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Musings 2008/225

is this cross too much to bear, really?

We have not been asked to suffer torture or death, as happens to so many even today, throughout the world.

We know; we are assured that
we remain in The Truth.

What an incredible offer this is. A simple cross that we can bear easily - to remain in our pews - with the promise that we will be the salt of the earth.
If God said to me: All I want you to do, to be 'the salt of the earth', is to remain in your pew, even if you feel deeply hurt and resentful, I would have replied: Is that all?
God would have answered: It might seem such a little thing, but in fact is real suffering and  is truly vital for My Church.
To that I would have said: Lord, we have a deal, thinking I had made a profitable contract.
And I have to ask:
If real-Catholics has left their pews, what example would they have given to their friends, their families?
More on The Orthodox
In 1848 Pope Pius IX wrote an Epistle to the Orthodox Churches, setting out many reasons for their return to Peter.
Leaders of the Orthodox organised a reply to the Pope.
Their reply, to my reading, is most strange in that throughout the document they

  1. confirm that the Pope is indeed the successor of Peter;
  2. that indeed Rome has special privilege amongst The Churches;
  3. refer to Pope Pius IX as his Holiness;
  4. at the same time, directly or indirectly suggest that the Pope is involved with manifold and monstrous heresies; of desiring to deceive; and other evil intents.
The stand of the Orthodox is difficult to understand and this difficulty stands out in the following statement in their reply:
P Who denies that the ancient Roman Church was Apostolic and Orthodox?
None of us will question that it was a model of orthodoxy.
They absolutely agree that the Pope occupies
the Apostolic Throne of Peter, even though so unworthy!
The Orthodox in trying to explain their strange situation about the primacy of the Pope but yet one which they do not adhere to, explain this thus:
P Thus he who is cited by his Holiness as a witness of the primacy of the Roman Church, shows that its dignity is not that of a lordship, nor even appellate, to which St. Peter himself was never ordained,

but is a brotherly privilege
in the Catholic Church,
and an honour assigned the Popes
on account of the greatness
and privilege of the City.  P

(Be aware that the Orthodox often call themselves Catholic.)
The Orthodox document spends a great deal of space in trying to prove that the Pope does not have the authority of Peter, as can be witnessed by other statements.
Indeed, they seem reluctant to even give Peter himself, any great authority. They say, for example:
P For, unless the Church of Christ was founded upon the immovable rock of St. Peter's Confession, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God which was the answer of the Apostles in common, when the question was put to them, Whom say ye that I am? (Matt. xvi. 15,) as the Fathers, both Eastern and Western, interpret the passage to us),

the Church was built upon
a slippery foundation,
even on Cephas himself,
not to say on the Pope,
who, after monopolizing
the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,
has made such an administration
of them as is plain from history.  P

They here seem to suggest that Peter's confession, not any authority or power given to him, is what The Church is founded upon! They also claim that Peter's confession was not so much from him but from the Apostles as a whole!
Now, it is no doubt correct that Peter spoke on behalf of the other Apostles, then and at other times, as Scripture makes clear, but two facts are seen here

  1. Peter spoke out of his own heart;
  2. Peter spoke on behalf of the other Apostles.
That being the case, the Orthodox are proving the power and authority of Peter.
Jesus' reply was very clearly made to Peter, personally, as can be perfectly observed in Matthew, where Christ very spexcifically calls Peter by name:
P 47  16  17  And Jesus answering, said to him:

Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona:
because flesh and blood
hath not revealed it to thee,
but my Father who is in heaven.

47  16  18  And I say to thee:

That thou art Peter;
and upon this rock I will build my church,

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
47  16  19  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. 
Elsewhere in their document the Orthodox leaders make it clear that they absolutely respect the early Popes and the Seven Ecumenical Councils:
P The august Ecumenical Councils, those seven pillars of the house of Wisdom, were organized in it and among us. This, our Church, holds the originals of their sacred definitions. P

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