Catherine's Curiosity Corner

Buy the truth and sell it not. Prov. 23:23

"The Vatican Council defines as an article of faith that ... Christ 'conferred upon Peter alone the jurisdiction of Chief Pastor [shepherd] and Ruler over all the flock'" (Question Box, p. 147).

...but the Bible repeatedly says Jesus is the Chief Shepherd!

John 10:11,14 - Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We should not follow strangers (v1,5,8-13; cf. Ezek. 34:23; 37:24; Psa. 23).

1 Peter 5:4 - Peter himself spoke of the Prince Shepherd (the footnote in the Catholic Bible says, "the Greek reads, 'the chief Shepherd'"). This Shepherd will come to reward the faithful, clearly referring to Jesus' second coming (2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:10; 22:12; Matt. 25:31-46; etc.)

Hebrews 13:20 - Jesus is the Great Shepherd.

Even the Catholic Bible says Jesus is the Chief or Great Shepherd, but the Catholic council declared, as an article of faith, that this position belongs to "Peter alone"!

Read the official declaration in the box below.

Peter was simply a presbyter/overseer/shepherd:

"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory." (1 Peter 5:1-4)

Notice that this verse is a commentary on Jn 21 because it shows Peter to be a common "pastor/shepherd" as were in all the churches. Contrary to Catholic theology, Peter describes himself as a "fellow-shepherd" on an equal level with other fellow elders. The chief shepherd is Jesus not Peter.

The Doctrine of the First Vatican Council

So we teach and declare that according to the testimonies of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For the one Simon, to whom he had before said: "Thou shalt be called Cephas (John 1: 42), after he had given forth his confession with those words: "Thou art Christ, Son of the Living God (Matt 16:16), the Lord spoke with these solemn words: "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 shall give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven (Matt. 16:17ff).

And upon Simon Peter alone Jesus after His resurrection conferred the jurisdiction of the highest pastor and rector of his entire fold, saying: "Feed my lambs," "feed my sheep" (John 21:15ff).

To this teaching of Sacred Scriptures, so manifest as it has been always understood by the Catholic Church, are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone, before the other apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ; or, of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed on the blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through this Church upon him as the minister of the Church herself." (Denzinger, no. 1822).

There follows the anathema11 against those who deny this doctrine:

If anyone then says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not established by the Lord Christ as the chief of all the Apostles, and the visible head of the whole militant Church, or, that the same received great honor but did not receive from the same Our Lord Jesus Christ directly and immediately the primacy in true and proper jurisdiction: let him be anathema." (Denzinger, no. 1823).


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