267th Pope of the Catholic Church, elected March 13, 2013. 


Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was formerly the Cardinal at Buenos Aires in Argentina and had the title name of S. Roberto Bellarmino.  He was created a Cardinal by Bl. John Paul II on  February 21st,  2001, with the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino (St. Robert Bellarmine).



     Matthew 16:15-19 : "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

In this scripture Jesus is establishing Peter as the first Pope of the Catholic Church. Since Peter there has been a continuous succession of Popes throughout the centuries, Pope Benedict XVI being the current Pope in 2005. The Catholic Church has been in existence since the time of Peter. It was not until the 15th Century that any of the Protestant Denominations came into existence. Obviously Jesus delegated power to the Popes to be the head of His Church on this Earth.









Reigned as Pope: 

SEE:  EWTN  Biography





Only the Catholic Church has had a constant succesive Christian leadership since the time Christ was on the earth 2000 years ago.  Christ said that He would never abandon mankind and the following list of Popes illustrates Christ's love for mankind:








Pope Paul VI




Saint Pope Pius X








  1. St. Peter (32-67)
  2. St. Linus (67-76)
  3. St. Anacletus (76-88)
  4. St. Clement I (88-97)
  5. St. Evaristus (97-105)
  6. St. Alexander I (105-115)
  7. St. Sixtus I (115-125)
  8. St. Telesphorus (125-136)
  9. St. Hyginus (136-140)
  10. St. Pius I (140-155)
  11. St. Anicetus (155-166)
  12. St. Soter (166-175)
  13. St. Eleutherius (175-189)
  14. St. Victor I (189-199)
  15. St. Zephyrinus (199-217)
  16. St. Callistus I (217-22)
  17. St. Urban I (222-30)
  18. St. Pontain (230-35)
  19. St. Anterus (235-36)
  20. St. Fabian (236-50)
  21. St. Cornelius (251-53)
  22. St. Lucius I (253-54)
  23. St. Stephen I (254-257)
  24. St. Sixtus II (257-258)
  25. St. Dionysius (260-268)
  26. St. Felix I (269-274)
  27. St. Eutychian (275-283)
  28. St. Caius (283-296)
  29. St. Marcellinus (296-304)
  30. St. Marcellus I (308-309)
  31. St. Eusebius (309 or 310)
  32. St. Miltiades (311-14)
  33. St. Sylvester I (314-35)
  34. St. Marcus (336)
  35. St. Julius I (337-52)
  36. Liberius (352-66)
  37. St. Damasus I (366-83)
  38. St. Siricius (384-99)
  39. St. Anastasius I (399-401)
  40. St. Innocent I (401-17)
  41. St. Zosimus (417-18)
  42. St. Boniface I (418-22)
  43. St. Celestine I (422-32)
  44. St. Sixtus III (432-40)
  45. St. Leo I (the Great) (440-61)
  46. St. Hilarius (461-68)
  47. St. Simplicius (468-83)
  48. St. Felix III (II) (483-92)
  49. St. Gelasius I (492-96)
  50. Anastasius II (496-98)
  51. St. Symmachus (498-514)
  52. St. Hormisdas (514-23)
  53. St. John I (523-26)
  54. St. Felix IV (III) (526-30)
  55. Boniface II (530-32)
  56. John II (533-35)
  57. St. Agapetus I (535-36)
  58. St. Silverius (536-37)
  59. Vigilius (537-55)
  60. Pelagius I (556-61)
  61. John III (561-74)
  62. Benedict I (575-79)
  63. Pelagius II (579-90)
  64. St. Gregory I (the Great) (590-604)
  65. Sabinian (604-606)
  66. Boniface III (607)
  67. St. Boniface IV (608-15)
  68. St. Deusdedit (Adeodatus I) (615-18)
  69. Boniface V (619-25)
  70. Honorius I (625-38)
  71. Severinus (640)
  72. John IV (640-42)
  73. Theodore I (642-49)
  74. St. Martin I (649-55)
  75. St. Eugene I (655-57)
  76. St. Vitalian (657-72)
  77. Adeodatus (II) (672-76)
  78. Donus (676-78)
  79. St. Agatho (678-81)
  80. St. Leo II (682-83)
  81. St. Benedict II (684-85)
  82. John V (685-86)
  83. Conon (686-87)
  84. St. Sergius I (687-701)
  85. John VI (701-05)
  86. John VII (705-07)
  87. Sisinnius (708)
  88. Constantine (708-15)
  89. St. Gregory II (715-31)
  90. St. Gregory III (731-41)
  91. St. Zachary (741-52)
  92. Stephen II (752)
  93. Stephen III (752-57)
  94. St. Paul I (757-67)
  95. Stephen IV (767-72)
  96. Adrian I (772-95)
  97. St. Leo III (795-816)
  98. Stephen V (816-17)
  99. St. Paschal I (817-24)
  100. Eugene II (824-27)
  101. Valentine (827)
  102. Gregory IV (827-44)
  103. Sergius II (844-47)
  104. St. Leo IV (847-55)
  105. Benedict III (855-58)
  106. St. Nicholas I (the Great) (858-67)
  107. Adrian II (867-72)
  108. John VIII (872-82)
  109. Marinus I (882-84)
  110. St. Adrian III (884-85)
  111. Stephen VI (885-91)
  112. Formosus (891-96)
  113. Boniface VI (896)
  114. Stephen VII (896-97)
  115. Romanus (897)
  116. Theodore II (897)
  117. John IX (898-900)
  118. Benedict IV (900-03)
  119. Leo V (903)
  120. Sergius III (904-11)
  121. Anastasius III (911-13)
  122. Lando (913-14)
  123. John X (914-28)
  124. Leo VI (928)
  125. Stephen VIII (929-31)
  126. John XI (931-35)
  127. Leo VII (936-39)
  128. Stephen IX (939-42)
  129. Marinus II (942-46)
  130. Agapetus II (946-55)
  131. John XII (955-63)
  132. Leo VIII (963-64)
  133. Benedict V (964)
  134. John XIII (965-72)
  135. Benedict VI (973-74)
  136. Benedict VII (974-83)
  137. John XIV (983-84)
  138. John XV (985-96)
  139. Gregory V (996-99)
  140. Sylvester II (999-1003)
  141. John XVII (1003)
  142. John XVIII (1003-09)
  143. Sergius IV (1009-12)
  144. Benedict VIII (1012-24)
  145. John XIX (1024-32)
  146. Benedict IX (1032-45)
  147. Sylvester III (1045)
  148. Benedict IX (1045)
  149. Gregory VI (1045-46)
  150. Clement II (1046-47)
  151. Benedict IX (1047-48)
  152. Damasus II (1048)
  153. St. Leo IX (1049-54)
  154. Victor II (1055-57)
  155. Stephen X (1057-58)
  156. Nicholas II (1058-61)
  157. Alexander II (1061-73)
  158. St. Gregory VII (1073-85)
  159. Blessed Victor III (1086-87)
  160. Blessed Urban II (1088-99)
  161. Paschal II (1099-1118)
  162. Gelasius II (1118-19)
  163. Callistus II (1119-24)
  164. Honorius II (1124-30)
  165. Innocent II (1130-43)
  166. Celestine II (1143-44)
  167. Lucius II (1144-45)
  168. Blessed Eugene III (1145-53)
  169. Anastasius IV (1153-54)
  170. Adrian IV (1154-59)
  171. Alexander III (1159-81)
  172. Lucius III (1181-85)
  173. Urban III (1185-87)
  174. Gregory VIII (1187)
  175. Clement III (1187-91)
  176. Celestine III (1191-98)
  177. Innocent III (1198-1216)
  178. Honorius III (1216-27)
  179. Gregory IX (1227-41)
  180. Celestine IV (1241)
  181. Innocent IV (1243-54)
  182. Alexander IV (1254-61)
  183. Urban IV (1261-64)
  184. Clement IV (1265-68)
  185. Blessed Gregory X (1271-76)
  186. Blessed Innocent V (1276)
  187. Adrian V (1276)
  188. John XXI (1276-77)
  189. Nicholas III (1277-80)
  190. Martin IV (1281-85)
  191. Honorius IV (1285-87)
  192. Nicholas IV (1288-92)
  193. St. Celestine V (1294)
  194. Boniface VIII (1294-1303)
  195. Blessed Benedict XI (1303-04)
  196. Clement V (1305-14)
  197. John XXII (1316-34)
  198. Benedict XII (1334-42)
  199. Clement VI (1342-52)
  200. Innocent VI (1352-62)
  201. Blessed Urban V (1362-70)
  202. Gregory XI (1370-78)
  203. Urban VI (1378-89)
  204. Boniface IX (1389-1404)
  205. Innocent VII (1406-06)
  206. Gregory XII (1406-15)
  207. Martin V (1417-31)
  208. Eugene IV (1431-47)
  209. Nicholas V (1447-55)
  210. Callistus III (1455-58)
  211. Pius II (1458-64)
  212. Paul II (1464-71)
  213. Sixtus IV (1471-84)
  214. Innocent VIII (1484-92)
  215. Alexander VI (1492-1503)
  216. Pius III (1503)
  217. Julius II (1503-13)
  218. Leo X (1513-21)
  219. Adrian VI (1522-23)
  220. Clement VII (1523-34)
  221. Paul III (1534-49)
  222. Julius III (1550-55)
  223. Marcellus II (1555)
  224. Paul IV (1555-59)
  225. Pius IV (1559-65)
  226. St. Pius V (1566-72)
  227. Gregory XIII (1572-85)
  228. Sixtus V (1585-90)
  229. Urban VII (1590)
  230. Gregory XIV (1590-91)
  231. Innocent IX (1591)
  232. Clement VIII (1592-1605)
  233. Leo XI (1605)
  234. Paul V (1605-21)
  235. Gregory XV (1621-23)
  236. Urban VIII (1623-44)
  237. Innocent X (1644-55)
  238. Alexander VII (1655-67)
  239. Clement IX (1667-69)
  240. Clement X (1670-76)
  241. Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89)
  242. Alexander VIII (1689-91)
  243. Innocent XII (1691-1700)
  244. Clement XI (1700-21)
  245. Innocent XIII (1721-24)
  246. Benedict XIII (1724-30)
  247. Clement XII (1730-40)
  248. Benedict XIV (1740-58)
  249. Clement XIII (1758-69)
  250. Clement XIV (1769-74)
  251. Pius VI (1775-99)
  252. Pius VII (1800-23)
  253. Leo XII (1823-29)
  254. Pius VIII (1829-30)
  255. Gregory XVI (1831-46)
  256. Ven. Pius IX (1846-78)
  257. Leo XIII (1878-1903)
  258. St. Pius X (1903-14)
  259. Benedict XV (1914-22)
  260. Pius XI (1922-39)
  261. Pius XII (1939-58)
  262. John XXIII (1958-63)
  263. Paul VI (1963-78)
  264. John Paul I (1978)
  265. John Paul II (1978-2005)
  266. Benedict XVI (2005-2013)
  267. Francis (2013- )




Blessed Pope John XXIII




Pope Pius XII








    Sources: The Catholic Encyclopedia and the book The Oxford Dictionary of POPES by J.N.D. Kelly, Oxford University Press, 1986.

******Jesus, saints,gates of


    The following excerpt is from the book CHURCH HISTORY, by Father John Laux, M.A., published by TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC.  Used with permission.


Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World and Founder of the Church.--"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar" the Redeemer of the world leaves the seclusion of Nazareth and begins His public ministry as a teacher in Israel, "mighty in word and work." First to the people of Galilee, and then to all the inhabitants of Palestine, He announces the glad tidings of salvation and confirms His preaching with many signs and wonders. Out of His disciples He chooses twelve men, whom He carefully prepares to be His Apostles, the bearers of His message to all mankind. Henceforth they are His inseparable companions. the witnesses of His miracles and of His Resurrection. He invests them with the powers which He Himself had received, and appoints Simon Peter to be their head and leader.

The vast majority of the Jewish people, above all the Pharisees and the Sadducees, dissatisfied with the ideal of a purely spiritual kingdom which Jesus preached, refuse to accept Him as the promised Messias, condemn Him to death as a blasphemer, and deliver Him up to the Romans to be crucified (April 3, 3o A.D.). But even His death bears witness to His divine mission. Miraculous events accompany it. The veil of the Temple is rent in twain from top to bottom, as a sign that the Old Covenant which God had made with theJews is ended, and that a new one is beginning, to which all mankind is called. On the third day He Himself, as He had foretold, arises again from the dead and, after tarrying forty days with His followers on earth, returns to Him who had sent Him.

Since His Ascension into Heaven, Christ dwells no longer visibly amongst His own. But He lives on as the Redeemer o[ the world in His Church, the Kingdom of God on earth. He founded the Church when, a year before His death, He said to Simon, the Son of Jonas: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16, 18). After His Resurrection He confirmed Peter as the visible Supreme Head of this Church when He said to him: "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep" (John 21, I7).

First Christian Community in Jerusalem.--The founding of the Church was completed on Pentecost Day, when the Holy Ghost descended upon the disciples who were assembled in Jerusalem together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Immediately the Apostles, who had hitherto been weak men, earthly-minded. and distrustful of themselves, became bold and determined. Filled

Jesus Gives The Keys To St. Peter  (Painter--Perugino)
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church

with "power from on high," they issued from the Upper Room and faced the great crowd that had gathered in the city from all parts of the world for the festival. Peter, their spokesman, declared: "Jesus of Nazareth, whom God approved by wonders and signs, whom you have crucified and slain by the hands of wicked men,--this Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses; therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord and Christ this same Jesus whom you have crucified" (Cf. Acts 2, 22 ff.).

Deeply moved by the words of the Apostle, three thousand men and women asked to be baptized. In a few days their number grew to five thousand. Most of these remained in Jerusalem and formed with the Apostles and disciples of the Lord the first Christian Community; the rest returned to their homes after the festival days were over and became the first missionaries of the Church. The Feast of Pentecost was thus, in the real sense of the word, the Birthday of the Church.

The faithful in Jerusalem were "one heart and one soul." At first they continued to attend the services in the Temple with their neighbors and, following the example of our Lord, also went to the synagogues. But they had their own meetings, too, usually on the first day of the week, where they could worship God according to their belief in Christ. Besides this, they met frequently, if not daily, in private for the "breaking of bread," that is, for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which was usually preceded by the Agape, or Love-Feast.

Their genuine love for one allother and the great number of poor people in the community gave rise to a species of Communism. "They had all things in common. For as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the price of the things they sold and laid it down before the feet of the Apostles, and distribution was made to everyone according as he had need" (Cf. Acts 4). But this community of goods was absolutely voluntary, as we know from the story of Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5).

First Perseeutlon.--As the number of the believers increased, the Pharisees and the priests took alarm. They summoned Peter and John before the Great Council and forbade them, under pain of the severest punishment, to preach in the name of Jesus. But the Apostles replied boldly that they were bound to obey God rather than man (Acts 4, 19). Not long afterwards they were arrested a second time and would no doubt have been put to death if a Pharisee named Gamaliel, "a doctor of the law, respected by all the people,"  had not intervened in their behalf. "If this counsel or this work be of men," he said. "it will come to nought; but if it be of God,  you cannot overthrow it."  The fanatical Pharisees were for the time satisfied with this judgment, and the Apostles were dismissed, but not before they had been ignominiously scourged. Rejoicing that they had been accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus, Peter and John continued to teach and preach as before, in the Temple and from house to house.



The following excerpts are from the book:  THE QUESTION BOX by Rev. Bertrand L. Conway, C.S.P., published by The Paulist Press, 1929.


Questions and Answers About the Papacy


Is there any Biblical proof that Christ made Peter the first Pope? Were not all the Apostles equal?

The Catholic Church believes that St. Peter was the chief Apostle, exercising by Christ's appointment the supreme power of governing His Church. The Vatican Council says: "If anyone says that Christ the Lord did not constitute the Blessed Peter prince of all the Apostles and head of the whole church militant; or if he says that this primacy is one of mere honor and not of real jurisdiction received directly and immediately from our Lord Jesus, let him be anathema."

On three different occasions Christ speaks of the primacy of St. Peter over the twelve Apostles.

1. After St. Peter had acknowledged His divinity, Christ promised him a reward in the following words: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 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" (Matt. xvi. 18, 19).

a. The metaphor of the rock is easily understood. Christ the Rock, the Chief Corner Stone of the Church (Eph. ii. 20; Matt. xxi. 42), promises to make Peter the rock, on which His Church (1 Cor. iii. 9) is to be built. He is addressing him alone ("I say to thee"), not the other Apostles.  Our Lord has in mind the wise man of His own parable (Matt. vii. 24).  The rock foundation of a building gives it unity, strength and stability; it holds all the various parts of the building solidly together. In a society this is effected by the authority of the head, by whom unity is forever preserved.

b. Christ then gives the reason why He intends to build His Church upon the Rock, Peter, viz., "that the gates of hell may never prevail against it."   Whether hell means the hell of the damned or the realm of death, the meaning is obvious. The Church of Christ is to withstand forever the attacks of every foe within or without her fold (Rivington, Authority, xvi., 29).

c. The symbol of the keys, in the East, always implied power and authority, and the giving of the keys the transfer of that authority. Even in our day when we wish to honor a visitor of prominence,  we give him the keys of the city. When we sell a building, we give the keys to the new owner the day the title passes. When Eliacim was appointed over the palace in the place of Sobna, we read: "I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder; and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open" (Isa. xxii. 22; Cf.  Apoc. i. 18; iii. 7).

"The gift of the keys," writes Lagrange, "is, therefore, an investiture of power over all the house. The owner still keeps the sovereign power, but delegates its exercise to a major, domo .... Christ has the keys of David (Apoc. iii. 7); He gives St. Peter the keys. St. Peter's authority, therefore, is the authority of Jesus, which He ratifies in heaven" (Evangile selon S. Matthieu, 328).

d. "Binding and loosing" among the Rabbis of our Lord's time meant to declare something "prohibited" or "permitted." Here it plainly means that St. Peter, the Steward of the Lord's house, the Church, has all the rights and powers of a divinely appointed steward. He does not, like the Jewish Rabbis, declare probable, speculative opinions, but he has the right to teach and govern authoritatively, with the certainty of God's approval "in heaven."  The member of the Church that refuses to obey is to be regarded as "a heathen and a publican," as Christ says in a similar passage (Matt. xviii. 17).  A lawgiving power is certainly implied by these words.

2. The night before He died Jesus said to St. Peter: "Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren" (Luke xxii. 31, 32). Satan had desired to try the Apostle, as once he tried the patriarch Job (i. 11, 12). Christ tells St. Peter that, although He prayed for all the Apostles (John xvii. 9), He prayed especially for him (Luke xxii. 31), that he might strengthen the others. As the Protestant commentator, Bengel, well says: "By preserving Peter, whose ruin would have meant the ruin of the others, Christ preserved them all. This whole speech of our Lord presupposes that Peter is the first of the Apostles, on whose stability or fall the less or greater danger of the others depended" (Gnomon, 302). Christ prophesies that St. Peter will one day say that he did not know Jesus, but not that he would deny Him as the Messias and the Son of God (Matt. xxvi. 72). Just as the "Church, therefore, is the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. iii. 15), so St. Peter is the strengthener of the faith of his brethren. The promise in St. Luke corresponds perfectly with our Lord's promise in Matthew. Simon is the security of the Church against Satan and the powers of hell in both cases; he is the solid rock on which the Church is to be built (Lagrange, Evangile selon S. Luc, 552).

3. After the Resurrection, Christ bestowed upon St. Peter the primacy He had twice promised. His words are: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me more than these? He saith to Him: Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith to him: Feed My lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? He saith to Him: Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith to him: Feed My lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He had said to him the third time: Lovest thou Me? And he said to Him: Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee. He said to him: Feed My sheep" (John xxi. 15-17).

The Vatican Council defines as an article of faith that by these words Christ "conferred upon Peter alone the jurisdiction of Chief Pastor and Ruler over all the flock."

The three-fold question of our Lord reminds Peter of his former presumption (Matt. xxvi. 33) and his three-fold denial (Matt. xxvi. 75), and tells the other Apostles that Peter's love was indeed greater than theirs. For this reason Christ conferred upon him a higher office. Peter does not. boast of his love this time, but he appeals to our Lord's Omniscience as evidence of its reality.

The symbolism is plain. Christ declared Himself the Good Shepherd (John x. 11-16) frequently foretold by the prophets (Cf. Ezec. xxxiv. 23; xxxvii. 24, 26; Zach. xi. 7; Jer. iii. 14; xxii. 4; Isa. xli. 11). As the divine Ruler of the whole flock, He makes Peter the ruler in His place, now that He is to leave this earth and return to His heavenly Father. Christ's supreme power of teaching, judging, and legislating for the flock is delegated to Peter who is to teach, rule and judge the flock forever with His divine authority (Lagrange, Evangile selon St. Jean, 528).

Indeed the preeminence of St. Peter is suggested in many a passage in the New Testament. His name is changed at his first meeting with Christ (John i. 42), thus indicating the office of rock foundation, which was to be given him later on. He is always named first in the lists of the Apostles (Matt. x. 2; Mark iii. 16; Luke vi. 13, 14), and always regarded as their leader (Matt. xvii. 1, 23-26; xxvi. 37-40; xiv. 22; Mark v. 37; ix. 1; Luke v. 2-10; viii. 45). After the Resurrection he presides at the election of Matthias (Acts i. 22); he is the first to preach the Gospel (Acts ii. 14); he is the first to work miracles (Acts iii. 6); he is the judge of Ananias and Saphira (Acts v. 1-10); he is the first to declare the universality of the Church's mission (Acts x.), and the first to receive a pagan convert (Acts x.); he presides at the Council of jerusalem (Acts xv.).

hell, demons, Pope, Popes, Papacy, Vatican



Does not the rock mean Christ (Matt. xvi. 18)? We read in the Bible  "And that rock was Christ" (1 Cor. x. 4).

In Matt. xvi. 18 the word rock refers to St. Peter as many fair-minded Protestant commentators admit: Alford, Bloomfield, Keil, Mansel, Marsh, Rosemüller, Seifert, Thompson, Weiss and others. Thompson of Glasgow in his Monatesseron, 194, says:   "Peter was the rock on which Christ said His Church should be built. To this the connection and the scope of the passage agree. There seems to be something forced in every other construction .... Protestants have betrayed unnecessary fears, and have, therefore, used all the hardihood of lawless criticism in their attempts to reason away the Catholic interpretation."  The early Fathers frequently speak of Peter as the rock. Tertullian writes: "Peter, who is called the rock whereon the Church was to be built, and who obtained the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (De Pras., 22).   St. Cyprian writes: "Peter, whom the Lord chose as first, and upon whom He built His Church" (Epis. 71, Ad Quintum). We do not claim that Peter is the rock independently of Christ, but as  "the rock and foundation after Christ" (Theophylact,   In Lucam, xxii.).

    With regard to 1 Cor. x. 4, many of the Fathers held that Christ in the form of an angel led the Jews through the wilderness (Exod. xxiii. 20-23). The water that flowed twice from the material rock (Exod. xvii. 6; Num. xx. 11) was provided by the Spiritual Rock, Christ. Another interpretation holds that the rock struck by Moses is called "spiritual," because it typified Christ, whose Blood flowed like the water from the rock for the salvation of men.

    Christ was the Divine Founder of the Church, its Rock primarily; Peter was the rock secondarily, by divine appointment.



Does not St. Paul declare that Christ is the only foundation of the Church?  "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. iii. 11) ?

We may dismiss this text as irrelevant, because St. Paul is speaking of the solidity of the elementary doctrine that he preached to the Corinthians. They were as yet unfit for the more profound truths which he preached to the perfect (1 Cor. ii. 6), but still his foundation doctrine was Jesus Christ: i.e., faith in His Divinity and His Redemption. "For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ and Him Crucified" (1 Cor. fl. 2).


Does not St. Paul teach that all the Apostles were foundations of the Church ? Why do you build it then solely on Peter (Eph. ii. 19, 20) ?

They were foundations in the sense that they preached Jesus Christ, whom the prophets foretold. It is obvious that the prophets and the Apostles were not foundations in the same sense. The text reads: "You are fellow citizens with the saints, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets."

He could have styled them foundations of the Church had he so willed. St. John did so (Apoc. xxi. 14)--for they were the first infallible teachers of Christ's Gospel. Peter was the solid rock upon which they, the foundation stones, were built.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:   Allies, St. Peter, His Name and Office; Benson, St. Peter in the New Testament; Carson, Some Prerogatives of Peter.



Is not Christ called "the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the Head of the corner" (Acts iv. 11)?

Yes, and rightly so, because He is the Founder of the Church, the Corner Stone of the house of the Kingdom of God. Through His Redemption we are saved, as St. Peter teaches in the very next verse. "Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other Name under heaven, whereby we must be saved" (Cf. Eph. ii. 20, 22; Matt. xxi. 42).   These texts do not exclude St. Peter.  St. Leo (440-461) answered this objection more than one thousand years ago.  He writes:  "Thou art Peter, i. e., whereas I (Christ) am the inviolable Rock; I the Chief Corner Stone ... nevertheless, thou (Peter) art also a rock, because thou art consolidated by My power so that, what belongs to Me by My power, may be common to thee by being made partaker of them with Me" (Sermon IV, In Nat. Ord., ch. 2).


Does not the use of the two words Petros and Petra (Matt. xvi. 18) prove a clear difference in meaning?

Not at all. Our Lord did not speak Greek, but Aramaic, which uses the same word Kepha in both places. St. John tells us Peter's name, Cephas (Cf.  1 Cor. i. 12; iii. 22; ix. 5; xv. 5; Gal. ii. 9) was equivalent to Petros (John i. 42).

   BIBLIOGRAPHY:  Lagrange, Evangile selon S. Matthieu, 325.


Do not the early Fathers speak of Peter's faith as the rock? Does not St. Augustine state that the rock is the confession Peter made? Do not others declare that the rock is Christ?

None of these interpretations deny that Peter is the rock foundation of the Church, as we have explained. Taken together they make the true meaning all the more clear. Christ is the o 'nginal Rock on which Peter rests; Peter is the Rock or foundation of the Church; faith is the Rock of the Church, i.e., Peter's faith is that which makes him the foundation of the Church. Peter's confession is the rock, inasmuch as his profession of Christ's divinity merited him the honor of being made the foundation of the Church.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:  Rivington, Authority, 29-39.




If St. Peter was the chief Apostle why do we read that "there was a strife among them (the Apostles), which of them should be accounted the greatest" (Luke xxii. 24) ?

The Apostles might have been ignorant of the primacy of Peter before the Resurrection, just as they were ignorant of the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord (Matt. xvi. 23; xx. 17-19; Luke ix. 45; xviii. 34; xviv. 25). Our Lord could have ended the dispute in a moment, had He declared that no one would be the chief or the greatest Apostle in His Church. On the contrary, He implies that there would be a ruler among them, not lording it like the pagan kings over their subjects, but making authority a means of serving the brethren. He Himself gave the example: "Even as the Son of Man is not come to be ministered to, but to minister" (Matt. xx. 28). "I am in the midst of you as one that serveth" (Luke xxii. 27).

In fact, He plainly points out that one is chief among them, for He says:  "He that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth" (Luke xxii. 27).



Is it not incredible that the subject Apostles should send their supreme pontiff and one of themselves on a joint mission to Samaria (Acts viii. 14)? (Puller, Primitive Saints, p. 117.)

It is not incredible, for Josephus tells us of a joint mission to Rome in the first century of persons of unequal rank. The Jews sent to Nero ten legates among their princes, together with their High-Priest, Ishmael, and another Jewish priest.

It was the Apostolic custom for two disciples to go together on their missionary journeys (Luke x. 1); Paul and Barnabas (Acts xi. 30; xii. 25); Paul and Slias (Acts xv. 40); Barnabas and Mark (Acts xv. 39); Judas and Silas (Acts xv. 32).

Allies says on this point: "Luke mentions Peter and John, but he sets Peter first; and in his record of what happened to Simon, John acts the second part, and it is Peter alone who teaches, commands, judges, and condemns with authority, as the head and supreme ruler. Peter alone replies to Simon, and not only so, but condemns his profaneness, enlarges upon his guilt, and solemnly declares that the gifts of God are not purchasable with money" (St. Peter, His Name and Office, 164).

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Did not James preside at the Council of Jerusalem, and give the definite sentence? How then was Peter chief Apostle ?

St. Peter, not St. James, presided at the Council of Jerusalem. The question at issue was whether the Gentiles were bound to obey the Mosaic law. Paul, Barnabas, James and the rest were present as teachers and judges, just as Bishops were present at the Vatican Council, but Peter was their head, and the supreme arbiter of the controversy, as Plus IX was in the nineteenth century.

St. Peter spoke first and decided the matter unhesitatingly, declaring that the Gentile converts were not bound by the Mosaic law. He claimed to exercise authority in the name of his special election by God to receive the Gentiles (Acts xv. 7), and he severely rebuked those who held the opposite view (Acts xv. 10). After he had spoken "all the multitude held their peace" (Acts xv. 12). Those who spoke after him merely confirmed his decision, mentioning like Paul and Barnabas the miracles wrought by God on their missionary journeys, or suggesting, like James, that the Gentiles respect the scruples of the Jewish converts, by abstaining from the things they detested (Acts xv. 20, 21).

The translation in the King James Version of krino, "my sentence is" (Acts xv. 19) should be "I think; I am of the opinion"; as we learn from other passages of the Acts (xiii. 46; xvi. 15; xxvi. 8). James gave no special decision on the question, but merely expressed the views that had been adopted at the meeting spoken of in Gal. ii. 6. Moreover the decree is attributed to the Council of Apostles and Presbyters, assisted by the Holy Spirit (Acts xvi. 4; xv. 28), and not to James personally.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Allies, St. Peter, His Name and Office, 178-183; Jacquier, Les Actes des Apôtres, 447-466.




Did not St. Paul refuse to acknowledge St. Peter as his superior, when he "withstood him to the face" (Gal, ii. 11)?   

St. Paul's rebuke of St. Peter, instead of implying a denial of his supremacy, implies just the opposite. He tells us that the example of St. Peter "compelled" the Gentiles to live as the Jews. St. Paul's example had not the same compelling power.

The duty of fraternal correction (Matt. xviii. 15) may often require an inferior to rebuke a superior in defence of justice and truth. St. Bernard, St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Catherine of Siena have rebuked Popes, while fully acknowledging their supreme authority.

Some of the Greek Fathers thought that the Cephas here mentioned was not the Apostle St. Peter, but another disciple of the same name (St. Clement of Alexandria in Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., i., 12). Others like St. John Chrysostom, St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Jerome (Comm. in Gal., ii., 11) held that the whole scene was pre-arranged by the Apostles, so as to settle the question decidedly. But since the time of St. Augustine (Epis., xl. 3) both these views have been set aside as far-fetched and unnecessary. There was a real dissension, and a real rebuke.

The rebuke, however, did not refer to the doctrine, but to the conduct of St. Peter, as Tertullian says (De Praes., 23). St. Peter had not changed the views he had himself set forth at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts xv. 10). But at Antioch he withdrew from the table of the Gentiles, because he feared giving offence to the Jewish converts. They at once mistook his kindliness for an approval of the false teaching of certain Judaizers, who wished to make the Mosaic law obligatory upon all Christians. His action was at most imprudent, and calculated to do harm because of his great influence and authority. St. Paul, therefore, had a perfect right to uphold the Gospel liberty by a direct appeal to St. Peter's own example and teaching.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: St. Alphonsus Liguori, Verità della Fede, vii., 12; Lagrange, Epître aux Galates, 41-45; Merry del Val, The Truth of the Papal Claims, iii. B. Feb., 1924.


Granted that Peter was the chief Apostle and head of the Church in the beginning, how can you prove that his power was handed down the centuries ?  Was there any exercise of the Papal supremacy during the first three centuries ?

The Vatican Council teaches as an article of faith that the Pope is the legitimate successor of St Peter. "If any one says that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in the primacy, let him be anathema."

The primacy of St. Peter was not a personal privilege, like the power of working miracles, but an essential part of Christ's Church, the rock on which it was built. As long as the Church was to last--till the end of the world--Peter was to reign in an unbroken succession  of  Bishops of Rome.  The House of God will always need its foundation; the House of God will always need its divinely appointed steward; the faithful will always need a confirmer of the brethren, and a shepherd to guide and rule them.

Some have suggested that the preeminence of the Roman Church came from the fact that Rome was the capital of the Empire. But if we consult the divine tradition which ever recognized the Bishops of Rome as the successors of St. Peter, we will never find, except in  the schismatical East, the slightest allusion to this false theory. It states unanimously that the Popes held their suppreme office for the sole reason that they were St. Peter's successors. That Rome's place in the Empire led to its being chosen by Divine Providence as Peter's see was to be expected.

Many of the documents of early Church history were destroyed during the pagan persecutions of the first three centuries, but ample records remain to show that the Bishops of Rome exercised the supreme power of teaching, ruling and judging. Before St. John died, Pope Clement of Rome (90-99) of his own accord wrote to the Christians of Corinth, urging concord and submission to their ecclesiastical superiors. There is no record of the Apostle John intervening, although Ephesus was easier of access than Rome. The Corinthians accepted Rome's message and legates gladly, and the Pope's letter was placed almost on a level with the Sacred Scriptures for nearly a century (Clement, Ad. Cor., i., 1, 2, 44).

St. Ignatius of Antioch (117) a few years afterwards wrote a letter to the Roman Church, in which he mentions her supremacy. "She presides in the country of the Romans; she presides at the love feasts, or the charities." As Duchesne well says: "Here there is no question of the Bishop, but of the Church. Over what did the Roman Church preside? Was it merely over some other churches, or dioceses, within a limited area?  Ignatius had no idea of a limitation of that kind.  . . .  The most natural meaning of such language is that the Roman Church presides over all the Churches" (The Churches Separated from Rome, 85). She not only ruled, but she taught infallibly the doctrine of Christ, for St. Ignatius adds: "You have never led astray any one; you have taught others" (Ad Rom., iii.).

The Epitaph of Abercius, a Phrygian priest or Bishop of the latter half of the second century, states that "Christ, the Pure Shepherd, sent him to royal Rome to behold it, and to see the golden-robed, golden-slippered queen."  This famous stele, which was presented to Pope Leo XIII on his jubilee by the Sultan of Turkey, tells in mystical language of Baptism, the Eucharist, the universality of the Church as opposed to Montanism. and of the preeminence of Rome, which he came from afar to v/sit, taking "Faith as his guide."

BIBLIOGRAPHY:  Batiffol, Etudes d'Histoire, 164; Barnes, The Early Church in the Light of the Monuments, 94-100.   D.L. i. 66.--D.T. i. 58-66. ---r.C. xii. 193.

Pope Victor (189-198) at the close of the second century summoned the Bishops of the time to come together in councils to determine the date of celebrating Easter. The Asiatics accepted the Jewish Pasch for their feast, while Rome observed it on the Sunday after the Jewish Pasch. Although the Council of Asia appealed to St. John and St. Philip as their authorities together with Papias and St. Polycarp, the Pope threatened the Bishops with excommunication, unless they abandoned their custom. Could there be a more striking evidence of his realization of his supreme authority? Who but the supreme Bishop would have dared to separate Bishops from the unity of the whole Church? No other Church ever claimed such power.

St. Ireneus, Bishop of Lyons, Wrote in 180 his well known treatise against the Gnostics of his time. In it we find a clear assertion of the unity of the Church's teaching, and the supremacy of Rome, the guardian of the Apostolic tradition, over all other churches. He says: "It would be too long to enumerate here the series of all the churches; it suffices to point out the Apostolic tradition, the teaching that has come down to us by episcopal succession in the Church of Rome, the greatest and most ancient of all, known everywhere, and founded in Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Paul and Peter Indeed, the superior preeminence of that Church is such that every church--I mean the faithful of any country whatsoever--necessarily agrees with her, that is, every church in any country in which the Apostolic tradition has been preserved  without interruption" (Adv. Har., iii., 3).

When the heretical Bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata, refused to leave his residence after his deposition,    the case was brought before the pagan Emperor Aurelian (270-275). He decided it "most equitably, ordering the building to be given to those to whom the Bishops of Italy and the city of Rome should adjudge it" (Eusebius. Hist Eccles., vii., 30).

In the year 256 a conflict arose between Pope Stephen (254-257) and St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, on the question of baptisms conferred by heretics. Rome considered these baptisms valid, while Carthage declared them invalid. Despite the fact that St. Cyprian with his Bishops in Council refused to give up his custom, Pope Stephan (254-257) insisted upon the traditional teaching,  and threatened the opposing Bishops with excommunication, as Pope Victor had done in the Easter controversy.

Neither the African Bishops, nor Firmilian, Bishop of Caesarea, who held similar views, denied the Apostolic See. They simply defended their opinion by arguments no one considers theologically sound today, falsely believing they were free to follow what they considered a disciplinary custom.

Did not the same St. Cyprian write to Pope Cornelius: "They dare set sail and carry letters from schismatics and profane persons to the Chair of Peter, the primatial Church, whence the unity of the Church has its rise" (Epis., lix., 14). Again he wrote Pope Stephen to excommunicate Marcian, Bishop of Arles, for heresy, thus fully acknowledging his supreme authority. A liberal critic, harnack, writes:  "Cyprian recognized in the See of Rome a particular importance, because that See was the See of the Apostle on whom Christ conferred especially the Apostolic authority, to manifest thereby with perfect clearness the unity of this authority and the unity of the Church which rested thereon, and because the Church of this See had been the mother and the root of the Catholic Church spread through the world"        (Dogmengeschickte, i., 384).

The Archbishop of Alexandria, Dionysius (195-265), was accused at Rome of heresy with regard to the Blessed Trinity.   Pope Dionysius (259-268) asked him to explain his words, which he did in his reply to the Pope, and in the four books of his Refutation and Apology (Athanasius, De Sent. Dion., 13, 18).  The Pope asked him not to reject the term consubstantial, although the word did not become classical until the following century.  The Archbishop, in modifying his language, showed that he was really orthodox, and thereby recognized the authority of the Bishop of Rome to call him to account.

One of the most voluminous writers of the third century was Origen of Alexandria (185-254).  His many doctrinal errors were condemned at Constantinople in 543, and again at the Fifth General Council in 553.   During his lifetime, however, although he had disciplinary troubles with his Bishop, Demetrius, the only Bishop who rebuked him for his doctrinal errors was St. Fabian, Bishop of Rome (236-250; Cf. Eusebius, Hist. Eccles., xxxvi., p.4).   Harnack admits that this proves "the voice of Rome seems to have been of special importance" (Batiffol, Primitive Catholicism, 328).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:  Allies, The See of Peter; St. Peter, His Name and Office; The Throne of the Fisherman; Allnatt, Cathedra Petri; Batiffol, Catholicism and Papacy; Chapman, Studies in the Early Papacy; Bishop Gore and the Catholic Claims; Dolan, The See of Peter; The Papacy and First Councils; Lattey (ed.), The Papacy; Merry del Val, The Truth of the Papal Claims; Rivington, Authority; Dependence; Vaughan, The Purpose of the Papacy.  A.Q. 1886, 123; 1896, 554.---C.W. xxxv. 105, 216, 359, 495, 613.---D.July, Oct., 1893; Oct., 1894; Oct., 1897; Jan., 1904.


   The following questions and answers(430, 431, 432 and 433) are from the book Radio Replies, Second Volume, by Fathers Rev. Dr. leslie Rumble, M.S.C. and Rev. Charles M. Carty, published by TAN Books and Publishers.

430. I have been told that no Church came into existence until the fourth century!

That was not a correct statement. Christ personally established the Christian Church. He said clearly, "I will build my Church." He did not say, "I will see that my Church is established in the fourth century." In the first century St. Paul wrote to the Philippians blaming himself for having persecuted "the Church." How could he have done so, if the Church did not come into existence until three centuries later? Professor C. A. Briggs, a Presbyterian, in his book on "Church Unity,"  p. 205, writes, "I cannot undertake to give even a sketch of the history of the Papacy. We shall have to admit that the Christian Church from the earliest times recognized the primacy of the Roman Bishop, and that all other great Sees at times recognized the supreme jurisdiction of Rome in matters of doctrine, government, and discipline.

. . . When the whole case has been carefully examined and all the evidence sifted, the statement of Irenaeus stands firm: We put to confusion all unauthorized assemblies by indicating the tradition derived from the Apostles of the great, ancient, and universally known Church founded at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles Peter and Paul . . .  for it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church on account of its pre-eminent authority."   St. Irenaeus wrote that in the second century; and you can be quite sure that the Presbyterian Dr. Briggs would not make the admission he has made in this paragraph unless compelled by the evidence to do so.

431. How do you explain the Apostolic character of your Church?

    Christ Himself was its Founder. He prepared the way for it by declaring the fulfillment of the Old Law, announcing His intention to establish a Church, cxplaining its nature, privileges, and duties, and calling the Apostles whom He appointed to be rulers of the Church, St. Peter being constituted supreme head of the Church on earth. On Pentecost Sunday, or the fiftieth day after His resurrection, lie sent the Holy Spirit upon His newly founded Church in the person of His Apostles, and they commenced their work officially that day of preaching the Gospel to all nations.

432. The commission was to the Apostles; not to any Church.

    That cannot stand. Christ established a Church, and the Apostles as the first representatives of that Church received the commission to teach the whole of mankind. It is impossible to restrict the commission to the Apostles only, when the commission was to teach all nations till the end of the world. The Apostles themselves could not go to all nations; nor could they live "all days till the end of the world." The authority was to be exercised in every age thenceforth. There must be some body in the world exercising it now. The commission to the Apostles has survived in the Catholic Church so carefully established and guaranteed by Christ.

433. It is difficult to believe in these Apostolic claims by your Church.

    It is impossible to believe in Christ otherwise.   If we believe in Christ at all,  we must believe that He did establish a definite Church which would last all days from His time till the end of time. But, if you take any other Church except the Catholic Church, you will find that it has not been in the world all days since the time of Christ; and that it was established, not by Christ, but by some later and merely human individual.  yet where we can point to the moment it began in history, and to its originator's name, in the case of every non-Catholic Church, no man can say who founded the Catholic Church and when, if Christ Himself did not.  That is why Cardinal Newman, at one time a Protestant clergyman, said, "If the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ, there never was a Chruch established by Him."

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