Friday, May 26, 2006

Irenaeus on the Church of Rome

"Since in this work it would take too long to list the successions of all the churches, we will consider the great and very ancient church known to all, the church founded and established in Rome by the two glorious apostles Peter and Paul. By showing the tradition received from the apostles and the faith proclaimed to men, which comes to us through the succession of bishops, we refute all who in any way, whether from madness or vainglory or blindness and mistaken thought, gather together beyond what is right. In fact, it is with this church, by reason of her more excellent origin, that every church must necessarily be in agreement--with this Church in which the tradition that comes from the apostles has always been preserved by everyone" (Adv. Haer., 3, 2).


Rev. John Campbell said...

From The Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 841: "The Church's relationship with the Muslims. 'The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.'"

Para. 846: "...they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."

Para. 847: "This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church..."

What would Ireneus think of this?

Steve Blakemore said...

One might be forgiven for observing that Irenaeus wrote this long before much that became deeply problematic for other Christians was developed. He wrote it prior to the Transubstantiation doctrine was articulated, before Marian devotion (so far as I can tell)was full blown, before the heretical practices that precipitated the Reformation.

So, when Irenaeus says that one must be in agreement with this Church the question is: what did he and others of his day think the Church actually proclaimed.

lexorandi2 said...

Yes, good point, Steve. I posted the Irenaeus quote after a correspondent wrote me privately about my reference to Irenaeus' estimation of the Roman Church in my previous entry.

David+ said...

It is interesting to hear from some (scholars) that throughout the entire work of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica that there exist NOT ONE example of errant reasoning (each argument follows with logical precision and validity). Except ... when it comes to considering the necessary theological premises that could give the Church the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Now, if St. Thomas was really THAT good, what's the deal? Furthermore, if it can be so well rationally exhibited that such a doctrine (or the potential for it in St. Thomas' time) is at least in doubt - if not outright impossible - then why is it today a doctrine that a RCC'r must ascent to? This too is a stumbling block for me; either the Angelic Doctor is in serious theological error or Roman Church is doctrinally fallible. I tend to go with St. Thomas on this one.

Marshall said...

Corollary to Steve's comment, I need to ask what Irenaeus would say about the Church of Jerusalem, or of Antioch, or of Alexandria, each equally ancient and established (even without debating whether Andrew actually founded the church in Byzantium). My guess is he didn't speak to it, not because he didn't believe they were equal, but because in his corner of the Empire Rome was the most visible touchstone.