Solid Rock or Stumbling Block?

Fr. Samuel Edwards, SSM, Vicar of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Waynesville, NC (a mission of the Diocese of the Eastern United States of ACA/TAC) has written to commend his latest piece, a consideration of the Petrine Ministry in the Universal Church.  Fr. Edwards concludes that the doctrines of the Catholic Church with respect to the ministry of the Bishop of Rome meet the classical threefold Anglican test for legitimate teaching: conformability with Scripture, Tradition, and Reason.

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Solid Rock or Stumbling Block?

A Consideration of the Petrine Ministry

by Fr Samuel Edwards SSM

In my last article for this web page, I led you through a rather lengthy consideration of the catholic doctrines that involve the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the history of our redemption.  Now, I would invite you to consider with me the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church which is Christ’s Bride and Body.  It is my hope that what follows will clarify matters so that those who, after much prayerful reflection, are led to the acceptance of the offer of Anglican Ordinariates in communion with the See of Rome, will know what it is they will be affirming and so that those who, after much prayerful reflection, decide not to accept it will understand what it is they are declining to affirm.

There are three basic and essential doctrinal elements related to catholic teaching concerning the Petrine ministry exercised by the Bishop of Rome, which may briefly be denoted by the words primacy, succession, and infallibility.  We will consider these in order, but at the outset it is worth noting that most Anglicans of the various species of “high churchmanship” (ranging from “prayer book catholic” to “anglo-papalist”) haven’t much difficulty with succession, and many have no great difficulty with primacy.  Most of the difficulty revolves around the last item: infallibility, about which there is more distortion and nonsense circulating than about the other two combined (which is saying a lot, since there is no small amount of distortion and nonsense in circulation about them).

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