Papal Authority

tu es petrus

Papal Authority

Peter’s Authority

**Peter was given authority by Christ **

St. Peter is the Supreme Shepherd, as evidenced by Jesus’ Command to “feed my sheep”. Peter does not displace Jesus as the Good Shepherd, but in the way that a King delegates his officials to see that His Kingdom is in order, so too does the Pope receive the Shepherd’s Staff to lead the flock.

** The Pope is the Teacher of the Faithful**. Peter is Commanded by Jesus to “strengthen your brothers”. But, one asks, what form does this take? It’s Sacred Tradition .


New testament

the first Pope, is named 195 times in the New Testament – more than all the other Apostles combined. ![]()

Matthew 16:17-19

¹⁷And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. ¹⁸And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. ¹⁹I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

We see here that Jesus gives Peter authority, and not the kind of authority he gives to the other Apostles. We see also in the Gospel of John and Luke:

**John 21:15-17 **

¹⁵When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” ¹⁶A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” ¹⁷He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Luke 22:32 Peter’s faith will strengthen his brethren

³²but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Luke 24:34 – Peter is first apostle to see resurrected Christ

34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
Old testament

Isaias 22:20-22 [ver] OMA%20DULCE%20HOGAR.pdf

Authority from Holy Tradition

The Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

¹⁵So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

So, we see here there is tradition that must be held fast, Here Protestants and others claim “Sola Scriptura” (only Scripture), yet they ignore this, taught by Paul and the Apostles (ie, the Church headed by Peter). And who did Jesus entrust this to? Peter.

Another example, where in Scripture do we see the word “Trinity”? Nowhere. This is a tradition, taught by The Church , and defended and explained by Peter and his successors. ![]()

But, Protestants still believe this, even if they steadfastly profess otherwise. Who did the Protestants trust to safeguard their precious Sola Scriptura? The Catholic Church. We need Sacred Tradition to explain the Trinity, and we continue to need the teaching office of the Church, because there are questions and issues in our daily lives that the Bible has not clearly expressed. But, how do you know if you are applying the Biblical Principles properly?

We can continue to refer to Sacred Scripture, Tradition and the Teaching of the Church.** There is no Christian that does not believe and put their faith in the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church**. Even Protestants who removed books of the Bible still put their faith in Luther to remove those books. The reality is that without the Magisterium (magisterium means teacher), the Bible could have been compiled wrong.

Peter as Bishop of Rome

Next, critics point to the fact that the First Pope went to Antioch and established Churches there before ultimately dying a martyr’s holy death in Rome. “Nay”, they say, “the Bishop of Antioch is the Pope”. Note here two things:

1. They subtly assent to Peter being the Pope, and his successors continuing in that office.

2. They understand that the seat of the Bishop determines his role.

They also allude to the fact that Peter did not reference Rome as his seat. However, turning to the very thing they use to justify their claims, we see that once more, the critic is inflated with pride. Throughout Holy Scripture, we see that the Blessed Peter quotes Babylon multiple times:

1 Peter 5:13

“The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God’s election, sends you her greeting, and so does my son, Mark”

Revelation 16:19

 “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remember great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath”

Babylon was a destroyed village. It had seen conquerors reduce it to rubble, then we are left with the conclusion that only two cities could possibly be called “Babylon”: Jerusalem and Rome.

Furthermore, we can cite the Early Christians who all point to St. Peter being placed in Rome. Says Tertullian in his treatise The Demurrer Against the Heretics:

// “How happy is that Church, where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John’s (John the Baptist, who was beheaded like St. Paul)”//

“this is the way in which the Apostolic Churches transmit their lists: like the Church of the Smyrnaeans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John; like the Church of the Romans where Clement was ordained by Peter”

Clement of Rome, being the very same Pope Clement (the fourth Pope). Again, Irenaeus in his letter Against Heresies:

// “…while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church”//

There are more sources, but all point to the fact that St. Peter the Pope was indeed in Rome.

\=== The Continuation of Our Lord’s Promise is found in Peter’s Successors ===

That the Blessed Lord promised His Protection and the Impartation of the Most Holy Spirit is clear in Scripture, much to the critics of the Church. For, we see that Our Lord Commanded those Blessed Forebearers to

Matthew 28:19-20

       Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ²⁰and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

And, those Forebearers in turn ordained priests and deacons which continue in that Blessed Apostolic Lineage which traces in an unbreakable line to Our Blessed Lord’s Consecrations.


That Our Lord Promised Infallibility to Peter, thereby Safeguarding His Church

Critics say, no one man can be Infallible, for we are sinners and prone to sin. It is true that mankind is a sinful breed. Our Blessed Lord appointed the Blessed Apostle to be His Shepherd, yet the very same man He selected was indeed a sinner. Three times our Apostle denied Christ, our Apostle shrank in fear from the proper teaching and was rebuked by that Holy Apostle Paul. But, Our Holy Church is for sinners. And to this sinful man, Our Lord entrusted His Church. And He safeguarded that Church with the Impartation of the Holy Spirit. We see that in Scripture:

Matthew 28:19-20

¹⁹Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ²⁰and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”          

And Our Lord Promised His Holy Spirit, Who would guide into all the truth

John 16:13

¹³When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

This is a Divine Promise and Guarantee that the Church will not fall away from Christ’s Teachings, even if individual Catholics might fall. For, we see once more that Our Lord Promised:

Matthew 16:18

¹⁸And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.//

And even that Most Blessed Apostle writes that: ![]()

1 Timothy 3:15

¹⁵if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

From Scripture, the very same Scripture that critics take as Gospel from the Magesterium of Holy Mother Church, we see that

I. St. Peter and his successors are the Rock upon which the Church will be built. The pillar stone, the cornerstone. Next time you visit a church, look for the cornerstone, that which is blessed, sanctified and upon which the church depends and is built.

II. We see also, that the Gates of Hades will not prevail. Our Holy Lord did not Promise that the Gates of Hades would never try to destroy the Church. To the contrary, that very same Prideful Angel tried to tempt Our Lord. What audacity! How much more will that same Prideful Angel attempt to destroy that which provides the Fullness of the Means of Salvation?

III. Our Lord Promises that the Holy Spirit will guard and lead into all the truth. How else can the Holy Spirit lead the Church into truth except through the Holy Conduit, the Blessed Stone, the Holy and Divine Office of the Pope?

Vaticano I

Ultimately, Sedevacantists deny the teaching of Vatican I. Sedevacantists fail to understand and differentiate the differences of Papal teaching, when it is infallible and when it is not.

No one can claim that those drafting the definition of papal infallibility at Vatican I were ignorant of history and could not anticipate a situation when a pope might speak error. Every instance of history was examined. Pope Liberius confessed Arianism and excommunicated St. Athanasius. For that matter, so did St. Ostius of Cordoba under the whip, who was one of the heroes of Nicaea. Pope Vigilius was put into power by Justinian’s prostitute wife Theodora to profess the monophysite heresy. Vigilius was a probably a monophysite heretic, and he supported the restoration of apostate patriarchs because he knew it would be a chance to win favor with Justinian. And he was elected Pope. But after his election the grace of the Papal office worked on him, and he refused to restore monophysite heretics to their eastern sees and furthermore returned the money paid to him to declare monophysitism true. No contemporary and neither did any historical commentator claim that he was elected invalidly due to being a heretic, or that Liberius lost his office, or that Ostius lost his episcopal office.

Pope Vigilius’ situation is more telling since when he was elected he was an anti-Pope because the true Pope was still alive in Justinian’s jail. When he died, the clergy re-elected Vigilius pope, and at that time he still professed monophysitism, not to mention that he was most likely involved in the murder of his predecessor. No one ever said he lost his office.

Pope Honorius I permitted a cousin heresy of monophysitism, monothelytism (that our Lord had only one divine will and not a human will also) to be taught. He wrote so in a document and was condemned by a future Pope, Pope St. Agatho and an ecumenical council. No one suggested that Honorius lost his office, and neither that he ceased to be pope after writing his infamous letter, for his letter did not meet the conditions for infallibility.

Likewise with Pope John XXII, who professed a heresy that particular judgment of the soul was delayed until final judgment. Scholastic theologians did not say that John XXII lost his office. The latter submitted his position to a commission of theologians who said that he taught error. No one said that John XXII had lost his office, not even Cardinal Orsini who was a true schismatic and supported an anti-Pope. His claim was that John XXII was invalidly elected, not that by heresy he lost his office. Had Sedevacantism been believed, all of these figures would have been deposed. They weren’t and no one suggested they ought to be.

What we gain from this consideration is that the Vatican I, studying all of this, saw the demonstration of the principles which they later laid down, and was able to safely decree there would be a valid succession of Popes forever. Every generation.

Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. (Vatican I, 4th session, chap. 4, no.9)

By laying down the principles by which the Pope is infallible, Vatican I by extension is admitting when he is not infallible, and in those instances he can say something heretical. It doesn’t matter what saint has theorized about the loss of papal office. The Church teaches us infallibly that there will be a valid succession of Popes for every period until the end of time.

St. Peter’s Failure

Few Christians deny the authority of the Eminent Apostle Peter, those who do are small and few between, citing The Apostle Paul’s rebuke of Peter in his Letter to the Galatians:

Galatians 2:12-13

¹²for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. ¹³And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Critics often cite this as an example that Peter did not have authority and that Peter did not have Infallibility, because Paul rebuked him and Peter shrunk away from his duty. But, on closer examination, the problem was that Peter was not living to his own teaching Therefore, in this instance, Peter was not doing any teaching, and neither was he defining a matter of faith or morals. Peter simply shrunk away from what he knew was correct. And, as an addition, Peter wrote two infallible epistles included in the Bible, therefore, if his behavior at Antioch did not detract from his Infallibility,** then neither does a Pope’s bad behavior detract from their authority or Infallibility.**

And in the end in Acts 15:7 Peter is the one that declares the decision of the Council

7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe          

Finishing with ** Acts 15:19 – Peter pronounces first apostolic dogma **

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.

Infallibility in History

This fact is attested to by those Early Christians. As** Cyprian of Carthage** writes in Letters 59,

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal Church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source; nor did they take thought that these are Romans, whose faith was praised by the preaching Apostle, and among whom it is not possible for perfidy to have entrance.” (Cyprian, Letter 59 (55), 14 to Cornelius of Rome, c. AD 252)

How else would this claim be valid except through the Infallibility of the Chair of Peter? And that Blessed Bishop writes,![]()

**Saint Augustine, Sermon 131, Against Pelagians**“For already two councils have, in this cause, sent letters to the Apostolic See[Rome], whence also rescripts have come back [Answered]. The cause is ended: would that the error might some day end! Therefore we admonish so that they may take notice, we teach so that they may be instructed, we pray so that their way be changed.” basicaly, ** Rome has spoken; the case is concluded**.

Furthermore, these critics say that Honorius taught Monothelitism. Honorius never taught Monothelitism, Honorius never made a decision either way. It is easy now, to sit and say that Honorius was wrong, but none hold that a Pope is infallible in not defining a doctrine, only that they are, like Blessed Peter, shirking from the duty. Once more, Ignatius of Antioch writes in Letters to the Smyrnaeans,

“Wherever the Bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (8,1)

** St. Ignatius of Antioch (To the Romans, Prologue) Second Century.**

The Church which is sanctified and enlightened by the will of God, who farmed all things that are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour;** the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans**, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love, is named from Christ, and from the Father…”


If Our Blessed Lord did found His Holy Church, and then Ascend into Heaven, then He would provide for

*I.            ** Continuation of that very same Church**

*II.           ** Visibility for all of mankind**

*III.           **Preservation of His Holy Teachings**

We see that all this is accomplished in the Apostolic Succession of the Bishops; the preservation of Christ’s Blessed Teachings is guaranteed through that Holy Gift of Infallibility, through Jesus Christ’s appointed leaders, the Bishops, and the Pope.

Holy Spirit is the One Who prevents the Pope from officially teaching error, it follows necessarily from the existence of the Church itself. Otherwise, the Gates of Hades would prevail, this means that His Church can and will never pass out of existence, the Church cannot ever teach heresy, meaning that anything the Church declares to be solemnly believed for its faithful, is true.

if the Church ever apostatized by teaching heresy, then it would cease to exist, for it would cease to be Jesus’ Church. And this is what says the Protestants,they believe that the Church of Christ has fallen to the Gates of Hades and that they alone know the true path. The Church must prove itself to be the Perfect Guide in all matters pertaining to the salvation of mankind.

Infallibility does not include the following guarantees:

***Infallibility does not guarantee that the Pope will not neglect to teach the truth** (we see this above with Pope Honorius)

***Infallibility does not guarantee that the Pope will be sinless** (Peter, himself was a sinner, and Popes throughout history have been historical sinners);

***Infallibility does not guarantee that disciplinary decisions would be made intelligently** (Pope Francis and others)

It would be good, we admit, if the Pope was omniscient or impeccable, and what example it is, That the Shepherd who is given this tremendous gift is a sinner. How much more is the Church needed for sinners, if the Vicar of Christ is too a sinner!.

we know that the Pope must be able to teach rightly, for the instruction for the sake of Salvation is the primary function of Holy Mother Church. For men to be saved, they must know what is necessary to be believed. They must have a perfectly steady rock upon which they build and trust as the source of Christian Teaching. And for this reason, Our Lord gave the precious Gift of Infallibility.

Acts of St. Peter

Some of the acts of St. Peter, he in Acts (1:13-26) – Peter oversees election of Matthias, (Acts 2:14) – Peter preaches first apostolic sermon

1 Timothy 3:15

“¹⁵if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”

Acts 3:6-7 – Peter performs first apostolic miracle ![]()

6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong

**Acts 8:21-22 – Peter excommunicates first heretic **

21Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness: and pray to God, that perhaps this thought of thy heart may be forgiven thee.

Acts 10:46-47 – Peter baptizes first Gentile

Then Peter said, 47 “Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Perpetual and Visbility of the Papacy

Perpetuity Both Trent and Vatican I are clearly teaching that the Popes will reign perpetually.

He made Peter a perpetual principle of this two-fold unity and a visible foundation, that on his strength an everlasting temple might be erected and on the firmness of his faith a Church might arise whose pinnacle was to reach into heaven. But the gates of hell, with a hatred that grows greater each day, are rising up everywhere against its divinely established foundation with the intention of overthrowing the Church, if this were possible. We, therefore, judge it necessary for the protection, the safety, and the increase of the Catholic flock to pronounce with the approval of the sacred council the true doctrine concerning the establishment, the perpetuity, and the nature of the apostolic primacy. In this primacy, all the efficacy and all the strength of the Church are placed (Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, chapter 1)”

Against Sedevacantism

True Pope

On the question of the true pope in the light of the opinion of the automatic loss of the papal office for heresy and the speculations about the resignation of Benedict XVI

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: On the Question of a Heretical Pope to further explain infaliblity on the history of the Church

Biography and reading list.

Sacred Scripture

Papal Infallibility: Peter and Paul Are Interdependent

Limits of Papal Infallibility

Jesus, Peter, and the Keys: A Scriptural Handbook on the Papacy by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David Hess 20 Answers: The Papacy by Jim Blackburn

Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy by Patrick Madrid

Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church by Stephen K. Ray

Studies on the Early Papacy by Dom John Chapman

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