"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Saturday, November 21, 2015

SVMMA APOLOGIA: Did the Pope claim to be 'God'?

Excellent apologetics by SVMMA APOLOGIA against anti-Catholic rhetorics by 'Born Again' groups from some Evangelicals who, until now are very harsh against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and its doctrines, and the Pope the Successor of St. Peter! -CD2000

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DID THE POPE CLAIM TO BE GOD?

In a more aggressive effort by the anti-Catholics to destroy the Holy Catholic Church, they accused the Pope Himself, the Successor to St. Peter, claiming to be God. Below are the quotations they used which are taken from an alledged Catholic sources:

1. “The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.” Pope Pius V, quoted in Barclay, Chapter XXVII, p. 218, “Cities Petrus Bertanous”.

2. Pope Nicholas I declared: ” the appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who ,being God, cannot be judged by man.”(Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para)

3. The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, He is Jesus Christ himself, hidden under the veil of flesh.” Catholic National July 1895

4. “We hold upon this earth the place of Almighty God” Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter of June 20,1894

5. ”All names which in the Scriptures are applied to Christ, by virtue of which is established that He is over the church, all the same names are applied to the Pope.” On the authority of the Councils, book 2, chapter 17

6. These words are written in the Roman Canon Law 1685: "To believethat our Lord God the Pope has not the power to decree as he is decreed, is tobe deemed heretical."Father A. Pereira says: "It is quite certain that Popes have neverapproved or rejected this title 'Lord God the Pope,' for the passage in thegloss referred to appears in the edition of the Canon Law published in Rome in1580 by Gregory XIII."

HOWEVER, are those claims really true? Well, to be presented below are the responses taken from authentic sources. It's time for the truth to be revealed:

⚫ACCUSATION 1:

"The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth."
-Barclay, Chapter XXVII, p. 218, "Cities Petrus Bertanous," attributed to Pope Pius V.

RESPONSE:

As for the identity of this mysterious 'Petrus Bertanous', this author personally tends to believe that this refers to a certain 16th-century Dominican named Petrus Bertanus Fanensis (aka Pietro Bertano; November 4, 1501, Nonantola-March 8, 1558, Rome), who once served as bishop (later cardinal) of Fano in Italy -- the present-day diocese of Fano-Fossombrone-Cagli-Pergola — and who, among with other Dominicans, was apparently one of the leading prelates at the council of Trent and was an orator and advocate at that same council.

However, Michele Ghislieri, O.P. only ascended to the Chair of Peter in January 7, 1566, about eight years after Pietro Bertano died. How could someone who is not then a pope make a statement about the papacy, much less someone who was dead at the time Ghislieri became pope?


Considering that at the time Fra Pietro is still alive, Fra Michele still does not have the power of pronouncing ex cathedra statements — as he was not pope yet — are there chances that his statement (considering that his "words" are true and are either not a misquote, mistranslation, or just flat-out made up) are actually reflective of official Church teaching?

⚫ACCUSATION 2:

Pope Nicholas I declared that "the appellation of God had been confirmed by Constantine on the Pope, who being God, cannot be judged by man."(Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para)

RESPONSE:

Never did Pope Nicholas I say that the Pope is God. What he did say is this: "Since those in higher authority are not judged by inferiors, it is evident that the Apostolic See, than which no earthly authority is higher, is judged by none." And that is perfectly sound reasoning. Even in civil law, the king is "above the law," and not subject to his own laws. Hence the legal axiom, "The king can do no wrong." Italy itself has acknowledged the justice of the Pope's claim to be independent of all civil jurisdiction, and subject to no earthly authorities.

On the other hand, the citation "Labb IX Dist.: 96 Can 7 Satis Evidentur Decret Gratian Primer Para" is obscure. Upon checking the pope's opera omnia (whole works) based on Migne's Patrologia Latina, there is found no document similar to the one above.

⚫ACCUSATION 3:

"The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, he is Jesus Christ himself, hidden under the veil of flesh."-Catholic National, July 1895

RESPONSE:

A Protestant (NOT CATHOLIC) paper, the "Church Review," in England, October 3, 1895, charges Cardinal Sarto, Archbishop of Venice, with having uttered those words at Venice. Cardinal Sarto was elected Pope in 1903. But as soon as the charge was made in 1895 that Cardinal Sarto had said those words, inquiries were sent from England to Venice, and Cardinal Sarto produced the manuscript of his discourse. And this is what he actually did say:"The Pope REPRESENTS Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore is a loving father. The life of the Pope is a holocaust of love for the human family. His word is love; love, his weapon; love, the answer he gives to all who hate him; love, his flag, that is, the Cross, which signed the greatest triumph on Earth and in Heaven."

In addition, Catholic National does not exist. There is, however, a Catholic publication which have the names National Catholic Register which is the oldest Catholic newspaper in the United States; but, this publication was begun in 1927.

⚫ACCUSATION 4:

"We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty"-Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter of June 20, 1894

RESPONSE:

The Encyclical mentioned here is Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae, which called for the reunion of Eastern and Western churches into the "Unity of the Faith". What then, does the actual Encyclical say?

"But since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty, who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and now that Our advanced age and the bitterness of anxious cares urge Us on towards the end common to every mortal, We feel drawn to follow the example ofOur Redeemer and Master, Jesus Christ, who when about to return to Heaven, implored of God, His Father, in earnest prayer, that His disciples and followers should be of one mind and of one heart: "I pray...that they all may be one, as thou Father in Me, and I in Thee: that they also may be one in Us."

If the Pope identifies himself as God, then why did he refer to the Lord Jesus as "Our Redeemer and Master?" Surely God cannot have a master as that would imply that there is someone superior to him. On the other hand, the phrase is interpreted in the wrong sense by many. In the Catholic point of view, "we hold upon this Earth the place of God" makes perfect sense, as Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar (i.e. Representative) of Christ. What does a representative do? He "holds the place" of the person he represents! Far from claiming that he is God in the flesh, Pope Leo is just reaffirming his position as Christ's representative on Earth.

⚫ACCUSATION 5:

"All names which in the Scriptures are applied to Christ, by virtue of which it is established that He is over the church, all the same names are applied to the Pope."
-On the Authority of the Councils, book 2, chapter 17

RESPONSE:

This one already appeared in 19th century anti-Catholic works, such as Theological discourses on important subjects, doctrinal and practical by James Thomson, 'Minister at Quarrelwood', and Letters in the Roman Catholic Controversy by William Brownlee, 'Of the Collegiate Protestant Reformed Dutch Church' in New York, where it is attributed to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. The quote and the context in which it appears can be found in chapter 17, entitled Summum Pontificem absolute esse supra Concilium:

"This is almost de fide, [necessary to be believed as a dogma of the faith] and is proved first of all from the two preceding points: for if the Pope is the head of the universal Church, even when it is gathered together at one time, and if the universal Church even gathered together at one time has no power by reason of its totality; [1] it follows that the Pope is over the Council, and over the Church, not the other way around. It is proved by the second reason, based in Scripture: for all the names, ascribed to Christ in Scripture, from which it is determined that he is over the Church—those same names are ascribed to the Pontiff. [2] And first, Christ is the paterfamilias [male head of the household] in his own house, which is the Church. The Pope is the highest steward in the same house, that is, the household head in Christ’s place: Luke 12: 'Who is the faithful and prudent dispenser, whom the Lord has set over his household, etc.'"

Note the difference between what Bellarmine actually says when his quote is in its proper context. Far from claiming that the Pope is God, Bellarmine is here emphasizing how the Pope occupies the highest rank in the Church as its "high steward" and "shepherd" representing the pater-familias and the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus.

⚫ACCUSATION 5:

These words are written in the Roman Canon Law 1685: "To believe that our Lord God the Pope has not the power to decree as he is decreed, is to be deemed heretical. "Father A. Pereira says: "It is quite certain that Popes have never approved or rejected this title 'Lord God the Pope,' for the passage in the gloss referred to appears in the edition of the Canon Law published in Rome in1580 by Gregory XIII."

RESPONSE:

First, Pope Gregory XIII's Canon Law was published in 1582, not 1580. Secondly, António Pereira de Figueiredo (1761-1797) was a priest in Lisbon who published many works, including a translation of the Bible and a work entitled Tentativa Theologica (first published in 1766; it is in this work where this quote supposedly appears), in which he attacked the Papal predominancy in Portugal. The work was then translated in Latin, Spanish and Italian and sparked a controversy; eventually because of this, Pereira was excommunicated. Lastly, what Fr. Pereira said is that the passage in the gloss referred to (in other words, the passage that is referred to in the gloss) appears in the Canon Law edition but he did not say that the gloss itself appears in this edition of the Canon Law.

⚫ACCUSATION 7:

"The supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires... complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself." Leo VIII, «On the Chief Duties of Christians as Citizens», Encyclical letter, 1890

RESPONSE:

First, the pope at this time is supposed to be Leo XIII, not the VIII. Secondly, The quote in the actual encyclical (called Sapientiae Christianae in Latin), paragraph 22, says the following:

"To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear. Christian usage attaches such value to this perfection of obedience that it has been, and will ever be, accounted the distinguishing mark by which we are able to recognize Catholics."

NOW, obedience to the pope "as to God Himself" may not be too surprising from a Catholic peespective. After all, since Catholics believe that God commissioned the Pope as His visible vicar (representative) in the government of the Church, it would not be repugnant to render submission or obedience to him, just as it would not be repugnant to listen to a king's representative and obey what he orders in the king's name. Still, (contrary to what some may think), there is a need to stress once again that Catholics do not hold the Pope as being equal or even superior to God, as his title Vicar of Christ shows. "No servant is greater than his master" indeed.

NEVERTHELESS, regardless how many times that these anti-Catholics attack the Holy Catholic Church by targetting the pope, the pope's authority would never change. He is the Vicar of Jesus Christ and the Servant of the servants of God but precisely neither being rendered as God himself nor acted as equal to Him.

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