Thursday, November 18, 2010

Papacy and Steve Hays

Below is my response to Steve Hays who is responding to me, and the reader will note the tone with which he begins - ad hominem - which is invalid in debate and only reduces what he has to say to insignificance.  The reader will note how many times Mr. Hays engages in invalid argumentation throughout his response.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Scott Windsor is one of those nearsighted Catholic epologists who unwittingly does more damage to the case for Catholicism than I ever could.
Mr. Hays opinion is noted, it is false, but is noted.
sw: “That being said, it IS a valid argument to say that Sts. Peter and Paul founded the Church at Rome - for they did bring the bishoprick to that city, which previously had small ‘mission’ or ‘home’ meetings for church.”
i) Except for the awkward fact that this concession represents a complete retreat from Windsor’s former position. He original said:
sw: “Again with the straw man! Who here is claiming that St. Peter ‘founded’ the Church at Rome?”
There is no "retreat" from my earlier position!  IN CONTEXT I was agreeing with Mr. Hays regarding the FACT that folks like Sts. Aquila and Priscilla hosted mission "churches" in their homes.  In ANOTHER CONTEXT I stated that it was Sts. Peter and Paul who brought the hierarchy and the bishoprick to Rome.  I'm sure Mr. Hays would like to see a contradiction in what I've said, but again IN CONTEXT there is no contradiction.  This fact he tries to diminish next...
ii) He also interpolates a distinction between the founding of Roman mission churches and “bringing the bishoprick” to Rome. But he doesn’t show where that distinction is drawn in the early church fathers–even if we were to assume the early church fathers were reliable on that score.
Mr. Hays undermines his own arguments if he is stating that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were bishop and bishopress of Rome for earlier he has affirmed: "4. There was no single church of Rome in the 1C. Rather, the 1C church of Rome was a loose association of independent house-churches."  (Source). Bringing the bishoprick to a city would bring all those "independent house-churches" under the bishop/hierarchy.  Hays also stated: "So it follows, from Catholics premises, that Aquila and Priscilla are the vicar and vicaress of Christ.  Don’t be taken in by imposters like Benedict XVI. And for you conclavists or sedevacantists, Pius XII is just another usurper.  The Aquilan-cum-Priscillan lineage represents the true succession." (Source).  Hays' earlier statement affirming: "As you can plainly see, the original "bishops" of Rome were Pope Aquila and Popessa Priscilla. They headed the 1C church of Rome.  Any papal claimant who can't trace his succession back to Aquila and Priscilla is an Antipope." (Source).  Mr. Hays arguments are a series of contradictions, which he attempts to dismiss as "tongue in cheek" or "satire," but at the same time he affirms that his "satire" is truth.
sw: “Did Sts. Peter and Paul found the small, in-home mission churches? No, folks like Aquila and Priscilla did. Did they bring the hierarchy of the Church to Rome? Most certainly.”

It’s so easy to be a Catholic epologist. If you don’t have the historical facts to back up your key claims, you can simply invent whatever historical facts you need as you go along. Instant historical facts.
But of course, Mr. Hays rejects any historical evidence which supports the FACT that Sts. Peter and Paul came to Rome and BOTH of them were martyred there about the same time.  St. Peter by crucifixion (upside down); and St. Paul by beheading.  These historical facts are WELL KNOWN by scholars who have objectively studied the period.  Now, for those who seek only to disprove Catholicism, these facts and testimonies of other Early Church Fathers are quickly dismissed - but for Mr. Hays to claim I have invented these facts is a bold-faced lie.  The fact that he rejects the historical claims of others does not mean I have made up (or invented) these claims - I have repeated what other Early Church Fathers have said - and the record will show that I have documented and cited those Early Church Fathers when I have quoted them.  Mr. Hays is left here with an empty assertion which the objective reader must wholly reject.
sw: “Both views are correct - you’re looking at two parts of the same elephant.”

Well, Windsor is looking at a white elephant.
And again, all we have is Mr. Hays' assertion of a "white elephant" but he has done absolutely nothing to document himself - so again the objective reader must simply reject his statement as invalid.
sw: “If you feel I have misrepresented Catholic teaching in any way, please point such out and I will either explain myself or recant.”

Windsor is not the point-man for Catholicism. He’s just a wannabe.
Again with the ad hominem (a fairly sure sign someone is losing the debate and reducing himself to emotional appeals).  I direct the objective reader to what I challenged Mr. Hays to point out.  "If I have misrepresented Catholic teaching in any way, please point such out and I will either explain myself or recant."  I never made the claim of being "the point-man for Catholicism!"  So Mr. Hays builds up another straw man and/or non sequitur and/or red herring, take your choice - or apply all three - in short, more invalidity from Mr. Hays.
sw: “My point remains that St. Peter’s see is traced through Rome.”

Peter’s see is traced through Rome by Roman Catholic epologists. Nothing like a circular proof.
Well, there's nothing like lying, is there Mr. Hays?  Catholic apologists (or epologists if you wish to apply the "e" there) cite Early Church Fathers who claim St. Peter's see is traced through Rome!  Allow me to cite a few here and now to PROVE Mr. Hays claim to be absolutely FALSE:
St. Irenaeus
"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).
The Little Labyrinth
"Victor . . . was the thirteenth bishop of Rome from Peter" (The Little Labyrinth [A.D. 211], in Eusebius, Church History 5:28:3).
Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]).
"Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him—when the place of [Pope] Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church" (Letters 55:[52]):8 [A.D. 253]).
Eusebius of Caesarea
"Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]" (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).
 There's more here (click link), but just these should suffice to PROVE (yet again) that Mr. Hays lies when he claims Catholic "epologists" use circular arguments (arguments based upon other Catholic "epologist" claims) and don't actually use primary source documentation to support their claims!
sw: “However, the Antiochian see is also traced to St. Peter.”
Which undermines Roman primacy.
No, it does not and your simple assertion that it does, does not make it so.  Does Mr. Hays explain HOW tracing the Antiochian see to St. Peter undermines the primacy?  No, he simply asserts it does.  The primacy was given to St. Peter, and his final see is where we trace the primacy to since the successor of the Bishop of Rome is St. Peter's successor in THAT office and in life. 
sw: “Um, Mr. Hays - YOU started this discussion YOU framed it in Roman Catholic terms - so how does that make ME ‘begging the question?!’ Need I remind you of your own words?

Windsor can’t tell the difference between internal and external critiques. Sometimes I judge Catholicism by its own standards, and sometimes I judge Catholicism by my own standards. It varies depending on what I’m responding to.
The point is, which Mr. Hays FAILS TO ADDRESS, that HE used "Roman Catholic terms" and when he accuses ME of "begging the question" for MY use of the SAME TERMS HE USED, well, his assertion of "begging the question" is proven utterly false (another lie).  I'm not questioning whether or not Mr. Hays has the right to use "Roman Catholic terms" - I simply challenged his accusation of "begging the question."  Since Mr. Hays has not even addressed the REAL POINT here, my defense stands unassailed. 
sw: “Now, did you or did you not use the terminology of ‘bishops’ and ‘popes’ here?”

Because there’s a basic difference between “bishop” in the Biblical sense and “bishop” in the papistical sense. (And, of course, Catholicism also uses “pope” as synonymous with “bishop of Rome”.) But Windsor can only keep one idea in his head at a time.
Again with the invalid ad hominem attacks!  Perhaps he thinks these attacks will elicit an emotional response from me and then Mr. Hays could boast about the invalidity of such an emotional outburst?  Well, I've been around long enough to not allow such pettiness to affect me and have the patience enough to just demonstrate how the use of the common fallacies of rhetoric, which Mr. Hays engages upon regularly, only continue to reduce the significance of his argumentation.

The reader will note here, Mr. Hays CLAIMS there's a "difference between 'bishop' in the biblical sense and 'bishop' in the papistical (sic) sense," but does not demonstrate HOW they are different!  So AGAIN we have an EMPTY and INVALID ASSERTION from Mr. Hays.  The FACT of the matter is that the Christian Church has ALWAYS had the office of bishop, and Catholicism traces EVERY bishop, bar none, in direct apostolic succession from the Apostles themselves and therefore Christ Himself and thus is wholly a biblical sense of the term "bishop."  Mr. Hays, it would seem, wishes to diminish the truly biblical sense of the Catholic bishop since if he acknowledges it at all, then he completely undermines any validity for his bishop deficient cult.

sw: “In the first century we had Peter, Linus, Cletus and Clement (who took us into the second century).”

That’s a key contention which Windsor needs to prove. It’s hardly adequate to merely quote conventional papal lists. For one must also evaluate the conventional papal lists. These are not inspired records. Windsor needs to interact with scholarly analysis of these documents (e.g. Duffey, Eno, Lampe, Schatz).
I have not claimed such lists are "inspired" - so we have yet another straw man/red herring argument from Mr. Hays.  That being said, the existence of these (NUMEROUS) lists is the evidence I rest upon - not the commentaries of Protestants with an an agenda to promote, or even liberal Catholics with similar motives - as Mr. Hays has attempted to use as well (citing the likes of Frs. Brown and Fitzmyer).
sw: “Aquila and Priscilla ‘presided’ over a mission church in their home - they did not preside over Rome…”

It’s true that Aquila and Priscilla didn’t preside over “Rome.” For that matter, neither did Peter. Rather, Caesar presided over Rome.
First off, thank you for conceding that St. Aquila and Priscilla did not preside over the Roman church(es), only the one independent mission chapel in their home.

Second, stating "neither did Peter," is merely begging the question (and I have validly used that assertion).

Third, Caesar did not preside over the Christian churches in Rome as their spiritual director - which was part of the bone of contention Caesar held against the Christians - for the Caesar was indeed the spiritual and political leader of Roman citizens who worshiped the Roman gods.  Christians rejected the Roman gods, and therefore rejected the Caesar as their spiritual director too.  I shouldn't have to be telling you this either.  I might expect something so juvenile from a high school debate team, but between adults who are debating Christian apologetics, that's another story.  Perhaps I assume too much?  I don't know Mr. Hays, perhaps he is only a high school student who doesn't know any better?  If so, I'll cut him some slack in the future.
sw: “…and did answer to the Apostles - who had not made it there yet.”

They were answerable to the apostles in general, not to Peter in particular.
And where do you have evidence to support this claim, Mr. Hays?  Unsupported assertions are dismissed in a debate environment - and likewise, I dismiss this claim of yours.
sw: “No, my statement of Peter’s bones being buried there is based in testimony, and the fact that those bones are actually there.”

Really? Windsor has a testimonial chain-of-custody beginning with those who saw Peter buried in Rome, along with a continuous testimony, year-by-year, decade-by-decade, and century-by-century, regarding the site of his grave, up until 21C Rome.
Close enough for those who have faith.  For those who have not faith, no explanation will suffice.
sw: “...scientific testing has lent some credence to his assertion (they've been proved to belong to an older man; the bones of the feet are missing, as they would be from a man crucified upside down, as Peter is said to have been, etc.)”

Here he’s propping up one legend with another–the legend of Peter’s upside down crucifixion.
I've supported the testimony of Early Church Fathers with modern scientific evidence.  The Early Church testimony is that St. Peter was crucified in Rome, upside down - and the bones found, according to the scientific evidence I provided earlier, supports the testimony of those Fathers.  Mr. Hays statement of this being mere legend is summarily dismissed.
sw: “Do I have a sample of St. Peter’s DNA to ID the bones? Again, silly question.”

To the contrary, when Windsor makes the unqualified claim that Peter’s bones are there (in Rome) “to this day,” it’s not at all silly to demand the only type of evidence which could validate that claim.
To the contrary to Mr. Hays anachronistic challenge is silly.  Based upon Mr. Hays logic, we could not prove that Nero was in Rome.  Others testify to it, sure, but without DNA from Nero himself, how could Mr. Hays PROVE it, using the logic he's attempting to force upon me?  
sw: “And just what archaeological evidence did you provide regarding Aquila and Priscilla?”

If you’re really curious, you can answer your own question by reading the material I cited.
I'm curious, but I'm not going to weed through numerous Protestant commentaries to find the propagandized "evidence" Mr. Hays claims exists.  If he's so sure of this evidence - he'll QUOTE IT and THEN provide proper citations of primary source documentation.  Merely referring to a set of commentaries is NOT documentation!  Quote something, Mr. Hays, cite your source and then let me find that quotation IN CONTEXT to see what's being said and by whom.  Otherwise, accept the fact that you have provided nothing of substance to this discussion.
sw: “You don’t seem to pay attention to the evidence provided even by yourself! There were several ‘in home’ churches and A&P hosted one of them. Wasn’t this part of what YOU provided?”

Windsor can’t follow the argument. The more individuals who simultaneously headed the 1C church of Rome, which was really a loose assortment of house-churches, the more that multiplicity destroys any claim that Peter founded the church of Rome, that there was a monarchical episcopate in the NT church of Rome, &c.

Windsor is trying to retrofit, then backdate a later ecclesiastical development in reference to the original church of Rome.
No, Windsor is merely AGREEING that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla, among others, hosted MISSION churches/chapels in their homes PRIOR TO THE HIERARCHY ARRIVING AT ROME.  It would it appear that it is not Windsor who is having trouble following this argument.
sw: “As I pointed out already in the combox on Triablogue, the apostolic office IS that of bishop! If Judas Iscariot’s office was that of ‘bishoprick’ as Acts 1:20 tells us - then why wouldn’t the office of Sts. Peter and Paul have also been a bishoprick? It is not I who is making a “category mistake” here.”

i) That’s a classic semantic fallacy. As the standard lexicon on the Greek NT points out, “The ecclesiastical loanword ‘bishop’ is too technical and loaded with late historical baggage for precise signification of usage of episkopos and cognates in our literature, especially in the NT” (BDAG, 379b).

ii) The same point is made in standard commentaries on Acts 1:20, viz. “Literally ‘overseership,’ not in the technical sense. The meaning here (‘responsibility’) is much the same as that of diakonia in vv 17 and 25, and of apostole in v25” (Bruce, 1990:111); “’Take his place of leadership’ (episkopen is used in a nontechnical sense here)” (Peterson, 2009:125); “Here, as a rendering of the Hebrew and as used by Luke, it means simply office and contains no more indication of the nature of the office than readers of Acts may have brought to the text” (Barrett, 1994:1:100).

iii) In addition, Acts 1:20 is an OT quotation, from Ps 109:8, via the LXX (108:8). Needless to say, there was no episcopate or “bishoprick” in OT times.

So Windsor’s appeal is grossly anachronistic and acontextual. That’s because all he’s doing is to parrot traditional Catholic prooftexting rather than actually taking time to study the text in context.
Well, I, for one, am not intimidated by Protestant commentaries anachronistically added to the debate at hand here.  Yes, there were no bishops when Psalm 109 was written - but for some REASON that word is used in Acts 1!  Now Mr. Hays position calls into question the Wisdom of God Himself by having the temerity to question God's Word using "episkopēn" (the word for "bishoprick" used in Acts 1:20, Strong's #1984).  No, I can assure Mr. Hays (and anyone else still reading along) that I have quite adequately studied this topic, this text and especially the use of the word "episkopēn".

iv) Apropos (iii), to apply Acts 1:20 to the papacy is ironically fatal the papacy, for as the text goes on to say, in 21-22, the qualifications for this office require the incumbent to a disciple of Jesus throughout his whole public ministry–from the baptism of John to the Ascension. Therefore, the “office” in question is unique and unrepeatable.

This is another instance in which a Catholic epologist is blindly reproducing traditional prooftexts without bothering to study the text in context. In the process, he winds up citing a “prooftext” which sabotages his case.
As much as Mr. Hays would like this simplistic approach to "sabotage" the the papacy - it does not.  Nowhere does the text state that the conditions for Judas' successor are to be applied to every other successor.  For THAT successor they wanted someone who had been around with them since Matthias was to be "numbered with the other eleven Apostles" (Acts 1:26).

What is CLEARLY spoken of here is an OFFICE and as such, when it is vacated it is filled by another.  JUST AS CLEAR is the Early Church Fathers testimonies relating to the successors of St. Peter's See - which also point to Rome.

Again, I FULLY (as a former Protestant and anti-Catholic myself) understand WHY folks like Mr. Hays must deny the existence of the papacy from Peter onward (they would not deny it from say, 325 AD onward) for the existence of such nullifies the validity of the existence of cults, the likes of which Mr. Hays belongs to.  IF the papacy is conceded then it must also be conceded that cults which are not united to the papacy are impostors and false churches which have come about to "fool, even the elect."  Clearly Mr. Hays is not quite ready to admit this, but I pray one day he will - as I have.

sw: “Hmmm, in my first response to your silliness and admitted sarcasm, I not only included links to your articles, but also supplied several other sources, with links, supporting what I was saying.”

Let’s see…among other things, Windsor linked to a Wikipedia article, which illustrates the tremendous depth of his scholarship.

He also linked to a “Catholic News Agency” article. But isn’t that “preaching to the choir”? Why does he discount my sources if I cite a Protestant scholar, but he helps himself to Catholic sources–and quack sources at that?
If those were the ONLY sources I have been citing, Mr. Hays would have a point.  Since I have quoted and cited other sources, even Protestant and anti-Catholic sources, Mr. Hays' assertion that I am merely "preaching to the choir" - as I accused him of doing, is without merit.  Mr. Hays has, to the best of my knowledge, ONLY cited non- or anti-Catholic sources and/or liberal/modernist Catholic sources which are well known to be contrary to traditional Catholic teaching (and I even cited James White, who is well known to the "choir" at Triablogue, AGREEING with what I'm saying on this point!).  No, the record will show that I'm not merely preaching to the choir using only sources which are pro-Catholic, but I support myself even with Mr. Hays' choir.
sw: “I didn’t use as many sources, but I did cite Scripture and a link (to a non-Catholic source) supporting what I said about Fr. Brown.”

Windsor cited a source (James White) which said “Fr. Brown held liberal, modernistic and revisionist ideas.”

That in no way deflects my argument. Did I deny Brown’s liberal credentials? No. Is that relevant to the case at hand? No.

The fact that Brown was a liberal Catholic scholar is hardly a problem for my argument. That’s an additional problem for Catholicism, not for me.
No, even though Mr. Hays denies it, citing the likes of Frs. Brown and Fitzmyer does NOT help his case in the least!   Did Mr. Hays, prior to me bringing it out, acknowledge that Fr. Brown is a liberal with modernistic and revisionist ideas?  When we speak of such "revisionism," especially on THIS TOPIC, it is precisely that which damages Mr. Hays argumentation!  Mr. Hays would LOVE to have Catholics agree that St. Peter was never in Rome and that claims of the Bishop of Rome being his successor are false - so again, citing a liberal Catholic "scholar" who is KNOWN even by NON-CATHOLICS to hold modernist and revisionist ideas removes that "scholar" from having ANY credibility to support what Mr. Hays is trying to assert here. 
sw: “Not true, Mr. Hays. The point is when you’re debating with a Catholic, and then you cite numerous Protestant only commentaries (which are not primary sources) you can’t expect any Catholics to be impressed. Of course, your ‘choir’ appreciates it - but you’re not scoring any debate points in merely preaching to the choir.”

i) Primary sources need to be sifted. They also need to be situated in their historical milieu. An English-speaking papist from the 21C (e.g. Scott Windsor) can’t jump straight into the church fathers without the requisite background knowledge.
That's a fine and dandy assertion from Mr. Hays IF he were to cite some sources other than those which are part of his "choir" to support what he's saying!  THAT is the bone of contention at this point!  Again, MY sources have NOT been limited solely to Catholic ones who are part of my "choir." He has even recently mocked me citing the anti-Catholic Chick site, which I purposefully did to show I do not merely go to my "choir" for support.

ii) BTW, if he’s going to make a big deal about primary sources, does he read the church fathers in the original Greek and Latin? Does he use critical editions of the church fathers?
Whether or not I read in the original Greek or Latin (which I can read some of the Latin) is immaterial unless he can demonstrate the English translation I have used is faulty - which he has not done.  Again, another lofty and unsupported challenge.

ii) Windsor simply disregards the arguments contained in the monographs and commentaries I cited.
I agree that I disregard them, but it wasn't so "simply" done.  I took the time to research WHO these sources were before accusing them of being part of Mr. Hays' "choir."  Commentaries MAY be used to SUPPORT primary source information, but a commentary ALONE is relatively worthless.  Mr. Hays has provided little, if any, in regard to primary source documentation.

iii) As you can see from his preemptory dismissal of Brown (as well as Fitzmyer, see below), Windsor equally dismissive of Catholic scholarship when it undermines his case.
I am equally dismissive of liberal "scholars" who have "modernist and revisionist ideas."  Yes, I've stated I oppose them and WHY I oppose them AND have cited one of Mr. Hays' "choir" who AGREES with my assessment of them!  For Mr. Hays to continue to cling to them as "scholars" only shows the desperation of his argumentation.

iv) Windsor also relies on secondary sources. The difference is that I cite scholarly secondary sources whereas he cites pulp secondary sources.
And yet another unsupported (and therefore must be dismissed) assertion.  Where I may have used SOME secondary sources, it is in SUPPORT of primary source documentation.  If Mr. Hays would care to document himself here (which I sincerely doubt he will, for it would only afford me the opportunity to prove his argumentation faulty - again) I would gladly consider it.  If I cannot adequately explain my use of secondary sources - I will retract them.  Will Mr. Hays do the same?

v) No, I don’t expect anti-intellectual Catholics like Windsor to be impressed with genuine scholarship that challenges their dog-like faith in Mother Church.
Again with the insults (ad hominem).  Perhaps one day Mr. Hays will realize that when he uses such, he's really reducing his own argumentation to desperate emotionalism.  There is nothing of substance in the above statement and it deserves no further response than I have given it.
sw: “Your accusation of me only accepting pre-approved in-house authors is patently false.”

To the contrary, his treatment of Brown and Fitzmyer corroborates my allegation.
I really have to laugh out loud here!  I quoted and cited James White (as just ONE of the non-Catholic sources I've used) which PROVES I do not restrict myself to "only accepting pre-approved in-house authors" - for so far as I know, White has never been an "approved author" for Catholicism!  I'll be content to let the readers draw their own conclusions here regarding Mr. Hays argumentation.
sw: “Again, the point would be if you’re debating with a Mormon - you should cite SOME Mormon sources. If you were going after Mormonism and merely supplying Protestant commentary, you would be (fairly) criticised for that as well.”

i) To the contrary, if a Protestant monograph was well-argued, then it makes no difference. Windsor is committing the genetic fallacy.
Sorry to disagree with you again Mr. Hays, (well, really I'm not sorry for that!) but if you're going to say "Mormonism believes x, y or z" then you better have a Mormon source which actually demonstrates their belief in x, y or z - or you have nothing but an anti-Mormon commentary.  Again, if you're audience is restricted to your "choir" - fine, but if you were trying to reach Mormons, you'd be dismissed just as quickly as I have dismissed virtually everything you've had to say thus far!  I can't think of even ONE valid point you've made!  Oh, there is one!  I have agreed with you that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla operated a small independent mission chapel from their home prior to Sts. Peter and Paul actually arriving in Rome.
ii) Moreover, he’s too simple-minded to realize that “Protestant commentaries” can (and often do) quote and interact with Catholic sources.
Again with the insult to open the argument.  I do not disagree that some Protestant commentaries may, or even often, interact with Catholic sources, the point is Mr. Hays is not doing so and merely pointing to Protestant commentaries is not helping his argumentation in the least.

iii) But the dumbest thing about his objection is that Priscilla’s social status is not a Catholic/Protestant issue, per se. There’s nothing in Catholic dogma which opposes the notion that Priscilla was a Roman noblewoman who married a Jewish freeman.
I do not object to St. Priscilla's alleged social status - that's really immaterial to the REAL POINT here!  The REAL POINT is regarding Sts. Peter and Paul establishing the bishoprick in Rome - yes, as I have granted, AFTER the independent mission churches like the one hosted by Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were already there without hierarchy.

Indeed, why does Windsor appeal to alleged archeological evidence for Peter’s bones on Vatican Hill, but waves away archaeological evidence regarding her social status from the Titulus Priscae, the Catacomb of Priscilla, and other ancient sources (e.g. Tacitus, Dio Cassius)?
Um, I provided evidence that "Prisca" and "Priscilla" may indeed be two different persons!  But regardless of all that, that whole discussion is nothing more than a DISTRACTION from the REAL TOPIC AT HAND!  Who really cares what the social status of St. Priscilla was?  I even AGREED with Mr. Hays earlier that such a status may indeed have aided in them having a household large enough to actually host a mission church in their home.  Mr. Hays is making much ado about nothing here.

But, of course, Windsor suffers from acute self-reinforcing ignorance. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, because he preemptively discounts any and all Catholic and Protestant scholarship to the contrary.
Again, insults and a wholly false accusation.  I'll leave that lie to stand as it is, a lie and an ad hominem attack which really nullifies what Mr. Hays would hope to be trying to get across.
sw: “Just because you picked one who is noted to be contrary to orthodox Catholic thought, even by non-Catholics (such as the source I quoted and cited)…”

If Brown was heterodox, then why did two popes elevate him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission? Is the papacy also contrary to “orthodox Catholic thought”?
I will not sit in judgment over "two popes."  The fact remains that Fr. Brown's positions are KNOWN to be heterodox - even by the likes of James White!  Why do you continue to try to bolster him up when even your own "choir" rejects him? Yes, clearly you seem to think that if I point out some liberals who "got in" even with papal acceptance at the time, that this somehow weakens the whole office of the papacy.  Well, that non sequitur just doesn't fly here.  The concept of papal impeccability is NOT a Catholic doctrine.

sw: “So now you move to Fr. Brown’s PARTNER in the Jerome Bible Commentary so what are you expecting to accomplish here? Yes, he’s just as liberal minded as Fr. Brown!”

That’s true, although I wasn’t referencing the Jerome Bible Commentary. Rather, I was referring to Fitzmyer’s commentary on Romans in the Anchor series.
Regardless of which work your referencing, that does not diminish the FACT that he's known to be "liberal" and one who holds "modernist and revisionist ideas" (White).  My statement stands.
sw: “Sometimes I think some Protestant apologists knowingly point to known liberal Catholics for two reasons: 1) they say what you want them to say; 2) when a more orthodox Catholic tells you they hold to liberal theology then you attack the more orthodox Catholic for the disagreement - as a red herring/distraction tactic and never deal with the FACT that these ‘scholars’ are liberals.”

Windsor is one of those shortsighted epologists who punches holes in the hull of Rome, then spends the remainder of his time frantically bailing water.
I call'em as I see'm.  I supported my view and didn't seek my "choir" to do so.
To keep accentuating the fact that Rome sanctions the liberal scholarship of Brown, Fitzmyer et al., is unwittingly damaging to the very institution he professes to defend.
There's no "damage" to the papacy here!  I have no doubt there have been some "bad popes" throughout the history of the Church - and Pope Paul VI, who was first to elevate Fr. Brown to that status, is also the Pope who said "the smoke of Satan has entered the Church" - that doesn't automatically mean the whole Church is wrong and/or that the "gates of hell" have prevailed against it!  No, it simply means there was a bump in the road, or a wave on the ocean - and this ship will right itself once again, as it always does, through the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

Who are the “more orthodox” Catholics? Why shouldn’t we judge Catholic orthodoxy by the policy of the Magisterium? It’s not as if Fitzmyer has been disciplined by his bishop. Or the Vatican.

Yet he’s a famous, influential scholar. So it’s not as though his religious superiors are ignorant of where he stands, or his impact on Catholic thought. The same could be said for other prominent liberals like John Meier, Luke Timothy Johnson, and Jerome Murphy-O’Connor.
I have no doubt there are MANY liberals who have entered the Church, and I'm just as certain that it is by Satan's design to try and tear apart the Church through the likes of Freemasonry, etc. - but again, this is all nothing but a distraction tactic from the REAL POINT we're discussing here.  You have LOST that debate, so you appear to be trying to defuse and refocus our attention elsewhere so that we lose sight of the fact that you have lost the debate on St. Peter being in Rome and the FACT that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were not overseers of the whole jurisdiction of Rome (a point you've already conceded), but were merely hosts of a mission church in their home prior to Sts. Peter and Paul arriving in Rome (a point I have conceded).
“And all you’ve ‘cited’ from them is their commentary - that’s not ‘evidence.’”

The evidence is contained in the body of the text, as well as the footnotes.
That's not documentation on YOUR part, Mr. Hays.
sw: “All you’ve done is shore up your protesting opinion with the opinion of a liberal who himself is at odds with orthodox Catholicism.”

Notice how Windsor must malign the judgment of the popes who appointed Brown to the Pontifical Biblical Commission–as well as religious superiors who gave Brown the imprimatur on various publications.
I have not maligned the judgment of the two popes who oversaw him.  Again, that is NOT the subject of THIS discussion, though I DO understand why Mr. Hays continues to try and distract the reader from the REAL TOPIC here!  

Brown is not a religious rogue. Windsor is the religious rogue. Like Catholic epologists in general, Windsor is a Catholic dissident. He can only defend the “true” faith by dissenting from the way in which his religious superiors administer the affairs of the church.
Mr. Hays allegation is utterly rejected.  I support orthodox Catholicism, Frs. Brown and Fitzmyer did not, at least not all the time.  They introduced varying ideas embraced by modernists and revisionists - such as Mr. Hays - and as far as THOSE IDEAS GO, I reject what they had to say.  Where they agree with orthodox Catholicism (which is more often than they disagree) I am not in disagreement with them.  The only remaining point here is that they were never declared heretics - and I do not declare them as such either.  They were liberals with views which were, at times, at odds with orthodox views, and non-Catholics as well as Catholic revisionists will latch upon those statements where they were out of sync with orthodox Catholicism.  Again, I do not dispute that there are and have been unorthodox persons, some in high places, within the Church.  That fact alone does not take away from the papacy and certainly has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand!  Remember the topic at hand, Mr. Hays?  We were discussing whether or not St. Peter was in Rome and/or whether or not the Bishop of Rome is validly traced to St. Peter and Rome.  All this mumbo-jumbo about Frs. Brown and Fitzmyer is nothing but a distraction, so how about getting back to the point?
sw: “As I pointed out in the combox, St. Irenaeus perspective is on the founding of the hierarchical structure of “The Church” in Rome, not the founding of home-hosted mission churches.”

Although Windsor pays lip-service to the “primary sources,” you notice that he doesn’t exegete that crucial distinction from the text of Irenaeus.
The reader will notice that while I quote and cited the primary sources, often linking the primary sources so the reader can see the context for themselves, Mr. Hays complains that I don't "exegete that crucial distinction from the text of (St.) Irenaeus," but what DOES he (St. Irenaeus) say?
"The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).
What more does Mr. Hays want to see from St. Irenaeus?   They, Sts. Peter and Paul, founded and built up the Church of Rome and passed on the episcopate to Linus - our second pope as many other ECFs testify.  Does he say they built up more independent mission churches?  No, he says they built up THE Church (of Rome) and the episcopate, which was THEIR OFFICE (Sts. Peter and Paul) was passed on to Linus, the SUCCESSOR of that bishoprick!
sw:  “So why did cities like Jerusalem and Antioch get bishops and hierarchy, but your argument is that Rome got ‘nothing above and beyond the informal founding.”

i) In the 1C, there was no Catholic “hierarchy” in the Jerusalem church. You had apostles, elders, and deacons. Elders were a carryover from Judaism, while deacons were an afterthought.
You had hierarchy, Mr. Hays, and your failure to admit it doesn't change the facts here.  The "overseers" (that's the bishops) are definitely "above" others in the Church for they "oversee" the others.  I agree that "elders" are likely some sort of carry-over from Judaism, but likely refer to the priesthood.  Deacons assisted the priests, as they do to this day.

ii) Moreover, the church of Jerusalem was, itself, informally organized. Sometimes they gathered in the temple precincts, at other times they met in house-churches (e.g. Acts 12:12). Even the church of Jerusalem, which was the mother church of Christendom, had no official “founding.” It was simply a strategic base camp. They improvised as they went along (e.g. the institution of the deaconate in Acts 6).
Again, I would agree that they didn't have their own buildings in Jerusalem immediately, afterall, they still saw themselves as Jews - just Jews who have accepted the Messiah.  Until the Jews kicked them out of the Temple, they had no reason to seek out other places to meet.  And of course, it was within that first century that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.   Life for a Christian or a Jew was not pleasant in Jerusalem in the first century! 
sw: “So when did Rome get a real bishop? Who was that first real bishop?”

i) The 1C Roman church never had a “real bishop” (a la the monarchical episcopate). Rather, it had a number of church leaders (e.g. Priscilla and Aquila, Philologus and Julia, Asyncritus) who individually oversaw the autocephalous house-churches under their patronage. There was no bishop over the various Roman house-churches.

If you want names, then those are the earliest names we have for Roman church leaders.
Mr. Hays has avoided my questions here.  If it wasn't St. Peter, followed by St. Linus, St. Cletus, St. Clement, etc. - WHO WAS IT?  If it wasn't the first century, WHEN was it?   I didn't ask for the earliest Roman church leaders, who held meetings in their homes - I asked for when he believes the first Bishop of Rome was established and who was he; Mr. Hays has dodged the question.
ii) But if you’re asking about the historic origins of the Roman church, then that probably goes back to the early thirties, when Roman Jews came home after their Pentecostal pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Acts 2:10-11,41), to form the nucleus of the Christian community in Rome. That would antedate Peter’s itinerate ministry by about a dozen years (Acts 12:17). For a more detailed reconstruction, cf. J. Fitzmyer, Romans, 25-38; R. Jewett, Romans, 59-74.
Again, that's NOT the question I asked!  I am fully aware of the earlier mission churches established prior to a bishoprick arriving at Rome.  

“Through whom are ALL the successors of the Bishop of Rome traced through - bar none.”

If you’re referring to the papacy, in contradistinction to the NT church of Rome, then Pope La Bête was the inaugural pontiff.
I am referring to the Bishop of Rome, as I clearly stated.  Who is this "Pope La Bête?"  When was this alleged "inaugural pontiff?"  How about answering a straight question with a straight answer?
“Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the transcendent Majesty of the Most High Father and of Jesus Christ, His only Son; the church by the will of Him who willed all things that exist, beloved and illuminated through the faith and love of Jesus Christ our God; which also presides in the chief place of the Roman territory; a church worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and presiding in love, maintaining the law of Christ, and bearer of the Father's name: her do I therefore salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. Heartiest good wishes for unimpaired joy in Jesus Christ our God, to those who are united in flesh and spirit by every commandment of His; who imperturbably enjoy the full measure of God's grace and have every foreign stain filtered out of them.”

Unfortunately for Windsor, this quote is counterproductive:

i) Ignatius clearly describes the Roman church as a local (or regional) church–not the one, true, universal church. It only presides over the imperial capital, or, at most, central Italy. So much for Roman primacy or catholicity.
I see nothing "unfortunate" about this!  The exact same description St. Ignatius used could be used today regarding the Church at Rome.   The point (again) was not "Roman primacy" and not even "Petrine primacy!"  The discussion at hand is whether or not St. Peter went to Rome and was the first Bishop of Rome.  The point in bringing up the above Ignatius quote was to show that this person he was addressing didn't preside over Rome, but presided IN the chief place of the Roman territory.   There's a HUGE difference between "IN" and "OVER."  That being said, if one "presides" it must be "over" someone or something - so this "presiding" was over whom or what, in Mr. Hays view?  I posit that the "presiding" was "over" the Christians in Rome, not over Rome itself. 

ii) In addition, he says nothing about the bishop of Rome. Nothing about a Roman episcopate, much less a monarchical Roman episcopate. And he doesn’t even greet the bishop of Rome by name–which is not surprising, since that position didn’t exist back then.
Mr. Hays is the one begging the question.  He's asserting the position (of the Bishop of Rome) did not exist back then, yet St. Ignatius is speaking of one who PRESIDED IN the chief place of the Roman territory - which is Rome itself.  So who would this one who "presides" be "overseeing?"  

iii) It is the Roman church, and not the Roman primate, which is said to “preside” over the city (or region).
I'm doing my best to remain charitable here!  There has to be someone who is the "overseer" of the "Roman Church."  And this "overseer" (aka bishop) did not "preside" over all Romans, only over the Christians of Rome, and in a spiritual or apolitical manner.

“Pope Clement I, writing about circa 80-95ad speaks of the need for apostolic succession:”

He doesn’t explain how he comes up with an 80 AD terminus ad quo for 1 Clement.
How I came about the 80 AD "terminus ad quo" is irrelevant, and I said 80-95 AD, which was the time of St. Clement's martyrdom at Rome, so it had to be prior to 95 AD, if Mr. Hays wishes to take it earlier than 80 AD, I'm fine with that!  

“Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry.”

Of course, that’s fatally equivocal, for there’s no textual evidence that Clement is using these ecclesiastical terms in the specialized sense that Roman Catholicism defines them. Another semantic anachronism.
Clearly Mr. Hays is merely attempting to dismiss the evidence so that he doesn't have to deal with it.  Pope St. Clement expresses, quite explicitly, that those men who held the office of bishop, "if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry."  

“So again I ask, who was the first Bishop of Rome?”

Coming from a Catholic, the question is equivocal–for the papacy evolves over time. There’s no date when the pope became the pope. It’s still developing at Vatican I, still developing at Vatican II. The papacy defines and redefines itself throughout church history, according to its ambitions and exigencies.
In other words, "I'm not willing to commit to an answer, for then it would be too easy for you to disprove what I'm saying.  If I stay with vague references, then you can't pin me down."  I think that pretty well explains the reasons behind Mr. Hays dodging tactics.  He seems to think that table turning is a valid response to a direct question - it's not.  Has there been some evolution in the office of the papacy, I'd agree with that - but again, that's NOT the question I asked of Mr. Hays.  I asked who was the first Bishop of Rome.  Clearly there is a Bishop of Rome NOW, so how far back do we go before there's NOT a Bishop of Rome?  Now I'm sure Mr. Hays rejects Pope Benedict XVI as a valid bishop of the Christian Church - so that would lead us to another question - when did this succession of bishops become corrupt, in his eyes, so that the current successor is not a valid successor?

sw: “When did this ‘official establishment’ take place in your allegedly non-mythical view?”

When is a usurper is officially established?
More dodging, but let me play along...  if you believe the office of the Bishop of Rome was "usurped" by an invalid holder of the office - when did THAT happen?  Now also consider that the common practice was that each city had an "overseer" (bishop) who was in charge there.  When did Rome get it's first official overseer?  THEN answer when that overseer's office was "usurped" by someone else. 
sw: “Irrelevant? You proposed that they were the first bishops of Rome! You proposed they should rightly be called the first pope and popessa of Rome. It is wholly relevant to demonstrate that they were MISSIONARIES and not holding the office of bishop, as your satire alleges.”

Peter was also a missionary. So was Paul. As well as John.
Sts. Peter, Paul and John were also bishops - the office of the Apostle is that of bishop.  Sts. Auila and Priscilla are NEVER identified as bishops.  So your satire was based in a wholly defective premise.  Will you admit to that much, Mr. Hays?
sw: “…just because Scripture does not say explicitly that Peter went to Rome.”

i) It wouldn’t matter if Peter went to Rome. No doubt he went to a variety of places after he became a refugee.
Refugee now?  St. Peter, as an Apostle, was a bishop.  Tradition has it, from several ECF sources, that St. Peter went to Rome, was the Bishop of Rome and was crucified (upside down) and buried there (on Vatican Hill, which at the time of ancient Rome was outside of Rome proper).

ii) Windsor is too dim to appreciate a basic asymmetry between Catholicism and Protestantism on this issue: while Peter’s presence in Rome is essential to Catholicism, Peter’s absence from Rome is inessential to Protestantism.
Mr. Hays continues with the juvenile insults, but does not address the issues at hand and merely attempts to dismiss the issues.  IF St. Peter's absence from Rome is "inessential to Protestantism" then WHY do so many Protestants argue that he was never there, or as YOU have argued, "that is just legend?"  If it is so inconsequential to you, why argue for this "Peter was never in Rome" position?  Whether or not it is "essential to Catholicism" is not the issue, really.  Whereas the Bishop of Rome COULD have "presided" over the Christians of Rome without even being there - we have more than enough Early Church Fathers testimony stating St. Peter was indeed there, was the first Bishop of Rome, was crucified there and buried just outside of Rome on Vatican Hill (which later Rome encompassed).

iii) Since, however, he keeps harping on the issue, and since he also cited 1 Peter 5:13 as a “code word” for Rome, it’s worth noting, as scholars like Kelley, Achtemeier, and Jobes have pointed out, that “Babylon” in 5:13 forms a synonymous parallel with “Diaspora” in 1:1. Hence, “Babylon” is probably a synonym, not for Rome, but for the exilic status of ex-pat Christians like Peter. Cf. K. Jobes, 1 Peter, 322f.
I have cited numerous sources, most of them NON-Catholic, which agree that "Babylon" is a code word for "Rome."  Have some other "scholars" tried to argue it COULD be for something else?  Sure... but all they are doing is affirming it is indeed a "code word" for something other than the region which is present day Iraq.  The Babylonian Empire had fallen to the Greeks and Romans centuries before there were Christians.  So, with Mr. Hays concession that we're talking about a "code word" here now, will he affirm that many "scholars" affirm that Babylon indeed refers to Rome?  Many insist that the "Whore of Babylon" is reference to Rome and anachronistically as well as geographically error in insisting this "Whore" is the Catholic Church (Vatican Hill is NOT one of the "Seven Hills of Rome").

“What evidence?! Mr. Hays presented a bibliography and added his own comments, and didn’t quote the commentaries/opinion pieces (as if that is valid ‘evidence’) at all!”

i) Why should I manually transcribe material which Windsor can always read for himself? Go to the library.
Again, Mr. Hays is affirming he's not presented valid argumentation.  All he has provided is a bibliography so obscure that one cannot find this information online and would have to invest their own time instead of Mr. Hays presenting contextual quotations of the resources.  With as many resources being so widely available to the Internet, why does Mr. Hays hide behind obscure resources which are so difficult to find?

ii) Besides, Windsor’s demand is two-faced. He preemptively excludes any Catholic or Protestants scholarship that’s injurious to his blind faith. So what’s the point of my detailing evidence that he will instantly discount?
If the information presented by allegedly Catholic sources is contrary to traditional Catholic thought and teaching, then yes, I will reject such information - not on "blind faith," but upon eyes wide open exposure to what the Church REALLY teaches and HAS taught as opposed to novel ideas being promulgated by revisionists and/or those with Modernist leanings.
sw: “Irrelevant.”

The extrabiblical evidence that Priscilla married a Jew is complemented by the biblical evidence of gentiles who were drawn to the Jewish faith. That’s highly relevant. Not my fault if Windsor is too dim to perceive the connection.
Again with the juvenile insults.  It really doesn't matter in the least whether or not St. Priscilla married a Jew, and I have repeatedly affirmed that if she had such status, that AND their success as Jewish tentmakers may have contributed to their ability to have a house large enough to host church meetings.  It is NOT relevant to Mr. Hays initial satirical assertion that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were the actual first bishops of Rome and giving that title to St. Peter is some sort of usurpation from them.  Mr. Hays satire has been show to be quite untenable.
sw: “Again, I have not disputed the potential resources gained from the family business…Again, I have not questioned the resources of the family business.”

That’s the opposite of what I said. It’s her hereditary wealth that probably subsidized the house-churches in Rome, Corinth, and Ephesus–not the family business. (Indeed, not just a house-church, but a title-church in Rome.)
The "title-church" in Rome is named after "St. Prisca" - and likely someone else, perhaps the daughter of St. Priscilla.  Do some research, Mr. Hays; I have.
sw: “I have not challenged her pedigree - I only stated from what Mr. Hays has presented thus far, we have no evidence other than she was married to a Jewish tentmaker. Comments on commentaries don’t count as evidence.”

They don’t count as evidence for those who refuse to read the evidence, for those who dismiss the evidence unread– because it comes scholars who don’t meet with Windsor’s prior approval.

However, it’s not Windsor’s prerogative to tell us what counts as evidence, especially when he presumes to disqualify scholars in good standing who belong to his own denomination.
And yet again, Mr. Hays seems quite oblivious to the fact that it is quite irrelevant as to St. Priscilla's pedigree.  The FACT remains, she was not a bishopress - which is not even a word because there is no such thing.  THAT is what started this whole exchange, but it seems Mr. Hays would like to continue down irrelevant rabbit trails.
sw: “The identity of St Prisca is uncertain. One tradition claims that she is identical with Priscilla, who is mentioned in the New Testament, another that she was the daughter of Aquila and Priscilla.”

Here Windsor is quoting from Wikipedia again. In terms of our respective source material, I’m in the Grand Masters while he plays putt-putt golf.
First off, a "wiki" source is one to be careful of, but many wiki articles are well written and well researched.  To simply dismiss because it came from a wiki is irresponsible.  However, again, it really doesn't matter here!  This whole discussion about her coming from a wealthy family in Rome doesn't make a difference in the least to my argument and is equally irrelevant to Mr. Hays argument.  In short, it is a diversion to get us off-track, a red herring.  THE subject at hand is whether or not Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were the first bishops of Rome - a point which Mr. Hays cannot prove, and I submit is utterly false, and since the person holding the affirmative bears the responsibility of the burden of proof - Mr. Hays runs from the REAL topic and continues throwing red herrings at us in hopes we'll continue off course with him.  It's not working Mr. Hays.
sw: “You try to pass yourself off as presenting scholarly material, but you haven’t. I’m sure “the choir” just accepts your commentary on commentaries of other Protestants - but pardon me for not bowing to your bibliography.”

Aside from his anti-Protestant bigotry, he also speaks with a forked-tongue, for as we’ve seen, he’s just dismissive of Catholic scholarship whenever it threatens to undercut his position.
No "forked tongue" here - I have acknowledged that Mr. Hays presents Frs. Brown and Fitzmyer.  I do not reject everything these priests have to say, but when they go contrary to Catholic teaching and thought and ramble into modernist revisionism - I'm not afraid to stand up against them either.  Just because they are priests and have held important positions and have published materials, some of which may be considered "scholarly," doesn't make them 100% right on their speculations - especially those contrary to Catholic teaching and thought.  Let the reader decide who is being fair here or not.  I acknowledge what they said, and I point out that they are not necessarily the best source in the world for such material - AND - backed myself up with even a non-Catholic source backing up what I have to say about these priests.  Mr. Hays insistence upon bringing them up speaks volumes to his desperation in this matter.  He can't find any "good" scholarship from the Catholic Church on this matter to support him - so he goes with radical fringe.
sw: “Missionaries are seldom the ones ‘in charge.’”

A missionary like St. Paul would surely beg to differ.
Missionaries are typically sent BY someone else, someone to whom they answer to.  If you'll recall too, St. Paul submitted himself to the Apostles at Jerusalem too.  Yes, he claims to be equals with them as well in other places, and I have no problem with that either.  That being said, I do agree that SOME could be considered to be self-sent (such as the Apostles themselves), however St. Aquila and Priscilla are not among those.
sw: “Hmmm, where was St. John given this title? Even if that were so, which it is not, the ‘Vicar of the Churches in Asia Minor’ cannot be equivocated to the ‘Vicar of Christ.’”

The apostles were agents of Christ.
You're not answering the question.  A "vicar" is one who stands in the place of another or a "substitute," in fact it comes from the Latin word "vicārius" which means "substitute."  Certainly in a broader sense it can be an "agent" - but in the ecclesial sense it is a substitute, one who does the job in place of another.  And you have not changed the fact of my statement tha the Vicar of Christ could not be equated to a "Vicar of the Churches in Asia Minor."  This just seems another lame attempt to use Catholic terminology in your argumentation, and it has failed.

sw: “Do the math. St. Peter is there with the rest of the Apostles and Jesus singles out St. Peter and in a threefold command the Good Shepherd has told St. Peter to feed His sheep. In short, He was passing on the reins.”

No, Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to shepherd the sheep in opposition to the other disciples, as if he forbad the other disciples to do so. Jesus doesn’t use antithetical language to contrast Peter’s role with the role of his fellow disciples. If Christian elders are duty-bound to shepherd the sheep (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:1-4), then surely the other apostles, who outrank Christian elders, are also duty-bound to shepherd the sheep.
Yes, the Apostles who "outrank" elders are "duty-bound to shepherd the sheep," but you're missing the point!  In John 21 ALL the Apostles are there and Jesus does not ask ALL of them, "Do you love Me?"  He does not tell them, as a group, "Feed My sheep."  No, He singles out St. Peter and makes it clear He wants St. Peter to be the Shepherd here - the "vicar" in the narrowest sense of the word - as He passed on the reins to St. Peter. Again, do the math, the rest of the Apostles are sitting right there, and Jesus singles out St. Peter.
sw: “You’re begging the question! The title of “pope” or “papa” comes later, so let’s not try to argue that anachronism. The fact is though that title is given later, it is given to the one who occupies the same office as St. Peter.”

Except for the awkward little fact that there’s nothing about a Petrine office in your papal prooftext (Jn 21:15-17).
(Sigh).  For those who have eyes to see - there most certain is.  I pray, one day, God will grant you those eyes to see.
sw: “Sts. Aquila and Priscilla never held the office of bishop, as St. Peter did.”

Actually, Pauline missionaries and church-planters had to carry out the functions of a Christian elder. Consider Timothy and Titus.
Sts. Aquila and Priscilla did not hold the office of bishop, as St. Peter did.  The point remains unassailed.  St. Aguila, I believe did attain that office later, but not while in Rome.
sw: “My ‘rank’ - or lack thereof - does not affect the TRUTH (or lack thereof) in what I’ve SAID. Mr. Hays would do well to study up on what constitutes a valid argument and avoid the pitfalls of the common fallacies in rhetoric.”

If Windsor thinks there’s no connection between the messenger and the veracity of the message, then he just relegated the entire Roman Magisterium to the status of a genetic fallacy.
Mr. Hays would do well to study up on what constitutes a valid argument and avoid the pitfalls of the common fallacies in rhetoric.  The point remains unassailed.

Catholics typically think it makes quite a bit of difference who is doing the talking. Is it the pope? An ecumenical council? Hans Küng? Martin Luther?
I am not sure what Mr. Hays point is here.  If the pope speaks and is wrong, he's as wrong as anyone else saying it!  If Martin Luther says something right (and he does say many things right) then he's as right as anyone saying it!  To bring up an ecumenical council, Mr. Hays seems to be under the impression that EVERYTHING at an ecumenical council is infallible - and that's simply not true.  Similarly, not EVERYTHING a pope says is infallible, popes can and do err, some more than others.  Don't get me started on Hans Küng.  I repeat, I do not know what Mr. Hays point is here - seems like another attempt to distract from the fact that Sts. Aquila and Priscilla were not bishops in Rome (I believe St. Aquila was elevated to this later, but not while in Rome).  So again, the REAL POINT here is that his satire was ill-advised and built upon a completely faulty premise.

Since, however, Windsor insists that we enjoy direct, independent access to the truth, we can now eliminate the middleman of the Roman episcopate and papacy.
Again, I see nothing relevant here - only another attempt to distract the discussion at hand.  Let's hope Mr. Hays looks up "red herring" and see how invalid arguments do not help him.
sw: “The objective reader who was paying attention (and hasn’t given up by this point) will note that Mr. Hays explicitly stated that Fr. Brown was both ‘Priest and Bishop’ - which I challenged him to show us when and where Fr. Brown was elevated to the office of the bishoprick. He is mute on that question.”

Yet another example of Windsor’s self-reinforcing ignorance, as well as his basic illiteracy. The fact that (in my post) I both capitalized and italicized the parenthetical reference to Priest and Bishop would cue a literate reader to the fact that I was citing the title of a book–just as I did with the other titles I cited in my post. I never said that “Brown” was a priest and bishop. Rather, he wrote a monograph by that title.

Of course, if Windsor weren’t such an ignoramus, he’d recognize the title. This is as good an example as any of what passes for scholarship in Catholic pop apologetics.
If Mr. Hays would have simply answered the first time, I would not have asked again.  It was not apparent to me that he was citing a book, and excuse me for being a bit ignorant of the works of Fr. Brown, as I'm sure you can tell by now, he's not my favorite author!  Let's be fair here too and LOOK at what Mr. Hays wrote and HOW he wrote it:
BTW, mainstream Catholic scholars like Raymond Brown (Priest and Bishop) wouldn’t have any problem with what I’m saying.
Mr. Hays was not citing a reference, so it APPEARED he was claiming Raymond Brown was a "Priest and Bishop."  I withdraw the question now that he has now clarified.
sw: “Second, my conceding that the “smoke of Satan has entered the Church” in AGREEMENT with Pope Paul VI does not mean I admitted to the pope (or two of them) being ‘counterfeit shepherds.’ Again, Mr. Hays uses the invalid non sequitur here. Pope Paul VI recognizing that the “smoke of Satan has entered the Church” does not make him a fake or counterfeit! The fact that he may have been duped into allowing Fr. Brown on the Pontifical Biblical Commission does not make him any more (or less) duped than Adam and Eve were when they listened to the serpent in the Garden of Eden.”

So, according to Windsor, Pope Paul VI and John-Paul II were duped by Fr. Brown. And Windsor knows this because, unlike the dupes who occupied the papal throne, Windsor is more discerning than the “Vicar of Christ.”
Look, hindsight is 20/20.  I wasn't a Catholic when Pope Paul VI was pope, and it was many years into Pope John Paul II's papacy when I converted.  I'm not saying I'm more discerning than those two popes - and I have not walked a mile in their shoes.  I repeat the fact that this whole discussion of "counterfeit popes" is nothing more than a distraction from the original discussion regarding Sts. Aquila and Priscilla.  Yes, Hays tangentially relates them by saying recent popes are counterfeits because they have allowed wolves in; and he says St. Peter is a counterfeit pope because Sts. Aquila and Priscilla should be the ones with the title prior to him.  His argumentation is just silly.

When a papist has so little faith in the papacy, how can he expect a Protestant to have more faith in that institution than he has? Once again, we witness the self-defeating spectacle of a Catholic epologist who must declare the papacy incompetent, then have it involuntarily committed to the loony bin for its own safety.
First off, Mr. Hays, I am not a "papist."  That's a derogatory term, and you know it is.  You seem to like to throw around insults like a bully on the playground.  When I first engaged you, I thought there might be some level of scholarship, but the more I see from you, the more I am disappointed.  To have invested so much time in someone who resorts to ad hominem and bigotry - and shows no sign of letting up, well - it appears to have been a huge waste of time.  Perhaps some good may come of this - for anyone who has read along this far can certainly see it will not be worth their time to engage such bigotry.

I am a Catholic, Mr. Hays.  I belong to the Church which was founded by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He established a foundation of bishops with the Apostles He personally selected.  His Church is THE Church which is built upon the Foundation which Christ formed nearly 2000 years ago.  To be out of communion with the bishops in valid succession from the bishops He chose is to be separated from Him.  To attack that which He built is to attack Him.  May God have mercy on your soul and you come to true repentance before you die.

Remember that a good shepherd is supposed to protect the flock from the wolf (Jn 10; Acts 20:28-29). Windsor has assured us that Fr. Brown was a wolf in sheepish attire. Yet he also tells us that Brown managed to hoodwink two gullible popes into appointing him to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. So, yes, that makes them counterfeit shepherds.
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Hays assessment.

Catholic apologists constantly allege that Protestantism makes every man his own pope. Yet Windsor has clearly cast himself in the role of Superpope. Überpope. The Super-Duper-Überpope. He dashes into the telephone booth to save the papacy from the pope.
I'm sure Mr. Hays is amusing himself, and perhaps his choir as well.   

“By Mr. Hays logic, God Himself is a counterfeit for allowing that serpent to be in the Garden of Eden!”

i) God wasn’t shepherding Adam and Eve in Gen 3. That was never his intent. Rather, he was doing in Gen 3 much what he does in Job 1-2.
So, in your paradigm, God was wagering with Satan that Adam and Eve would not fall, and God lost the wager?  That's pretty much what was going on in Job, but God won in the end with Job.  With Adam and Eve, they fell - they accepted Satan's lie and directly disobeyed God.  You seem to be saying that the Lord who is the same today, yesterday and forever was not a Shepherd to Adam and Eve, but He was a Shepherd later?

ii) By Windsor’s logic, God himself was duped by Old Scratch.
No, Mr. Hays - it is your logic which has God being duped.  I did not say God was duped, BUT, if YOUR logic were true - then yes, God was duped.  That's how your argument logically plays out.

iii) God ordained the fall in the furtherance of a greater good (Rom11: 32). Is Windsor saying that Brown’s scholarship contributes to the greater good?
Well, putting it that way - I could agree with Mr. Hays.
sw: “No, he presented us with virtually nothing and then has the audacity to throw ad hominem insults my way! One way to judge who is losing a debate is to see who reduces their arguments to invalid ad hominem.”

In that event, Leo X lost the debate with Martin Luther. Just look at all the ad hominem insults he hurls:

Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.

Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.

Rebuking them, in violation of your teaching, instead of imploring them, he is not ashamed to assail them, to tear at them, and when he despairs of his cause, to stoop to insults. He is like the heretics "whose last defense," as Jerome says, "is to start spewing out a serpent's venom with their tongue when they see that their causes are about to be condemned, and spring to insults when they see they are vanquished." For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves.

Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world's glory, and contrary to the Apostle's teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be…Therefore we, in this above enumeration, important as it is, wish to proceed with great care as is proper, and to cut off the advance of this plague and cancerous disease so it will not spread any further in the Lord's field as harmful thornbushes.
Mr. Hays seems to feel like those words were personal attacks against the person of Martin Luther, however the objective reader can see that Pope Leo X was attacking the lies and heresies promoted and even stated how those caught in their errors "start spewing out a serpent's venom with their tongue when they see their causes are about to be condemned, and spring into insults when they see they are vanquished..."  Hmmm, the objective reader can see who has, in this discussion spewed venom and resorted to insults.  Some things just never change I guess.

I will be praying for you, Mr. Hays, but I do not plan to spend this much time responding to you anymore - unless you demonstrate a change in your methods and can respond civilly, leaving ad hominem and insults back on the playground.

Again, may God have mercy on your soul.



  1. Scot, you're wise not to waste anymore time on this poor excuse for an exegete. He is a fanatic who's already got his mind made up that Peter wasn't the first Pope. All of his 'scholarship' will be centered around his preconcieved notions. He'll never be able to let any new information in because he's sure he posseses the truth because he is a Protestant.

  2. I agree with juscot. He (Hays) has nothing new or even interesting to add to the discussion. Not only has he resorted to the personal attacks, but he thinks he has somehow defeated your argument by doing so, as you said, like a bully on the playground. It does not engender respect for the bully.

    Anyway, it would have been a much better discussion if Hays could have stayed on point. Since it is obviously not going to happen, ending the discussion is the only course of action.

  3. Well, as I said, I don't see any value in continuing the discussion with Mr. Hays so long as he is going to resort to so many invalid arguments, not the least of which are all the ad hominem attacks.

    Sometimes I think that is part of their goal... use enough ad hominem to get their opponent so disgusted that they walk away from the debate. Well, I believe I have adequately answered Mr. Hays (and Mr. Bugay too, for that matter on a very similar issue though on different blogs).



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