Defending the Papacy


February 12, 2013 by mattfradd


With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics have a great opportunity to educate and evangelize their non-Catholic (and Catholic!) friends.

In the upcoming weeks your bound to be asked questions like:

Was Peter the “rock” Jesus was referring to in Matthew 16:18? What does it mean to say that the Pope is infallible? What about bad Popes? What did the early Church teach about the primacy of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope)?

In this post I’m going to present three short clips from our radio show, Catholic Answers LiveIf you’re not yet a subscriber to our podcast. Do yourself a favor and type in Catholic Answers Live into itunes and begin your informal yet intense study of all things Catholic.

Is Peter the “Rock” of Matthew 16:18?

The article Jimmy referred to.

What is Papal Infallibility?

What About Bad Popes?

What did the early Church believe? Click here and here to find out!

9 thoughts on “Defending the Papacy

  1. Nice! All of these videos were helpful when I was making the switch from evangelical to Catholic.

  2. Some popes committed really incredibly horrible crimes, including murder. You don’t think their judgment should be questioned when it comes to spiritual rulings made during their “reign”? How could a man be infallible on spiritual things, yet bankrupt on moral things?

    • Jeff says:

      Fortunately, the spiritual ruling made by these really bad popes are few, and never concerned dogma. the infallibility is not related to the persons ability or moral behavior because it comes from the Holy Spirit and not from the man himself (I hope we both agree that the Holy Spirit is not morally corrupt). Hope my two cent could help

      • Jeff,

        That’s a great ideal, but when applied to mortal men it just doesn’t make any sense. At present time, it is my belief that people must feel some need inside to claim infallibility. I don’t understand why Catholics find that necessary. If we look only to God, it’s okay for men to make mistakes. Regardless of whether or not the really bad popes influenced dogma, the fact that they were in the place to do so, and were morally bankrupt, really seems to contradict the idea of infallibility. We are not talking about normal “sins” when we read a list like this one:

        A pope like Alexander VI who committed murders and orgies, for example… how in the world would any reasonable person believe that man was making infallible spiritual decisions?

        My friends, men are men. They are going to behave like men. At times, they are going to make important decisions that are selfish, rather than spiritually infallible. Fortunately, someone else can come along later and clean up their mess. But for those of us who are lay people, we need to take our eyes off of a position that is held by a man, realizing that man is FALLIBLE, and instead focus on the One who is Infallible.

      • Mario Di Cino says:

        A very very simple answer on infallibility for Mr Pauling. Again go back to the Bible (which I believe all Protestants hold very high regard and indeed to be infallible?) -> So, if the Men who wrote the words of God into the books of the Bible, also failed to live perfect moral lives, how can you trust the words of the Bible to be the inerrant infallible word of God? Your attack on the infallibility of the Pope can be equally applied to the Bible. How you shall answer that the Bible is infallible, so shall I answer the Pope to be infallible.

    • Mario Di Cino says:

      Did David not have the husband of Bathsheba murdered? Did not David give us the beauty of the Psalms? Should we throw out the Psalms because David did such a terrible thing while he was King to use his power to satisfy his lust for Bathsheba? I once heard from Matthew Kelly talk a very simple thing to think on this matter, “The abuse of a good, does not diminish the good of the good.” – What he was saying is that the office of a Pope, a Priest, the President of a country and so on – these are all established offices to allow a person to fulfill a duty in service. While a person is seated in office, if they fall down and sin – does everything represented by their office immediately become tarnished and unworthy? Certainly no. Same thing here.

  3. Curtis Fleming says:

    Response to the first video question answer on Matt 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” As discussed in the answer, you need to read before and after this verse.
    When Jesus asked “who do you say I am and Peter replied “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was seeking this type of answer and Peters answer could only be inspired through the moving of the Holy Spirit in Peter.

    When Jesus says to Peter “Thou art Petros (this means a moveable stone) but upon this rock (this immoveable foundation (Christ)) I will build my church…”
    Please consider 1 Peter 2:4-8 and specifically verse 7 “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,” This is saying Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone which the builders rejected. It’s also saying upon Jesus Christ the church is built.

    Saying Matt 16:18 says the “church is built on Peter” is nothing but a major misunderstanding and needs to be understood sincerely by all protestant and Catholic. This passage clearly states Peter himself understood Jesus is the Rock. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4 understands Jesus is the Rock: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” As did David in Psalm 18:31 “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God,” & in Psalm 62:1, 2 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

    It’s impossible for any other foundation other than upon Jesus Christ 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

    “Keys of the kingdom” in v19
    Keys open and shut doors. John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Salvation only comes from Jesus Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” All scripture testifies to Jesus: John 5:39 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

    The keys were “taken away” as salvation was made impossible and upon that 1st covenant, none were able to be saved as it was based on works in keeping the law (Not that Gods’ 10 commandment moral law is not to be kept in the new covenant, only Jesus paid the requirement for the covenant.) The pharisees and alike placed burdens on the people and added hundreds of additional laws and how to keep the laws when Salvation comes through the Messiah, Jesus Christ: Luke 11:52 “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.”

    Jesus was saying to Peter when giving him the keys of the kingdom that he has the knowledge to pass on to all the truth about Jesus being the saviour, the truth about His forgiveness, about His cleansing blood and death on Calvary.

    The knowledge of Jesus opens heaven Isaiah 22:22 “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” It can only be Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

    Answer – Jesus

    God bless

  4. Rachel says:

    Its an exciting time. I love our Pope and I’m going to miss him enormousely but he deserves a peaceful retirement and I’m looking forward to falling head over heals in love with who ever the Holy Spirit helps the conclave to choose next.

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