The  Pope

                      The title pope, once used with far greater latitude (see below, section V), is at
                         present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome, who, in virtue of his
                         position as successor of St. Peter, is the chief pastor of the whole Church, the
                         Vicar of Christ upon earth.

                         Besides the bishopric of the Roman Diocese, certain other dignities are held by
                         the pope as well as the supreme and universal pastorate: he is Archbishop of the
                         Roman Province, Primate of Italy and the adjacent islands, and sole Patriarch of
                         the Western Church. The Church's doctrine as to the pope was authoritatively
                         declared in the Vatican Council in the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus". The four
                         chapters of that Constitution deal respectively with the office of Supreme Head
                         conferred on St. Peter, the perpetuity of this office in the person of the Roman
                         pontiff, the pope's jurisdiction over the faithful, and his supreme authority to define
                         in all questions of faith and morals. This last point has been sufficiently
                         discussed in the article INFALLIBILITY, and will be only incidentally touched on

                         The present article is divided as follows:

                              I. Institution of a Supreme Head by Christ
                              II. Primacy of the Roman See
                              III. Nature and Extent of the Papal Power
                              IV. Jurisdictional Rights and Prerogatives of the Pope
                              V. Primacy of Honour: Titles and Insignia

                                   I. INSTITUTION OF A SUPREME HEAD BY CHRIST

                         The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church is found in the two
                         famous Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-19, and John 21:15-17.

                         In Matthew 16:17-19, the office is solemnly promised to the Apostle. In response
                         to his profession of faith in the Divine Nature of his Master, Christ thus addresses
                         him:. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not
                         revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That 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 on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and
                         whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." The
                         prerogatives here promised are manifestly personal to Peter. His profession of
                         faith was not made as has been sometimes asserted, in the name of the other
                         Apostles. This is evident from the words of Christ. He pronounces on the
                         Apostle, distinguishing him by his name Simon son of John, a peculiar and
                         personal blessing, declaring that his knowledge regarding the Divine Sonship
                         sprang from a special revelation granted to him by the Father (cf. Matthew
                         11:27). He further proceeds to recompense this confession of His Divinity by
                         bestowing upon him a reward proper to himself: "Thou art Peter [Cepha,
                         transliterated also Kipha] and upon this rock [Cepha] I will build my Church." The
                         word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same; this
                         renders it evident that the various attempts to explain the term "rock" as having
                         reference not to Peter himself but to something else are misinterpretations. It is
                         Peter who is the rock of the Church. The term ecclesia (ekklesia) here employed
                         is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew qahal, the name which denoted the Hebrew
                         nation viewed as God's Church (see CHURCH, THE, I).

                         Here then Christ teaches plainly that in the future the Church will be the society
                         of those who acknowledge Him, and that this Church will be built on Peter. The
                         expression presents no difficulty. In both the Old and New Testaments the
                         Church is often spoken of under the metaphor of God's house (Numbers 12:7;
                         Jeremiah 12:7; Osee 8:1; 9:15; 1 Cor. 3:9-17, Eph. 2:20-2; 1 Tim. 3:5; Hebrews
                         3:5; I Peter 2:5). Peter is to be to the Church what the foundation is in regard to a
                         house. He is to be the principle of unity, of stability, and of increase. He is the
                         principle of unity, since what is not joined to that foundation is no part of the
                         Church; of stability, since it is the firmness of this foundation in virtue of which
                         the Church remains unshaken by the storms which buffet her; of increase, since,
                         if she grows, it is because new stones are laid on this foundation. It is through
                         her union with Peter, Christ continues, that the Church will prove the victor in her
                         long contest with the Evil One: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
                         There can be but one explanation of this striking metaphor. The only manner in
                         which a man can stand in such a relation to any corporate body is by
                         possessing authority over it. The supreme head of a body, in dependence on
                         whom all subordinate authorities hold their power, and he alone, can be said to
                         be the principle of stability, unity, and increase. The promise acquires additional
                         solemnity when we remember that both Old Testament prophecy (Isiah 28:16)
                         and Christ's own words (Matthew 7:24) had attributed this office of foundation of
                         the Church to Himself. He is therefore assigning to Peter, of course in a
                         secondary degree, a prerogative which is His own, and thereby associating the
                         Apostle with Himself in an altogether singular manner.

                         In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys
                         of the kingdom of heaven. The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22, where God
                         declares that Eliacim, the son of Helcias, shall be invested with office in place of
                         the worthless Sobna: "And 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." In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ's
                         words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the
                         Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place. Further the character
                         and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to "bind" and
                         to "loose" -- words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and
                         judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever
                         Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification. The
                         meaning of this passage does not seem to have been challenged by any writer
                         until the rise of the sixteenth-century heresies. Since then a great variety of
                         interpretations have been put forward by Protestant controversialists. These
                         agree in little save in the rejection of the plain sense of Christ's words. Some
                         Anglican controversy tends to the view that the reward promised to St. Peter
                         consisted in the prominent part taken by him in the initial activities of the Church,
                         but that he was never more than primus inter pares among the Apostles. It is
                         manifest that this is quite insufficient as an explanation of the terms of Christ's

                         The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the
                         Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to
                         leave the earth, places the whole flock -- the sheep and the lambs alike -- in the
                         charge of the Apostle. The term employed in 21:16, "Be the shepherd [poimaine]
                         of my sheep" indicates that his task is not merely to feed but to rule. It is the
                         same word as is used in Psalm 2:9 (Sept.): "Thou shalt rule [poimaneis] them
                         with a rod of iron". The scene stands in striking parallelism with that of Matthew
                         16. As there the reward was given to Peter after a profession of faith which
                         singled him out from the other eleven, so here Christ demands a similar
                         protestation, but this time of a yet higher virtue: "Simon, son of John, lovest thou
                         Me more than these"? Here, too, as there, He bestows on the Apostle an office
                         which in its highest sense is proper to Himself alone. There Christ had promised
                         to make Peter the foundation-stone of the house of God: here He makes him the
                         shepherd of God's flock to take the place of Himself, the Good Shepherd. The
                         passage receives an admirable comment from St. Chrysostom: "He saith to him,
                         'Feed my sheep'. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to
                         Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the
                         head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others.
                         And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been
                         purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [prostasia] over the brethren. . . . If
                         anyone should say 'Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?',
                         I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole
                         world" ["Hom. 88 (87) in Joan.", 1. Cf. Origen, "In Ep. ad Rom.", 5:10; Ephraem
                         Syrus "Hymn. in B. Petr." in "Bibl. Orient. Assemani", 1:95; Leo I, "Serm. iv de
                         natal.", 2]. Even certain Protestant commentators frankly own that Christ
                         undoubtedly intended here to confer the supreme pastorate on Peter. But other
                         scholars, relying on a passage of St. Cyril of Alexandria ("In Joan." 12:1),
                         maintain that the purpose of the threefold charge was simply to reinstate St.
                         Peter in the Apostolic commission which his threefold denial might be supposed
                         to have lost to him. This interpretation is devoid of all probability. There is not a
                         word in Scripture or in patristic tradition to suggest that St. Peter had forfeited his
                         Apostolic commission; and the supposition is absolutely excluded by the fact
                         that on the evening of the Resurrection he received the same Apostolic powers
                         as the others of the eleven. The solitary phrase of St. Cyril is of no weight against
                         the overwhelming patristic authority for the other view. That such an interpretation
                         should be seriously advocated proves how great is the difficulty experienced by
                         Protestants regarding this text.

                         The position of St. Peter after the Ascension, as shown in the Acts of the
                         Apostles, realizes to the full the great commission bestowed upon him. He is
                         from the first the chief of the Apostolic band -- not primus inter pares, but the
                         undisputed head of the Church (see CHURCH, THE, III). If then Christ, as we
                         have seen, established His Church as a society subordinated to a single
                         supreme head, it follows from the very nature of the case that this office is
                         perpetual, and cannot have been a mere transitory feature of ecclesiastical life.
                         For the Church must endure to the end the very same organization which Christ
                         established. But in an organized society it is precisely the constitution which is
                         the essential feature. A change in constitution transforms it into a society of a
                         different kind. If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ
                         gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork. It would no longer be the Divine
                         kingdom established by Him. As a society it would have passed through
                         essential modifications, and thereby would have become a human, not a Divine
                         institution. None who believe that Christ came on earth to found a Church, an
                         organized society destined to endure for ever, can admit the possibility of a
                         change in the organization given to it by its Founder. The same conclusion also
                         follows from a consideration of the end which, by Christ's declaration, the
                         supremacy of Peter was intended to effect. He was to give the Church strength to
                         resist her foes, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. The
                         contest with the powers of evil does not belong to the Apostolic age alone. It is a
                         permanent feature of the Church's life. Hence, throughout the centuries the office
                         of Peter must be realized in the Church, in order that she may prevail in her
                         age-long struggle. Thus an analysis of Christ's words shows us that the
                         perpetuity of the office of supreme head is to be reckoned among the truths
                         revealed in Scripture. His promise to Peter conveyed not merely a personal
                         prerogative, but established a permanent office in the Church. And in this sense,
                         as will appear in the next section, His words were understood by Latin and Greek
                         Fathers alike.

                                         II. PRIMACY OF THE ROMAN SEE

                         We have shown in the last section that Christ conferred upon St. Peter the office
                         of chief pastor, and that the permanence of that office is essential to the very
                         being of the Church. It must now be established that it belongs of right to the
                         Roman See. The proof will fall into two parts:

                              (a) that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and
                              (b) that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the
                              supreme headship.

                         (a) that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome

                         It is no longer denied by any writer of weight that St. Peter visited Rome and
                         suffered martyrdom there (Harnack, "Chronol.", I, 244, n. 2). Some, however, of
                         those who admit that he taught and suffered in Rome, deny that he was ever
                         bishop of the city e.g. Lightfoot, "Clement of Rome", II, 501; Harnack, op. cit., I,
                         703. It is not, however, difficult to show that the fact of his bishopric is so well
                         attested as to be historically certain. In considering this point, it will be well to
                         begin with the third century, when references to it become frequent, and work
                         backwards from this point. In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian
                         expressly terms the Roman See the Chair of St. Peter, saying that Cornelius has
                         succeeded to "the place of Fabian which is the place of Peter" (Ep 55:8; cf.
                         59:14). Firmilian of Caesarea notices that Stephen claimed to decide the
                         controversy regarding rebaptism on the ground that he held the succession from
                         Peter (Cyprian, Ep. 75:17). He does not deny the claim: yet certainly, had he
                         been able, he would have done so. Thus in 250 the Roman episcopate of Peter
                         was admitted by those best able to know the truth, not merely at Rome but in
                         the churches of Africa and of Asia Minor. In the first quarter of the century (about
                         220) Tertullian (De Pud. 21) mentions Callistus's claim that Peter's power to
                         forgive sins had descended in a special manner to him. Had the Roman Church
                         been merely founded by Peter and not reckoned him as its first bishop, there
                         could have been no ground for such a contention. Tertullian, like Firmilian, had
                         every motive to deny the claim. Moreover, he had himself resided at Rome, and
                         would have been well aware if the idea of a Roman episcopate of Peter had been,
                         as is contended by its opponents, a novelty dating from the first years of the third
                         century, supplanting the older tradition according to which Peter and Paul were
                         co-founders, and Linus first bishop. About the same period, Hippolytus (for
                         Lightfoot is surely right in holding him to be the author of the first part of the
                         "Liberian Catalogue" -- "Clement of Rome", 1:259) reckons Peter in the list of
                         Roman bishops.

                         We have moreover a poem, "Adversus Marcionem", written apparently at the
                         same period, in which Peter is said to have passed on to Linus "the chair on
                         which he himself had sat" (P.L., II 1077). These witnesses bring us to the
                         beginning of the third century. In the second century we cannot look for much
                         evidence. With the exception of Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement of Alexandria,
                         all the writers whose works we possess are apologists against either Jews or
                         pagans. In works of such a character there was no reason to refer to such a
                         matter as Peter's Roman episcopate. Irenaeus, however, supplies us with a
                         cogent argument. In two passages (Adv. haer. 1:27:1, and 3:4:3) he speaks of
                         Hyginus as ninth Bishop of Rome, thus employing an enumeration which involves
                         the inclusion of Peter as first bishop (Lightfoot was undoubtedly wrong in
                         supposing that there was any doubt as to the correctness of the reading in the
                         first of these passages. In 3:4:3, the Latin version, it is true, gives "octavus"; but
                         the Greek text as cited by Eusebius reads enatos. Irenaeus we know visited
                         Rome in 177. At this date, scarcely more than a century after the death of St.
                         Peter, he may well have come in contact with men whose fathers had
                         themselves spoken to the Apostle. The tradition thus supported must be
                         regarded as beyond all legitimate doubt. Lightfoot's suggestion (Clement 1:64),
                         that it had its origin in the Clementine romance, has proved singularly
                         unfortunate. For it is now recognized that this work belongs not to the second,
                         but to the fourth century. Nor is there the slightest ground for the assertion that
                         the language of Irenaeus, 3:3:3, implies that Peter and Paul enjoyed a divided
                         episcopate at Rome -- an arrangement utterly unknown to the Church at any
                         period. He does, it is true, speak of the two Apostles as together handing on the
                         episcopate to Linus. But this expression is explained by the purpose of his
                         argument, which is to vindicate against the Gnostics the validity of the doctrine
                         taught in the Roman Church. Hence he is naturally led to lay stress on the fact
                         that that Church inherited the teaching of both the great Apostles. Epiphanius
                         ("Haer." 27:6) would indeed seem to suggest the divided episcopate; but he has
                         apparently merely misunderstood the words of Irenaeus.

                         (b) that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the
                         supreme headship

                         History bears complete testimony that from the very earliest times the Roman
                         See has ever claimed the supreme headship, and that that headship has been
                         freely acknowledged by the universal Church. We shall here confine ourselves to
                         the consideration of the evidence afforded by the first three centuries. The first
                         witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and
                         Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle
                         to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops
                         whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says,
                         "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them
                         understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and
                         danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things
                         written by us through the Holy Spirit". The tone of authority which inspires the
                         latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as" the first
                         step towards papal domination (Clement 1:70). Thus, at the very commencement
                         of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we
                         find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of
                         another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the
                         influence of the Holy Spirit. Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that
                         in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the
                         universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head.

                         A few years later (about 107) St. Ignatius of Antioch, in the opening of his letter
                         to the Roman Church, refers to its presiding over all other Churches. He
                         addresses it as "presiding over the brotherhood of love [prokathemene tes
                         agapes] The expression, as Funk rightly notes, is grammatically incompatible
                         with the translation advocated by some non-Catholic writers, "pre-eminent in
                         works of love". The same century gives us the witness of St. Irenaeus -- a man
                         who stands in the closest connexion with the age of the Apostles, since he was
                         a disciple of St. Polycarp, who had been appointed. Bishop of Smyrna by St.
                         John. In his work "Adversus Haereses" (3:3:2) he brings against the Gnostic
                         sects of his day the argument that their doctrines have no support in the
                         Apostolic tradition faithfully preserved by the Churches, which could trace the
                         succession of their bishops back to the Twelve. He writes: " Because it would be
                         too long in such a volume as this to enumerate the successions of all the
                         churches, we point to the tradition of that very great and very ancient and
                         universally known Church, which was founded and established at Rome, by the
                         two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul: we point I say, to the tradition which
                         this Church has from the Apostles, and to her faith proclaimed to men which
                         comes down to our time through the succession of her bishops, and so we put to
                         shame . . . all who assemble in unauthorized meetings. For with this Church,
                         because of its superior authority, every Church must agree -- that is the faithful
                         everywhere -- in communion with which Church the tradition of the Apostles has
                         been always preserved by those who are everywhere [Ad hanc enim eoclesiam
                         propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam,
                         hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique,
                         conservata est ea quâ est ab apostolis traditio]". He then proceeds to enumerate
                         the Roman succession from Linus to Eleutherius, the twelfth after the Apostles,
                         who then occupied the see. Non-Catholic writers have sought to rob the passage
                         of its importance by translating the word convenire "to resort to", and thus
                         understanding it to mean no more than that the faithful from every side (undique)
                         resorted to Rome, so that thus the stream of doctrine in that Church was kept
                         immune from error. Such a rendering, however, is excluded by the construction of
                         the argument, which is based entirely on the contention that the Roman doctrine
                         is pure by reason of its derivation from the two great Apostolic founders of the
                         Church, Sts. Peter and Paul. The frequent visits made to Rome by members of
                         other Christian Churches could contribute nothing to this. On the other hand the
                         traditional rendering is postulated by the context, and, though the object of
                         innumerable attacks, none other possessing any real degree of probability has
                         been suggested in its place (see Dom. J. Chapman in "Revue Benedictine",
                         1895, p. 48).

                         During the pontificate of St. Victor (189-98) we have the most explicit assertion of
                         the supremacy of the Roman See in regard to other Churches. A difference of
                         practice between the Churches of Asia Minor and the rest of the Christian world
                         in regard to the day of the Paschal festival led the pope to take action. There is
                         some ground for supposing that the Montanist heretics maintained the Asiatic (or
                         Quartodeciman) practice to be the true one: in this case it would be undesirable
                         that any body of Catholic Christians should appear to support them. But, under
                         any circumstances, such a diversity in the ecclesiastical life of different countries
                         may well have constituted a regrettable feature in the Church, whose very
                         purpose it was to bear witness by her unity to the oneness of God (John 17:21).
                         Victor bade the Asiatic Churches conform to the custom of the remainder of the
                         Church, but was met with determined resistance by Polycrates of Ephesus, who
                         claimed that their custom derived from St. John himself. Victor replied by an
                         excommunication. St. Irenaeus, however, intervened, exhorting Victor not to cut
                         off whole Churches on account of a point which was not a matter of faith. He
                         assumes that the nope can exercise the power, but urges him not to do so.
                         Similarly the resistance of the Asiatic bishops involved no denial of the
                         supremacy of Rome. It indicates solely that the bishops believed St. Victor to be
                         abusing his power in bidding them renounce a custom for which they had
                         Apostolic authority. It was indeed inevitable that, as the Church spread and
                         developed, new problems should present themselves, and that questions should
                         arise as to whether the supreme authority could be legitimately exercised in this
                         or that case. St. Victor, seeing that more harm than good would come from
                         insistence, withdrew the imposed penalty.

                         Not many years since a new and important piece of evidence was brought to light
                         in Asia Minor dating from this period. The sepulchral inscription of Abercius,
                         Bishop of Hieropolis (d. about 200), contains an account of his travels couched in
                         allegorical language. He speaks thus of the Roman Church: "To Rome He
                         [Christ] sent me to contemplate majesty: and to see a queen golden-robed and
                         golden-sandalled." It is difficult not to recognize in this description a testimony to
                         the supreme position of the Roman See. Tertullian's bitter polemic, "De Pudicitia"
                         (about 220), was called forth by an exercise of papal prerogative. Pope Callistus
                         had decided that the rigid discipline which had hitherto prevailed in many
                         Churches must be in large measure relaxed. Tertullian, now lapsed into heresy,
                         fiercely attacks "the peremptory edict", which "the supreme pontiff, the bishop of
                         bishops", has sent forth. The words are intended as sarcasm: but none the less
                         they indicate clearly the position of authority claimed by Rome. And the
                         opposition comes, not from a Catholic bishop, but from a Montanist heretic.

                         The views of St. Cyprian (d. 258) in regard to papal authority have given rise to
                         much discussion. He undoubtedly entertained exaggerated views as to the
                         independence of individual bishops, which eventually led him into serious conflict
                         with Rome. Yet on the fundamental principle his position is clear. He attributed
                         an effective primacy to the pope as the successor of Peter. He makes
                         communion with the See of Rome essential to Catholic communion, speaking of
                         it as "the principal Church whence episcopal unity had its rise" (ad Petri
                         cathedram et ad ecclesiam principalem unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est). The
                         force of this expression becomes clear when viewed in the light of his doctrine as
                         to the unity of the Church. This was he teaches, established by Christ when He
                         founded His Church upon Peter. By this act the unity of the Apostolic college
                         was ensured through the unity of the foundation. The bishops through all time
                         form a similar college, and are bound in a like indivisible unity. Of this unity the
                         Chair of Peter is the source. It fulfils the very office as principle of union which
                         Peter fulfilled in his lifetime. Hence to communicate with an antipope such as
                         Novatian would be schism (Ep. 68:1). He holds, also, that the pope has authority
                         to depose an heretical bishop. When Marcian of Arles fell into heresy, Cyprian,
                         at the request of the bishops of the province, wrote to urge Pope Stephen "to
                         send letters by which, Marcian having been excommunicated, another may be
                         substituted in his place" (Ep. 68:3). It is manifest that one who regarded the
                         Roman See in this light believed that the pope possessed a real and effective
                         Primacy. At the same time it is not to be denied that his views as to the right of
                         the pope to interfere in the government of a diocese already subject to a
                         legitimate and orthodox bishop were inadequate. In the rebaptism controversy his
                         language in regard to St. Stephen was bitter and intemperate. His error on this
                         point does not, however, detract from the fact that he admitted a primacy, not
                         merely of honour but of jurisdiction. Nor should his mistake occasion too much
                         surprise. It is as true in the Church as in merely human institutions that the full
                         implications of a general principle are only realized gradually. The claim to apply
                         it in a particular case is often contested at first, though later ages may wonder
                         that such opposition was possible.

                         Contemporary with St. Cyprian was St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Two incidents
                         bearing on the present question are related of him. Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 7:9)
                         gives us a letter addressed by him to St. Xystus II regarding the case of a man
                         who, as it appeared, had been invalidly baptized by heretics, but who for many
                         years had been frequenting the sacraments of the Church. In it he says that he
                         needs St. Xystus's advice and begs for his decision (gnomen), that he may not
                         fall into error (dedios me hara sphallomai). Again, some years later, the same
                         patriarch occasioned anxiety to some of the brethren by making use of some
                         expressions which appeared hardly compatible with a full belief in the Divinity of
                         Christ. They promptly had recourse to the Holy See and accused him to his
                         namesake, St. Dionysius of Rome, of heretical leanings. The pope replied by
                         laying down authoritatively the true doctrine on the subject. Both events are
                         instructive as showing us how Rome was recognized by the second see in
                         Christendom as empowered to speak with authority on matters of doctrine. (St.
                         Athanasius, "De sententia Dionysii" in P. G., XXV, 500). Equally noteworthy is
                         the action of Emperor Aurelian in 270. A synod of bishops had condemned Paul
                         of Samosata, Patriarch of Alexandria, on a charge of heresy, and had elected
                         Domnus bishop in his place. Paul refused to withdraw, and appeal was made to
                         the civil power. The emperor decreed that he who was acknowledged by the
                         bishops of Italy and the Bishop of Rome, must be recognized as rightful
                         occupant of the see. The incident proves that even the pagans themselves knew
                         well that communion with the Roman See was the essential mark of all Christian
                         Churches. That the imperial Government was well aware of the position of the
                         pope among Christians derives additional confirmation from the saying of St.
                         Cyprian that Decius would have sooner heard of the proclamation of a rival
                         emperor than of the election of a new pope to fill the place of the martyred Fabian
                         (Ep. 55:9).

                         The limits of the present article prevent us from carrying the historical argument
                         further than the year 300. Nor is it in fact necessary to do so. From the beginning
                         of the fourth century the supremacy of Rome is writ large upon the page of
                         history. It is only in regard to the first age of the Church that any question can
                         arise. But the facts we have recounted are entirely sufficient to prove to any
                         unprejudiced mind that the supremacy was exercised and acknowledged from
                         the days of the Apostles. It was not of course exercised in the same way as in
                         later times. The Church was as yet in her infancy: and it would be irrational to
                         look for a fully developed procedure governing the relations of the supreme pontiff
                         to the bishops of other sees. To establish such a system was the work of time,
                         and it was only gradually embodied in the canons. There would, moreover, be
                         little call for frequent intervention when the Apostolic tradition was still fresh and
                         vigorous in every part of Christendom. Hence the papal prerogatives came into
                         play but rarely. But when the Faith was threatened, or the vital welfare of souls
                         demanded action, then Rome intervened. Such were the causes which led to the
                         intervention of St. Dionysius, St. Stephen, St. Callistus, St. Victor, and St.
                         Clement, and their claim to supremacy as the occupants of the Chair of Peter
                         was not disputed. In view of the purposes with which, and with which alone,
                         these early popes employed their supreme power, the contention, so stoutly
                         maintained by Protestant controversialists, that the Roman primacy had its origin
                         in papal ambition, disappears. The motive which inspired these men was not
                         earthly ambition, but zeal for the Faith and the consciousness that to them had
                         been committed the responsibility of its guardianship. The controversialists in
                         question even claim that they are justified in refusing to admit as evidence for the
                         papal primacy any pronouncement emanating from a Roman source, on the
                         ground that, where the personal interests of anyone are concerned, his
                         statements should not be admitted as evidence. Such an objection is utterly
                         fallacious. We are dealing here, not with the statements of an individual, but with
                         the tradition of a Church -- of that Church which, even from the earliest times,
                         was known for the purity of its doctrine, and which had had for its founders and
                         instructors the two chief Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul. That tradition,
                         moreover, is absolutely unbroken, as the pronouncements of the long series of
                         popes bear witness. Nor does it stand alone. The utterances, in which the popes
                         assert their claims to the obedience of all Christian Churches, form part and
                         parcel of a great body of testimony to the Petrine privileges, issuing not merely
                         from the Western Fathers but from those of Greece, Syria, and Egypt. The claim
                         to reject the evidence which comes to us from Rome may be skilful as a piece of
                         special pleading, but it can claim no other value. The first to employ this
                         argument were some of the Gallicans. But it is deservedly repudiated as
                         fallacious and unworthy by Bossuet in his "Defensio cleri gallicani" (II, 1. XI, c.

                         The primacy of St. Peter and the perpetuity of that primacy in the Roman See
                         are dogmatically defined in the canons attached to the first two chapters of the
                         Constitution "Pastor Aeternus":

                              "If anyone shall say that Blessed Peter the Apostle was not constituted
                              by Christ our Lord as chief of all the Apostles and the visible head of the
                              whole Church militant: or that he did not receive directly and immediately
                              from the same Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of true and proper jurisdiction,
                              but one of honour only: let him be anathema."
                              "If any one shall say that it is not by the institution of Christ our Lord
                              Himself or by divinely established right that Blessed Peter has perpetual
                              successors in his primacy over the universal Church: OF that the Roman
                              Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in this same primacy. -- let
                              him be anathema" (Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchiridion", nn. 1823, 1825).

                         A question may be raised as to the precise dogmatic value of the clause of the
                         second canon in which it is asserted that the Roman pontiff is Peter's successor.
                         The truth is infallibly defined. But the Church has authority to define not merely
                         those truths which form part of the original deposit of revelation, but also such as
                         are necessarily connected with this deposit. The former are held fide divina, the
                         latter fide infallibili. Although Christ established the perpetual office of supreme
                         head, Scripture does not tell us that He fixed the law according to which the
                         headship should descend. Granting that He left this to Peter to determine, it is
                         plain that the Apostle need not have attached the primacy to his own see: he
                         might have attached it to another. Some have thought that the law establishing
                         the succession in the Roman episcopate became known to the Apostolic Church
                         as an historic fact. In this case the dogma that the Roman pontiff is at all times
                         the Church's chief pastor would be the conclusion from two premises -- the
                         revealed truth that the Church must ever have a supreme head, and the historic
                         fact that St. Peter attached that office to the Roman See. This conclusion, while
                         necessarily connected with revelation, is not part of revelation, and is accepted
                         fide infallibili. According to other theologians the proposition in question is part of
                         the deposit of faith itself. In this case the Apostles must have known the law
                         determining the succession to the Bishop of Rome, not merely on human
                         testimony, but also by Divine revelation, and they must have taught it as a
                         revealed truth to their disciples. It is this view which is commonly adopted. The
                         definition of the Vatican to the effect that the successor of St. Peter is ever to be
                         found in the Roman pontiff is almost universally held to be a truth revealed by the
                         Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and by them transmitted to the Church.

                                   III. NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE PAPAL POWER

                         This section is divided as follows :

                            1.the pope's universal coercive jurisdiction
                            2.the pope's immediate and ordinary jurisdiction in regard of all the faithful,
                              whether singly or collectively
                            3.the right of entertaining appeals in all ecclesiastical causes.

                         The relation of the pope's authority to that of ecumenical councils, and to the civil
                         power, are discussed in separate articles (see GENERAL COUNCILS; CIVIL

                         (1) The Pope's Universal Coercive Jurisdiction

                         Not only did Christ constitute St. Peter head of the Church, but in the words,
                         "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and
                         whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in heaven," He indicated
                         the scope of this headship. The expressions binding and loosing here employed
                         are derived from the current terminology of the Rabbinic schools. A doctor who
                         declared a thing to be prohibited by the law was said to bind, for thereby he
                         imposed an obligation on the conscience. He who declared it to be lawful was
                         said to loose). In this way the terms had come respectively to signify official
                         commands and permissions in general. The words of Christ, therefore, as
                         understood by His hearers, conveyed the promise to St. Peter of legislative
                         authority within the kingdom over which He had just set him, and legislative
                         authority carries with it as its necessary accompaniment judicial authority.
                         Moreover, the powers conferred in these regards are plenary. This is plainly
                         indicated by the generality of the terms employed: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind .
                         . . Whatsoever thou shalt loose"; nothing is withheld. Further, Peter's authority is
                         subordinated to no earthly superior. The sentences which he gives are to be
                         forthwith ratified in heaven. They do not need the antecedent approval of any
                         other tribunal. He is independent of all save the Master who appointed him. The
                         words as to the power of binding and loosing are, therefore, elucidatory of the
                         promise of the keys which immediately precedes. They explain in what sense
                         Peter is governor and head of Christ's kingdom, the Church, by promising him
                         legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense. In other words, Peter and his
                         successors have power to impose laws both preceptive and prohibitive, power
                         likewise to grant dispensation from these laws, and, when needful, to annul
                         them. It is theirs to judge offences against the laws, to impose and to remit
                         penalties. This judicial authority will even include the power to pardon sin. For sin
                         is a breach of the laws of the supernatural kingdom, and falls under the
                         cognizance of its constituted judges. The gift of this particular power, however, is
                         not expressed with full clearness in this passage. It needed Christ's words (John
                         20:23) to remove all ambiguity. Further, since the Church is the kingdom of the
                         truth, so that an essential note in all her members is the act of submission by
                         which they accept the doctrine of Christ in its entirety, supreme power in this
                         kingdom carries with it a supreme magisterium -- authority to declare that
                         doctrine and to prescribe a rule of faith obligatory on all. Here, too, Peter is
                         subordinated to none save his Master alone; he is the supreme teacher as he is
                         the supreme ruler. However, the tremendous powers thus conferred are limited in
                         their scope by their reference to the ends of the kingdom and to them only. The
                         authority of Peter and his successors does not extend beyond this sphere. With
                         matters that are altogether extrinsic to the Church they are not concerned.

                         Protestant controversialists contend strenuously that the words, "Whatsoever
                         thou shalt bind etc.", confer no special prerogative on Peter, since precisely the
                         same gift, they allege, is conferred on all the Apostles (Matthew 18:18). It is, of
                         course, the case that in that passage the same words are used in regard of all
                         the Twelve. Yet there is a manifest difference between the gift to Peter and that
                         bestowed on the others. In his case the gift is connected with the power of the
                         keys, and this power, as we have seen, signified the supreme authority over the
                         whole kingdom. That gift was not bestowed on the other eleven: and the gift
                         Christ bestowed on them in Matthew 18:18, was received by them as members
                         of the kingdom, and as subject to the authority of him who should be Christ's
                         vicegerent on earth. There is in fact a striking parallelism between Matthew
                         16:19, and the words employed in reference to Christ Himself in Apocalypse 3:7:
                         "He that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth,
                         and no man openeth." In both cases the second clause declares the meaning of
                         the first, and the power signified in the first clause by the metaphor of the keys is
                         supreme. It is worthy of note that to no one else save to Christ and His chosen
                         vicegerent does Holy Scripture attribute the power of the keys.

                         Certain patristic passages are further adduced by non-Catholics as adverse to
                         the meaning given by the Church to Matthew 16:19. St. Augustine in several
                         places tells us that Peter received the keys as representing the Church -- e.g. "In
                         Joan.", tr. 1:12: "Si hoc Petro tantum dictum est, non facit hoc Ecclesia . . .; si
                         hoc ergo in Ecclesia fit, Petrus quando claves accepit, Ecclesiam sanctam
                         significavit' (If this was said to Peter alone, the Church cannot exercise this
                         power . . .; if this power is exercised in the Church, then when Peter received the
                         keys, he signified the Holy Church); cf. tr. 124:5; Serm. 295. It is argued that,
                         according to Augustine, the power denoted by the keys resides primarily not in
                         Peter, but in the whole Church. Christ's gift to His people was merely bestowed
                         on Peter as representing the whole body of the faithful. The right to forgive sins,
                         to exclude from communion, to exercise any other acts of authority, is really the
                         prerogative of the whole Christian congregation. If the minister performs these
                         acts he does so as delegate of the people. The argument, which was formerly
                         employed by Gallican controversialists (cf. Febronius, "De statu eccl.", 1:76),
                         however, rests on a misunderstanding of the passages. Augustine is
                         controverting the Novatian heretics, who affirmed that the power to remit sins was
                         a purely Personal gift to Peter alone, and had disappeared with him. He therefore
                         asserts that Peter received it that it might remain for ever in the Church and be
                         used for its benefit. It is in that sense alone that he says that Peter represented
                         the Church. There is no foundation whatever for saying that he desired to affirm
                         that the Church was the true recipient of the power conferred. Such a view would
                         be contrary to the whole patristic tradition, and is expressly reprobated in the
                         Vatican Decree, cap. 1.

                         It appears from what has been said that, when the popes legislate for the faithful,
                         when they try offenders by juridical process, and enforce their sentences by
                         censures and excommunications, they are employing powers conceded to them
                         by Christ. Their authority to exercise jurisdiction in this way is not founded on the
                         grant of any civil ruler. Indeed the Church has claimed and exercised these
                         powers from the very first. When the Apostles, after the Council of Jerusalem,
                         sent out their decree as vested with Divine authority (Acts 15:28), they were
                         imposing a law on the faithful. When St. Paul bids Timothy not receive an
                         accusation against a presbyter unless it be supported by two or three witnesses,
                         he clearly supposes him to be empowered to judge him in foro externo. This
                         claim to exercise coercive jurisdiction has, as might be expected been denied by
                         various heterodox writers. Thus Marsilius Patavinus (Defensor Pacis 2:4),
                         Antonius de Dominis (De rep. eccl. 4:6-7, 9), Richer (De eccl. et pol. potestate,
                         11-12), and later the Synod of Pistoia, all alike maintained that coercive
                         jurisdiction of every kind belongs to the civil power alone, and sought to restrict
                         the Church to the use of moral means. This error has always been condemned
                         by the Holy See. Thus, in the Bull "Auctorem Fidei", Pius VI makes the following
                         pronouncement regarding one of the Pistoian propositions: "[The aforesaid
                         proposition] in respect of its insinuation that the Church does not possess
                         authority to exact subjection to her decrees otherwise than by means dependent
                         on persuasion: so far as this signifies that the Church 'has not received from God
                         power, not merely to direct by counsel and persuasion but further to command
                         by laws, and to coerce and compel the delinquent and contumacious by external
                         and salutary penalties' [from the brief 'Ad assiduas' (1755) of Benedict XIV], leads
                         to a system already condemned as heretical. " Nor may it be held that the
                         pope's laws must exclusively concern spiritual objects, and their penalties be
                         exclusively of a spiritual character. The Church is a perfect society (see
                         CHURCH XIII). She is not dependent on the permission of the State for her
                         existence, but holds her charter from God. As a perfect society she has a right
                         to all those means which are necessary for the attaining of her end. These,
                         however, will include far more than spiritual objects and spiritual penalties alone:
                         for the Church requires certain material possessions, such, for example, as
                         churches, schools, seminaries, together with the endowments necessary for
                         their sustentation. The administration and the due protection of these goods will
                         require legislation other than what is limited to the spiritual sphere. A large body
                         of canon law must inevitably be formed to determine the conditions of their
                         management. Indeed, there is a fallacy in the assertion that the Church is a
                         spiritual society; it is spiritual as regards the ultimate end to which all its
                         activities are directed, but not as regards its present constitution nor as regards
                         the means at its disposal. The question has been raised whether it be lawful for
                         the Church, not merely to sentence a delinquent to physical penalties, but itself
                         to inflict these penalties. As to this, it is sufficient to note that the right of the
                         Church to invoke the aid of the civil power to execute her sentences is expressly
                         asserted by Boniface VIII in the Bull "Unam Sanctam" This declaration, even if it
                         be not one of those portions of the Bull in which the pope is defining a point of
                         faith, is so clearly connected with the parts expressly stated to possess such
                         character that it is held by theologians to be theologically certain (Palmieri, "De
                         Romano Pontifice", thes. 21). The question is of theoretical, rather than of
                         practical importance, since civil Governments have long ceased to own the
                         obligation of enforcing the decisions of any ecclesiastical authority. This indeed
                         became inevitable when large sections of the population ceased to be Catholic.
                         The state of things supposed could only exist when a whole nation was
                         thoroughly Catholic in spirit, and the force of papal decisions was recognized by
                         all as binding in conscience.

                         (2) The Pope's Immediate and Ordinary Jurisdiction

                         In the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus", cap. 3, the pope is declared to possess
                         ordinary, immediate, and episcopal jurisdiction over all the faithful: "We teach,
                         moreover, and declare that, by the disposition of God, the Roman Church
                         possesses supreme ordinary authority over all Churches, and that the jurisdiction
                         of the Roman Pontiff, which is true episcopal jurisdiction is immediate in its
                         character" (Enchir., n. 1827). It is further added that this authority extends to all
                         alike, both pastors and faithful, whether singly or collectively. An ordinary
                         jurisdiction is one which is exercised by the holder, not by reason of any
                         delegation, but in virtue of the office which he himself holds. All who acknowledge
                         in the pope any primacy of jurisdiction acknowledge that jurisdiction to be
                         ordinary. This point, therefore, does not call for discussion. That the papal
                         authority is likewise immediate has, however, been called in question.
                         Jurisdiction is immediate when its possessor stands in direct relation to those
                         with whose oversight he is charged. If, on the other hand, the supreme authority
                         can only deal directly with the proximate superiors, and not with the subjects
                         save through their intervention, his power is not Immediate but mediate. That the
                         pope's jurisdiction is not thus restricted appears from the analysis already given
                         of Christ's words to St. Peter. It has been shown that He conferred on him a
                         primacy over the Church, which is universal in its scope, extending to all the
                         Church's members, and which needs the support of no other power. A primacy
                         such as this manifestly gives to him and to his successors a direct authority over
                         all the faithful. This is also implied in the words of the pastoral commission, "
                         Feed my sheep ". The shepherd exercises immediate authority over all the sheep
                         of his flock. Every member of the Church has been thus committed to Peter and
                         those who follow him. This immediate authority has been always claimed by the
                         Holy See. It was, however, denied by Febronius (op. cit., 7:7). That writer
                         contended that the duty of the pope was to exercise a general oversight over the
                         Church and to direct the bishops by his counsel; in case of necessity, where the
                         legitimate pastor was guilty of grave wrong, he could pronounce sentence of
                         excommunication against him and proceed against him according to the canons,
                         but he could not on his own authority depose him (op. cit., 2:4:9). The Febronian
                         doctrines, though devoid of any historical foundation, yet, through their appeal to
                         the spirit of nationalism, exerted a powerful influence for harm on Catholic life in
                         Germany during the eighteenth and part of the nineteenth century. Thus it was
                         imperative that the error should be definitively condemned. That the pope's power
                         is truly episcopal needs no proof. It follows from the fact that he enjoys an
                         ordinary pastoral authority, both legislative and judicial, and immediate in relation
                         to its subjects. Moreover, since this power regards the pastors as well as the
                         faithful, the pope is rightly termed Pastor pastorum, and Episcopus episcoporum.

                         It is frequently objected by writers of the Anglican school that, by declaring the
                         pope to possess an immediate episcopal jurisdiction over all the faithful, the
                         Vatican Council destroyed the authority of the diocesan episcopate. It is further
                         pointed out that St. Gregory the Great expressly repudiated this title (Ep. 7:27;
                         8:30). To this it is replied that no difficulty is involved in the exercise of immediate
                         jurisdiction over the same subjects by two rulers, provided only that these rulers
                         stand in subordination, the one to the other. We constantly see the system at
                         work. In an army the regimental officer and the general both possess immediate
                         authority over the soldiers; yet no one maintains that the inferior authority is
                         thereby annulled. The objection lacks all weight. The Vatican Council says most
                         justly (cap. iii): "This power of the supreme pontiff in no way derogates from the
                         ordinary immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, in virtue of which the bishops,
                         who, appointed by the Holy Spirit [Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the place of
                         the Apostles as true pastors, feed and rule their several flocks, each the one
                         which has been assigned to him: that power is rather maintained, confirmed and
                         defended by the supreme pastor" (Enchir., n. 1828). It is without doubt true that
                         St. Gregory repudiated in strong terms the title of universal bishop, and relates
                         that St. Leo rejected it when it was offered him by the fathers of Chalcedon. But,
                         as he used it, it has a different signification from that with which it was employed
                         in the Vatican Council. St. Gregory understood it as involving the denial of the
                         authority of the local diocesan (Ep. 5:21). No one, he maintains, has a right so to
                         term himself universal bishop as to usurp that apostolically constituted power.
                         But he was himself a strenuous asserter of that immediate jurisdiction over all
                         the faithful which is signified by this title as used in the Vatican Decree. Thus he
                         reverses (Ep. 6:15) a sentence passed on a priest by Patriarch John of
                         Constantinople, an act which itself involves a claim to universal authority, and
                         explicitly states that the Church of Constantinople is subject to the Apostolic
                         See (Ep. 9:12). The title of universal bishop occurs as early as the eighth
                         century; and in 1413 the faculty of Paris rejected the proposition of John Hus that
                         the pope was not universal bishop (Natalis Alexander, 'Hist. eccl.", saec. XV and
                         XVI, c. ii, art. 3, n. 6)

                         (3) The Right of Entertaining Appeals in All Ecclesiastical Causes

                         The Council goes on to affirm that the pope is the supreme judge of the faithful,
                         and that to him appeal may be made in all ecclesiastical causes. The right of
                         appeal follows as a necessary corollary from the doctrine of the primacy. If the
                         pope really possesses a supreme jurisdiction over the Church, every other
                         authority, whether episcopal or synodal, being subject to him, there must of
                         necessity be an appeal to him from all inferior tribunals. This question, however,
                         has been the subject of much controversy. The Gallican divines de Marca and
                         Quesnel, and in Germany Febronius, sought to show that the right of appeal to
                         the pope was a mere concession derived from ecclesiastical canons, and that
                         the influence of the pseudo-Isidorean decretals had led to many unjustifiable
                         exaggerations in the papal claims. The arguments of these writers are at the
                         present day employed by frankly anti-Catholic controversialists with a view to
                         showing that the whole primacy is a merely human institution. It is contended
                         that the right of appeal was first granted at Sardica (343), and that each step of
                         its subsequent development can be traced. History, however, renders it
                         abundantly clear that the right of appeal had been known from primitive times,
                         and that the purpose of the Sardican canons was merely to give conciliar
                         ratification to an already existing usage. It will be convenient to speak first of the
                         Sardican question, and then to examine the evidence as regards previous

                         In the years immediately preceding Sardica, St. Athanasius had appealed to
                         Rome against the decision of the Council of Tyre (335). Pope Julius had annulled
                         the action of that council, and had restored Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra
                         to their sees. The Eusebians, however, had contested his right to call a conciliar
                         decision in question. The fathers who met at Sardica, and who included the most
                         eminent of the orthodox party from East and West alike, desired by their decrees
                         to affirm this right, and to establish a canonical mode of procedure for such
                         appeals. The principal provisions of the canons which deal with this matter are:

                              that a bishop condemned by the bishops of his province may appeal to
                              the pope either on his own initiative or through his judges;
                              that if the pope entertains the appeal he shall appoint a court of second
                              instance drawn from the bishops of the neighbouring provinces; he may, if
                              he thinks fit, send judges to sit with the bishops.

                         There is nothing whatever to suggest that new privileges are being conferred. St.
                         Julius had recently, not merely exercised the right of hearing appeals in the most
                         formal manner, but had severely censured the Eusebians for neglecting to
                         respect the supreme judicial rights of the Roman See: "for", he writes, "if they
                         [Athanasius and Marcellus] really did some wrong, as you say, the judgment
                         ought to have been given according to the ecclesiastical canon and not thus....
                         Do you not know that this has been the custom first to write to us, and then for
                         that which is just to be defined from hence?" (Athanasius, "Apol." 35) . Nor is
                         there the smallest ground for the assertion that the pope's action is hedged in
                         within narrow limits, on the ground that no more is permitted than that he should
                         order a re-hearing to take place on the spot. The fathers in no way disputed the
                         pope's right to hear the case at Rome. But their object was to deprive the
                         Eusebians of the facile excuse that it was idle for appeals to be carried to Rome,
                         since there the requisite evidence could not be forthcoming. They therefore
                         provided a canonical procedure which should not be open to that objection.

                         Having thus shown that there is no ground for the assertion that the right of
                         appeal was first granted at Sardica, we may now consider the evidence for its
                         existence in earlier times. The records of the second century are so scanty as to
                         throw but little light on the subject. Yet it would seem that Montanus, Prisca, and
                         Maximilla appealed to Rome against the decision of the Phrygian bishops.
                         Tertullian (Con. Prax. 1), tells us that the pope at first acknowledged the
                         genuineness of their prophecies, and that thus "he was giving peace to the
                         Churches of Asia and Phrygia", when further information led him to recall the
                         letters of peace which he had issued. The fact that the pope's decision had
                         weight to decide the whole question of their orthodoxy is sufficiently significant.
                         But in St Cyprian's correspondence we find clear and unmistakable evidence of a
                         system of appeals. Basilides and Martial, the bishops of Leon and Merida in
                         Spain, had in the persecution accepted certificates of idolatry. They confessed
                         their guilt, and were in consequence deposed, other bishops being appointed to
                         the sees. In the hope of having themselves reinstated they appealed to Rome,
                         and succeeded, by misrepresenting the facts, in imposing on St. Stephen, who
                         ordered their restoration. It has been objected to the evidence drawn from this
                         incident, that St. Cyprian did not acknowledge the validity of the papal decision,
                         but exhorted the people of Leon and Merida to hold fast to the sentence of
                         deposition (Ep. 67:6). But the objection misses the point of St. Cyprian's letter.
                         In the case in question there was no room for a legitimate appeal, since the two
                         bishops had confessed. An acquittal obtained after spontaneous confession
                         could not be valid. It has further been urged that, in the case of Fortunatus (Ep.
                         59:10), Cyprian denies his right of appeal to Rome, and asserts the sufficiency of
                         the African tribunal. But here too the objection rests upon a misunderstanding.
                         Fortunatus had procured consecration as Bishop of Carthage from a heretical
                         bishop, and St. Cyprian asserts the competency of the local synod in his case
                         on the ground that he is no true bishop -- a mere pseudo-episcopus. Juridically
                         considered he is merely an insubordinate presbyter, and he must submit himself
                         to his own bishop. At that period the established custom denied the right of
                         appeal to the inferior clergy. On the other hand, the action of Fortunatus
                         indicates that he based his claim to bring the question of his status before the
                         pope on the ground that he was a legitimate bishop. Privatus of Lambese, the
                         heretical consecrator of Fortunatus who had previously been himself condemned
                         by a synod of ninety bishops (Ep. 59:10), had appealed to Rome without
                         success (Ep. 36:4).

                         The difficulties at Carthage which led to the Donatist schism provide us with
                         another instance. When the seventy Numidian bishops, who had condemned
                         Caecilian, invoked the aid of the emperor, the latter referred them to Rome, that
                         the case might be decided by Pope Miltiades (313). St. Augustine makes
                         frequent mention of the circumstances, and indicates plainly that he holds it to
                         have been Caecilian's undoubted right to claim a trial before the pope. He says
                         that Secundus should never have dared to condemn Caecilian when he declined
                         to submit his case to the African bishops, since he had the right "to reserve his
                         whole case to the judgment of other colleagues, especially to that of Apostolical
                         Churches" (Ep. 43:7). A little later (367) a council, held at Tyana in Asia Minor,
                         restored to his see Eustathius, bishop of that city, on no other ground than that
                         of a successful appeal to Rome. St. Basil (Ep. 263:3) tells us that they did not
                         know what test of orthodoxy Liberius had required. He brought a letter from the
                         pope demanding his restoration, and this was accepted as decisive by the
                         council It should be observed that there can be no question here of the pope
                         employing prerogatives conferred on him at Sardica, for he did not follow the
                         procedure there indicated. Indeed there is no good reason to believe that the
                         Sardican procedure ever came into use in either East or West. In 378 the
                         appellate jurisdiction of the pope received civil sanction from Emperor Gratian.
                         Any charge against a metropolitan was to come before the pope himself or a
                         court of bishops nominated by him, while all (Western) bishops had the right of
                         appeal from - their provincial synod to the pope (Mansi, III, 624). Similarly
                         Valentinian III in 445 assigned to the pope the right of evoking to Rome any
                         cause he should think fit (Cod. Theod. Novell., tit. 24, De episcoporum ordin.).
                         These ordinances were not, however, in any sense the source of the pope's
                         jurisdiction, which rested on Divine institution; they were civil sanctions enabling
                         the pope to avail himself of the civil machinery of the empire in discharging the
                         duties of his office. What Pope Nicholas I said of the synodal declarations
                         regarding the privileges of the Holy See holds good here also: "Ista privilegia huic
                         sanctae Ecclesiae a Christo donata, a synodis non donata, sed jam solummodo
                         venerata et celebrata" (These privileges bestowed by Christ on this Holy Church
                         have not been granted her by synods, but merely proclaimed and honoured by
                         them) ("Ep. ad Michaelem Imp." in P. L., CXIX, 948).

                         Much has been made by anti-Catholic writers of the famous letter "Optaremus",
                         addressed in 426 by the African bishops to Pope St. Celestine at the close of the
                         incident relating to the priest Apiarius. As the point is discussed in a special
                         article (APIARIUS OF SICCA), a brief reference will suffice here. Protestant
                         controversialists maintain that in this letter the African bishops positively
                         repudiate the claim of Rome to an appellate jurisdiction, the repudiation being
                         consequent on the fact that they had in 419 satisfied themselves that Pope
                         Zosimus was mistaken in claiming the authority of Nicaea for the Sardican
                         canons. This is an error. The letter, it is true, urges with some display of irritation
                         that it would be both more reasonable and more in harmony with the fifth Nicene
                         canon regarding the inferior clergy and the laity, if even episcopal cases were left
                         to the decision of the African synod. The pope's authority is nowhere denied, but
                         the sufficiency of the local tribunals is asserted. Indeed the right of the pope to
                         deal with episcopal cases was freely acknowledged by the African Church even
                         after it had been shown that the Sardican canons did not emanate from Nicaea.
                         Antony, Bishop of Fussala, prosecuted an appeal to Rome against St. Augustine
                         in 423, the appeal being supported by the Primate of Numidia (Ep. ccix).
                         Moreover, St. Augustine in his letter to Pope Celestine on this subject urges that
                         previous popes have dealt with similar cases in the same manner, sometimes by
                         independent decisions and sometimes by confirmation of the decisions locally
                         given (ipsa sede apostolica judicante vel aliorum judicata firmante), and that he
                         could cite examples either from ancient or from more recent times (Ep. 209:8).
                         These facts appear to be absolutely conclusive as to the traditional African
                         practice. That the letter "Optaremus" did not result in any change is evinced by a
                         letter of St. Leo's in 446, directing what is to be done in the case of a certain
                         Lupicinus who had appealed to him (Ep. 12:13). It is occasionally argued that if
                         the pope really possessed jure divino a supreme jurisdiction, the African bishops
                         would neither have raised any question in 419 as to whether the alleged canons
                         were authentic, nor again have in 426 requested the pope to take the Nicene
                         canon as the norm of his action. Those who reason in this way fail to see that,
                         where canons have been established prescribing the mode of procedure to be
                         followed in the Church, right reason demands that the supreme authority should
                         not alter them except for some grave cause, and, as long as they remain the
                         recognized law of the Church should observe them. The pope as God's vicar
                         must govern according to reason, not arbitrarily nor capriciously. This, however,
                         is a very different thing from saying, as did the Gallican divines, that the pope is
                         subject to the canons. He is not subject to them, because he is competent to
                         modify or to annul them when he holds this to be best for the Church.


                         In virtue of his office as supreme teacher and ruler of the faithful, the chief control
                         of every department of the Church's life belongs to the pope. In this section the
                         rights and duties which thus fall to his lot will be briefly enumerated. It will appear
                         that, in regard to a considerable number of points, not merely the supreme
                         control, but the whole exercise of power is reserved to the Holy See, and is only
                         granted to others by express delegation. This system of reservation is possible,
                         since the pope is the universal source. of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Hence it
                         rests with him to determine in what measure he will confer jurisdiction on bishops
                         and other prelates.

                         (1) As the supreme teacher of the Church, whose it is to prescribe what is to be
                         believed by all the faithful, and to take measures for the preservation and the
                         propagation of the faith, the following are the rights which pertain to the pope:

                              it is his to set forth creeds, and to determine when and by whom an
                              explicit profession of faith shall be made (cf. Council of Trent, Sess. 24,
                              cc. 1 and 12);
                              it is his to prescribe and to command books for the religious instruction of
                              the faithful; thus, for example, Clement XIII has recommended the Roman
                              Catechism to all the bishops.
                              The pope alone can establish a university, possessing the status and
                              privileges of a canonically erected Catholic university;
                              to him also belongs the direction of Catholic missions throughout the
                              world; this charge is fulfilled through the Congregation of the Propaganda.
                              It is his to prohibit the reading of such books as are injurious to faith or
                              morals, and to determine the conditions on which certain classes of
                              books may be issued by Catholics;
                              his is the condemnation of given propositions as being either heretical or
                              deserving of some minor degree of censure, and lastly
                              he has the right to interpret authentically the natural law. Thus, it is his to
                              say what is lawful or unlawful in regard to social and family life, in regard
                              to the practice of usury, etc.

                         (2) With the pope's office of supreme teacher are closely connected his rights in
                         regard to the worship of God: for it is the law of prayer that fixes the law of belief.
                         In this sphere very much has been reserved to the sole regulation of the Holy
                         See. Thus

                              the pope alone can prescribe the liturgical services employed in the
                              Church. If a doubt should occur in regard to the ceremonial of the liturgy, a
                              bishop may not settle the point on his own authority, but must have
                              recourse to Rome. The Holy See likewise prescribes rules in regard to the
                              devotions used by the faithful, and in this way checks the growth of what
                              is novel and unauthorized.
                              At the present day the institution and abrogation of festivals which was till
                              a comparatively recent time free to all bishops as regards their own
                              dioceses, is reserved to Rome.
                              The solemn canonization of a saint is proper to the pope. Indeed it is
                              commonly held that this is an exercise of the papal infallibility.
                              Beatification and every permission for the public veneration of any of the
                              servants of God is likewise reserved to his decision.
                              He alone gives to anyone the privilege of a private chapel where Mass may
                              be said.
                              He dispenses the treasury of the Church, and the grant of plenary
                              indulgences is reserved to him. While he has no authority in regard to the
                              substantial rites of the sacraments, and is bound to preserve them as
                              they were given to the Church by Christ and His Apostles, certain powers
                              in their regard belong to him;
                              he can give to simple priests the Power to confirm, and to bless the oil of
                              the sick and the oil of catechumens, and
                              he can establish diriment and impedient impediments to matrimony.

                         (3) The legislative power of the pope carries with it the following rights:

                              he can legislate for the whole Church, with or without the assistance of a
                              general council;
                              if he legislates with the aid of a council it is his to convoke it, to preside,
                              to direct its deliberations, to confirm its acts.
                              He has full authority to interpret, alter, and abrogate both his own laws
                              and those established by his predecessors. He has the same plenitude of
                              power as they enjoyed, and stands in the same relation to their laws as to
                              those which he himself has decreed;
                              he can dispense individuals from the obligation of all purely ecclesiastical
                              laws, and can grant privileges and exemptions in their regard. In this
                              connexion may be mentioned
                              his power to dispense from vows where the greater glory of God renders it
                              desirable. Considerable powers of dispensation are granted to bishops,
                              and, in a restricted measure, also to priests; but there are some vows
                              reserved altogether to the Holy See.

                         (4) In virtue of his supreme judicial authority

                              causae majores are reserved to him. By this term are signified cases
                              dealing with matters of great moment, or those in which personages of
                              eminent dignity are concerned.
                              His appellate jurisdiction has been discussed in the previous section. It
                              should, however, be noted
                              that the pope has full right, should he see fit, to deal even with causae
                              minores in the first instance, and not merely by reason of an appeal
                              (Trent, Sess. XXIV; cap. 20). In what concerns punishment,
                              he can inflict censures either by judicial sentence or by general laws
                              which operate without need of such sentence.
                              He further reserves certain cases to his own tribunal. All cases of heresy
                              come before the Congregation of the Inquisition. A similar reservation
                              covers the cases in which a bishop or a reigning prince is the accused

                         (5) As the supreme governor of the Church the pope has authority over all
                         appointments to its public offices. Thus

                              it is his to nominate to bishoprics, or, where the nomination has been
                              conceded to others, to give confirmation. Further, he alone can translate
                              bishops from one see to another, can accept their resignation, and can,
                              where grave cause exists, sentence to deprivation.
                              He can establish dioceses, and can annul a previously existing
                              arrangement in favour of a new one. Similarly, he alone can erect
                              cathedral and collegiate chapters.
                              He can approve new religious orders, and can, if he sees fit, exempt them
                              from the authority of local ordinaries.
                              Since his office of supreme ruler imposes on him the duty of enforcing the
                              canons, it is requisite that he should be kept informed as to the state of
                              the various dioceses. He may obtain this information by legates or by
                              summoning the bishops to Rome. At the present day this jus relationum
                              is exercised through the triennial visit ad limina required of all bishops.
                              This system was introduced by Sixtus V in 1585 (Constitution, "Rom.
                              Pontifex"), and confirmed by Benedict XIV in 1740 (Constitution, "Quod
                              Sancta") .
                              It is to be further observed that the pope's office of chief ruler of the Church
                              carries with it jure divino the right to free intercourse with the pastors and
                              the faithful. The placitum regium, by which this intercourse was limited
                              and impeded, was therefore an infringement of a sacred right, and as such
                              was solemnly condemned by the Vatican Council (Constitution, "Pastor
                              Aeternus", cap. iii). To the pope likewise belongs the supreme
                              administration of the goods of the Church.
                              He alone can, where there is just cause, alienate any considerable
                              quantity of such property. Thus, e.g., Julius III, at the time of the
                              restoration of religion in England under Queen Mary validated the title of
                              those laymen who had acquired Church lands during the spoliations of the
                              previous reigns.
                              The pope has further the right to impose taxes on the clergy and the
                              faithful for ecclesiastical purposes (cf. Trent, Sess. XXI, cap. iv de Ref.).

                         Though the power of the pope, as we have described it, is very great, it does not
                         follow that it is arbitrary and unrestricted. "The pope", as Cardinal Hergenröther
                         well says, "is circumscribed by the consciousness of the necessity of making a
                         righteous and beneficent use of the duties attached to his privileges....He is also
                         circumscribed by the spirit and practice of the Church, by the respect due to
                         General Councils and to ancient statutes and customs, by the rights of bishops,
                         by his relation with civil powers, by the traditional mild tone of government
                         indicated by the aim of the institution of the papacy -- to 'feed' -- and finally by the
                         respect indispensable in a spiritual power towards the spirit and mind of nations"
                         ("Cath. Church and Christian State", tr., I, 197).

                                   V. PRIMACY OF HONOUR: TITLES AND INSIGNIA

                         Certain titles and distinctive marks of honour are assigned to the pope alone;
                         these constitute what is termed his primacy of honour. These prerogatives are
                         not, as are his jurisdictional rights, attached jure divino to his office. They have
                         grown up in the course of history, and are consecrated by the usage of centuries;
                         yet they are not incapable of modification.

                         (1) Titles

                         The most noteworthy of the titles are Papa, Summus Pontifex, Pontifex
                         Maximus, Servus servorum Dei. The title pope (papa) was, as has been stated,
                         at one time employed with far more latitude. In the East it has always been used
                         to designate simple priests. In the Western Church, however, it seems from the
                         beginning to have been restricted to bishops (Tertullian, "De Pud." 13). It was
                         apparently in the fourth century that it began to become a distinctive title of the
                         Roman Pontiff. Pope Siricius (d. 398) seems so to use it (Ep. vi in P. L., XIII,
                         1164), and Ennodius of Pavia (d. 473) employs it still more clearly in this sense
                         in a letter to Pope Symmachus (P. L., LXIII, 69). Yet as late as the seventh
                         century St. Gall (d. 640) addresses Desiderius of Cahors as papa (P. L., LXXXVII,
                         265). Gregory VII finally prescribed that it should be confined to the successors
                         of Peter. The terms Pontifex Maximus, Summus Pontifex, were doubtless
                         originally employed with reference to the Jewish high-priest, whose place the
                         Christian bishops were regarded as holding each in his own diocese (I Clement
                         40). As regards the title Pontifex Maximus, especially in its application to the
                         pope, there was further a reminiscence of the dignity attached to that title in
                         pagan Rome. Tertullian, as has already been said, uses the phrase of Pope
                         Callistus. Though his words are ironical, they probably indicate that Catholics
                         already applied it to the pope. But here too the terms were once less narrowly
                         restricted in their use. Pontifex summus was used of the bishop of some notable
                         see in relation to those of less importance. Hilary of Arles (d. 449) is so styled by
                         Eucherius of Lyons (P. L., L, 773), and Lanfranc is termed "primas et pontifex
                         summus" by his biographer, Milo Crispin (P. L., CL, 10). Pope Nicholas I is
                         termed "summus pontifex et universalis papa" by his legate Arsenius (Hardouin,
                         "Conc.", V, 280), and subsequent examples are common. After the eleventh
                         century it appears to be only used of the popes. The phrase Servus servorum Dei
                         is now so entirely a papal title that a Bull in which it should be wanting would be
                         reckoned unauthentic. Yet this designation also was once applied to others.
                         Augustine (Ep. 217 a. d. Vitalem) entitles himself "servus Christi et per Ipsum
                         servus servorum Ipsius". Desiderius of Cahors made use of it (Thomassin,
                         "Ecclesiae nov. et vet. disc.", pt. I, I. I, c. iv, n. 4): so also did St. Boniface (740),
                         the apostle of Germany (P. L., LXXIX, 700). The first of the popes to adopt it was
                         seemingly Gregory I; he appears to have done co in contrast to the claim put
                         forward by the Patriarch of Constantinople to the title of universal bishop (P. L.,
                         LXXV, 87). The restriction of the term to the pope alone began in the ninth

                         (2) Insignia and Marks of Honour

                         The pope is distinguished by the use of the tiara or triple crown. At what date the
                         custom of crowning the pope was introduced is unknown. It was certainly
                         previous to the forged donation of Constantine, which dates from the
                         commencement of the ninth century, for mention is there made of the pope's
                         coronation. The triple crown is of much later origin. The pope moreover does not,
                         like ordinary bishops, use the bent pastoral staff, but only the erect cross. This
                         custom was introduced before the reign of Innocent III (1198-1216) (cap. un. X de
                         sacra unctione, I, 15). He further uses the pallium at all ecclesiastical functions,
                         and not under the same restrictions as do the archbishops on whom he has
                         conferred it. The kissing of the pope's foot -- the characteristic act of reverence
                         by which all the faithful do honour to him as the vicar of Christ -- is found as early
                         as the eighth century. We read that Emperor Justinian II paid this respect to
                         Pope Constantine (708-16) (Anastasius Bibl. in P. L., CXXVIII 949). Even at an
                         earlier date Emperor Justin had prostrated himself before Pope John I (523-6; op.
                         cit., 515), and Justinian I before Agapetus (535-6; op. cit., 551). The pope, it may
                         be added, ranks as the first of Christian princes, and in Catholic countries his
                         ambassadors have precedence over other members of the diplomatic body.

                         (For the full list of men who have held this office, see LIST OF POPES.)

                         G. H. Joyce
                         Transcribed by Gerard Haffner

                                           The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII
                                        Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company
                                        Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
                                      Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
                                     Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

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