Rise of the Papacy
History and Development of the Papacy It took centuries to develop the supremacy of the bishop of Rome over the entire Catholic Church, an institution also known as “the papacy,” “In the first few hundred years of the church, the term “pope,” which means “father,” was used for any important and respected bishop, and the bishop of Rome was one of several important bishops in Christendom. ” Rome had always been respected for its relationship with Peter and Paul and its position as the church in the Empire’s capital, especially after Christianity was legalized under Emperor Constantine.
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The doctrine of the supremacy of the pope finally reached its pinnacle in the late 13th century, when Pope Boniface VIII claimed full religious and secular authority over every individual. Most of the claims for the authority of the pope have rested on one basic argument: The bishop of Rome is the successor of St. Peter; and Jesus gave St. Peter authority over the entire church. First, the primary theological reason for the ultimate primacy of Rome is the city’s association with Peter. According to tradition, it is said that Peter visited Rome during his lifetime and was martyred there.
Second, in Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples who they think He is. Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. ” Jesus replies: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. ” Peter’s original name was Simon.
Jesus gave him another name, Cephas, which is an Aramaic word meaning “rock”. Aramaic is the language that Jesus spoke, so the Catholic Church interprets Jesus to be teaching that Peter is the foundation (rock), of the Church and has spiritual authority over it. Matthew 16 can also be interpreted as Christ saying that he is building his Church on the strength of Peter. Matthew 16:19 is also the basis for the depictions of St. Peter guarding the gates of heaven. Peter was given the fullness of power over the church. Further evidence of this power is found in John 21, when the resurrected Christ commands Peter: “Feed my sheep. “A final factor that must not be overlooked in analyzing the rise of the papacy is the personalities who held the office of bishop of Rome. These men – some of which were worldly, some of which were very devout – regarded themselves as holding a special place in Christendom and did not hesitate to claim this supremacy. ” How the Papacy Works “Catholics look to Vatican City in Rome, where the pope lives, for their spiritual leadership. The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican’s head of state. The pope’s governance of the Catholic Church is termed his Papacy.
You often hear the pope called by many other names, including Papa, Vicar of Christ, Holy Father, and Bishop of Rome. ” Papal Authority As head of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope is the supreme spiritual leader of the Church and controls the church doctrine. Even though Peter was never officially the bishop of Rome, because of his work and his role as the head of the Church, he is recognized as the first Pope. Every pope since Peter is considered the immediate successor of Peter, and not of that pope’s immediate predecessor. A pope is considered to be carrying on the power that Christ granted Peter.
Today, most of the pope’s powers are derived from the Petrine guarantee, which is etched in Latin around the perimeter of the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral. Matthew 16:18 is considered the Petrine guarantee. The Rise of the Papacy Excerpts from the Crimes of Christianity by G. W. Foote & J. M. Wheeler, http://www. thenazareneway. com/rise_of_the_papacy. htm Papacy, http://mb-soft. com/believe/txc/papacy. htm, 01/07/2011 New Creation Person, http://newcreationperson. wordpress. com/2010/11/06/the-rise-of-the-papacy-in-the-ancient-church-part-1/