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Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff

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Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff



Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." (Mk. 6:11)

"And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." (Lk. 9:5)

"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Lk. 10:16)

"He cannot be accounted a Catholic who does not agree with the Roman Church." (Pope St. Gregory VII, 11th century A.D.)

"...communion [with] Christ's vicar [is] the indispensable condition of union with our Lord." (Liturgical Year)

"The rejection of the primacy of St. Peter has driven men on to a slippery course, where all the steps are downwards." (Acton)

"Anyone who dares to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has not part or lot in the divine mystery." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 445 A.D.)

"He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church." (St. Cyprian)

"They have not the heritage of Peter who have not the see of Peter, rent by their impious division." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"Attach yourselves with single-mindedness to the Holy See, for no one can be in the Church unless he be united to Us, its visible head, and be one with the chair of Peter." (Pope Pius VI)

"To be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302)

"In the Roman Pontiff, thou art ever, O Peter, the one sole shepherd and support of the world. If our Lord hath said, 'No man cometh to the Father but by me,' we also know that none can reach the Lord save by thee." (Liturgical Year)

"Each person should bind himself ever more firmly to this See which the strong Redeemer of Jacob placed as an iron pillar and as a bronze wall against the enemies of religion" (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "National churches, withdrawn from the authority of the Roman pontiff and altogether separated, can be established." (Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)

"He who resides on high, to Whom is given all power in Heaven and on earth, has entrusted His holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, to one person alone on earthly, namely to Peter the Prince of the Apostles, and to Peter's successor, the Roman Pontiff." (Pope St. Pius V)

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but Your Blessedness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the church has been built. Whoever eats [the Holy Eucharist] outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, circa 374 A.D.)

"He who does not maintain this unity of the Church, does he believe that he retains the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter on whom the Church has been founded, does he still believe that he is in the Church? Does he who strives against and resists the church, believe that he is in the Church[?]" (Attr. St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.)

"The true Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Roman: unique, the Chair founded on Peter. Outside her fold is to be found neither the true faith nor eternal salvation; for it is impossible to have God for a Father if one has not the Church for a Mother, and it is vain that one flatters himself on belonging to the Church if separated from the Chair of Peter on which the Church is founded." (Pope Pius IX)

"They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"[B]lessed Peter who confessed Christ with a true faith and was attached to Him with a true love, received in a special way the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the primacy of judicial power, so that all the believers throughout the world might understand that those who separate themselves from the unity of his faith and society cannot be absolved from the chains of sin, nor enter the door of the heavenly kingdom." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for 'where Peter is, there is the Church.' Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: 'I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built [Matt. 16:18]; ...whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth' [Matt. 12:30]." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem benevolentiae", 1899 A.D.)

"That all, therefore, might know which was the Catholic Church, the Fathers, guided by the Spirit of God, added to the Creed the word Apostolic. For the Holy Ghost, who presides over the Church, governs her by no other ministers than those of Apostolic succession. This Spirit, first imparted to the Apostles, has by the infinite goodness of God always continued in the Church. And just as this one Church cannot err in faith or morals, since it is guided by the Holy Ghost; so on the contrary, all other societies abrogating to themselves the name of church, must necessarily, because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The Bride of Christ cannot be defiled. She is inviolate and chaste. She knows but one home, and with a chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of one bedchamber. It is she that keeps us for God, she that seals for the kingdom the sons whom she bore. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress is separated from the promises of the Church; nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his mother. If anyone outside the ark of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale of the Church may escape" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, circa 251 A.D.)

"Moreover, since subjection to the Roman pontiff is necessary for salvation for all Christ's faithful, as we are taught by the testimony of both sacred scripture and the holy fathers, and as is declared by the constitution of pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, also our predecessor, which begins Unam sanctam, we therefore, with the approval of the present sacred council, for the salvation of the souls of the same faithful, for the supreme authority of the Roman pontiff and of this holy see, and for the unity and power of the church, his spouse, renew and give our approval to that constitution" (Fifth Lateran Council)

"The universal ordering of the Church at its birth took its origin from the office of blessed Peter, in which is found both its directing power and its supreme authority. From him as from its source, at the time when our religion was in the stage of growth, all churches received their common order. This much is shown by the injunctions of the council of Nicaea, since it did not venture to make a decree in his regard, recognizing that nothing could be added to his dignity: in fact it knew that all had been assigned to him by the word of the Lord. So it is clear that this church is to all churches throughout the world as the head is to the members, and that whoever separates himself from it becomes an exile from the Christian religion, since he ceases to belong to its fellowship." (Pope Boniface I, 422 A.D.)

"In the words of St. Leo, who continues speaking about the Holy See of Peter: 'It is necessary that the Church throughout the world be united and cleave to the center of Catholic unity and ecclesiastical communion, so that whoever dares to depart from the unity of Peter might understand that he no longer shares in the divine mystery.' ... Just as he who does not gather with Christ, so he who does not gather with Christ's Vicar on earth, clearly scatters. How can someone who destroys the holy authority of the Vicar of Christ and who infringes on his rights gather with him? It is through these rights that the pope is the center of unity, that he has the primacy of order and jurisdiction, and that he has the full power of nurturing, ruling, and governing the universal Church." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

"He who made everything and who governs by a prudent arrangement wanted order to flourish in His Church. He wanted some people to be in charge and govern and others to be subject and obey. Therefore, the Church has, by its divine institution, the power of the magisterium to teach and define matters of faith and morals and to interpret the Holy Scriptures without danger of error. It also has the power of governance to preserve and strengthen in the true doctrine those whom it welcomes as children and to make laws concerning all things which pertain to the salvation of souls, the exercise of the sacred ministry, and divine worship. Whoever opposes these laws makes himself guilty of a very serious crime." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

"Our Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, so established the worship of divine religion, which He wanted to shine out by God's grace unto all nations and peoples, that the truth, previously contained in the proclamation of the Law and the Prophets, might go forth through the apostolic trumpet to the salvation of all, as it is written: 'Their sound has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the earth.' But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the Apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the Apostles. And He wanted His gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as it from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he has himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery" (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, circa 445 A.D.)

"[I]t must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone... No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church. Wherefore Optatus of Milevis blamed the Donatists for this reason: 'Against which ages (of hell) we read that Peter received the saving keys, that is to say, our prince, to whom it was said by Christ: 'To thee will I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the gates of Hell shall not conquer them.' Whence is it therefore that you strive to obtain for yourselves the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven - you who fight against the chair of Peter?' (Lib. ii., n. 4-5)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896)

"There is also a kind of false 'historicism,' which attends only to events of human life, and razes the foundations of all truth and absolute law, not only insofar as it pertains to the philosophical matters, but to Christian teachings as well. In such a great confusion of opinions as this it gives us some solace to note those who not rarely today desire to return from the principles of 'realism,' in which they had once been instructed, to the well-springs of truth revealed by God, and to acknowledge and profess the word of God as preserved in Holy Scripture. Yet at the same time We must grieve that by no means a few of these, the more firmly they cling to the word of God, that much more diminish human reason; and the more they exalt the authority of God who reveals, the more sharply they spurn the magisterium of the Church, instituted by Christ the Lord to guard and interpret the truths revealed by God. This indeed is not only in open contradiction to Sacred Scripture, but is proved false from actual experience. Often the very ones who disagree with the true Church openly complain about their own discord in matters of dogma, so that they unwillingly confess to the necessity of the living magisterium." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani generis", August 12, 1950 A.D.)

"This truth is clearly conveyed by our Lord Himself, when, by a most beautiful metaphor, He calls the power of administering this Sacrament, the key of the kingdom of heaven. Just as no one can enter any place without the help of him who has the keys, so no one is admitted to heaven unless its gates be unlocked by the priests to whose custody the Lord gave the keys. This power would otherwise be of no use in the Church. If heaven can be entered without the power of the keys, in vain would they to whom the keys were given seek to prevent entrance within its portals. This thought was familiar to the mind of St. Augustine. Let no man, he says, say within himself: 'I repent in secret to the Lord. God, who has power to pardon me, knows the inmost sentiments of my heart.' Was there then no reason for saying 'whatsoever you loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven'; no reason why the keys were given to the Church of God? This same doctrine is taught by St. Ambrose in his treatise On Penance, when refuting the heresy of the Novatians who asserted that the power of forgiving sins belonged solely to God. Who, says he, yields greater reverence to God, he who obeys or he who resists His commands? God commands us to obey his ministers; and by obeying them, we honor God alone." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"But if one wishes to search out the true source of all the evils which We have already lamented, as well as those which We pass over for the sake of brevity, he will surely find that from the start it has ever been a dogged contempt for the Church's authority. The Church, as St. Leo the Great teaches, in well-ordered love accepts Peter in the See of Peter, and sees and honors Peter in the person of his successor the Roman pontiff. Peter still maintains the concern of all pastors in guarding their flocks, and his high rank does not fail even in an unworthy heir. In Peter then, as is aptly remarked by the same holy Doctor, the courage of all is strengthened and the help of divine grace is so ordered that the constancy conferred on Peter through Christ is conferred on the apostles through Peter. It is clear that contempt of the Church's authority is opposed to the command of Christ and consequently opposes the apostles and their successors, the Church's ministers who speak as their representatives. He who hears you, hears me; and he who despises you, despises me; and the Church is the pillar and firmament of truth, as the apostle Paul teaches. In reference to these words St. Augustine says: 'Whoever is without the Church will not be reckoned among the sons, and whoever does not want to have the Church as mother will not have God as father.'" (Pope Leo XII, "Ubi Primum", 1824 A.D.)

"Moreover, what the Chief of pastors and the Great Pastor of sheep, the Lord Jesus, established in the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual salvation and perennial good of the Church, this by the same Author must endure always in the Church which was founded upon a rock and will endure firm until the end of the ages. Surely 'no one has doubt, rather all ages have known that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the apostles and pillar of faith and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race; and he up to this time and always lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors, the bishops of the holy See of Rome, which was founded by him and consecrated by his blood. Therefore, whoever succeeds Peter in this chair, he according to the institution of Christ himself, holds the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. 'Therefore the disposition of truth remains, and blessed Peter persevering in the accepted fortitude of the rock does not abandon the guidance of the Church which he has received.'' For this reason 'it has always been necessary because of mightier pre-eminence for every church to come to the Church of Rome, that is those who are the faithful everywhere,' so that in this See, from which the laws of 'venerable communion' emanate over all, they as members associated in one head, coalesce into one bodily structure." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times: men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught to the elite secretly and apart from the rest, they would have handed them down especially to those very ones to whom they were committing the self-same Churches. For surely they wished all those and their successors to be perfect and without reproach, to whom they handed on their authority. But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or thorough blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all Churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that all the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic tradition." (St. Irenaeus, circa 180-199 A.D.) 

"For, according to the Blessed Dionysius, it is a law of the divinity that the lowest things reach the highest place by intermediaries. Then, according to the order of the universe, all things are not led back to order equally and immediately, but the lowest by the intermediary, and the inferior by the superior. Hence we must recognize the more clearly that spiritual power surpasses in dignity and in nobility any temporal power whatever, as spiritual things surpass the temporal... Thus is accomplished the prophecy of Jeremias concerning the Church and the ecclesiastical power: 'Behold today I have placed you over nations, and over kingdoms' and the rest. Therefore, if the terrestrial power err, it will be judged by the spiritual power; but if a minor spiritual power err, it will be judged by a superior spiritual power; but if the highest power of all err, it can be judged only by God, and not by man, according to the testimony of the Apostle: 'The spiritual man judgeth of all things and he himself is judged by no man' [1 Cor 2:15]. This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven' etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2]." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"You above all, venerable brothers, have known how this dogma of our religion has been unanimously and unceasingly declared, defended and insisted upon in synods by the Fathers of the Church. Indeed, they have never stopped teaching that 'God is one, Christ is one, the Church established upon Peter by the voice of the Lord is one'; 'the massive foundation of the great Christian state has been divinely built upon, as it were, this rock, this very firm stone'; 'this Chair, which is unique and the first of gifts, has always been designated and considered as the Chair of Peter'; 'shining forth throughout the world it maintains its primacy'; 'it is also the root and matrix whence sacerdotal unity has sprung'; it is not only the head but also the mother and teacher of all the Churches'; 'it is the mother city of piety in which is the complete and perfect stability of the Christian religion' 'and in which the preeminence of the Apostolic Chair has always been unimpaired'; 'it rests upon that rock which the haughty gates of hell shall never overcome'; 'for it the Apostles poured out their entire teaching with blood'; 'from it the rights of the venerable communion are extended to all'; 'all obedience and honor must be given to it.' 'He who deserts the Church will vainly believe that he is in the Church'; 'whoever eats of the [Eucharist] and is not a member of the Church, has profaned'; 'Peter, who lives and presides in his own Chair, proffers the truth of faith to those seeking it'; 'Peter, who lives up to this time and always lives, exercises jurisdiction in his successors'; 'he himself has spoken through Leo'; 'the Roman Pontiff, who holds Primacy in the entire world, is the Successor of Blessed Peter the Prince of the Apostles and the true Vicar of Christ, the head of the whole Church, and is the visible Father and Teacher of all Christians.' There are other, almost countless, proofs drawn from the most trustworthy witnesses which clearly and openly testify with great faith, exactitude, respect and obedience that all who want to belong to the true and only Church of Christ must honor and obey this Apostolic See and Roman Pontiff." (Pope Pius IX, "Amantissimus", 1862)

"And here, beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, We should mention again and censure a very grave error in which some Catholics are unhappily engaged, who believe that men living in error, and separated from the true faith and from Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. Indeed, this is certainly quite contrary to Catholic teaching. It is known to Us and to you that they who labor in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion and who, zealously keeping the natural law and its precepts engraved in the hearts of all by God, and being ready to obey God, live an honest and upright life, can, by the operating power of divine light and grace, attain eternal life, since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin. But, the Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church is well-known; and also that those who are obstinate toward the authority and definitions of the same Church, and who persistently separate themselves from the unity of the Church, and from the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, to whom 'the guardianship of the vine has been entrusted by the Savior,' cannot obtain eternal salvation. But, God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith and love; but rather they should always be zealous to seek them out and aid them, whether poor, or sick, or afflicted with any other burdens, with all the offices of Christian charity; and they should especially endeavor to snatch them from the darkness of error in which they unhappily lie, and lead them back to Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to stretch out her maternal hands lovingly to them, and to call them back to her bosom so that, established and firm in faith, hope, and charity, and 'being fruitful in every good work' [Col. 1:10], they may attain eternal salvation." (Pope Pius IX, "Quanto conficiamur moerore", Aug. 10, 1863)

"Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of Peter be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for Peter alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep [cf. John 21:15 ff.]; and to him also He handed over the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and upon him He promised to build his Church, and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it [cf. Matt. 16:16 ff.]. But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle [Matt. 13:25] over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith - and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith... If anyone, however, either suggests or believes or presumes to teach contrary to this faith, let him know that he is condemned and also anathematized according to the opinion of the same Fathers... Consider (therefore) the fact that whoever has not been in the peace and unity of the Church, cannot have the Lord [Gal. 3:7]" (Pope Pelagius II, Circa 585 A.D.)

"With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her' [Song. 6:8]; which represents the one mystical body whose head is Christ, of Christ indeed, as God. And in this, 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' [Eph. 4:5]. Certainly Noah had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noah outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed. Moreover this we venerate and this alone, the Lord in the prophet saying: 'Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog' [Ps. 21:21]. For in behalf of the soul, that is, in behalf of himself, the head itself and the body he prayed at the same time, which body he called the 'Only one' namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. This is that 'seamless tunic' of the Lord [John 19:23], which was not cut, but which was cast by lot [John 19:23- 24]. Therefore, of the one and only Church (there is) one body, one head, not two heads as a monster, namely, Christ and Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, the Lord Himself saying to Peter: 'Feed my sheep' [John 21:17]. He said 'My,' and generally, not individually these or those, through which it is understood that He entrusted all to him. If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they were not entrusted to Peter and his successors, of necessity let them confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says in John, 'to be one flock and one shepherd' [John 10:16]." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"Union with the Roman See of Peter is to [St. Jerome] always the public criterion of a Catholic. 'I acknowledge everyone who is united with the See of Peter' (Ep. xvi., ad Damasum, n. 2). And for a like reason St. Augustine publicly attests that, 'the primacy of the Apostolic chair always existed in the Roman Church' (Ep. xliii., n. 7); and he denies that anyone who dissents from the Roman faith can be a Catholic. 'You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held' (Sermo cxx., n. 13). So, too, St. Cyprian: 'To be in communion with [the pope] is to be in communion with the Catholic Church' (Ep. lv., n. 1). In the same way Maximus the Abbot teaches that obedience to the Roman Pontiff is the proof of the true faith and of legitimate communion. 'Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man...but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See. If he be in communion with it, he should be acknowledged by all and everywhere as faithful and orthodox. He speaks in vain who tries to persuade me of the orthodoxy of those who, like himself, refuse obedience to his Holiness the Pope of the most holy Church of Rome: that is to the Apostolic See.' The reason and motive of this he explains to be that 'the Apostolic See has received and hath government, authority, and power of binding and loosing from the Incarnate Word Himself; and, according to all holy synods, sacred canons and decrees, in all things and through all things, in respect of all the holy churches of God throughout the whole world, since the Word in Heaven who rules the Heavenly powers binds and loosens there' (Defloratio ex Epistola ad Petrum illustrem). Wherefore what was acknowledged and observed as Christian faith, not by one nation only nor in one age, but by the East and by the West, and through all ages, this Philip, the priest, the Pontifical legate at the Council of Ephesus, no voice being raised in dissent, recalls: 'No one can doubt, yea, it is known unto all ages, that St. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith and the ground of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the Kingdom from Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is: the power of forgiving and retaining sins was given to him who, up to the present time, lives and exercises judgment in the persons of his successors' (Actio iii.). The pronouncement of the Council of Chalcedon on the same matter is present to the minds of all: 'Peter has spoken through Leo' (Actio ii.), to which the voice of the Third Council of Constantinople responds as an echo: 'The chief Prince of the Apostles was fighting on our side: for we have had as our ally his follower and the successor to his See: and the paper and the ink were seen, and Peter spoke through Agatho' (Actio xviii.). In the formula of Catholic faith drawn up and proposed by Hormisdas, which was subscribed at the beginning of the sixth century in the great Eighth Council by the Emperor Justinian, by Epiphanius, John and Menna, the Patriarchs, this same is declared with great weight and solemnity. 'For the pronouncement of Our Lord Jesus Christ saying: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church...' cannot be passed over. What is said is proved by the result, because Catholic faith has always been preserved without stain in the Apostolic See' (Post Epistolam, xxvi., ad omnes Episc. Hispan., n. 4). We have no wish to quote every available declaration; but it is well to recall the formula of faith which Michael Paleologus professed in the Second Council of Lyons: 'The same holy Roman Church possesses the sovereign and plenary primacy and authority over the whole Catholic Church, which, truly and humbly, it acknowledges to have received together with the plenitude of power from the Lord Himself, in the person of St. Peter, the Prince or Head of the Apostles, of whom the Roman Pontiff is the successor. And as it is bound to defend the truth of faith beyond all others, so also if any question should arise concerning the faith it must be determined by its judgment' (Actio iv.)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896)

Also See: All Should Agree With the Holy See | Authority of the Church | The Church Rests on St. Peter | Infallibility | National Churches May Not Be Separate from the Authority of the Roman Pontiff | Necessity of a Teaching Authority | Obedience / Disobedience / Assent | Papal Primacy / Supremacy | Preservation of Truth / Unity | Those Who Wander From the Apostolic See Wander From the Church | Against Religious Indifferentism (Coming Home Section Reflections) | The Visible Church | Vatican Facts | Pope / Papacy (Topical Scripture) | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Coming Home Reflections) | Coming Home Section | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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