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catholic church's claims are weak in early history, regarding papal infallibility

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 675 times Debate No: 36889
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if you go to and look at their quotes supporting the papacy, they and read them in a unifying sense only and not as the catholic church would have you believe, you see a different way to interpret them. and, if you look at their most striking quotes from cyprian and firmilian, you might want to defer to the catholics, until you read the context of those qutoes.
and if you read more on early history, papal supermemcy is far from certain. you'd think it'd be clearer.

St. Cyprian(200-258 a.d.):
"To all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power...the other Apostles also were what Peter was, endued with an equal fellowship both of honor and power..."(On the Unity of the Catholic Church, 4)

Cyprian once called a council of 87 bishops in Carthage. The purpose of that council, according to The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. V, was:

When Stephen, bishop of Rome, had by his letters condemned the decree of the African Council on the Baptism of Heretics, Cyprian lost no time in holding another council at Carthage with a greater number of bishops. ("The Seventh Council of Carthage, Under Cyprian, Concerning the Baptism of Heretics")
That council declared, in the very first paragraph of its report of proceedings:

For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. (ibid.)"

If St. Cyprian believed that the bishop of Rome was pope and had primacy over all other bishops, he sure had a strange way of showing it!

Cyprian's colleague responded....
I (Firmilian) am justly indignant at this so open and manifest folly of Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid, should introduce many other rocks and establish new buildings of many churches; maintaining that there is baptism in them by his authority (Epistle 74.17).
How great sin have you (Stephen) heaped up for yourself, when you cut yourself off from so many flocks! For it is yourself that you have cut off. Do not deceive yourself, since he is really the schismatic who has made himself an apostate from the communion of ecclesiastical unity. For while you think that all may be excommunicated by you, you have excommunicated yourself alone from all (Epistle 74.24).

was Cyprian Wrong? No, Cyprian was right, and history remembers him, not Stephen. Numerous writings of St. Cyprian have been preserved, but none of Stephen's.
But our subject here is not whether Cyprian was right. The subject is whether Cyprian can be quoted as proof of papal primacy in the 3rd century church. And clearly, he cannot be.

Even if St. Cyprian was a heretic and dangerous man, the issue is that Catholic apologists are quoting him in defense of the bishop of Rome having the authority of a pope in Cyprian's time. Quoting him out of the context of his life and his other sayings is simply dishonest.

the easter controversy
victor is from about 100 AD .... Though Victor tried to change the stance of the churches of Asia Minor, and though he threatened to break fellowship with them if they didnA533;t change their stance, they ignored his threats. The church father and church historian Eusebius, in his church history (5:24), records part of a letter written to Victor by Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus. Polycrates explains that he and other church leaders will maintain their stance on the celebration of Easter, and that they arenA533;t intimidated by VictorA533;s threats:
"I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said A533;we ought to obey God rather than man.A533; "


councils and popes

The Counsil of NIcea (325 a.d.)
In Canon 6, this council declared that each center was to be ruled by its own bishop and not by one head over all bishops. (Ante Nicene Father, 7:502, "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles")

Pope Gregory, 500AD
"I say it without the least hisitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is by his pride the precursor of the anti-Christ because he thus attempts to raise himself above the others. The error into which he falls springs from pride equal to that of the anti-Christ. For as that wicked one wished to be regarded as exalted above other men, like a god, so likewise whosoever would call himself sole bishop exalteth himself above others"

" Your Holiness has been at pains to tell us that in addressing certain persons you no longer give them certain tiles that have no better origin than pride, using this phrase regarding me 'as you have commanded me.' I pray you let me never again here this word command; for i know who i am and who you are, by your position you are my brethren; by your virtue you are my fathers. I have, therefore, not commanded; I have only been careful to point out things which seemed to me useful. Still i do not find that your Holiness has perfectly remembered what i particularly wished to empress on your memory; FOR I SAID THAT YOU SHOULD NO MORE GIVE THAT TITLE TO ME THAN TO OTHERS; and lo! in the superscription of your letter, you gave to me, who have proscribed them, the VAINGLORIOUS TITLES OF UNIVERSAL AND POPE. May your sweet Holiness do so no more in the future. I beseech you; FOR YOU TAKE FROM YOURSELF WHAT YOU GIVE EXCESS TO ANOTHER. I do not esteem that an honor which caused my brethren to lose their own dignity. My honor is that of the whole Church. My honor is the unshakable firmness of my brethren. I consider myself truly honored when no one is denied the honor due to them. IF YOUR HOLINESS CALLS ME UNIVERSAL POPE, YOU DENY THAT YOU ARE YOURSELF WHAT I SHOULD BE ALTOGETHER. GOD FORBID! FAR FROM US BE WORDS THAT PUFF UP VANITY AND WOUND CHARITY."

The reason why he wrote this letter was to refute schisms that the bishop of rome had more authority then the other bishops. Would it make sense to think that gregory had authority over the other bishops after he just wrote this letter to the bishop of alexandria saying in so many words that he was equal to him?

"It cannot be denied that if any one bishop be called universal, all the church crumbles if that universal one fall"


St. Jerome (342-420 a.d.)
"Wherever a bishop may be whether at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of the same worth...for all of them are the successors of the apostles."

St. Ambrose of Milan (`300): "He (St. Peter), then, who before was silent, to teach us that we ought not to repeat the words of the impious, this one, I say, when he heard, 'But who do you say I am,' immediately, not unmindful of his station, exercised his primacy, that is, the primacy of confession, not of honor; the primacy of belief, not of rank. This, then, is Peter, who has replied for the rest of the Apostles; rather, before the rest of men...." [Saint Ambrose, The Sacrament of the Incarnation of Our Lord, IV.32-V.34].

Newman said the alternative unifying thory is a formidable belief. he said the chruch grew like an acorn tree. whether it grew through God's power into what it is now, or by man's power, he said early history could be interpreted either way. the reason he was saying this is because people were dissing the chuch because the early text is so ambiguos, and he wanted them to realize the organic nature of the church: even if it were true, it's not gonna just spring up; if you were Peter, you wouldn't just say hey i'm infallible, watch out; it's be more natural. if it were true, i'm sure he had a time coming to grips with w


it is not wok and it is strong and it is most infapable! case closen
Debate Round No. 1


dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.


higgs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


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higgs forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: The forfeitures forced my score. I do not feel that the Opening Argument was ever answered.