Pope Calls for Recognition of Papal Primacy
Benedict’s call on papacy will increase divisions, says Italian Protestant
Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service
08 June 2006
McCain Preface: Assuming this story is correct, the Pope is simply being the Pope and is being entirely consistent with Roman Catholic dogma. Once again we are reminded that: a) there was a need for the Reformation; b) and there remains that need.
By Luigi Sandri
Rome, 8 June (ENI)–An appeal by Pope Benedict XVI for
non-Catholic Christians to recognise papal primacy risks
reinforcing divisions between churches, says an Italian
Speaking at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square on 7 June,
Pope Benedict asserted that Jesus himself had entrusted the
leadership of the Church to his apostle Peter.
"Peter’s responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the
communion with Christ," said Pope Benedict. "Let us pray so that
the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always
be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that
it will be increasingly recognised in its true meaning by
brothers who are still not in communion with us."
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Pope has a leading
role among Christians because as bishop of Rome he is successor
to the apostle Peter who held this office.
However, Professor Fulvio Ferrario of the Protestant Waldensian
theological faculty in Rome insisted the idea of such a "Petrine
succession" was "completely alien" to the New Testament.
"Recent biblical research acknowledges that Peter had a special
role among the group of disciples," Ferrario told the Italian
Protestant news agency NEV. "But this concerns Peter, not
Benedict XVI." He added, "The papacy risks becoming a factor of
division more than of unity, something that ecumenical dialogue
has to take into account."
Pope Benedict said after his election in 2005 that promoting
Christian unity would be his "primary task".
The First Vatican Council in 1870 proclaimed the dogmas of the
papal primacy and of the infallibility of the Pope when he speaks
"ex cathedra", or solemnly declares a definitive and binding
decision on faith or morals.
The role of the Roman Catholic papacy remains a source of
controversy, not only for Protestant denominations but also for
Eastern Orthodox churches which do not accept the dogmas of the
First Vatican Council.
The issue of papal primacy is to be discussed at a meeting of an
international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue commission to take place
in Serbia in September.
Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical "Ut unum sint" (That they
may be one) reaffirmed the 1870 dogmas but said he was ready to
change the way in which primacy was exercised to better promote
unity between churches. [392 words]
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