Who was Josip Strossmayer?

"At the Vatican Council he was one of the most notable opponents of papal infallibility, and distinguished himself as a speaker. The pope praised Strossmayer's 'remarkably good Latin.' A speech in which he defended Protestantism made a great sensation... After the Council Strossmayer maintained his opposition longer than all the other bishops and kept up a connection with Johann J. Ignaz von Dollinger" the greatest Roman Catholic historian in Germany. His books commanded universal respect. This was "until October 1871. Then he notified von Dollinger and Reinkens that he intended to yield 'at least outwardly.'" [The Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 Vol. XIV p.316]

Strossmayer was a Catholic Bishop who had the guts to stand up to Rome and proclaim that their declaration of an infallible pope was NOT Scriptural. This Croatian bishop was a man after my own heart! Here's some of what he said at that counicil:

"Penetrated with the feeling of responsibility, of which God will demand of me an account, I have set myself to study with the most serious attention the Old and New Testaments, and I have asked these venerable monuments of truth to make known to me if the holy pontiff, who presides here, is truly the successor of St. Peter, vicar of Jesus Christ, and the infallible doctor of the church. To resolve this grave question I have been obliged to ignore the present state of things, and to transport myself in mind, with the evangelical torch in my hand, to the days when there was neither Ultramontanism nor Gallicanism, and in which the church had for doctors St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, and St. John - doctors to whom no one can deny the divine authority without putting in doubt that which the holy Bible, which is here before me, teaches us, and which the Council of Trent has proclaimed as the rule of faith and of morals. I have then opened these sacred pages. Well (shall I dare to say it?), I have found nothing either near nor far which sanctions the opinion of the Ultramontanes. And still more, to my very great surprise, I find in the apostolic days no question of a pope, successor to St. Peter, and vicar of Jesus Christ, any more than of Mahomet who did not then exist. You, Monsignor Manning, will say that I blaspheme; you, Monsignor Fie, that I am mad. No, Monsignori, I do not blaspheme, and I am not mad. Now having read the whole New Testament, I declare before God, with my hand raised to that great crucifix, that I have found no trace of the papacy as it exists at this moment. Do not refuse me your attention, my venerable brethren, and with your murmuring and interruptions do not justify those who say, like Father Hyacinthe, that this Council is nothing, but that our votes have been from the beginning dictated by authority. If such were the case, this august assembly, on which the eyes of the whole world are turned, would fall into the most shameful discredit. If we wish to make it great, we must be free. I thank his Excellency, Monsignor Dupanloup, for the sign of approbation which he makes with his head: this gives me courage, and I go on [Excerpt from the speech given to Vatican I by Bishop Strossmayer 1870]

Bishop Strossmayer is to be commended for he did what all Christians are told to do to search the Scriptures to see if these things be so.

"Reading then the sacred books with that attention with which the Lord has made me capable, I do not find one single chapter, or one little verse, in which Jesus Christ gives to St. Peter the mastery over the apostles, his fellow-workers. If Simon, son of Jonas, had been what we believe his holiness Pius IX, to be today, it is wonderful that He had not said to him, "When I have ascended to my Father, you should all obey Simon Peter as you obey Me. I establish him my vicar upon earth.'

Good point Bishop. It would have been so easy for the Lord to say plainly that He was appointing Peter as head of the Apostles and His church. Why He didn't state it in clear words I don't know, but if you will examine the passage that Rome bases her claim to the papacy [Matthew 16:18] and really try to understand it without your built in prejudice you will find that the Rock upon which Christ would build His church is Himself because HE is the very Son of God therefore God Himself!

Now let's continue with Bishop Strossmayers important and historical speech. I have to admit that I am very much surprised that he was allowed to contiinue!

"Not only is Christ silent on this point, but so little does He think of giving a head to the church, that when He promises to His apostles to judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28), He promises them twelve thrones, one for each, without saying that among those thrones one shall be higher than the others - which shall belong to Peter. Certainly, if He had wished that is should be so, He would have said it. What do we conclude from this sentence? Logic tells us that Christ did not wish to make St. Peter the head of the apostolic college. When Christ sent the apostles to conquer the world, to all He gave the promise of the Holy Spirit. Permit me to repeat it: if He had wished to constitute Peter His vicar, He would have given him the chief command over His spiritual army. Christ - so says the Holy Scripture - forbade Peter and his colleagues to reign or to exercise lordship, or to have authority over the faithful like the kings of the Gentiles (St. Luke 22:25). If St. Peter had been elected pope, Jesus would not have spoken thus; but according to our tradition, the papacy holds in its hands two swords, symbols of spiritual and temporal power.

Rome likes to overlook that little admonition of our Lord to not LORD it over the flock!

"One thing has surprised me very much. Turning it over in my mind, I said to myself, If Peter had been elected Pope, would his colleagues have been permitted to send him with St. John to Samaria to announce the gospel of the Son of God? What do you think, venerable brethren, if at this moment we permitted ourselves to send his holiness Pius IX. and his Excellency Mons. Plantier to go to the Patriarch of Constantinople, to pledge him to put an end to the Eastern schism?"

And why would Paul have rebuked Peter to his face if he was his superior?

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We [who are] Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [Galatians 2:11-16 KJV]

Notice also that Peter acted this way when "certain came from James" (The Lords brother]. It would appear that if there was a head of the church it was James, he being the brother of the Lord and the Bishop of Jerusalem! Why would Peter go to Rome if he was the Apostle to the Jews?

We finish up here with Bishop Storssmayer:

"But here is another still more important fact. An Ecumenical Council is assembled at Jerusalem to decide on the questions which divide the faithful. Who would have called together this Council if St. Peter had been pope? St. Peter. Well, nothing of this occurred. The apostle assisted at the Council as all the others did, yet it was not he who summed up, but St. James; and when the decrees were promulgated, it was in the name of the apostles, the elders, and the brethren (Acts 15). Is it thus what we do in our church? The more I examine, O venerable brethren, the more I am convinced that in the scriptures the son of Jonas does not appear to be first.

There is a LOT more to this speech but I felt uncomfortable in quoting too much here so I decided just to copy enough to wet your appetite. Those interested will find the entire speech by clicking here. It really is fascinating reading.

Soli Deo Gloira

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