The Catholic Defender: The Importance and Foundation of the Papacy
To really understand the Chair of Peter, we must start from the beginning when God called Moses to lead the people out of bondage.
The Lord God shows His Authority through the Covenants He has made with His people. Jesus Christ is closely identified through the history of His coming from Heaven to Earth for the salvation of mankind.
Isaiah 11:1-2 states, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord”.
What Isaiah is giving in a prophetic inference here is that from Jesse, Father of King David, would come from his Seat of Authority, from the loins of David, a successor.
Consider Matthew 23:2, where Jesus is saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses”.
The Chair of Moses, as an Authority Seat to be handed down as an "office", is not reported in the Old Testament as such, but it is found in the Jewish Tradition kept in the “Mishna”. This is very important because Sola Scriptura never was the accepted revelation.
Opponents might refer back to Exodus 18:13 where Moses sat in judgment over the people of Israel. The text does show that Moses did in fact sit in judgment. The scripture itself does not speak to or address an office based on this “Chair” from which Moses sat from. It does however give foundation of the authority God gave to Moses.
It is interesting to note that Jethro, Moses Father-in-Law, gave Moses advice saying, “But you should also look among all the people for able and God-fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them as officers over groups of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens”.
Jethro is giving us a perfect example of a “Chain of Command” concept.
This gives the foundation that even today, the Bishops, Priests, Deacons, those who are the ordained of God, are in union with the Bishop of Rome.
I've been asked by some where in the bible does it give any successor to Moses? In the past I've responded with Deuteronomy 31:14 that says, “The Lord said to Moses, the time is now approaching for you to die. Summon Joshua, and present yourself at the meeting tent that I may give him his commission…”
Verse 23 continues, “Then the Lord commissioned Joshua, son of Nun, and said to him, Be brave and steadfast, for it is you who must bring the Israelite into the Land which I promised them on oath. I myself will be with you”.
Deuteronomy 34:9 states, “Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid hands upon him; and so the Israelite gave him their obedience, thus carrying out the Lord’s command to Moses”.
Joshua 1:6-9 the Lord says, “Be firm and steadfast, so that you may give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers I would give them. Above all, be firm and steadfast, taking care to observe the entire law which my servant Moses enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed where ever you go. Keep this book of the law on your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may observe carefully all that is written in it: then you will successfully attain your goal. I command you: be firm and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you where ever you go”.
Clearly, Joshua is the successor of Moses. At the end of Joshua’s life, it is interesting that the nation of Israel “served the Lord during the entire lifetime of Joshua and that of the elders who outlived Joshua and knew all that the Lord had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31). Joshua would be a bridge between Moses, the placing of the Israelite in the land of milk and honey, and the time of the Judges.
With Joshua’s death, the Elders of Israel consulted the Lord about the Cannaanites who had attacked them.
The following time period Israel is ruled by whom God chose to lead the Armies of Israel.
The Tribes of Jacob were setting up their townships, they were clearing the land for the people of Israel.
Several battles were waged with the Canaanites and Perizzites, Caleb was one of Israel's leaders. Caleb is a Pre-Judge figure that led the people during this time of war.
Judges 3:10 says that “The spirit of the Lord came upon him (Kenaz), and he judged Israel".
From Joshua to Kenaz, the Israelite had a series of infidelities and offended the Lord. It is important following Scripture that God worked through those who served Him.
Tradition plays a historical role establishing or rather showing that the “Seat of Moses” Jesus referred to can be shown using scripture. It is clear that God chose men to lead the Nation of Israel from Moses, Joshua, Caleb, and then Kenaz.
The Elders of Israel would continue the Lord’s will until about a generation later when new blood succeeded them and this is when Israel first began to serve the false god of Baal (related to Dagon, the god of the Philistines) abandoning the Lord. Notice that the Lord does not forsake his promise to Moses, that he keeps faith with Israel despite the peoples unfaithfulness.
God continue to raise men to lead the people. Ehud, Shamgar, Barak would be the earliest Judges. Barak had a unique helper that the Lord tremendously worked through in Deborah. Even though the Lord was clearly working through Deborah, she submitted to Barak’s authority. Barak was wise to have Deborah to be with him. Judges 4:8 says, "If you “Deborah” come with me, I will go; if you do not come with me, I will not go”. Deborah responded, I will certainly go with you, but you shall not gain the glory in the expedition on which you are setting out, for the Lord will have Sisera fall into the power of a woman”.
To Baraks credit, he didn’t care, he put God first and Deborah joined Barak and journeyed with him to Kedesh.
Then the call of Gideon, Samson, Micah were among those who Judged Isreal.
During this time, God clearly moved through the authority given to Moses through the Priesthood of Levi, the Judges, the Prophets, and the Kings.
Consider what the Scripture reveals during an episode where authority is passed down during the period of the Prophets, as we seen the authority given to Joshua, 2 Kings 2:7 states, “Fifty of the guild prophets followed, and when the two (Elijah and Elisha) stopped at the Jordon, stood facing them at a distance. Elijah took his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water, which divided, and both crossed over on dry ground. After Elijah was taken in a fiery chariot into heaven through a whirlwind. Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle where it was dropped. Elisha struck the water as did Elijah and as before, the water parted as before and Elisha crossed back to the other side of the river. “
The guild prophets in Jericho who were on the other side saw Elisha and said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha”.
What a powerful anointing that the Lord demonstrates in this text. Clearly, Elisha succeeded Elijah. Finally, the people wanted a king and thus the story of the appointment by God for Samuel, the current Prophet, to anoint King Saul.
From here it is easy to follow the Keys given to the household of David (Isaiah 22:22) and the transfer of those Keys to St. Peter (Matthew 16:19) by Jesus Christ Our Lord.
In the Old Testament, there are typologies that point to the Catholic Faith, Jeremiah 3:15 states, "I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently."
Jeremiah 31:31-34 states, "See, days are coming—oracle of the LORD—when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke my covenant, though I was their master—oracle of the LORD. But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days—oracle of the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will no longer teach their friends and relatives, “Know the LORD!” Everyone, from least to greatest, shall know me—oracle of the LORD—for I will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin."
Isaiah 56 has an interesting passage regarding Gentiles, "And foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, To love the name of the LORD, to become his servants—All who keep the sabbath without profaning it and hold fast to my covenant, Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." The Gentiles would take center stage.
King Solomon and the his successors had 12 ministers who helped the King rule, the Master of the palace, the Royal Steward (Prime Minister) held the leadership position of the twelve. Something Jesus set up among His Twelve Apostles.
Consider that St. Peter was a Jew from Galilee, he anointed the next three Popes who would succeed him. St. Linus was from Tuscany who became a Convert and traveled with St. Paul preaching the infant Catholic Faith. 2 Timothy 4:21 states, "Try to get here before winter. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus,* Claudia, and all the brothers send greetings." St. Linus served from 67 to 76 A.D. and died a martyr for the faith.
St. Anacletus was the third Pope, the second successor of St. Peter, was a Roman who served the office of the Papacy for 12 years from 76 to 88 A.D. and died a martyr for the faith.
St. Clement I was the fourth Pope, the third successor of St. Peter was a Roman convert through the Preaching of St. Peter and Paul and became a co-worker with St. Paul. Philippians 4:3 states, "Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate, to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the book of life." St. Clement served the office of Papacy from 88 to 99 A.D. and died a martyr for the faith.
What I hope to have demonstrated here, from Moses to Pope Francis (the 266th successor of St. Peter), God has ruled his people through the Authority of the Covenants (Jeremiah 31:31-32, Matthew 26:25-28) that were in place in accordance to God’s revelation and his love for his people.
Man’s unfaithfulness to God never broke the Lord’s promise. We see the Lord establishing His Apostles to be His Church with authority that has been handed down through Apostolic Succession. Consider a warning Jesus gives who serves in this office if they do not fulfill their duty. Matthew 25:45-51 states, "Who, then, is the wise and trustworthy servant whom the master placed over his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed that servant if his master's arrival finds him doing exactly that. In truth I tell you, he will put him in charge of everything he owns. But if the servant is dishonest and says to himself, "My master is taking his time," and sets about beating his fellow-servants and eating and drinking with drunkards, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.'
The laying on of hands and the anointing of the Lord upon men (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6, Titus 1:5) throughout the ages to proclaim God’s word, to administer his justice, to care for the sick, to lead to salvation the people of God.
So, In comparison, the Catholic Faith was founded by Christ, His Apostles, the Priesthood of Christ. Just as the Lord instructs Joshua to “be firm and steadfast”! St. Paul writes, “Therefore,my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast,always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:13-15)
From this point on, there have been many people try to give an explanation of who Jesus is. Some denied the Divinity of Christ as the Arians did as the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do today. Some denied Jesus having two natures rejecting either his humanity as the Donatanst did as well as the Nestorians. Others denied Jesus was necessary for salvation for all rejecting original sin as the Pelagian doctrine. There are several entities who have been confused to who Jesus is.
"Simon Peter said in reply (to Jesus Question, who do people say that I am), 'You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God' ( Matthew 16:16). St. Peter identifies who Jesus is and this has been the basis for the Catholic Church ever since.
"Jesus said to him (Peter) in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Bar-Jona. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" (Matthew 16:17).
This is a great indication that the Lord can anoint a person revealing that the Father here worked through St. Peter. This is the foundation of the teaching of Papal Infallibility. Jesus is the great "I Am" and has the power to transmit authority creating a new office.
The keys of this office supersedes the keys given to the household of King David (Isaiah 22:22).
Jesus continues, "And so I say to you, you are Peter, (Kepa), and upon this rock (Kepa) I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
This is a most important verse because it provides the hope that those waiting in "Prison" (1 Peter 3:19) will be liberated through the Christ through the Church.
The Power of death will not overcome the Church because Christ has laid the foundation on St. Peter. St. Paul writes, "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" St. Paul continues, "But thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:55-58). The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church!
Jesus continues speaking to St. Peter, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:18-19). Compare what Isaiah wrote about the Authority of the Royal Steward in the household of David, "I will place the key* of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open. I will fix him as a peg in a firm place, a seat of honor for his ancestral house; On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs."
The Prime Minister here is described by Isaiah as a father to Jerusalem and all of Judah. Incidentally, the word Pope means "Papa" (father).
The Apostles understood Jesus meaning of the keys as an office of authority.
The Lord is clear that he is giving his authority to his Church. Isaiah prophecies the Lord's authority in his word saying, "No weapon fashioned against you shall prevail; every tongue you shall prove false that launches an accusation against you. This is the lot of the servants of the Lord, their vindication from me, says the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17)
St. Peter would be chosen by Christ to lead "the lot of the servants of the Lord"! This is important as we pray for the Pope and for all the bishops in union with him as well as all the priests, deacons and religious for their leadership in the Catholic faith. Also for the family to be strengthened by that leadership.
Acts 5:15 states an interesting happening, "Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured."
Acts 5:12-16 states an interesting happening, "Many signs and wonders were done among the people at the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s portico. None of the others dared to join them, but the people esteemed them. Yet more than ever, believers in the Lord, great numbers of men and women, were added to them. Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them. A large number of people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem also gathered, bringing the sick and those disturbed by unclean spirits, and they were all cured."
By her first birthday, Gianna Masciantonio had already undergone several rounds of surgeries and chemotherapy for her brain tumor. But her parents said that it didn't start shrinking until the tot received a kiss from Pope Francis. The Philadelphia Daily News reported that the doctors had given a dire diagnosis, her rare brain tumor was inoperable. The parents were told to "go home, enjoy the last weeks, maybe months that you have with her. After the Pope kissed the little girl, something drastically took place immediately. When taken to the hospital following this event, the scans showed the tumor "basically gone". The parents credits the miracle as a result of the Pope's kiss.