Roman Catholics (questions asked by them)



9. Why do you refuse to accept the pope as the Head of the Universal Church and the successor of the apostle Peter?




The reason is because the apostle Peter was not at all established head of the Church of Jesus Christ and thus he was not able to transmit that office to anybody.

If you read carefully the Writings of the New Testament you will see that the Head of the Church is only one, that is, Jesus Christ who is now at the right hand of God the Father. This concept is affirmed by Paul.

He says to the Ephesians that God raised His Son from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, and “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23) and also: “But speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15), and: “Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). Therefore, as the head of the wife is only one person, that is, his husband, so the Head of the Church (which is the wife of the Lamb) is only one person, that is, Christ, her bridegroom or her husband.

Paul says to the Colossians: “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:17-18). Thus the Church of God does not have two heads, one in heaven and the other on earth, or one invisible and the other visible, but only one Head and He is in heaven at the right hand of God and through faith He is in the hearts of all those who have accepted Him as their personal Lord and Saviour.

Therefore, the one you call pope, who claims to be the Head of the Church, commits a sin of pride and he is presumptuous for he has not received from God such a title. The title of ‘Head of the Church’ is a title that the pope has inherited from his predecessor, who in turn had received it from his predecessor and so on.

The first supposed successor of Peter that claimed to be the ‘Head of the Church’ or that claimed to be the pastor of all the churches was Leo I called Great (440-461) – who is called by many ‘the first pope’ – he affirmed clearly and with much strength that Jesus gave unto Peter the primacy of the apostolic dignity, which afterward passed to the bishop of Rome, so the care of all the churches belongs to him. This title became very strong during the seventh century when the Emperor Foca, in 607, to repay the friendship and the adulations of the bishop of Rome, acknowledged the supremacy of the ‘apostolic see of Peter over all the churches’ (caput omnium ecclesiarum) and forbade the patriarch of Constantinople to use the title ‘universal’ (for that patriarch had claimed to be the universal patriarch) which from that moment on had to be given only to the bishop of Rome, who at that time was Boniface III, who, unlike Gregory the Great (the predecessor of Boniface III), forgetting what his predecessor had declared with regard to this matter (Gregory the Great had stated that the bishop who claimed to be the ‘universal bishop’ was forerunner of the antichrist and no Christian must take that name of blasphemy), accepted to be called ‘universal bishop’. Foca gave that title to the bishop of Rome for at that time he was in dispute with the Byzantine patriarch named Ciriac and thus he wanted to discredit him before Rome, and since he was hated by Byzantium he tried to be loved by Rome. Foca was so honoured by the Romans that in 608 they erected a column at the foot of Campidoglio (in Rome), and on the top of that column they put a statue of Foca made of bronze, and on its base there was an inscription in honour of the ‘most clement and pious emperor, victorious forever, crowned by God forever Augustus’.