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of the Gospel. (4.) In a copious commemoration of Saints, the only New Testament names are S. Mary, S. John Baptist, S. Stephen, and S. Mark. (5.) In the Prayer of Absolution to the Father, the text S. Matt. xvi. 18, 19, is embodied thus:
. . Thou art He who sayest to Peter our father, by the mouth of Thine only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, “Thou art Peter ... loosed in heaven;" so then, O Lord, let my father and brethren be absolved out of my mouth, by Thy Holy Spirit, O merciful lover of men.
The ground of the citation here, therefore, is not to allege any special privilege of Peter, but to base on the grant of the power of the keys to the whole Church in his person the right of the individual celebrant to pronounce absolution.
h. Ordo Communis, or norm of Syro-Jacobites.-(1.) There is an exclamation after the Epistle, 'Glory to the Lord of Paul, of the Prophets, and of the Apostles. (2.) The Four Evangelists are commemorated by name after the Gospel has been read. No mention of S. Peter occurs.
1. Syriac S. James.—'Remember, O Lord, the holy Bishops ... who from James, first of Bishops, Apostle and Martyr, unto this day have preached the word,' &c.
j. Syriac S. Peter the Apostle, I. and II.—The former of these commemorates only S. Mary, S. John Baptist, and S. Stephen by name; the latter S. Mary alone. They contain no other evidence.
k. Armenian Liturgy.-S. Mary, S. John Baptist, S. Stephen, and the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, are the only New Testament Saints enumerated.
I. Liturgy of Malabar, or norm of Christians of S. Thomas. -The only Apostle commemorated by name is S. Thomas.
m. Liturgy of Nestorius.--No evidence.
n. Ambrosian Missal.—No relevant evidence, even in the office of SS. Peter and Paul, but there is one phrase in the Collect for S. Peter's Chair, which may be maximised or minimised according to the bias with which it is read :-'0 God, who didst this day hallow the Pontificate of Thy blessed Apostle Peter, grant that Thy Church, spread throughout the world, may be always ruled by his governance [ejus magisterio gubernari], from whom it derived the beginning of religion.'
0. Mozarabic Missal, or norm of Spanish Church (tampered with by Roman hands in comparatively recent times]. -(1.) S. Peter, ‘Prince of the Apostles,' is specially named, along with S. Mary, in a prayer for absolution at the beginning of the office. (2.) The Pope of Rome is alone specified by name as joining in the act of oblation which all
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the clergy are said to offer. (3.) S. Peter is named in the commemoration of Saints at the head of the Apostles and Evangelists, but after S. Mary, S. Zacharias, S. John [Baptist), and Holy Innocents. (4.) The Collect for S. Peter's Chair begins :-0 God, Son of God, who didst exalt Peter upon Thyself, the most solid Rock, and upon Peter the Church,' &c.
P. Gallican Missal.— This office does, indeed, in a collect, speak of S. Peter as `fundator Ecclesiæ,' and in the Collect for S. Peter's Chair as 'caput Ecclesiæ ;' but in the Contestatio of that day are the crucial words : In cujus confessione est fundamentum ecclesiæ ; nec adversus hanc petram portæ inferi prævalent.'
9. The Old German Missal, which, however, cannot be older than the middle of the eighth century, and probably bears the marks of the strong Roman zeal of S. Boniface, is the only one which contains testimony directly favourable to the Petrine claims. In the Preface for S. Peter's Chair we read :-From amongst which (Saints] Thou didst make ruler and keeper (præsulem et custodem] of Thy heavenly enclosures Blessed Peter, called to the Apostolate by the mouth of our Lord and God, Thy Word Himself, and appointed Prince of the Apostles because of his confession of Christ, Thine only begotten Son, and placed, with a change of name, in the foundation of Thine house, the right being divinely conferred on him that what he decreed on earth shall be made good in heaven. This case is specially useful as serving to shew what kind of evidence we are entitled to require from the ancient Liturgies, but do not find there.
r. Roman Missal.--The evidence of this document, which is very important against the privilege, will be set down a little later under another heading, for a reason there assigned. · The liturgical evidence is thus shown to be either positively against the Petrine claims, or negatively incapable of being cited in their favour, although it is quite certain that, if any such view of S. Peter's peculiar rank as Head of the Church and Vicar of Christ had prevailed as unquestionably did prevail as to S. John Baptist's exceptional position as herald and forerunner of Christ, we should find proof of it in the Liturgies.
Before entering on the second stage of inquiry—that which is concerned with the writings of the Fathers-it is expedient to say a few words about the authority they individually possess. No person can be formally enrolled amongst the Saints by canonization, unless after the strictest inquiry it be established that nothing which he wrote, even if unpublished, contained any doctrinal error whatever : or else, supposing him to have written aught which contradicted the known teaching of the Church in his day, evidence of retractation must be adduced-(Decret. Urbani VIII.; Bened. XIV. De Servi Dei Beatificat. ii. 26, 2). Nevertheless, this does not make the teaching of any Saint unimpeachable, if valid grounds of objection can be stated against it, but only makes its tenability probable—(Bened. XIV. De Servi Dei Beatificatione, ii. 32, 12). But if the Saint be also a Doctor of the Church, then his doctrine may not be impugned at all, because he has not merely taught in the Church, but has taught the Church itself—(Bened. XIV. De Canonizatione, iv. 2 ; xi. 11). And, accordingly, the great majority of the subjoined citations are taken from Doctors of the Church, whose authority is not open to criticism from Roman Catholics. Authors who are not counted amongst the Saints, and especially such as are charged with heresy, may be quoted to prove an historical fact, but not to establish doctrine. And nothing short of the unanimous consent of the Fathers may lawfully be followed by any Roman Catholic in the interpretation of Scripture(Creed of Pius IV. par. 3).
This does not mean, obviously, that the silence of even a considerable number of Fathers on any point is conclusive against it, but only that all such as do treat of it must be substantially agreed in their view, and neither contradict one another nor oppose the opinion sought to be maintained by their testimony. Of course silence is sometimes very weighty adverse evidence, when the scope and circumstances of any patristic or conciliar document seem to call for express mention of the point in discussion, and yet no such mention is found. But it is the peculiarity of the Petrine privilege that its importance as a central dogma of Christianity (which it must be if the relation of every human soul to God depend on its relation to the Roman See) is so great, that it could no more be left out of sight by any appreciable number of Christian writers than the Incarnation or the Atonement; and, consequently, silence is in this case a very serious contradiction.
It will be convenient, as matter of arrangement, to restrict the inquiry at first to the opinions expressed by the Fathers upon the three capital texts of Scripture which are used as the basis of the Petrine privilege ; namely, S. Matt. xvi. 18, S. Luke xxii. 32, and S. John xxi. 15-17.
What, then, do the Fathers say as to the Rock of the Church, the prayer for Peter's steadfastness, and the commission to feed the sheep ?
VOL. VII.—NO. XIII.
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There is a scantiness of reference to these topics in the whole ante-Nicene period which is simply unaccountable on any hypothesis of their vital or central importance. Out of the following authors and books—Ignatius, Clement, Polycarp, Hermas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Tatian, Theophilus, Clementine Recognitions and Homilies, Apostolical Constitutions, Irenæus, Hippolytus, Caius, Asterius, Alexander of Jerusalem, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Methodius, Lactantius, Peter of Alexandria, Alexander of Alexandria, Cyprian, Firmilian, Gregory Thaumaturgus, Dionysius of Alexandria, and Archelaus-only six make any reference at all to S. Matthew xvi. 18. One of these, S. Hippolytus, in his Discourse on the Holy Theophany, is speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit, and says, “By this Spirit Peter spake that blessed word, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” By this Spirit the Rock of the Church is established. No conclusion can be drawn either way from this citation.
S. Cyprian, Doctor of the Church, in the first place where he quotes the text, Ep. xxvii., begins by saying that it serves to explain the honour of a Bishop and the Order of the Church, . . . so that the Church is founded on the Bishops. In the second citation of it, in his treatise on the Unity of the Church, he glosses it (and S. John xxi. 15, cited in the same sentence) by saying: “The Lord ... that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the Apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity.'
S. Firmilian actually quotes the text to prove that Pope S. Stephen was in error, folly, and blindness by permitting heretical baptisms to be counted valid, and was thereby introducing many other rocks and Churches instead of one only, at the very time that he was boasting of his succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid.—Ep. lxxv. in Opp. S. Cypriani..
The three remaining witnesses are the Clementine Homilies, Origen, and Tertullian. But the first of these is rejected by the Roman Church, ever since the Synod under Pope Gelasius in 494, as spurious and heretical, and therefore its testimony (chap. xix.) that S. Peter' describes himself as 'a firm rock, the foundation of the Church,' cannot be adduced.
Nor is anything lost to the Ultramontane cause by refusing to admit this apocryphal testimony, since, even though S.
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Peter is the hero of its romantic narrative, S. James is described throughout as the chief bishop and arbiter of Christian doctrine, exercising authority over S. Peter himself—a fact in itself inconsistent with the universal prevalence of the opposite view at the date of the book.
Origen says that the Rock is every disciple of Christ, from whom they drank who drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and on every such rock every ecclesiastical word is builded, and the plan of life according to His pattern
. But if thou thinkest that the whole Church is built by God on S. Peter alone, what dost thou say of John, the son of thunder, and every one of the Apostles ? Or shall we dare to say that the gates of hell were not to prevail against Peter in particular, but that they were to prevail against the other Apostles and perfect ones? Is it not true for each and all, what was said before, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” and also that other saying, “Upon this rock I will build my Church ?”? And he goes on to say that all who make S. Peter's confession of Christ their Rock, become the same as Peter.—Comin. in S. Matt. xvi. 18.
Tertullian alone remains, and his two citations of S. Matt. xvi. 18 are in treatises written after he fell, as is alleged, into Montanist heresy. In the former of these, De Præscript. Hæret. xxii., he confines himself to saying, “Peter, who is called the Rock on which the Church should be built;' but in the latter, De Pudicitia, xxi., he insists strongly, and at length, that the privilege of Peter died with him, and was incapable of transmission, so that he was the Rock only in the sense of founding the Church by being its first preacher, and that the power of binding and loosing, conferred on Peter alone personally, could not be derived to, nor exercised by, any Church claiming to be akin to Peter ; while that even as regards Peter himself, his power of binding and loosing referred merely to his action in first unlocking the doors of the kingdom of heaven by administering baptism to the new converts, in abolishing part and retaining part of the Mosaic law, and in his miracles upon the lame man and upon Ananias. And in two other places, Adv. Jud. ix. and Adv. Marcion. iv. 13, Tertullian restricts the title of Rock to Christ.
That is the whole which the ante-Nicene Church has to tell us on S. Matt. xvi. 18.
As to S. Luke xxii. 31, only four ante-Nicene writers cite it. Of these, two, S. Ignatius, in the Epistle to the Smyrnæans, and the Apostolical Constitutions, vi. 5. iv., actually refer to it as if worded in the plural throughout and referring to all