|St. Peter: rock, or a guy with a great idea?|
"The Lord has in mind a picture of the structure, an image of the community like a building. This is why, when he hears Simon’s candid profession of faith, he calls him a “rock”, and declares his intention to build his Church upon this faith."Ever since there have been Protestants, Catholics have been arguing that Matthew 16:15-19 means Jesus founded his Church on the person of Peter as the first of many popes. Protestants have been arguing everything except that, but especially that Jesus was referring to Simon Bar-Jonah's faith.
It may seem like the Bear is being picky, but this is an important Catholic proof text, and one that always comes up when Protestants attempt to proselytizing Catholics.
Here's the passage:
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. 18 And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”New American Bible. (2011). (Revised Edition., Mt 16:15–19). Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church's glossary identifies the person of Peter as the rock upon which the Church would be established. The following is typical of Catholic apologetics.
Until Jesus named Peter, Scripture only referred to God as “rock,” in the sense of an unfailing bulwark against the powers of evil. By making Peter the “rock” of His Church, Christ grants him divine authority over the Church on earth as His universal Vicar. He gives Peter divine power to fulfill his mission. The name “Rock” identifies Peter’s mission with the authority of Christ. The primary function of this authority is unity (cf. Lk. 22:31–32).Suprenant, L. J., Jr., & Gray, P. C. L. (1999). Faith Facts: Answers to Catholic Questions (Vol. 1, p. 26). Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road Publishing.
By suggesting that the Rock means anything but Peter, the scriptural underpinnings of the papacy are attacked, and a huge point is conceded to Protestants. To put it another way, Pope Francis is sawing off the branch on which he is sitting! Why?
The Pope adds:
On his side, Peter is the rock, the visible foundation of the Church’s unity; but every baptized person is called to offer Jesus his or her lowly but sincere faith, so that He may continue to build his Church, today, in every part of the world.Now Peter is given back a unique position, at least, but not of authority, not of binding and loosing, but as "the visible foundation of the Church's unity." Presumably that means there is an invisible foundation of an invisible and greater Church. Because, at the same time, "every baptized person is called to offer Jesus his or her lowly but sincere faith, so that He may continue to build his Church."
|People messing with the Church|
makes me go all 2 Kings 2:24
This idea of a "Church of Christ" that is "bigger" than the mere Catholic Church was sort of floated in Vatican II. Not officially, but it unnecessarily muddied the waters by references to a "Church of Christ" seemingly not exactly the same as the Catholic Church. It is hard to distinguish it from the "invisible Church of all believers" beloved by Protestants. It has been officially swatted down within the Church, but it just shrugs off the blows and eventually pops up whenever a true Vatican-2-nista talks about the Church.
Of course Protestants, lacking any historical Church, need this invisible, made-up Church. It makes sense that they have invented it. Catholics, however, don't need it and should be crystal clear about the real Church.
This is so important, the Bear must say it again. The visible, historical Roman Catholic Church is the Church. It is the Church founded by Jesus Christ upon the Apostle Peter, the first pope, to whom Jesus gave the keys. There is no invisible "superchurch" whose boundaries are more extensive than the visible Church's, encompassing all sorts of Protestants, people of other faiths and atheists who aren't ax-murderers or anything.
Peter? According to Pope Francis, he's a symbol of unity and an example of faith. Maybe that's something the Protestants can finally get behind, no?
What is one to make of this mess, except that it doesn't sound very Catholic? Read it all in context here to see what you think. But you would have to twist the words to get them into any sort of Catholic shape. The Bear believes these little "slips" add up to a novel perspective on most of what well-catechized Catholics understand to be the truth.
|Is it too late for Francis to|
become a Trappist?
We can seldom say exactly what Pope Francis is saying. But this does not keep us from having a pretty good idea what he's thinking.
Here, At a minimum he is obfuscating a key point in Catholic apologetics and smudging the Church's bona fides. Not that it matters to him. Apologetics is tainted by proselytizing.
But that's why it's important to clean up after him. We've heard this meme twice in our parish since, that it was Peter's faith that was the rock, not Peter himself. We all need to be clear that Our Lord established His Church on the person of Peter and gave him the keys to the kingdom.
Why do we have to re-argue these old Seventh Day Adventist chestnuts with our own Pope?