Arguments against Papal Faith: Peter

The First Vatican Council taught the dogma that each Roman Pontiff has the divine charism of a never-failing faith. This dogma has been rejected by the opponents of Pope Francis, the papal accusers. For they accuse him of having failed in faith by apostasy, heresy, and idolatry. By this accusation, they reveal themselves to be heretics against the dogmas of the First Vatican Council, and schismatics against the Pope.

Reply to Some Objections

1. That Peter failed in faith by saying that the Lord ought not to suffer His Passion and Crucifixion.

[Matthew]
{16:22} And Peter, taking him aside, began to rebuke him, saying, “Lord, may it be far from you; this shall not happen to you.”
{16:23} And turning away, Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind me, Satan; you are an obstacle to me. For you are not behaving according to what is of God, but according to what is of men.”

This occurred before Peter became the Roman Pontiff. There can be no Vicar of Christ on earth while Christ himself is on earth, as Teacher and Leader of the nascent Church. Who would go to the “Pope” during a time when they could go directly to Christ? What role would such a “Pope” have, while Jesus was running the Church directly?

Peter did not become Roman Pontiff until the Ascension of Christ. For then the Church needed a Supreme Pastor to act with the authority of Christ: the Vicar of Christ.

As confirmation of this truth, the reign of Peter (determined by my work in Biblical chronology) was 33 years and 6 weeks, from the Ascension to the death of Peter. And that is the same as the length of Christ’s life, from the Incarnation to the Crucifixion. Then no Pope has ever reigned for as long or longer than Peter: 33 years, 6 weeks.

2. That Peter failed in faith by betraying Christ.

[Matthew]
{26:69} Yet truly, Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a maidservant approached him, saying, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”
{26:70} But he denied it in the sight of them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
{26:71} Then, as he exited by the gate, another maidservant saw him. And she said to those who were there, “This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
{26:72} And again, he denied it with an oath, “For I do not know the man.”
{26:73} And after a little while, those who were standing nearby came and said to Peter: “Truly, you also are one of them. For even your manner of speaking reveals you.”
{26:74} Then he began to curse and to swear that he had not known the man. And immediately the rooster crowed.
{26:75} And Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which he had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And going outside, he wept bitterly.

Peter denied Christ three times. His faith failed. But this was before Peter became Pope at the Ascension.

3. Jesus refers to the conversion of Peter after Satan sifts him like wheat:

[Luke]
{22:31} And the Lord said: “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan has asked for you, so that he may sift you like wheat.
{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.”

Satan was allowed to test Peter, who failed by betraying Christ as His Passion (as in Mt 26 above). But Jesus is referring to the time of the Pontificate of Peter, when his fail will be never failing due to the prayer and promise of Christ. Then, having been “converted” or confirmed in faith by the prevenient grace of God, Peter confirms his brethren the other Bishops, so that, as a body, they too cannot fail in faith.

The failures of Peter in faith all occur before his reign as the first Roman Pontiff.

4. That Paul corrected Peter.

[Galatians]
{2:11} But when Cephas had arrived at Antioch, I stood against him to his face, because he was blameworthy.
{2:12} For before certain ones arrived from James, he ate with the Gentiles. But when they had arrived, he drew apart and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.
{2:13} And the other Jews consented to his pretense, so that even Barnabas was led by them into that falseness.
{2:14} But when I had seen that they were not walking correctly, by the truth of the Gospel, I said to Cephas in front of everyone: “If you, while you are a Jew, are living like the Gentiles and not the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to keep the customs of the Jews?”

The error here is not apostasy, heresy, or idolatry. Peter simply ate with Jewish Christians, i.e. those who had converted from Judaism, and he declined to eat with the Gentile Christians. Such an error is not a false teaching on faith or morals, but a bad personal example. Peter did not require Gentiles to be circumcised, nor did he require them to follow the Jewish dietary laws. This was a deviation from the faith by personal example.

A worse example of the same type of error occurred when Pope Alexander VI kept a mistress. He did not teach that adultery or fornication was moral. He did not change the canons of the Church on divorce and remarriage. And while many claim that Alexander was among the “worst” Popes, no one accuses him of apostasy, heresy, or idolatry.

Peter stood corrected by Paul. But even if he had not accepted the correction, there is no failure of faith here, only an imprudent practice (which might give the wrong impression about doctrine).

Summary

There is no basis in Scripture for anyone to use the passages on Saint Peter as a way to justify accusing any Pope of apostasy, heresy, or idolatry. The prayer and promise of Jesus (Lk 22:32) makes certain, by the prevenient grace of God, that the faith of each Roman Pontiff is never failing, and that the faith of the body of Bishops is never failing. And since the Church is indefectible, the body of Bishops can never follow a false head. Therefore, when any Pope is accepted by the body of Bishops as Roman Pontiff, it is a dogmatic fact that he is the valid and true Roman Pontiff. And if the body of Bishops continues to follow him, he continues to be the valid Pope.

Therefore, all claims that Pope Francis was never a valid Pope, or that he lost his validity due to some error or sin, such as apostasy, heresy, or idolatry, are false, contrary to dogma, contrary to the Gospel and the very words of Jesus. All such claims are heretical and schismatic. Public formal heretics are automatically excommunicated, as are public formal schismatics. So these papal accusers, who take great pride in their public exclamations against Pope Francis, are proclaiming their own heresy, schism, and excommunication.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
theologian

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5 Responses to Arguments against Papal Faith: Peter

  1. Alex says:

    Here come the first excommunications, although made by a local bishop not by the Vatican
    https://www.complicitclergy.com/2019/12/25/catholic-hermits-excommunicated-on-christmas-day/
    “the Hermits of Westray received notification of their excommunication on Christmas Day. The three Scottish hermits were reportedly excommunicated for a post on their website entitled “The Declaration.” In the post, the hermits declare:
    “Never in history has there been such a Pope, who by his actions, words and teaching, has thrown the whole Church into confusion. There have been bad and immoral Popes like John XII, and Alexander VI, there have been mad Popes, like Urban VI, there have been severe and unbalanced reforming Popes like Paul IV, and there have been pleasure loving Popes like Leo X, but none of them have spread such alarm throughout the Catholic Church. Such days have never been seen since the days of the Arian heresy, and yet these days are far, far worse.

    Tragically the head of the Church on Earth, Pope Francis, by his utterances, his behaviour, his teaching and his actions, has shown himself to be indeed a great heretic. He has proclaimed that no-one goes to Hell, he has undermined the indissolubility of marriage, he has approved of couples living together, he has behaved in an ambiguous fashion towards homosexuals, and received warmly, not only homosexual couples, but a transgender person and his fiancé and pro-abortion advocates. Pope Francis has said that the death penalty is inadmissible, and finally, in outright contradiction to the First Commandment, has said that God has willed all religions, and that this must be taught throughout the Church in her seminaries, her universities, and her schools. ”

    Sounds familiar with recent similar letters, isn’t it? What a pity for them they do not have their own pope to return the policies that send to hell everyone who dares to suggest for the all-good God that His Love is greater than the sin and that He loves everyone even the biggest sinner, as pope Francis said on Christmas. As far as the other religions go, it is not a secret that there are holy people among those billions, as well as sinners. In a way, a sinner within the Catholic Church would be much more responsible. “To Whom Much is Given, Much Will Be Required”(Luke 12:48)
    I don’t remember in which apparition Our Lady said that many catholics go to hell.

    Instead of accusing the holy pope of heresy, let those stone hearts examine themselves aren’t they themselves on the way of perdition, not by committing sexual sins but by committing sins of pride and disobedience to the one Jesus appointed. Pretty much the sins that Satan committed and fell from heaven to form the hell (that wasn’t originally in God’s design, according to one apparition). While judging the others how sinful they are, how sinful the pope is by “condoning” them, they forget that the first thing is to save one own’s soul and they are about to lose theirs.
    They also forget the words of St Paul:
    1 Corinthians 5
    12What business of mine is it to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

    They are not in a position to judge anyone. Not even their spiritual leaders such as archbishop Vigano, they do NOT have authority over the 1.3 bln Catholics to judge what sins send whom to hell. That should be made clear. Jesus gave the keys of Heaven to Peter, not to them! Peter can loose any bond and it is loosed on heaven as well. Instead of judging the church, they have become that wicked man Paul talks about to be expelled.

    Deo Gratias for the timely decision of the local Scottish bishop to expel them! In that way, they still have the chance to save their souls without bringing more simple but deluded souls on their own dangerous way. More excommunications to follow and before the next conclave, if we do not want to ruin Everything done by several holy popes since Vatican II.

  2. sircliges says:

    What do you think about papal critics that recognize Francis as true Pope and complain only about his bad behaviour?

    • Ron Conte says:

      They sin by arrogance in judging the Pope: the first see is judged by no one. They claim he is true Pope, but they accuse him of heresy, which all the Saints say would cause a Pope to cease to be true Pope IF he could commit that sin. So they contradict themselves. They violate the dogma of Vatican One, that each Pope has the gift of truth and a never failing faith. And they judge the Pope without charity. For example, regarding Human Fraternity, they complained that the diversity of religions can only be the permissive will of God. Francis agreed with them repeated, and they still accused him of holding the opposite opinion and of heresy. And there is not even a dogma on this topic to make any opinion heretical. They commit many objective mortal sins publicly and severely.

  3. sircliges says:

    What if I no accuse Pope of heresy, but only of bad behaviour?

    For example, I comply about the way he managed the McCarrick situation.

    • Ron Conte says:

      “complain”, not “comply”. We cannot accuse any Pope of grave errors in doctrine or discipline, nor of failures of faith. We can disagree with prudential judgments. But we must never take the role of judging and condemning the Pope. He did not handle that situation as well in the beginning as he did later. But I believe more than a few persons were lying to him on behalf of McCarrick. And we don’t know all the details of the McCarrick case. Francis brought him to a guilty verdict and a lost appeal. Previous Popes were unable to do as much. But there is room for disagreeing with and cricitizing decisions.

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