine thing than a platitude, you might have to concede a lot more?

    jasondulle

    February 27, 2013 at 20:59

    As it pertains to the debate between Catholics and Protestants, it very well could be that Jesus was referring to Peter himself and not Peter’s confession. But if so, so what? How does the papacy follow from this? All Jesus identified Peter as the person on whom He would build His church, not Peter’s physical or spiritual descendents. Just Peter. So even if they are rightly understanding Jesus to be referring to Peter’s person, the idea of papal supremacy and papal succession does not follow.

    grateful2him

    February 27, 2013 at 19:26

    If one follows in the NT the various confessions of who Jesus is, using the death of John the Baptist for the timeline, one finds that Peter was apparently the last of the Apostles to make such a confession. I believe that Jesus’ point was that even Peter now believes, and so this must have been revealed to him from above. And that is how any one of us comes to believe who Jesus really is. So, I say that it was not even Peter’s confession per se that Jesus was impressed with and responding to; rather, it was the fact that Jesus’ identity was revealed to Peter from on high. This is what the church of Jesus is (being) built upon.

    zanspence

    February 27, 2013 at 19:07

    I’m a protestant and believe along the lines of Origen-Augustine-Chrysostom

    Leo the I’s argument has these 4 main parts
    1)For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock,
    2)from his being pronounced the Foundation,
    3)from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven,
    4)from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven,

    I can understand his interpretation of part 1 because when Jesus called Peter he renamed him
    from Simon to “Peter/Cephas” where both mean stone: “And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone” (John 1:42, KJV).

    I think part 2 is referring to the transfiguration? (Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28–36,2 Peter 1:16–18). But
    James and John were there as well. In fact Peter, James and John were also the ones that Jesus chose exclusively to wait and pray with him in the garden (Matt 26:37-38).

    Part 3 and 4 are similar but I don’t know of any scripture that would’ve been interpreted to support them.

    My theory is that the very spirit of division that was alive at the Church of Corinth that Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 1:10-15(NIV 1984) below is what has survived in Christianity to this day:

    I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
    My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
    What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
    I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name.

    My other question is that by the time Leo I wrote his comment cannocity had been established in late 300′s. So they had access to Paul’s letters. I wonder why the letter to Corinth and letter to Timothy(1 Tim 2:5) that states there is no mediator between God and man did not have some weight.

    guayja1

    February 27, 2013 at 18:46

    I like the historical view of scriptural interpretation, but I’m wondering and at an immediate loss for the differing implications of each position. Can you enlighten?

    Prayson Daniel

    February 27, 2013 at 19:31

    That is a good question. In a simple way, the implication of the Rome’s Catholic view is that it was used to claim the primacy of Peter and his successors, Roman’s Pope, as the visible head of the universe church. The other view, all believers are the visible church.

    This was one reason the reformers protested against the Roman Catholicism.

    vidasdecristo

    February 28, 2013 at 03:40

    I think you are right Prayson.

    I always believed the name Peter (Greek, Petros) means “rock” or “rock-man.” In the next phrase Christ used petra (upon this rock), a feminine form for “rock,” not a name. Christ used a play on words. He does not say “upon you, Peter” or “upon your successors,” but “upon this rock”—upon this divine revelation and profession of faith in Christ.

    It would seem then the Church is the whole of believers and not a specific denomination.

    Alex T & Josh P

    February 27, 2013 at 17:15

    Thanks. Can we have more historical-theological posts?

    Arkenaten

    February 27, 2013 at 16:54

    Origen-Augustine-Chrysostom, is the correct one based on the Greek reading and the words Petros and petra.
    If the Jesus really spoke in Aramaic why didn’t he simply use the word Kephas?

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  5. David Demboski

    Wow, so I did not realize that St. Augustine of Hippo was also Aurelius Augustine as well. Not sure how I overlooked that. Let me say this: one odd bit of knowledge about Augustine that some might not know is that he knew very little Greek, and almost no Hebrew. So, he obviously had some difficulty with the difference with Greek words like Petros and Petra. Moreover, if you read his writings it could not be more clear that he upheld the papacy and the primacy of Peter. And we have a number of passages where he does uphold Peter as the rock. Here’s a few quotes from him:

    “Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail” Augustine, Psalm against the Party of Donatus, 18 (A.D. 393).

    “If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. … In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found” (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).

    “And if a Jew asks us why we do that, we sound from the rock, we say, This Peter did, this Paul did: from the midst of the rocks we give our voice. But that rock, Peter himself, that great mountain, when he prayed and saw that vision, was watered from above.”
    In Psalms, 104[103]:16(A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:513

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    1. David I think that the sign of a truly genuine scholar is one who learns along with others. You always do. It is like you are Tim Gray or something…hehe. This is a helpful addition to your original post and thanks.

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  6. David Demboski

    Sorry this is so long, Richard.
    Prayson Daniel, I enjoyed the post. Thank you for presenting a forum for honest and open dialogue.
    Obviously this is a huge question, but here are a few points:
    1) Leo the Great was not the first pope, so to speak. The title “pope” is just the way of designating the bishop of Rome, who had always held primacy among the bishops (even before that title was given). It comes from the Latin, “papa”. After the title was disigated to the bishop of Rome it was retroactively applied to them all. Not a big deal but thought I would mention it.

    2) The interpretation presented by Origen-Augustine-Chrysostom in the quotes above were not the majority position among the early Church Fathers. And while I am not familiar with that Augustine’s writings, I know that Origen and Chrysostom did hold that Peter was the rock as well, and that for them the two positions were not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, Origen also says, “Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]” (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]). How can he say both things? Well, the early Fathers often interpretted passages on many levels. It is very possible that Origen thought the literal sense of the text was that Peter was the rock, but it could also be read in a spiritual way so that it also applied to faith in Christ.
    The Chrysostom quotes are taken from his homilies, and I think if we look a bit further at them we find he definitely believes Peter to be the rock of the Church. A first note about the quote you use: Chrysostom actually says that “the primacy was promised”, meaning the primacy of Peter, of the bishop of Rome. So even if one were to argue that Peter was not the rock, according to Chrysostom he has primacy among the Apostles (which is obvious from the rest of the NT). Here is the part you allude to, ““And I say unto you, You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd.” Chrysostom does not seperate the faith of Peter from the person, which is why Jesus “makes him a shepherd” (see Jn 21); He doesn’t make Peter’s faith a shepherd. But here is another quote from Chrysostom’s homilies on Matthew, “Do you see how He [Jesus], His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church in capable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father , speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as “a brazen pillar, and as a wall;” Jeremiah 1:18 but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.” Chrysostom says that Jesus promises to Peter 2 promises which are peculiar to God, the ability to forgive sins and the ability to make sure the Church wil never be “overthrown in such assailing waves.” Then he says that just as God the Father made Jeremiah “a brazen pillar” for Israel, so Jesus has done for Peter, but not just for Israel, for every part of the world. And he says that Jesus makes Peter “more solid than an rock”.

    3) Not only do 2 of these men not believe Peter to not be the rock, but that position, if actually taken by Auralius Augustine (I do not know), it is by far the minority opinion among the early Fathers. Tertullian, Origen, Clement, Cyprian of Carthage, Firmilian, Ambrose of Millan, and Augustine of Hippo, among others, all hold Peter to be the rock, and they all come before Leo the Great.

    4) When we look at the text itself, I would argue that trying to make anything besides Peter be the rock is an extremely awkward process, and requires a most unnatural reading. Here is the whole passage, “And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
    I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:17-19).
    When Jesus says, “on this [taute] rock [petra]” what is “this” referring to? Most naturally it refers to what comes directly before it. Jesus just changed Peter’s name to be “rock” (not small rock, or pebble; that is not a proper translation), and then says he will build upon this “petra”, rock. In Greek every noun has masculine, feminine, or neuter endings, and the word for rock just happened to be feminine. Therefore, in order to avoid giving Peter a feminine name, the author literally creates a new name/word so that Peter’s name may be masculine and still mean rock.
    If we try to say “this rock” refers to Peter’s faith, then “this” (taute) would have to refer back to the previous verse (or further back) and refer to…nothing actually, because in English Jesus says, “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you” – that “this” is actually not present in the Greek (there would be a taute or touto or a form of that word); it is silent, or assumed in the text without actually being written. That, then, would make it even more awkward to refer to word that is not actually present. You know what I mean?
    In sum, the most obvious and natural reading of the text, in Greek especially but also in English, is that Peter is the rock, especially in light of the fact that 16:17-19 is a blessing upon Peter. This is clearly a special moment for Simon-Peter. Jesus does not say, “blessed is your faith” or “blessed is the Father who revealed this to you” (although both would be true), but “blessed are you Simon bar- Jona”.

    5) We know that in Aramaic Peter is called “rock”, which is what most scholars, if not all, agree that Jesus would have been speaking. How do we know what “Petros” would be in Aramaic? Well, two other New Testament authors are kind enough to translate it for us. John (1:42) and Paul (Gal. 1:18, 2:9) call Peter “Kephas”, which would have been the word Jesus used for both “Petros” and “petra”. And wouldn’t it just be strange for Jesus to literally create a name that means “rock” for this special blessing to Peter, and then intend for him not to be the rock of the Church? By “create a name” I mean that we do not know of any usage of “kephas” or “petros” as a proper name before the New Testament, not in Aramaic or Greek. So, it appears that Jesus literally made up a name for Simon, which I think is pretty cool.

    6) Lastly, many Protestant scholars are moving away from this position because they know it is untenable. I read a vast number of commentaries on Matthew, and much to my surprise many of the Protestant scholars admitted that Peter was the rock (although they did not always conclude that he had the primacy, or if he did have the primacy they would have other arguments to explain why the pope does not have it). I would certainly not say all Protestant scholars do, but defintely many of them have come to hold the position that Peter is the rock.

    Hope this helps. Sorry if I wrote too much. And I apologize for typos. I was typing fast. If you would like to chat about it some more please let me know.

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  7. Because the Gospels were originally written in Greek koine, we tend to think the conversation took place in Greek when Jesus and the Twelve most likely spoke Aramaic as their mother tongue and Hebrew as a liturgical language; Greek would have been a tongue of trade and Latin of little necessity. John gives us a useful clue: “‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (Jn 1:42). And in his letters Paul constantly refers to him as “Cephas”, which is the Aramaic Ke’pa’ transliterated into Greek. Now, there’s no point in any of this if they understood Jesus to be referring to Peter’s faith or his testimony; moreover, Jesus doesn’t mention Peter’s faith, but only that his knowledge has been revealed to him by God (Mt 16:17).

    Cephas took the name “Peter” when dealing with Gentiles because “Petra” would have been a woman’s name. Ke’pa’ is a masculine noun, so there would have been no confusion in gender as there is in the Greek Petros/petra; in fact, his name in Syriac texts is Ke’pa’ Sh’moun. Also, the Greek of verse 18 says, “… and on this same (tautē tē) rock …”, which reinforces the identity of one rock with another — no “big rock/little rock” here!

    Traditional theological interpretation has held that there are as many as four different layers of meaning in some Scriptural passages. Peter’s faith as the rock is possible on the analogical level; however, the analogical is built on the literal: Peter’s faith could be likened to a rock because Peter himself was a rock — steady, constant and (mostly) reliable, like the fisherman he was.

    Summary: The two interpretations aren’t mutually exclusive. But in the end, priority goes to the literal understanding, which tells us that Jesus meant Peter himself.

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