What would you say to this statement. “None of the early church fathers every thought that thou art Peter and Upon this rock had any thing to do anything other than Peter and his confession of faith in Christ.” “not one of them calls the Bishop of Rome a rock or applies to him the promise of the keys.”.
If to be precise, some of Church Fathers spoke so. In some private letters or solemn speeches. But never — in their exegetic writings. This becomes clear when you read arguments of the both sides. Compare what Janus says and then — what Card. Hergenröther replies to him.Janus:
All this is intelligible enough, if we look at the patristic interpretation of the words of Christ to St. Peter. Of all the Fathers who have exegetically explained these passages in the Gospels (Matt. xvi. 18, John xxi.17), not a single one applies to the Roman bishops as Peter's succesors.Reply of Card. Hergenröther (Anti-Janus)
(I don't quote it here because it's too long).
Vadim, here is your problem in a nutshell: the covenant of God.
You do not understand covenant structure. Covenant structure is based upon the Trinity. The relationship and union of the Blessed Trinity is the model for all covenant unions. It was the model for the nuclear family as found in Adam and Eve. In a covenant structure, you have the covenant head, the helpmeet, and those who are dependent upon the first two. In a family situation, this third is the child. In the Trinity, it is the Holy Spirit, for He proceeds from the Father through the Son, just as a child proceeds from the father through the mother. (BTW -- Orthodox theologians have stated that this wording in the Nicene Creed would be acceptable.) The existence of the Holy Spirit is possible through the union of love between the Father and the Son, which is mirrored by the existence of children being made possible by the union of love between husband and wife.(NOTE!!! If I have strayed into any thing even resembling heresy here, I recant, but based on some theologians I read regarding the Trinity, I think I am on safe ground here. Father Horton, you can check me out here if you wish!)
Every covenant structure has this threefold structure -- head, helpmeet, dependent or offspring. (Varies from covenant to covenant, but the basic structure is the same).
Here is the structure of a parish:
Head = priest
Helpmeet = parish
dependents = laity
Likewise with the diocese:
Head = bishop
helpmeet = priests
dependents = parishes
And the church:
Head = Pope
Helpmeet = bishops
dependents = priests.
So we go from families to parishes, to dioceses, to church with the same trinitarian structure in place.
One more thing:
If there is no VISIBLE authority on earth, then Christ does not rule. Your statements about Christ being the Head over the Church are fine and dandy. They are true. But to rule, He MUST have a visible point of reference in which and through which His authority is expressed. The Protestant idea of an "invisible church" is nonsense and the Orthodox idea of "collegiality of bishops" is also wrong. There MUST be a single head over the Church just as in a covenant structure there is a single head over the family, parish, diocese, and church.
Oh, and BTW -- Trinity in Heaven.
Christ = Covenant Head and Last Adam
Theotokos = Covenant helpmeet and New Eve
Saints in Glory = Children of the New Covenant.
No matter where you go, that structure is in place.