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Monday, December 03, 2007

Bishop of Rome has primacy, but...

This is supposed to be taken as a sign of hope, that the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople accepts papal primacy to an extent. But it remains a bit frustrating when it stops short of what, in my opinion, the reason for papal primacy is. What was the Lord thinking when he indeed named one of the twelve apostles, perhaps the most impetuous among them, their leader? Why proclaim that he would build his Church on him, Simon Peter, as the rock? Why declare that he now holds the keys of the kingdom, and that he has the authority from Heaven to bind and to loose? Why charge him, who ran away at the Lord's arrest and denied him three times hours later, to strengthen his brothers? How could he trust him, of all apostles, to feed the Lord's sheep?

We'll all be sure to ask when we finally meet the Lord face to face. Somehow I don't think it has that much to do with the impeccable character of Simon, son of John In the meantime, I tend to wonder how St. Peter would feel today if he is now told, "Oh, yes, you do have primacy over all bishops, but only in honor. You have no mandate of discipline over us. We don't have to listen to you, old boy. Collegiality and all that. After all, who needs you to arbitrate for us, when we all have the charism of truth and teaching? I mean, what function do you have, given that we always agree on all important matters of faith and morals anyway?

Uh huh.

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