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Papal Primacy: From Its Origins to the Present (Theology) Paperback – June 1, 1996
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Original Language: German
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Briefly, he organizes the primacy history around the theme of a central concept of raw and largely undefined initial primacy that then goes through subsequent historical interpretations, including the conversion of aristocratic Rome, the Germanic migration into Europe, Feudalism, the rise of absolute monarchism, and then the enlightenment and modernity, each with its own perception of what that primacy meant. Through this churning kaleidoscope of historical context, he records the contests the papacy had for supremacy in the Church with the Roman empire, other episcopal sees in both the East and West, Western European kingdoms and conciliarism, with the culmination of its victory over these various forces in Vatican I.
Vatican II is viewed very much as a work in progress, and with its integration with Vatican I still in doubt, Klaus ends with a note of caution that its efforts to rebalance Catholic ecclesiology with greater collegiality and a communio based ecclesiology are in danger of being perceived in opposition to Vatican I with a renewal the sorts of contests that ultimately rejected Gallicanism in favor of Ultramontanism.
Some who are orthodox Catholics may object to this book, as it admits that papal primacy has developed, and is not practiced today exactly like it was practiced in the early Church. But Schatz is simply relating the true story, in all it's fullness. I consider myself a faithful and orthodox Catholic, and I think this book should be required reading for anyone - Catholic or non-Catholic - who wishes to understand this often-misunderstood doctrine.
For example, Schatz confirms that one of the historical facts that tended to support the Roman church's claim to having some kind of charisma in relation to the teaching of orthodoxy was that time after time the Roman church simply ended up on the "right" side of theological disputes. On Arianism, Monothelitism, Monophysitism, the dating of Easter and other issues, the side that the Roman church ultimately prevailed. Schatz observes:
"Nonetheless, there is no avoiding the question: How is it that in fact Rome always took the right side from the very beginning, even though it by no means had the better theologians or the better theology? The better theologians were in the Greek-speaking East or, as far as the Latin regions are concerned in North Africa from the third century onward."
And, yet, Rome's history of common sense seemed to speak to something about the Roman claim to some kind of pre-eminence as the city where Peter and Paul had died.Read more ›
The origins of papal primacy, as everyone knows it today, lay in the prestige given to the church of Rome in the early church. It was the seat of the Empire and was where Peter and Paul were martyred. Irenaeus in the 2nd century, writing against the Gnostics' claims to secret traditions, appealed to the public traditions of the Episcoplal office, specifically apostolic succession, and lists Rome as a prime example. Beginning in the second half of the fourth century there was a remarkable development of the concept of primacy, especially under Popes Damasus (366-384), Siricius (384-399), Innocent I (402-417), and above all Leo I, the Great (440-461), the initial high point of the papacy in Christian antiquity. The title `pope' itself first appears in the fourth century, initially for a number of individual bishops including the bishop of Alexandria; it has been reserved for the bishop of Rome since the fifth century. This development was characterized in the first place by the concentration of the general complex of ideas surrounding the Roman church, based on the special reverence reserved for Peter and Paul, and now extended along one specific line, namely the Petrine succession of the Roman bishops. This first appeared in the mid-third century with Stephen, but now it became the central and directing idea in the concept of primacy. In the pope, Peter himself is present; indeed Peter lives on in him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a well researched and nuanced study. The prose is thick but slogging through is well worth the effort. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Richard G. McLaughlin
As an Eastern Orthodox Priest, I obviously do not agree with the author's conclusions. In fact, I believe that the evidence that he presents contradicts his conclusion. Read morePublished 19 months ago by bomorris
I was very surprised at the balanced and brutally honest nature to history this book took to the papacy. Read morePublished on May 27, 2012 by A. Behm
This is a fabulous book for both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox who want to understand how the Papacy became what it is today. Read morePublished on January 21, 2011 by Annie Veronica