THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: A SHORT HISTORY by Hans Kung, Pp.60-61:
Under Justinian, of all emperors, Pope Vigilius presented such contradictory theological viewpoints in the face of the heretical monotheism at the Fifth Ecumencial Council, in Constantinople, in 553 that he lost all credibility. Later he was not even buried in St. Peter’s, and down the centures was ignored even in the West.
Pope Honorius I was even worse. At the Sixth Ecumenical Council, in Constantinople, in 681, and then also at the Seventh and Eighth Ecumenical Councils he was condemned as a heretic; this was confirmed by his successor Leo II and by subsequent Roman popes.
Historical research, notably that of Yves Congar, has shown that down to the twelfth century, outside Rome the significance of the Roman church was not understood as a real teaching authority in the legal sense (magisterium) but as a religious authority, which was given with the martyrdom and tombs of Peter and Paul. No one in the whole of the first millennium regarded decisions of the pope as infallible.
I’ve found that the longer I go without reading at least a bit of scripture, the further I drift from fulfilling life. I’ve just started using some online commentaries to help me try to understand verses that confuse me a bit. This has been very helpful, yet, also very frustrating. It does seem like any verse can be used to support multiple positions. But, then I realize that there is a constant, identifiable thread of truth when the bible is looked at as a whole and not in dissected, distorted parts.
My family is bi-denominational. As a family we alternate weekly attendance to a Catholic church (my wife) and a Presbyterian church (me). She does so very much because it is familiar to her and is tradition while I, though I admit this view could be considered slanted, attend hoping to really come closer to God’s will for my life. She doesn’t seem to have any real rationale for following the Catholic template, but, refuses to let go.
This family dynamic provides a lot of opportunities for me to raise questions, though. By referring to a couple of online commentaries, reading the scripture in different translations, e-mailing my wife’s priest and my pastor, I have resolved my confusion about Matthew 16 when (as the Catholic interpretation implies) Christ named Peter the leader of the church and established the beginning of what Catholics would come to refer to as apostolic succession. Basically, there is no evidence in scripture that Peter was ever the high leader of the original church. Under the concept of ‘sola Scriptura’ (scripture alone), if its not in the scripture, it is not valid. Therefore, the concept of apostolic succession is not valid.
Once you peel back the legitimacy of the foundation of Catholic doctrine (a perverted series of traditions established by fallible men and not “holy fathers” or “popes”), the real power of Martin Luther’s break and the superiority of scripture over religious bureaucracy is evident.