The true Church was established in a house in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Rome would have us believe something else, that the true Church had its beginnings at another time. According to RCC fantasizers, the Church was started when Jesus said to Peter, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). Building on eisegesis and incorrect translations of key words, Catholic theologians have pandered to the desires of arrogant and power-hungry bishops of Rome by creating a body of “Tradition” to establish and support the undisputed rule of the popes over the Roman Catholic Church.
Early attempts by Roman bishops to arrogate to themselves sovereignty over all the Christian church were rejected by many of those over whom they would reign. Virtually since the arrival of early Christians in the capital city of the Roman Empire, church leaders there have been trying to dominate the Christian faith. Somewhere along the way, those same leaders and their followers lost contact with Christianity and created a new religion, an amalgam of Christian, Jewish and pagan doctrines and practices.
Over the years, as the power of the Roman bishops increased, so also did their self-importance. Not content with the title of the Mithraic high priests, Pontifex Maximus, they began to identify with God Himself. They began using titles like Vicarius Filii Dei (Vicar of the Son of God) and even declared themselves to have authority over kings and emperors. One pope, Boniface VIII, went so far as to declare himself Caesar:
It should be noted that not everyone was comfortable with such notions of supreme temporal and spiritual authority being concentrated in the hands of the pope. In fact, there existed within the Catholic Church a significant body of opposing opinion.
Those in the papalist camp held that all power was concentrated in the hands of the pope. Huguccio, a 12th century canonist and Bishop of Pisa, wrote that the pope exercised over all dioceses the same ordinary jurisdiction that each bishop exercised over his own. Pope Innocent IV declared it to be sacrilegious even to question the plenitude of papal power (plenitudo potestatis). Those who held to the more constitutional concept asserted that the pope, though he had more authority than any other bishop, did not hold more authority than all the bishops combined. The conciliarists also held that prelates did not receive their authority from the Pope, but from God Himself, and by the election and consent of the people.
One of the bones of contention between papalists and conciliarists was the notion of infallibility. This issue was not settled in ancient times, as some would have modern Catholics believe. Quite the contrary, in fact.
This changed on July 18, 1870, the final day of the First Vatican Council. One of the documents produced by that turbulent council was the Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ. This document, binding on all Catholics, defined the primacy and authority of Peter and his successors, declaring anathema anyone who dares to disagree (Denzinger 1821ff.). The fourth chapter of this document defined and established papal infallibility, again with the threat of anathema against any who would disagree.
If we are to believe Catholic catechists and apologists, the action of the 20th ecumenical council was little more than a pro forma process to put into final form what everyone in the Roman Catholic Church had always believed. Not so. Think about it. Why does Rome go to the trouble and expense of convening councils? Is it in order to provide a convenient forum for bishops and others to gather every now and then just to schmooze and renew old acquaintances? Or is it because there are rumblings in the belly of the RCC that need to be addressed?
Vatican I was an ecumenical council, as such it was the RCC's Extraordinary Magisterium in action.
Wait a minute! The Catechism of the Catholic Church the above was taken from was promulgated well over a century after Vatican I closed. Was this teaching binding prior to Vatican II? Sure it was, for as most any Catholic might remind one:
Let us return to 1869, when the Roman Church convened its 20th ecumenical council, which is now known as the First Vatican Council. At the time, 1037 prelates were eligible to attend. Some 766 indeed did participate and they came to Rome from all over the globe. The council was international but was it truly representative? Well, let's see. Of the 766 prelates in attendance at the council,
Looks to me like a preponderance of those in attendance not only lived in close proximity to the seat of Catholic authority, or in lands actually in subjection to the Holy See, but likely also supported the philosophy of the papalists. Several delegates to the council had also noticed this. For example, after the council had been in operation about five months, an anonymous pamphlet – attributed to the Archbishop of Paris – was circulated in Rome. In this pamphlet, the writer charged that 195 of the members of the council had no constitutional right to even be there. These included a few cardinals who were not bishops, abbots, generals and vicars-general of congregations of clerks regular, monastic and mendicant orders and some others who were being maintained by the pope. A loaded jury? Hmmmmm. Could be.
And when all these folks gathered to consider the issues of papal supremacy and infallibility, are we to understand they met in congenial assembly and quickly reached unanimous agreement? Ha! Not on your life. Emotions ran so high that debate schedules were re-arranged, rules were bypassed and devious means used to ensure that the membership of a crucial committee were all papalists, speakers were stifled and conciliarists were prevented from publishing while in Rome.
Some may be familiar with German bishop Strossmayer's dogged resistance to both papal primacy and infallibility. There were many others who fought long and hard to prevent these ideas from being defined as dogmas, among them the Cardinal Archbishop Guidi of Bologna, the Archbishop Darboy of Paris, Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis (USA), Bishop Ketteker of Mainz, Archbishop Haynaud of Kalocsa, Bishop Dupanloup of Orleans and others.
Finally, however, it became apparent that those in opposition to agenda of the papalists had lost. It was on the morning of July 17, 1870, that the council members were notified that the fouth public session was to be held the following day. By that time, many of the Opposition has already left Rome. Bishop Dupanloup, the opposition leader, then set about persuading those who remained to leave Rome in a body prior to the Monday morning gathering. History tells us that:
The following morning, 535 prelates gathered in St. Peter's for closing ceremonies on the last day of the General Council. Following a Low Mass and other ceremonies, the bishops were asked the conventional question—whether what had been put before them was pleasing to them. One by one, the bishops were polled. The response of 533 was “Placet” (an affirmative response), but two – Bishop Riccio of Cajazzo (Sicily) and Bishop Fitzgerald of Little Rock (USA) – replied, “Non Placet” (a negative response). Some 106 of the prelates were not present for the voting. So much for the myth of unanimity of opinion.
At this point, some Catholic apologist might point out that the prelates in attendance at the First Vatican Council gave their unanimous assent to the Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ. And he would be correct. But let us look at the nature of that unanimous assent. Why did those 108 who so strongly disagreed with the document change their minds? Were they convinced, after study and reflection, that it was a true statement of what the Church had always taught? Or was it something else?
And there you have it, infallibly defined. The pope is supreme and infallible (under certain conditions). We know that this is so because a General Council of the Roman Catholic Church unanimously declared it to be so and the reigning pope then affirmed infallibly that infallible definition. That the council was heavily weighted in the pope's favor is a trifling issue and of no significance. That 108 dissenting prelates were compelled to assent to these dogmas under threat of excommunication is a trifling issue and of no significance.
Yeah. Dogma made in Heaven. Sounds more like the pope made an offer these good old boys could not refuse.
O! Catholic readers. I plead with you to read your Bibles. The Church Christ established has but one Leader, the risen Son of God, Who even now sits at the right hand of the Father. Christ is not an elected leader, but your pope is.
Think about it.
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To read Bishop Strossmayer's speech, the authentic version, click here.
A translation of the minutes of Vatican I reveals in exquisite detail how Bishop Strossmayer was manhandled by papalist members of the council, read here. It is a lengthy article. I suggest you use your FIND button to search for Strossmayer, which will take you immediately to the section of interest.
A quick look at the way the papal infallibility issue caused a split in the monolithic Catholic Church is found here. Find the single paragraph by using your FIND button to search for Strossmayer
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