134 – “I think about a conversion of the papacy. It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it”

Through the centuries, the Church has moved from triumph to triumph, though it continually endures attacks, persecutions and hatred from all quarters, all promoted by one leader: the infernal enemy who has the illusion of one day destroying it. The Church suffers insult and violent injury from pagans and apostates, the powerful and lowly, the cultured and unlearned and even – though it pains us to say so – from the very sons who should most defend her. However, she remains, as Saint Paul affirmed: ‘holy and without blemish’ (Eph 5:27), unshakable amid the torrents of hatred hurled against her.
The enduring capacity to withstand all aggression is based on the promise of her Divine Founder: ‘you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church’ (Mt 16:18).

Accordingly, the one doctrine that all heretics have in common is the negation of papal authority. Those who love and defend the papacy remain united to the Church, and those who reject this foundation, separate from the Church, and irremediably wither away.

Such a vital question; the manner of exercising the Petrine ministry, has been defined by the Fathers of the Church and the popes with great exactitude. This solid and clear doctrine is recorded in numerous documents of the Magisterium.

If Francis is wanting: ‘suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it’ and ‘wanting opinions of how the Church should be governed’, we affirm that the very Magisterium of his predecessors has all the answers. Here we present some of them. Let us not forget that, throughout History, those who have wished to distance themselves from a ‘centralization’, and sought to change the way of governing the Church were qualified in no uncertain terms. Those who have ears to hear…

Francis

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Quote A

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter in the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthorsAnnex
I – Over the centuries, did the ministry of Peter move away from what Christ originally desired? Is the Papacy, as it was always understood, in need of conversion?
II – Specific powers were granted to the successor of Peter that should be exercised only by him as a condition of the unity of the Church. His mission is personal and non-transferable; all of the authority of the true Church depends on him
III – The life of the Church depends on the Papacy. To destroy the Primacy by weakening the powers of the Roman Pontiff would be to annihilate the Church of Jesus Christ
IV – Many tried to abolish the Papacy in the past, and even with the very same arguments that are used today…
Annex 1 – What is the true relationship between the Supreme Pontiff and the College of Bishops, according to the Doctrine of the Church?
Annex 2 – A historical fact: the ‘churches’ that deny obedience to the Pope do not survive
The failure of sects throughout the centuries…
And in our days


I – Over the centuries, did the ministry of Peter move away from what Christ originally desired? Is the Papacy, as it was always understood, in need of conversion?


John Paul II

The Catholic Church faithfully conserves the ministry of the Successor of Peter

Nicholas I

The privileges of the Roman Church built on Blessed Peter by the word of Christ can by no means be diminished

Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

That which Christ instituted must of necessity remain for ever

Leo XIII

Authority instituted in perpetuity

Pius XI

The Church is exactly the same as it was at the time of the Apostles
Protestants affirm that they would willingly treat with the Church of Rome, but on equal terms…but their assemblies are a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ

Saint Francis de Sales

The Protestants disturb the clear fountain of the Gospel, so that neither Saint Peter finds his keys therein, nor do the faithful drink of the holy fount of obedience due to the vicar of Christ

Pius XII

They have taken away the visible head and have left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer obscured and maimed

Pius IX

The Roman Pontiffs must guard the Lord’s flock from poisoned pastures

Leo XIII

No one should depart from the infallible teaching authority of the Church

II – Specific powers were granted to the successor of Peter that should be exercised only by him, as a condition of the unity of the Church. His mission is personal, and non-transferable; all of the authority of the true Church depends on him


Clement I

Each one is only pleasing to God when remaining within the measure determined by Christ

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter…

Catechism of Trent

… that of being the visible head of His visible Church

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

The sole supreme shepherd of all

Clement VI

All the Roman Pontiffs have the same plenitude in the jurisdiction of power as blessed Peter himself received from our Lord Jesus Christ

Council of Florence (Ecumenical XVII)

Full power was given to the Pontiff in blessed Peter by our Lord Jesus Christ to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church

Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

Those who misrepresent the government established by Christ the Lord and deny Peter oppose the manifest teaching of the Sacred Scriptures
No one may lawfully pass judgment upon the sentence of the Apostolic See
The mission to guard and faithfully expound the Revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles
The Roman Pontiff possesses that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy

Saint Francis de Sales

It is not so much a man who determines, resolves and defines as it is the Holy Spirit who teaches his Church all truth by man
If the supreme acting shepherd can conduct his sheep into venomous pastures, who will bring them back?

III – The life of the Church depends on the Papacy. To destroy the Primacy by weakening the powers of the Roman Pontiff would be to annihilate the Church of Jesus Christ


Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

The gates of hell want to overthrow the Church with great hatred against its divinely established foundation

Saint Thomas Aquinas

The unity of the Church demands that there be one head of the entire Church…

Leo XIII

…and unity of government

Saint Ambrose of Milan

Where Peter is, there is the Church

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

The form of the Church comes from the words of Christ: ‘thou art Peter’
The Lord established by His authority the origin of the same unity as beginning from one
Does he who strives against the Church and resists her think that he is in the Church?

Origen

The rock and the Church are one and the same

Saint John Damascene

Unbreakable rock

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The Church does not fall because it is founded upon a rock
In the name of Peter, the Church was figured
In Peter the Church must be recognized

Leo I, the Great

Christ wants his Church built on the strong foundation: that of Peter
While the election of them all was equal, it was one who took the lead of the rest

Gregory I the Great

Holy Church stands on the solidity of the Prince of the Apostles

Saint Francis de Sales

The Pope and the Church are one
Saint Peter is first, the governor and a confirmer of the rest

Saint Jerome

When a head has been appointed, there may be no occasion for schism

Saint Robert Bellarmine

Could the ship venture into the waves without a captain?

Pius X

The pilot of the ship of the Church raised up by God had a strong hand saving the vessel from future storms

Pius IX

No other Church is Catholic except the one founded on Peter

Pius XII

Tangible demonstration of the indissoluble unity of the Catholic Church

IV – Many tried to abolish the Papacy in the past, and even with the very same arguments that are used today…


John Paul II

There had been attempts to reduce the power of the Roman Pontiff to ‘an office of inspection or of direction’ - this limitation was not conformed with the mission conferred by Christ to Peter

Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

If anyone says that the Roman pontiff does not have the supreme power of jurisdiction let him be anathema

Saint Francis de Sales

To attack the dignity and office of the Pope could ever be right?

Martin Luther

A typical query of heretics: ‘By what right does the pope impose his laws upon us?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

The Anglicans consider the pontifical authority as a tyranny

Council of Constance (Ecumenical XVI)

Wycliffe condemned for denying that the Pope is the proximate and immediate representative of Christ and the apostles
John Huss taught that Christ governed better through his disciples scattered throughout the world

Saint Robert Bellarmine

Calvin attributes the high ecclesiastical power to a group
John Brentius grants the high power to the secular princes
The truth proclaimed by a Doctor of the Church: neither the people, nor the secular and ecclesiastical princes claim the regime of the Church, but rather the Pope

Annex 1 – What is the true relationship between the Supreme Pontiff and the College of Bishops, according to the Doctrine of the Church?


Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

To affirm that all are endowed with equal spiritual power disarranges the ecclesiastical hierarchy

John Paul II

The Apostolic college spread the faith, while Peter confirmed it
The Pope possesses this plenitude in a personal way, while the Episcopal body possesses it collectively

Code of Canon Law

The College of Bishops, together with its head, the Supreme Pontiff, and never without this head, is also the subject of supreme power - The decrees of an ecumenical council do not have obligatory force unless they have been approved by the Roman Pontiff

Leo XIII

The Bishops do not receive plenary, universal or supreme authority
The need of union between the bishops and the successors of Peter is clear and undeniable, otherwise Christians would be separated and scattered
Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors
Without subjection to and obedience to Peter, the Episcopal order necessarily becomes a lawless and disorderly crowd
The Universal Jurisdiction of St. Peter is a principal element of the constitution of the Church

Vatican Council I

So that the believers be held together in the unity of the faith, Christ set Peter over the rest
Both clergy and faithful are bound to submit to the power of the Roman Pontiff

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Jesus Christ placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided
The Roman Pontiff is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity

Saint Francis de Sales

Our Lord has said in particular terms to Saint Peter what is afterwards said in general of the others
In authority and government Saint Peter precedes all the others as much as the head surpasses the members; the others have Saint Peter as the head of them all and their pastor
The Apostles were equal in the apostolate, not in dignity

Eugene IV

Papal authority is greater than the power of a General Council…

Pius II

…and no Council can go against the desire of the Roman Pontiff

John XXII

Those who claim that the Pope has no more authority than other bishops are enemies of the Catholic faith, heretics or heretical and erroneous

For a complete study on the Primacy of the Sucessor of Saint Peter, see: the first Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ published in the Fourth Session of the First Vatican Council (18 Jul 1870), Pastor Æternus

And also: The document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Considerations on the Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the mystery of the Church . L’Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 18 November 1998, page 5-6.


Annex 2 – A historical fact: the ‘churches’ that deny obedience to the Pope do not survive


The failure of sects throughout the centuries…


Ethan Longhenry

The ‘church’ of John Wycliff did not last a century

Hilaire Belloc

The very doctrine that denied the authority of the Pope led Protestantism itself to quickly become a mass of ruins

Pedro Herrasti

Each ‘church’ that separated from Rome divided and subdivided - Founders arose everywhere, each with his own ideas

And in our days…


The Christian World

The Protestant ‘church’ in Germany loses members

The Independent

This is the last generation of Anglicans

Richard Krejcir

Decline in Protestant membership in the United States

Elizabeth Braw

In Martin Luther’s church the pastor asks: Where have all the protestants gone?

Ruth Gledhill

Church of England decline accelerates

Discover another innovation:

01_6604John the Baptist doubted that Jesus is the Messiah?