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I am currently reading some books by some ex-Catholic theologians who attack the Catholic Church – without knowing the arguments of the other side, it is impossible to become a good apologist.

Now, there were some arguments against the papacy and Church hierarchy that really sounded troubling. The authors didn’t give any sources, so I do not know if these statements are true. Maybe you can help me answer and/or refute them.


These are the arguments:

1. There is no indication of the office of a “Bishop of Rome” until the second century:

a) Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antiochia, wrote a letter to the Romans in the year 107 and did neither direct it to a bishop, nor mention a bishop of Rome in the letter. Nor did the letter of Clement (year 90) mention such an office.

b) There earliest list of bishops by Irenaeus of Lyon (2th century), which says that Peter transferred the ministry of “episkopos” to a certain Linus, is a forgery.
 

2. In the Didache, the oldest treatise about Church organization, Bishops (“episkopos”) and Deakons (“diakonos”) are only mentioned after Apostles, Prophets and Teachers. The latter three seem to be of the higher rank. Quote: “Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers.” Prophets were considered superior to Bishops. There seem to have been also woman prophetesses, like the daughters of Phillip Evangelist (Acts 21:9).
 
Can you help me refute those arguments?
"1. There is no indication of the office of a “Bishop of Rome” until the second century:

a) Ignatius, who was the bishop of Antiochia, wrote a letter to the Romans in the year 107 and did neither direct it to a bishop, nor mention a bishop of Rome in the letter. Nor did the letter of Clement (year 90) mention such an office.

b) There earliest list of bishops by Irenaeus of Lyon (2th century), which says that Peter transferred the ministry of “episkopos” to a certain Linus, is a forgery."

a) Ignatius of Antioch Epistle to the Romans preface [50-117 AD]

"Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father"

If a church 'holds the presidency,' there is only one president. The 'country of the Romans' has this presidential Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch instructs people to follow the bishop and the clergy who submit to his authority:

Ignatius of Antioch to the Trallians ch 7 (50-117)

"He that is within the altar is pure, but he that is without is not pure; that is, he who does anything apart from the bishop, and presbytery, and deacons, such a man is not pure in his conscience."


Since Rome has a bishop and it is the presidential Church, it would follow that there is something very special about Rome's bishop.


St. Cyprian also has this view of the Church in Rome:

Cyprian of Carthage Epistle 54 par 14 [200-270 AD]

"With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source"


As for Clement:

Clement Recognitions book 1 (27-97 ad)

"The epistle in which the same Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, informs him of the death of Peter, and that he had left him his successor in his chair and teaching, and in which also the whole subject of church order is treated, I have not prefixed to this work, both because it is of later date, and because I have already translated and published it. But I do not think it out of place to explain here what in that letter will perhaps seem to some to be inconsistent. For some ask, Since Linus and Cletus were bishops in the city of Rome before this Clement, how could Clement himself, writing to James, say that the chair of teaching was handed over to him by Peter? Now of this we have heard this explanation, that Linus and Cletus were indeed bishops in the city of Rome before Clement, but during the lifetime of Peter: that is, that they undertook the care of the episcopate, and that he fulfilled the office of apostleship; as is found also to have been the case at Caesarea, where, when he himself was present, he yet had Zacchaeus, ordained by himself, as bishop. And in this way both statements will appear to be true, both that these bishops are reckoned before Clement, and yet that Clement received the teacher's seat on the death of Peter."

http://practicalapologetics.blogspot.ca/...being.html

http://practicalapologetics.blogspot.ca/...hurch.html

b) What is their proof that it is a forgery? The burden of proof is really on the person who says it's a forgery to prove so. Regardless, even discounting Irenaeus, we can see that this very early account of Clement mentioned above records the same Papal succession.
I'm going to play devil's advocate:

-the authors claim that there is no indication of the office of a Roman bishop before the 3rd century. Cyprian was born in the third century, so can't be considered in this discussion.

- Ignatius had the office of Bishop in Antioch. The "Church" of Rome is said to have presided in love. But there is no mention of a Roman bishop or a leader of the Roman church in his writings.

-Only Clement's letters to the Corinthians are considered authentic. The letter which is mentioning the "chair of Peter" is the letter of James (If I remember correctly) which is not considered authentic. Even most conservative Catholics only refer to the two letters to the Corinthians as being from Clement.

And that's he question: what are the pro and cons considering the authenticity of the letter to James by Clement and the list produced by Irenaeus? The book I read is from a serious scholar, so I guess these accusations are not just made up (even if they should be untrue).
(08-12-2017, 04:23 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: [ -> ]I'm going to play devil's advocate:

-the authors claim that there is no indication of the office of a Roman bishop before the 3rd century. Cyprian was born in the third century, so can't be considered in this discussion.

- Ignatius had the office of Bishop in Antioch. The "Church" of Rome is said to have presided in love. But there is no mention of a Roman bishop or a leader of the Roman church in his writings.

-Only Clement's letters to the Corinthians are considered authentic. The letter which is mentioning the "chair of Peter" is the letter of James (If I remember correctly) which is not considered authentic. Even most conservative Catholics only refer to the two letters to the Corinthians as being from Clement.

And that's he question: what are the pro and cons considering the authenticity of the letter to James by Clement and the list produced by Irenaeus? The book I read is from a serious scholar, so I guess these accusations are not just made up (even if they should be untrue).

What was the book you were reading, just out of curiosity?

Have you read His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic: An Orthodox Perspective by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck?

From the book description on Amazon: "Most discussions on the subject of the Roman Catholic - Eastern Orthodox schism are written by apologists, typically with the agenda to prove that one side is ‘exclusively right.’ Often, these books focus on specific topics such as ‘Peter’s primacy’ and never tackle the underlying issues, such as ecclesiology, or the meaning of words, such as “church” or “primacy.” In this comprehensive, scholarly, yet easy-to-read study, the author cuts through the fog of popular apologetics and lays bare all the facts with unprecedented objectivity. Writing from an Orthodox perspective but unafraid to tell ‘both sides of the story,’ Prof. Cleenewerck gets to the real roots of the ongoing schism while offering authentic avenues of reconciliation. The subjects addressed include: the nature of the Church, the meaning of the word ‘catholic,’ the question of Peter’s primacy and succession, the testimony of the Fathers and Councils, the filioque, papal infallibility, purgatory, clerical celibacy and continence, divorce, contraception, the marian doctrines and more. If you are Catholic, Orthodox, or considering the claims of either Church, you owe it to yourself to read this book."
(08-12-2017, 02:47 PM)POJ Michael Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-12-2017, 04:23 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: [ -> ]I'm going to play devil's advocate:

-the authors claim that there is no indication of the office of a Roman bishop before the 3rd century. Cyprian was born in the third century, so can't be considered in this discussion.

- Ignatius had the office of Bishop in Antioch. The "Church" of Rome is said to have presided in love. But there is no mention of a Roman bishop or a leader of the Roman church in his writings.

-Only Clement's letters to the Corinthians are considered authentic. The letter which is mentioning the "chair of Peter" is the letter of James (If I remember correctly) which is not considered authentic. Even most conservative Catholics only refer to the two letters to the Corinthians as being from Clement.

And that's he question: what are the pro and cons considering the authenticity of the letter to James by Clement and the list produced by Irenaeus? The book I read is from a serious scholar, so I guess these accusations are not just made up (even if they should be untrue).

What was the book you were reading, just out of curiosity?

Have you read His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic: An Orthodox Perspective by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck?

From the book description on Amazon: "Most discussions on the subject of the Roman Catholic - Eastern Orthodox schism are written by apologists, typically with the agenda to prove that one side is ‘exclusively right.’ Often, these books focus on specific topics such as ‘Peter’s primacy’ and never tackle the underlying issues, such as ecclesiology, or the meaning of words, such as “church” or “primacy.” In this comprehensive, scholarly, yet easy-to-read study, the author cuts through the fog of popular apologetics and lays bare all the facts with unprecedented objectivity. Writing from an Orthodox perspective but unafraid to tell ‘both sides of the story,’ Prof. Cleenewerck gets to the real roots of the ongoing schism while offering authentic avenues of reconciliation. The subjects addressed include: the nature of the Church, the meaning of the word ‘catholic,’ the question of Peter’s primacy and succession, the testimony of the Fathers and Councils, the filioque, papal infallibility, purgatory, clerical celibacy and continence, divorce, contraception, the marian doctrines and more. If you are Catholic, Orthodox, or considering the claims of either Church, you owe it to yourself to read this book."

I second that book suggestion. It's refreshingly low on polemic and is pretty fair to both sides. It's worth a read. I guess the longer I've dealt with this issue the less I'm convinced either side has a silver bullet that forever "proves" one is the true church while the other is not.
(08-12-2017, 02:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-12-2017, 02:47 PM)POJ Michael Wrote: [ -> ]
(08-12-2017, 04:23 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: [ -> ]I'm going to play devil's advocate:

-the authors claim that there is no indication of the office of a Roman bishop before the 3rd century. Cyprian was born in the third century, so can't be considered in this discussion.

- Ignatius had the office of Bishop in Antioch. The "Church" of Rome is said to have presided in love. But there is no mention of a Roman bishop or a leader of the Roman church in his writings.

-Only Clement's letters to the Corinthians are considered authentic. The letter which is mentioning the "chair of Peter" is the letter of James (If I remember correctly) which is not considered authentic. Even most conservative Catholics only refer to the two letters to the Corinthians as being from Clement.

And that's he question: what are the pro and cons considering the authenticity of the letter to James by Clement and the list produced by Irenaeus? The book I read is from a serious scholar, so I guess these accusations are not just made up (even if they should be untrue).

What was the book you were reading, just out of curiosity?

Have you read His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism between the Roman Catholic: An Orthodox Perspective by Fr. Laurent Cleenewerck?

From the book description on Amazon: "Most discussions on the subject of the Roman Catholic - Eastern Orthodox schism are written by apologists, typically with the agenda to prove that one side is ‘exclusively right.’ Often, these books focus on specific topics such as ‘Peter’s primacy’ and never tackle the underlying issues, such as ecclesiology, or the meaning of words, such as “church” or “primacy.” In this comprehensive, scholarly, yet easy-to-read study, the author cuts through the fog of popular apologetics and lays bare all the facts with unprecedented objectivity. Writing from an Orthodox perspective but unafraid to tell ‘both sides of the story,’ Prof. Cleenewerck gets to the real roots of the ongoing schism while offering authentic avenues of reconciliation. The subjects addressed include: the nature of the Church, the meaning of the word ‘catholic,’ the question of Peter’s primacy and succession, the testimony of the Fathers and Councils, the filioque, papal infallibility, purgatory, clerical celibacy and continence, divorce, contraception, the marian doctrines and more. If you are Catholic, Orthodox, or considering the claims of either Church, you owe it to yourself to read this book."

I second that book suggestion. It's refreshingly low on polemic and is pretty fair to both sides. It's worth a read. I guess the longer I've dealt with this issue the less I'm convinced either side has a silver bullet that forever "proves" one is the true church while the other is not.


Re: the bolded part, I heartily concur.  In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that NO "Church" or religious institution extant on the planet today can make that claim.  But then, I *am* a heretic, eh? :D
(08-12-2017, 02:56 PM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]I second that book suggestion. It's refreshingly low on polemic and is pretty fair to both sides. It's worth a read. I guess the longer I've dealt with this issue the less I'm convinced either side has a silver bullet that forever "proves" one is the true church while the other is not.

I, too, believe that both together are the "true Church". As JP II stated it: "The Church must breathe with her two lungs!"

The book I was reading is by the 20th centuries' archheretic Hans Küng, "A short history of the Catholic Church".
I added the book by Cleenewerck to my reading list :-)
I like to think that the Eastern and Western churches are two sides of the same coin. I firmly believe in the papacy but I can also sympathise with the Orthodox.
Are these ex Catholics, now Protestants or Eastern Orthodox?
(08-12-2017, 07:06 PM)Dominicus Wrote: [ -> ]I like to think that the Eastern and Western churches are two sides of the same coin. I firmly believe in the papacy but I can also sympathise with the Orthodox.

Orthodox ≠ Eastern Church, unless you intend to malign St. Josephat and all those Easterners who either left heresy and schism or have always been faithful to the Vicar of Christ and The Church.

While I'm a Roman Catholic, at least half of the family are Byzantine Catholics. 

To say that the Orthodox "Church" = the Eastern Church is pretty offensive.

That said, I too sympathize with the individual Orthodox Christians. The vast majority have been led astray by centuries of politics, and kept away by often scandalous behaviour of Latins. That does not make their schismatic "church" a "sister church". If the Orthodox are "another lung" then it's one with emphysema.
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