Thou art Peter

The majority of Church Fathers know nothing of the Roman church's claim of Petrine supremacy. By the Roman church’s own criteria, its theory of papal supremacy is flawed and cannot stand up to historical examination.

The Roman church claims to introduce no new doctrine but only to develop what lies latent in Scripture and tradition. According to the celebrated maxim of Vincent of Lerins, she claims to believe what always was believed everywhere at all times. And she additionally claims that all her doctrine is in accordance with the unanimous consent of the Fathers.

When Petrine Supremacy is brought under the light of these their own rules then it becomes evident how false is the whole system, since papal authority comes crushing to the ground immediately. Their prime source in defending papal supremacy is Matthew 16, "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." They claim that Peter was there and then elected to be the first pope, was made infallible and not only him but also his successors, the bishops of Rome.

This absurd interpretation was unheard of in the early centuries, especially in ante-Nicene times. That the papacy and its arrogant claims developed over centuries is well-known but assiduously hid by the Roman church herself. A study of the Church Fathers reveals the following facts:

Interpretation of "rock" no. of Fathers

Peter 17

Peter's faith ("Thou are Christ...") 44

Christ 16

The Apostles 8

Augustine, for instance, wrote: "So he said, 'Thou are Peter, and upon this rock' that you have confessed, upon the rock that you have recognized', when you said, 'Thou are Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my church." In another place he wrote: "On this rock which you have confessed I will build my church, since Christ is the rock." In his Retractions, he says: "I acknowledge when I was young, I taught that the rock was Peter, but I know afterwards, in very many places I have said these words must be understood to refer to Him who Peter confessed, when he said: "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God," because it was not said of him, "Thou are the rock" (Petra) but "Thou are Peter" (Petros). But the reader can choose which of these two interpretations appears to him to be the most probable."

The consent of the Fathers is simply lacking in the case of Matthew 16.

History also informs us of the sharp debates between Ultramontanism and Gallicanism; also from the Councils of Constance, Basle, Florence, Pisa (the time of the antipopes) it becomes evident that the Roman church was undecided who held the supremacy, whether it was the pope or an ecumenical council.

Finally the dogma of papal infallibility was promulgated during the first Vatican Council (1870) amidst sharp opposition from historians, theologians, bishops, but on the insistence of Pope Pius.

What can be said of petrine supremacy, a distinctly Romish teaching, can be said also of all other distinctly Romish dogmas. The Roman church acts upon her own authority and nothing else.