Thursday, September 23, 2010

Augustine on the Papacy

We've covered this subject before here, but on BeggarsAll, after Mr. Swan created a little "rabbit trail" from here to his blog (something he whines about if others, especially Catholics or Orthodox, leave links back to their own blogs - but more on that later) the discussion has moved from St. Augustine's non-sola scriptura view (the subject of cathmom5's article) to St. Augustine on the papacy.  These references were posted earlier (in May) this year:

Number the bishops from the see of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who succeeded whom, That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail.”
Psalmus contra partem Donati, 18 (A.D. 393),GCC 51 

“Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God is able to forgive all sins. They are wretched indeed, because they do not recognize in Peter the rock and they refuse to believe that the keys of heaven, lost from their own hands, have been given to the Church.”
Christian Combat, 31:33(A.D. 397), in JUR,3:51 

“For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: ‘Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !’ The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of ‘mountain men,’ or Cutzupits, by which they were known.”
To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400), in NPNF1,I:298 

“When, therefore, He had said to His disciples, ‘Will ye also go away?” Peter, that Rock, answered with the voice of all, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’ “
Homilies on John, Tract 11:5(A.D. 417), in NPNF1,VII:76 

“And the Lord, to him to whom a little before He had said, ‘Blessed thou art, and upon this Rock I will build my Church,’ saith, ‘Go back behind, Satan, an offence thou art to Me.’ Why therefore ‘Satan’ is he, that a little before was ‘blessed,’ and a ‘Rock’ ?”
In Psalms, 56[55]:14[PL 36, 656] (A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:223 

“Peter, who had confessed Him as the Son of God, and in that confession had been called the rock upon which the Church should be built.”
In Psalms, 69:4[PL 36, 869] (A.D. 418), in Butler, 251 

“And if a Jew asks us why we do that, we sound from the rock, we say, This Peter did, this Paul did: from the midst of the rocks we give our voice. But that rock, Peter himself, that great mountain, when he prayed and saw that vision, was watered from above.”
In Psalms, 104[103]:16(A.D. 418),in NPNF1,VIII:513 

Now, that's just St. Augustine!  If you would like to see even MORE evidence from other Early Church Fathers, many prior to St. Augustine - some from the East too, click here!

So, I repeat, the more we see non-Catholics embracing St. Augustine, on just about any topic, the more those who KNOW what he stood for have to laugh out loud!  Actually, I hope that those seeking the Truth will honestly and objectively read MORE of St. Augustine!  Let them see how Catholic he really was!  One doesn't get named both a Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Faith by being a Protestant!  So yes, cathmom5 was quite accurate in stating that St. Augustine did NOT rely upon Scripture Alone (sola scriptura) to hear the Voice of God.  As cathmom5 quoted:
For not only all the prophesies contained in words, not only all the precepts for the conduct of life which shape men's character and their piety and are contained in the Scriptures, but also the ceremonies, the sacred rites, the festal days, and everything which concerned with the homage due to God (the Greeks call it latreia) - all these were symbols and predictions that find their fulfilment in Christ, so as to give eternal life to those who believe.  We believe that they have been fulfilled; we observe that they are being fulfilled; we are convinced that they will go on being fulfilled. 
St. Augustine was not saying these "other means" besides Scripture were things of the past, but "that they will go on being fulfilled."  A few (prior to the SS discussion moving to the papacy) were asking how cathmom5's quote related to SS, and I trust this will provide the answer to them.  I'm not saying they will AGREE with cathmom5, but from HER background as a sola scripturist, it most certainly applies to at least that variant of sola scriptura.

Now, about whining about "rabbit trails," why is it that Mr. Swan claims he refuses to follow such "trails" - but then goes and creates them himself?  Is that not a tad hypocritical?  He has, several times, complained when I have linked responses back to my blog (typically because my response has become too in-depth for a "combox" response and merits a full blog entry).  It almost seems as if he is worried about increasing traffic to blogs other than his own.  Is he worried that some might actually read objectively and be swayed from Calvinism?  I have no worries of people following links from my blog to his (or others) for I believe if one is truly and objectively seeking the Truth, they WILL find it - and if they're NOT being objective, it doesn't really matter which blogs or articles they read.  I would encourage Mr. Swan to learn to share, and share alike in the blogosphere - and when following a "trail" is as simple as clicking on a link, just do it and stop making excuses which only make it appear he's afraid of something and wants to stay in the security of his own "rabbit hole."



  1. I only skimmed the latest comments over 'there.' My post was on St. Augustine and how he did not support Sola Scriptura. He, obviously, believed that revelation was and is being revealed through the Catholic Church. Now, 'they' are way off on a tangent about St. Augustine and the papacy.

    I find it extremely amusing that one of the prots over there said he saw no evidence that St. Augustine supported the papacy as we know it. Really? Come on. NO evidence? Talk about willful ignorance. It apparently doesn't matter how many quotes from St. Augustine's works support the papacy, it doesn't matter how much respect for the pope is shown in his letters and sermons (disagreements or not), it doesn't matter what he said about the pope being the successor of St. Peter and that St. Peter is "the ROCK", there is "no evidence" in ANY of St. Augustine's writings that he supported/respected/believed in the papacy. Denying the evidence right in front of one's nose, is acting like a child putting his fingers in his ears and singing, "La, la, la... I don't hear you... If I don't hear you it isn't there...."

    You're confusing them with the facts, Scott. What else is there TO say?

    I plan to continue with my quotes of the CATHOLIC DOCTOR St. Augustine as time permits. Guess what? They will be CATHOLIC quotes, because he was CATHOLIC.

  2. Cathmom5,

    There is plenty of superficial evidence if you ignore the intentions of Augustine's writings, the meanings of the words that he uses versus the meanings of the same words as Rome today uses them, and all the places where he expressly denies the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. If you ignore all of those things, then yes, plenty of Augustine quotes sound just like the sorts of things Roman Catholics today believe, and it is easy to se these as "evidence".

    If you consider all the evidence, then that so called "evidence" turns out to not be any evidence at all.

    One of the primary errors that you're committing has been called the "Peter syndrome". You see a patristic writer making high claims of Peter, and insert "pope" in place of "Peter". Obviously EOX believe that Peter was the rock and they do not believe in the papacy. The EOX, like Augustine, holds that the keys given to Peter are offered to all bishops and in some sense to all true believers. So for one, Augustine does not use this lofty language of Peter to refer to a papacy, and two, using this language of Peter is not evidence of believing in the papacy.

    Sadly, I am not a church historian. I have read plenty of Augustine's works (thanks to New Advent's archives!) so I do know the arguments and positions that he takes on several key issues, I just can't go chapter and verse on them. Luckily, plenty of the people at BeggarsAll can go chapter and verse on Augustine, and you can read there chapter and verse citations of where Augustine differs from the Roman view of the papacy.

    Augustine did not believe about the Bishop of Rome what you believe about the pope. In fairness, he prolly didn't believe what I believe about the bishop of Rome either, but I don't need him to.

    I can provide further support to for my case if needed, but I did want to clarify.

    Love in Christ,
    John Lollard

  3. > JL: and all the places where he
    > expressly denies the primacy of
    > the Bishop of Rome.

    John, I defy you to demonstrate where St. Augustine "expressly denies the primacy of the Bishop of Rome." St. Augustine was loyal to the office of the Bishop of Rome even when he was in disagreement with the man holding the office. Are you going to refer us to St. Augustine's "Retractations" (not "retractions") where he revisited his previous teachings on "the rock" and Matthew 16 and saw it as optional to interpret it as the confession OR the man to whom "the rock" upon which Jesus would build His Church? (Keep in mind that the "Retractations" was a "revisiting" of his previous teachings, NOT "retractions" of them).

    Did you read through the quotes from this thread (the original article for this combox)? Can you show us how these quotes are NOT understood the same way Catholics understand them today?

    You said you can provide further support, well, I'm inviting you to do so.

    In JMJ,

    BTW- The Eastern Orthodox DO recognize the See of Peter as the Patriarch of the Western/Latin Church. Yes, they have some issues with other things regarding the papacy - but they do not flat out reject the concept AND were not ashamed to be in full communion with it for the first 1000 years of Christendom.

  4. John,
    YOU know the "intentions" of St. Augustine's writings better then the Catholic Church of which he was a willing member (Bishop of Hippo)? Interesting. Can you support your allegations?

    Which group is more likely to understand the "evidence", the Church which understands and supports the doctrines evidenced in St. Augustine's writings or those who oppose everything he and the Church stand for? Sorry, I don't buy that the guys at BeggarsAll have a better understanding of St. Augustine than the Church he DID support and to which he was a member--a BISHOP.

    The Church sees his words as EVIDENCE because they are exactly that. He was--guess what--Catholic. He was Catholic then and his words are Catholic today. He is understood in the light of Catholic teaching and Catholic meaning **because** his writings are part of the foundation of today's Catholic teaching. That is exactly why he was named a "Doctor of the Church."

    Now, my original article was not about the papacy, it was about Sola Scriptura. The concept that Scripture and Tradition BOTH play a role in the development of and in the authority Church doctrine, I believe, is a concept SHARED by the "EOX." My post was copied and pasted to BeggarsAll without permission and then turned into a discussion on the papacy.

    Thank you for restating what *I* said: THERE IS EVIDENCE. And, I appreciate your admittance of it. That is one step closer to the goal of ecumenism. St. Augustine is read in the light of Catholic teaching because his writings are foundational Catholic teaching.

    His support of the papacy "as we know it" does exist, because he DID support it. He believed in the keys given to Peter alone (Matt. 16)--which the EOX also believe. He also believed in the passing down of authority to the bishops, but I would like to see your "evidence" that he believed the keys were passed to any one else.

    You are simply wrong John. Even IF one were to believe that Catholics only believe St. Augustine's words support the Church because of a Catholic filter, what do you think BeggarsAll does? Do you really believe that they have some kind of objective view of St. Augustine? If you don't believe that they have some kind of anti-Catholic bias, you are the blind one here. St. Augustine is a DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH for very good reason.

    Please, come up with the evidence or stop making vague allegations.

    As time permits, I plan to post more on St. Augustine. I would suggest that if you haven't already that you read "Confessions." ( It can be quite an eye opener for someone with an open mind, who actually wants to know the truth about St. Augustine and his Church--the Catholic Church.

  5. God loves the Devil too as he is His erring child. Actually this killing mentality in the top logo shows how Chatholic Church has gone away from Love-God!!

  6.  Maybe you could explain what you mean from the "top logo?"  The picture is that of St. Michael the Archangel defeating the Devil in the final battle. 


Keep in mind while posting:
1) Please respond ON TOPIC to the article at hand.
2) Posts more than 4 weeks old are set to automatically save new comments for moderation - so your comment may not show up immediately if you're responding to an older post.
3) The "Spam Filter" is on - and randomly messages get caught in that filter. I have no control over which messages get caught in the spam filter and those that do must wait for me to mark them as "not spam." A message caught by the spam filter may show up for a moment, making you think it posted, and then disappear. Do not assume I have deleted your comment, it's probably just the spam filter and it will show up.