5 Simple Arguments Against the Papacy

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By: Jay Dyer

Roman Catholic apologetics often thrives on simple argumentation – copy and paste selective quotations and misquotations from the church fathers about the “doubly apostolic See of Rome,” or the statements of Christ to St. Peter, whatever suits the needs at hand, there’s a simple, ready-made Roman Catholic response it seems.  In response, Orthodox often reply in great detail with lengthy analysis of each text and quotation, showing what was left out, what the historic context was, etc., as the discussions spiral into scholarly depth.  

Intense scholarship is a necessary response, but we shouldn’t get so lost in minutiae we miss the clear and obvious reasons Roman Catholicism has, for the last millennium or more, been an evolving aberration that has accrued more and more innovations and errors over the centuries.  Having had hundreds of debates and discussions over the office of the papacy both before and after my Roman Catholic period since age 21, several key points stand out as the most lucid proofs of this thesis, all of which in a very logical and precise way also explain the current crisis in the Roman Institution.  Certainly many more could be listed, but these I consider exceptionally strong (in no specific order).  No doubt the normie and trad apologists will demonstrate their Olympic-tier mental gymnastics and casuistry in replying to these simple objections, but it won’t matter – on a daily basis I get emails and messages from people leaving Francis’ Rome, SSPX and sedevacantist sects to enter the Orthodox Church.

1. If the dogma of papal infallibility and universal jurisdiction was ever and always correct, and is itself the very foundation upon which the Church is built (as Roman Catholics incessantly proclaim) then why did it take 19 centuries for the Church to dogmatize this as infallibly true?  Wouldn’t this have been the first and most obvious doctrine to codify, since this dogma is supposedly the basis of the ecclesiology of the “One True Church”?  In fact, if this dogma was true, universal and accepted as “catholic,” then a whole host of trouble could have been avoided by anyone and everyone appealing to Rome in any matter.  There was absolutely no need for ecumenical councils (all called by Emperors, not popes) as any matter could have been solved by a simple appeal.  In fact, Roman Catholics even admit this when they try to use appeals to St. Clement as proofs for universal jurisdiction and “infallibility.”  Indeed, if appeals in the early centuries to a prominent Patriarchate are proof of universal jurisdiction, then councils themselves ought to be considered schismatic for not simply deferring to Rome in every and all cases.  Clearly the early church with its many centuries of local, regional and ecumenical synods was a synodal church, and not a papal monarchy. 

Typical Roman Catholic Objection:  This neglects the providence of God – it was simply the right time to define the dogma in the 19th century when many new trials were facing the Roman Church.  It was necessary at this time, due to revolutionary political factors, modernism, etc., to define what was always there in at least some amorphous “seed form,” before it “grew into the tree” of the dogmas we see today.  It’s natural in any ancient global institution to see this kind of evolutionary growth.  Even though many church fathers may not have been aware of this or erred in this or that point, it was necessary under the guidance of the Spirit for it to eventually be made clear and dogmatized. 

My Reply:  While it may be true that at various times the early Church had various rulings or economia in place for certain situations, this is not the equivalent of “doctrinal development.”  Doctrinal development is itself an ambiguous and confusing term, which has itself evolved from the time of Cardinal Newman to the modernist Cardinals and theologians of Rome today.   If by development one means a clearer explication of the eternal truths that were always present in the Word of God and the Church, then yes there is a “development,” but if one means truths themselves evolve and “develop,” this is nothing more than modernism, the “pan-heresy” the Vatican itself already dogmatically condemned under Pope Pius X in his famous Pascendi Dominici Gregis and in Lammentabili Sane (The Syllabus of Errors)

The Papacy condemns itself.

Pascendi states:

“13. Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that they express absolute truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sentiment in its relation to man; and as instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sentiment. But the object of the religious sentiment, since it embraces that absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner, he who believes may pass through different phases. Consequently, the formulae too, which we call dogmas, must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. An immense collection of sophisms this, that ruins and destroys all religion. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and as clearly flows from their principles. For amongst the chief points of their teaching is this which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence; that religious formulas, to be really religious and not merely theological speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sentiment. This is not to be understood in the sense that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be made for the religious sentiment; it has no more to do with their origin than with number or quality; what is necessary is that the religious sentiment, with some modification when necessary, should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which spring the secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly must be changed. And since the character and lot of dogmatic formulas is so precarious, there is no room for surprise that Modernists regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect. And so they audaciously charge the Church both with taking the wrong road from inability to distinguish the religious and moral sense of formulas from their surface meaning, and with clinging tenaciously and vainly to meaningless formulas whilst religion is allowed to go to ruin. Blind that they are, and leaders of the blind, inflated with a boastful science, they have reached that pitch of folly where they pervert the eternal concept of truth and the true nature of the religious sentiment; with that new system of theirs they are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic traditions, they embrace other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can rest and maintain truth itself.”

Lammentabili states:

“53. The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable. Like human society, Christian society is subject to a perpetual evolution.

54. Dogmas, Sacraments and hierarchy, both their notion and reality, are only interpretations and evolutions of the Christian intelligence which have increased and perfected by an external series of additions the little germ latent in the Gospel.

55. Simon Peter never even suspected that Christ entrusted the primacy in the Church to him.

56. The Roman Church became the head of all the churches, not through the ordinance of Divine Providence, but merely through political conditions.

57. The Church has shown that she is hostile to the progress of the natural and theological sciences.

58. Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him, and through him.”

The absurdity in this can be made even more clear by looking at a modern example of this attempt to change the faith and morals of those in that communion by looking at the death penalty – something previously seen by Roman Catholics under the purview of natural law (and surely no Roman Catholic thinks the pope can change moral law – or do they?).  Even the normie Roman crowd are beginning to figure out Frank is not the first to do this, as his predecessors also attempted to alter natural law itself and ban the death penalty:

“Speaking in Rome on October 11th, 2017 (55th anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II), at a conference promoting the ‘New Evangelization’, Pope Francis made known his will for the Catechism of the Catholic Church to be revised so as to condemn capital punishment as absolutely immoral in principle. He declared the death penalty to be “in itself contrary to the Gospel” (“in sé stessa contraria al Vangelo”).

Contrast Innocent III with today’s papacy and see if anything matches up.

In an effort to reassure Catholics of the orthodoxy of such a dramatic about face from two millennia of biblical, magisterial and approved catechetical teaching, the Pope added:

“Here we are not in the presence of any kind of contradiction with the teaching of the past, because the defense of the dignity of human life from the first moment of conception until natural death has always found its coherent and authoritative voice in the teaching of the Church. The harmonious development of doctrine, however, requires us to cease defending arguments which now appear decisively contrary to the new understanding of Christian truth”.

With all due respect, this is a jaw-dropping travesty of logic. The Holy Father doesn’t seem to comprehend the law of non-contradiction, the first principle of all rational thought, and, therefore, an essential foundation of the very possibility of a rationally credible body of revealed truth. In a seemingly calm, routine, business-as-usual discourse to Roman prelates and scholars, Christ’s own Vicar on earth has effectively laid the axe to the root of coherent Christian belief.”

Yes – that’s it, Pope Francis simply doesn’t understand the most basic law of non-contradiction.  Lest Roman Catholics try to claim it wasn’t done with his full authority and aver they only need follow him when they deem him faithful to tradition, recall the Catechism is confirmed with full apostolic authority in the Roman communion and thus requires docile obedience to it a ordinary magisterial teaching.  Ordinary magisterium in Roman Catholicism is classed as ordinary and extraordinary.  Extraordinary magisterium is defined by Vatican I as falling under the supposed Petrine charism of infallibility, while ordinary magisterium may not be infallible, it must be accepted with docility by the faithful.  Ordinary magisterium has two tiers: universal, which is under the umbrella of the charism of infallibility, and ordinary magisterium that is not universal, but must still be assented to with docility by the faithful. Note for example the normie Catholic confusion over Francis action in altering the catechism and the subsequent debacle of countless organizations then “debating” its authority and validity

“In a 1 August 2018 document styled, Letter to the Bishops Regarding the New Revision of Number 2267 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Death Penalty, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced that Pope Francis approved a change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism). The CDF published the text of the change the same day. The change reflects the Pope’s presentation on the death penalty. On 2 August 2018, a very broad segment of Catholic and secular news outlets in the United States published articles and commentary on the change. The news precipitated a large number of responses from a wide spectrum of organizations. Many of the responses and comments focus on the doctrinal weight of the change or the authority of the Pope to proscribe doctrine.”

And now consider how Vatican I mandates the Roman Catholic faithful accept the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium, without granting any right nor duty of the average Catholic to “judge” how faithful Francis is, or is not, to “Roman dogma:”

“Wherefore, by divine and catholic faith all those things are to be believed

        • which are contained in the word of God as found in scripture and tradition,
        • and which are proposed by the church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed,
        • whether by her solemn judgment
        • or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.”

And what is “ordinary and universal magisterium”?  The modern catechism explains:

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent”422 which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.”

Emperor Palpatine dons his triple crown, only a few years later to be renounced.

Roman Catholics have spent the last century debating and trying to figure out what the content is, exactly, or “ordinary magisterium,” with each Romanist extending and shortening the infallible stick as they see fit to cover their person pet theories, be they liberal or traditional.  This lack of clarity and ongoing debate about ordinary magisterium only highlights the faultiness and circularity I will raise again below, where a supposed infallible dogma is explained by fallible sources and backed up by fallible men, to once again support and vindicate precisely what content is infallible.  

Thus we see the foolishness of attempting to state the death penalty is natural law, but can be banned and revised according to an infallible ordinary magisterium that in this magical case (and many others) is suddenly not magisterial or infallible.   In other words the entire purpose for which this papal office exists undercuts itself, with each Catholic having as many varying opinions about what constitutes “infallible” dogma as the local Protestant sects.  The supposed unity the papacy offers is only on paper – in reality it is nothing but confusion and the direct opposite of what the papacy taught only 70 years prior.   And lest someone say this is all abstract theology, note that I chose an issue of faith and morals, the death penalty, as Innocent III, The Catechism of Trent and Pius XII made clear:

“The secular power can without mortal sin carry out a sentence of death, provided it proceeds in imposing the penalty not from hatred but with judgment, not carelessly but with due solicitude.” Innocent III, Denz. 425

“The power of life and death is permitted to certain civil magistrates because theirs is the responsibility under law to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. Far from being guilty of breaking this commandment [Thy shall not kill], such an execution of justice is precisely an act of obedience to it. For the purpose of the law is to protect and foster human life. This purpose is fulfilled when the legitimate authority of the State is exercised by taking the guilty lives of those who have taken innocent lives. 

In the Psalms we find a vindication of this right: “Morning by morning I will destroy all the wicked in the land, cutting off all evildoers from the city of the Lord” (Ps. 101:8).” -Catechism of Trent, 3.5 

And Pius XII:

“Even in the case of the death penalty the State does not dispose of the individual’s right to life. Rather public authority limits itself to depriving the offender of the good of life in expiation for his guilt, after he, through his crime, deprived himself of his own right to life.” -Address to the First International Congress of Histopathology 

2. The Papacy grew to include the notion of universal temporal power that reached its apex in the Middle Ages.  As a result of this, the “successors of St. Peter” laid claim to this special power (as well as many other super powers) on the basis now known and admitted forgeries.  Indeed, the Vatican itself no longer (and hasn’t for a long time) laid claim to temporal powers on the basis of these many spurious, ridiculous and forged decrees and documents.  If the office of the papacy were really the bastion of truth it claimed, then why for many, many centuries did it evolve into a worldly political power laying claim to full temporal power over the entire galaxy?

The infamous Bull of 1302 of Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, proclaimed as follows:

“We are told by the word of the Gospel that in this His fold there are two swords—a spiritual, namely, and a temporal. For when the apostles said, “Behold here are two swords”—the Lord did not reply that this was too much, but enough. Surely he who denies that the temporal sword is in the power of Peter wrongly interprets the word of the Lord when He says, “Put up thy sword in its scabbard.” Both swords, the spiritual and the material, therefore, are in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the Church, the other by the Church; the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. One sword, moreover, ought to be under the other, and the temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual. For when the Apostle says “There is no power but of God, and the powers that are of God are ordained,” they would not be ordained unless sword were under sword and the lesser one, as it were, were led by the other to great deeds.

Indeed we declare, say, pronounce, and define that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Not only was the papacy above all monarchs and able to call crusades (the death penlaty!), union with the papacy alone was the “ark of salvation.”  Almost all scholars remark this was a new phase of the development of papal supremacy, reaching new heights no one in the first century could have dreamt of – especially not St. Peter himself, who in no way sought giant palaces and universal powers to call crusades and dethrone monarchs.  Nowadays, the pope adamantly rejects and removes all traces of confessional states! 

Truly this is one of the most absurd of papal contradictions, as nowadays the so-called infallible popes (post Vatican 2) have abandoned their “triple crown,” the very symbol of these arrogated pretensions. Not only that, these popes now pray in the mosques of the very enemies they once called crusades against, having evolved doctrinally from papal supremacy to degenerate European humanism (as St. Justin Popovic correctly explains in Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ).  Indeed, not only does the modern Vatican reject Unam Sanctam with the most absurd mental gymnastics it now tells false religions they are all the body of Christ, all mystically in communion under the banner of the coming global pope.  But it’s no problem at all, since in the doublethink world of Romanism, doctrines can evolve and develop to mean the very opposite of what they did only a few decades prior. 

In fact, the forgeries that were used to back up these stupid claims are no longer cited by anyone but apologists on our side as perfect examples of a house of cards: The Donation of Constantine, Psuedo-Ambrose, the Symmachian forgeries, the Ps-Isidorian Decretals, and the Gratian Decretals, and The Errors of the Greeks – see here

Roman Catholic Objection: While it’s true the church underwent many extreme situations that called for extreme actions, the Middle Ages were a difficult and brutal time.  Hard times call for hard actions, and the Crusades and declaration of temporal supremacy was needed to combat the investiture controversy and caesaropapism, where the state often tried to control the church.   It’s unfortunate that the modern papacy is liberal, but it might be better off to remove the confessional status of those nominal and formerly Catholic nations like Spain.  The reality is the Church has been infiltrated by freemasons and liberals for a long time and this infiltration proves we are the true church because we’re under attack!  It may actually be a good thing now that we can sit down and talk with Muslims to iron out our differences – isn’t that a better path to reconciliation and conversion than war?  The Church should be about peace! 

Sedevacantist Objection:  Yes, you have a point Jay, and are spot on.  The true Church can never evolve into something opposite or lose its fundamental dogmas as explained in Unam Sanctam or anything else in Denzinger.  That is precisely why the modernist imposters are anti-popes and not authentic.  The seat of Peter has been vacant for ____ years.  

My Reply:   These two confused professing “Catholics” are both right and both wrong.  For the first, it is impossible to reconcile Unam Sanctam with the denial of confessional states and the rejection of temporal authority.  Everyone knows after Unam Sanctam the western world believed anyone outside of the Roman communion was damned, and nowadays the entire world knows that according to the modern Vatican almost no one is damned, except those who advocate tradition!   Furthermore, the response to an error like caesaopapism or investiture is not to replace it with worldly power or a heresy.  The irony here is that those honest about the rise of the Frankish papacy and the move of the “throne of Peter” to France in the Middle Ages as three rival claimants vie for this palace and power, is utterly laughable.  It’s not merely a blight on the record, either, as we will see.  

Roman Catholics love to accuse the Orthodox of “caesaropapism,” yet the papal reaction and exaggeration to their own struggles with the state led to a further growth of its own, papalo-caesarism, something dogmatic in 1302 for salvation, and now explicitly rejected in modernity.  As for the sedevacantist, we agree – but your mistake is not taking your vacancy back far enough.  The papacy was introducing aberrations and innovations a millennium ago.  And, given the promise of perpetuity and jurisdiction of the office of the pope until the return of Christ (Vatican I), your sect is just a trad version of Old Catholicism: you can never have another pope and must retreat into apocalypticism and denial of Vatican I.  Vatican I reads as follows concerning the perpetuity of the office and jurisdiction of the papacy until the return of Christ:

      • “In like manner it was his will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time.
    • 1In order, then, that
      • the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that,
      • by the union of the clergy,
      • the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of
        • faith and
        • communion,
      • he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and
      • instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and
      • their visible foundation.

John Pontrello’s book.

“That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ’s authority, in the church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time.”

The episcopal unity promised and discussed here is made visible and possible by the actual successors to Peter in Rome, the documents say.  There is absolutely no place for a Protestant invisible church doctrine where E-larping sedevacantists are mystically united to some ethereal, “vacant seat of Peter” that no visible successor occupies.To be a sedevacantist is to deny the visible unity and jurisdiction of the church remains.  It has been gone for 60 plus years and cannot come back. Without this actual successor, you don’t have visible unity or episcopal succession: a mere “interregnum period” doesn’t cut it – it’s been 60+ years and the boomers ordained in the old rite are dying fast.   Furthermore, the SSPX are no better, as one cannot commune with known schismatics and heretics (See John Pontrello’s excellent book The Sedevacantist Delusion).  

3. The modern papacy (and even traditional Catholics) admit the Eastern Orthodox Churches have retained their faith and succession for the last millennium, admittedly without the office, direction and communion of the papacy.   Granted, the traditional view was that the Orthodox were all in schism and retained only valid orders and sacraments, the parting of ways did not prove wholly catastrophic to Orthodoxy.  Indeed, Orthodoxy survives today with the same doctrines and canons it confessed in 800 AD, before East and West split.   

My only point here is very simple: Roman Catholics consistently argue the office of the papacy is the only means by which unity of faith and longevity can be maintained – without it, there is only schism, decay and damnation (so they used to say).  Now, whether one is a supporter of Vatican II who believes (absurdly) Eastern Orthodoxy is another “lung” of the Church, or whether a traditional Catholic who admits the preservation of valid orders and a “reverent” liturgy, the perpetual existence and growth and unity of Orthodoxy without the office of the papacy for the last millennium (and the millennium before that) is a visible, historical testament to the fact that the supreme office of the papacy is clearly not necessary.  In fact, previous Orthodox saints once called heretics by Rome like St. Gregory Palamas are not incoherently allowed veneration by “Uniates.”  Truly, Rome is only concerned with bureaucratic unity and enforcing one dogma – sola papam (until Vatican 2, however, as that is now less important).  

Roman Catholic Objection:  Orthodoxy is stagnant and stale!  You haven’t developed in 1000 years!  No councils and no new theologians!  Yeah, you have some monastics and a nice liturgy, but look at the New Springtime since Vatican 2!  Look at the increased vocations, seminarians and radical newish saints like Faustina!  She was like, Jesus’ girlfriend pretty much and the magical hosts floated around the room to her.  Also Fatima!  The Third Secret will soon be revealed!  

Reply:  We gladly reject all that nonsense and my response will be to direct you to the excellent letter of Metropolitan Seraphim of Petraeus, who wrote to Francis.  And as for the “trads” operating under the ruse that Vatican II was “not dogmatic” and merely “pastoral,” the absurdity of this is made clear in the point above concerning not only the ordinary universal magisterium, but also the extraordinary magisterium.  All of Vatican II’s documents were promulgated and perpetuated from the Apostolic See for the entire Roman communion – therefore it clearly falls under the purview of universal dogma.  Anyone who joins the Roman institution, as happened with me, must accept Vatican 2.  The schismatic and Protestant notion the Apostolic See can promulgate defective rites and doctrines in any sense, not to mention after 60 plus years, is explicitly condemned in Auctorem Fidei – Denzinger 1501-1599

4. Here I want to make a few simple arguments from canons of the councils.  I am not launching us into a vast arcana of lore, but just a few of the more clear observations.  Canon 6 of Nicea not only compares the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome to the other patriarchates, it also states this jurisdiction is by custom (and thus not jure divino).  The custom is that the jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome is likened to the other Sees.  There is nowhere in this council or this canon any hint of universal jurisdiction, much less any universal temporal supremacy.  The canon reads:

“Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail.”

Council of Nicea

The only Roman Catholic reply to this is that it was only speaking about the pope’s jurisdiction as a bishop of Rome, and not his universal jurisdiction, which is assumed.  The fact that the pope has a local jurisdiction and a supposed universal one is itself a contradiction and an interpolation.  The canons say no such thing and mention nothing of the sort.  In fact, as escapes the significance of most Romanists, St. Peter established the succession at Antioch.  This undercuts the entire argument that the infallibility of Rome is based on Petrine succession.  

The only universality recognized here is the limited jurisdictions!  Thus the Orthodox view is the view of Nicea and the concept of a universal papal approval is shown to be nonsensical given the very existence of ecumenical councils. The language is consistently that the synod has declared, not Rome has declared.  If later western popes began to use these evolving titles and arrogate to themselves new prerogatives (as they did as their dogma developed), this also is no proof, unless one assumes the thing to be proven.  Likewise, the 6th Council’s condemnation of Pope Honorius has been much discussed and written about, but my argument is different than most.  

Most argue over whether Honorius was or was not a heretic, etc:  I want to take a different, more obvious approach: setting aside the issue of his orthodoxy for a moment, the mere fact that an entire ecumenical council was perfectly fine with condemning Honorius itself shows the mindset of the 7th century church was not that of Vatican I.  If they had had a Vatican I mindset, or even anything approximating it, such a notion would have been completely impossible. The whole assembly would have risen up and demanded the head of anyone challenging the office of Peter embodied in the Roman Pope (alone), which was supposedly the cornerstone of the Church! Did this occur?  No, the council unanimously condemned Honorius and later debates ensued.  This alone simply proves they did not have a Vatican I mindset and that alone is enough to demonstrate the dogma of the papacy is a centuries-long morphing and evolving and expanding abberation.  Romanists simply assume the papal claims of the ultramontanes and retroactively read them into anything and everything in the past.  

The notes in the Schaff Set argue forcefully as follows concerning whether he was a monothelite, and note the ever-evasive trump card of papal apologetics – when in doubt or heresy, just say “he was speaking as as private theologian and not as pope!”  An argument so absurd and childish it hardly requires a reply, given the entire supposed purpose of the office of the papacy!: 

“Most Roman controversialists of recent years have admitted both the fact of Pope Honorius’s condemnation (which Baronius denies), and the monothelite (and therefore heretical) character of his epistles, but they are of opinion that these letters were not his ex cathedrâ utterances as Doctor Universalis, but mere expressions of the private opinion of the Pontiff as a theologian.  With this matter we have no concern in this connexion.

I shall therefore say nothing further on this point but shall simply supply the leading proofs that Honorius was as a matter of fact condemned by the Sixth Ecumenical Council.

1.  His condemnation is found in the Acts in the xiiith Session, near the beginning.

2.  His two letters were ordered to be burned at the same session.

3.  In the xvith Session the bishops exclaimed “Anathema to the heretic Sergius, to the heretic Cyrus, to the heretic Honorius, etc.”

4.  In the decree of faith published at the xviijth Session it is stated that “the originator of all evil…found a fit tool for his will in…Honorius, Pope of Old Rome, etc.”

5.  The report of the Council to the Emperor says that “Honorius, formerly bishop of Rome” they had “punished with exclusion and anathema” because he followed the monothelites.

6.  In its letter to Pope Agatho the Council says it “has slain with anathema Honorius.”

7.  The imperial decree speaks of the “unholy priests who infected the Church and falsely governed” and mentions among them “Honorius, the Pope of Old Rome, the confirmer of heresy who contradicted himself.”  The Emperor goes on to anathematize “Honorius who was Pope of Old Rome, who in everything agreed with them, went with them, and strengthened the heresy.”

8.  Pope Leo II. confirmed the decrees of the Council and expressly says that he too anathematized Honorius.337

9.  That Honorius was anathematized by the Sixth Council is mentioned in the Trullan Canons (No. j.).

10.  So too the Seventh Council declares its adhesion to the anathema in its decree of faith, and in several places in the acts the same is said.

11.  Honorius’s name was found in the Roman copy of the Acts.  This is evident from Anastasius’s life of Leo II.  (Vita Leonis II.)

12.  The Papal Oath as found in the Liber Diurnus taken by each new Pope from the fifth to the eleventh century, in the form probably prescribed by Gregory II., “smites with eternal anathema the originators of the new heresy, Sergius, etc., together with Honorius, because he assisted the base assertion of the heretics.”

13.  In the lesson for the feast of St. Leo II. in the Roman Breviary the name of Pope Honorius occurs among those excommunicated by the Sixth Synod.  Upon this we may well hear Bossuet:  “They suppress as far as they can, the Liber Diurnus: they have erased this from the Roman Breviary.  Have they therefore hidden it?  Truth breaks out from all sides, and these things become so much the more evident, as they are the more studiously put out of sight.”

With such an array of proof no conservative historian, it would seem, can question the fact that Honorius, the Pope of Rome, was condemned and anathematized as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council.”

If it was the mind of the 7th century Church that Pope Honorius was only speaking as a “private theologian” and not as the infallible head, where was any of this nonsense at the time?  It was nowhere, but was in the mind of the universal church at the time was the certitude of condemning the bishop of Rome. 

Roman Catholic Reply:  Honorius was actually legit, but wasn’t teaching infallibly!  

Accepted at the 6th Council.

My reply: See the circular nonsense of point number 1 above.  This brings up another error in the Roman Catholic system, which is founded on a classical foundationalist epistemology.  Thomism, for example, still the “official” philosophy of the Roman Church, is just such a system, where axiomatic and self-evident principles cannot be proven, only known to be clearly self-evident.  Thus, the Roman anthropology and epistemology formally rejects all circular arguments as fallacies.  

Yet when it comes to the basis of the religion, grounded as it is on “supernatural” truths over against “natural” truths, the truth of Catholicism is known by the dogma and definitions of the papacy. The doctrine of the infallibility and universality of the papacy is known and grounded in the promises made to St. Peter by Jesus, i.e., Scripture, or revelation.  But the basis for faith in revelation in Scripture in terms of what the canon is, is said to be the determination of the papal decrees on the canon of Scripture.   Thus, a vicious circle has been found within a philosophico-reigious scheme that adamantly rejects all circular argumentation as always fallacious.  Setting aside the problems in Thomism, I have never seen this clear issue addressed.  Romanists are quick to chide Protestants and Orthodox for being circular and arbitrary about having an individual understanding of Scripture, but when pressed about the bases for their own faith, wherein all forms of circular arguments are fallacious, the entire system is found to be circular.  

“I know what’s true based on the papacy, which is based on the Petrine texts, which the papacy determined is canonical long ago.”  

The folly of the Roman Catholic attempting to solve an epistemic question by introducing the juridical office of the papacy into the mix is evident.  It only moves the problem back a step.  What is needed is a different anthropology and epistemology where paradigmatic questions are allowed to be circular, without violating normative logical laws.  That is possible in Orthodoxy and its Christology and anthropology and Triadology – but not in the dogmatic classical foundationalism of Rome.  

5.  Finally we see the modern papacy has abandoned wholesale not just ancient dogmas, but what it taught only a few decades prior!   We are actually witnessing the implosion of the Roman Catholic institution in our day, which is a tragedy but is the natural result of the Hellenic and European humanism and heresies it has imbibed since the 800s and later.  The clearest explication of this I can think of is the famous Encyclical of Pope Pius XI Mortalium Animos, where the ecumenical, inter-faith gatherings of the various so-called “Christian” sects was called apostasy and an abandonment of the true religion.  Not only has the post-Vatican II dogma gone full blown into calling these meetings now the work of God, but in fact holds these gatherings with pagan and demonic religions, including voodoo, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., as shown at Assisi 1 and 2.  The Encyclical of Pius XI is crystal clear:

“8. This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise? For here there is question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost:[15] has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defense is God Himself? If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy. But the Only-begotten Son of God, when He commanded His representatives to teach all nations, obliged all men to give credence to whatever was made known to them by “witnesses preordained by God,”[16] and also confirmed His command with this sanction: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”[17] These two commands of Christ, which must be fulfilled, the one, namely, to teach, and the other to believe, cannot even be understood, unless the Church proposes a complete and easily understood teaching, and is immune when it thus teaches from all danger of erring. In this matter, those also turn aside from the right path, who think that the deposit of truth such laborious trouble, and with such lengthy study and discussion, that a man’s life would hardly suffice to find and take possession of it; as if the most merciful God had spoken through the prophets and His Only-begotten Son merely in order that a few, and those stricken in years, should learn what He had revealed through them, and not that He might inculcate a doctrine of faith and morals, by which man should be guided through the whole course of his moral life.

9. These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment “Love one another,” altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ’s teaching: “If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.”[18] For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord’s Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, “the one mediator of God and men.”[19] How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distinction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ’s believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith.”

While it is true Orthodoxy, like all modern religions, must confront modernism, the difference between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is that Orthodoxy is not a house of cards.  It doesn’t rest on the actions and faith of a single super-bishop, but in fact each Orthodox Church is fully catholic and apostolic by virtue of the Spirit.  Jesus sent the Spirit to govern and guide the Church, and yes that includes normative means such as synods and councils, but these are merely chosen means.  They themselves cannot develop dogmas or grant anyone any certitude apart from the power of the Holy Spirit Himself “leading and guiding us into all truth,” and throughout the centuries this was done primarily through the liturgy – the main catechizer of the faithful before reading and writing was widespread.   

Apostate Benedict prays in the Blue Mosque toward Mecca.

There’s nothing Rome possesses the local church lacks – there isn’t a god emperor super bishop and the pope is not higher on the chain of being nearer the monad.  The only reason the office of the papacy would even be thought of as necessary would be to an institutional body which had erred on the Person of the Spirit and replaced Him with a juridical, temporal ruler who, at once phase for almost a century, had moved the Chair of St. Peter to a palace in France, while battling with two other French elites for said palace.   Can anyone honestly read Acts 15 where St. James presides in the council (and not St. Peter) and imagine that has any continuity with three guys in France fighting over a St. Peter’s throne… France

The “papal palace” in Avignon, France when, during the western schism 3 rival claimaints in France fought over the succession of St. Peter.  This is literally part of the Roman Petrine dogma

Yet to be Roman Catholic is to maintain yes – yes, that is how it all went down.  Their previous pope even says our view was the norm in the first millennium:

“Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of the primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium.  When the Patriarch Athenagoras , on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one who presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the ecclesial content of the doctrine of the primacy as it was known in the first millennium.  Rome need not ask for more.” Benedict XVI, Principles of Catholic Theolog, pgs. 198-9


“Patriarch Athenagoras spoke even more strongly when he greeted the Pope in Phanar: ‘Against all expectation, the bishop of Rome is among us, the first among us in honor, ‘he who presides in love’.’  It is clear that, in saying this, the Patriarch  did not abandon the claims of the Eastern Churches or acknowledge the primacy of the west.  Rather, he stated plainly what the East understood as the order, the rank and title, of the equal bishops in the Church – and it would be worth our while to consider whether this archaic confession, which has nothing to do with the ‘primacy of jurisdiction’ but confesses a primacy of ‘honor’ and agape, might not be recognized as a formula that adequately reflects the position that Rome occupies in the Church – ‘holy courage’ requires that prudence be combined with ‘audacity’: ‘The kingdom of God suffers violence.’” Ibid., 216-7

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