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, "Brian Ingram" <Brian.Ingram@x>
While I agree with you Thomas that in a wider sense scripture says
that bishops govern over the church and as such have a collective
responsibility for it, however Peter was specifically refereed to in
both Matthew and John's gospel as having an overall shepherding role
in the church. As you put it ."There is no doubt about Peter's Primacy"
you go on to describe this primacy as one of "not of power" , but a
primacy of Love and service that Jesus leaves him.
In fact we could say that all bishops have a primacy in the own jurisdiction
of love and service. However can we deny that they also have from Christ the
authority and power to exercise that love and service? In regards to what you
quoted from St Cyprian of Cathage here is the full text in which explains the
role of Peter and his office.
Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: 'I say to you,' he says, 'that you are Peter, and
upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not
overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and
whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven' [Matt.
16:18-19]). . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives
the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like
power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he
established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that
unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a
primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one
Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the
flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord.
If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine
that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon
whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?"
(The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).
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