(The) Pope

Author: Catholic Encyclopedia

Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope, The

(Ecclesial Latin from Gr. , a variant of father, in classical Latin -- Juvenal, "Satires" 6:633).

The title pope, once used with far greater latitude (see below, section V), is at present employed solely to denote the Bishop of Rome, who, in virtue of his position as successor of St. Peter, is the chief pastor of the whole Church, the Vicar of Christ upon earth. Besides the bishopric of the Roman Diocese, certain other dignities are held by the pope as well as the supreme and universal pastorate: he is Archbishop of the Roman Province, Primate of Italy and the adjacent islands, and sole Patriarch of the Western Church. The Church's doctrine as to the pope was authoritatively declared in the First Vatican Council in the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus". The four chapters of that Constitution deal respectively with the office of Supreme Head conferred on St. Peter, the perpetuity of this office in the person of the Roman pontiff, the pope's jurisdiction over the faithful, and his supreme authority to define in all questions of faith and morals. This last point has been sufficiently discussed in the article INFALLIBILITY, and will be only incidentally touched on here.

The present article is divided as follows: I. Institution of a Supreme Head by Christ II. Primacy of the Roman See III. Nature and Extent of the Papal Power IV. Jurisdictional Rights and Prerogatives of the Pope V. Primacy of Honour: Titles and Insignia VI. Election of the Popes VII. Chronological List of the Popes


The proof that Christ constituted St. Peter head of His Church is found in the two famous Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-19, and John 21:15-17. In Matthew 16:17-19, the office is solemnly promised to the Apostle. In response to his profession of faith in the Divine Nature of his Master, Christ thus addresses him:. "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar- Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." The prerogatives here promised are manifestly personal to Peter. His profession of faith was not made as has been sometimes asserted, in the name of the other Apostles. This is evident from the words of Christ. He pronounces on the Apostle, distinguishing him by his name Simon son of John, a peculiar and personal blessing, declaring that his knowledge regarding the Divine Sonship sprang from a special revelation granted to him by the Father (cf. Matthew 11:27). He further proceeds to recompense this confession of His Divinity by bestowing upon him a reward proper to himself: "Thou art Peter [, transliterated also ] and upon this rock [] I will build my Church." The word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same; this renders it evident that the various attempts to explain the term "rock" as having reference not to Peter himself but to something else are misinterpretations. It is Peter who is the rock of the Church. The term () here employed is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew qahal, the name which denoted the Hebrew nation viewed as God's Church (see CHURCH, THE, I).

Here then Christ teaches plainly that in the future the Church will be the society of those who acknowledge Him, and that this Church will be built on Peter. The expression presents no difficulty. In both the Old and New Testaments the Church is often spoken of under the metaphor of God's house (Numbers 12:7; Jeremiah 12:7; Osee 8:1; 9:15; 1 Cor. 3:9-17, Eph. 2:20-2; 1 Tim. 3:5; Hebrews 3:5; I Peter 2:5). Peter is to be to the Church what the foundation is in regard to a house. He is to be the principle of unity, of stability, and of increase. He is the principle of unity, since what is not joined to that foundation is no part of the Church; of stability, since it is the firmness of this foundation in virtue of which the Church remains unshaken by the storms which buffet her; of increase, since, if she grows, it is because new stones are laid on this foundation. It is through her union with Peter, Christ continues, that the Church will prove the victor in her long contest with the Evil One: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." There can be but one explanation of this striking metaphor. The only manner in which a man can stand in such a relation to any corporate body is by possessing authority over it. The supreme head of a body, in dependence on whom all subordinate authorities hold their power, and he alone, can be said to be the principle of stability, unity, and increase. The promise acquires additional solemnity when we remember that both Old Testament prophecy (Isiah 28:16) and Christ's own words (Matthew 7:24) had attributed this office of foundation of the Church to Himself. He is therefore assigning to Peter, of course in a secondary degree, a prerogative which is His own, and thereby associating the Apostle with Himself in an altogether singular manner.

In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The words refer evidently to Isaiah 22:22, where God declares that Eliacim, the son of Helcias, shall be invested with office in place of the worthless Sobna: "And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open." In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ's words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place. Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to "bind" and to "loose" -- words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification. The meaning of this passage does not seem to have been challenged by any writer until the rise of the sixteenth-century heresies. Since then a great variety of interpretations have been put forward by Protestant controversialists. These agree in little save in the rejection of the plain sense of Christ's words. Recent Anglican controversy tends to the view that the reward promised to St. Peter consisted in the prominent part taken by him in the initial activities of the Church, but that he was never more than among the Apostles (see Lightfoot, "Apost. Fathers", II, 480; Gore, "Roman Cath. Claims", v; Puller, "Primitive Saints, etc.", lect. 3). It is manifest that this is quite insufficient as an explanation of the terms of Christ's promise. For a more detailed consideration of the passage the following works may be consulted: Knabenbauer, "In Matt.", ad loc; Passaglia, " De Praerog. B. Petri.", II, iii-x; Palmieri "De Rom. Pont.", 225- 78.

The promise made by Christ in Matthew 16:16-19, received its fulfilment after the Resurrection in the scene described in John 21. Here the Lord, when about to leave the earth, places the whole flock -- the sheep and the lambs alike -- in the charge of the Apostle. The term employed in 21:16, "Be the shepherd [] of my sheep" indicates that his task is not merely to feed but to rule. It is the same word as is used in Psalm 2:9 (Sept.): "Thou shalt rule [] them with a rod of iron". The scene stands in striking parallelism with that of Matthew 16. As there the reward was given to Peter after a profession of faith which singled him out from the other eleven, so here Christ demands a similar protestation, but this time of a yet higher virtue: "Simon, son of John, thou Me more than these" ? Here, too, as there, He bestows on the Apostle an office which in its highest sense is proper to Himself alone. There Christ had promised to make Peter the foundation-stone of the house of God: here He makes him the shepherd of God's flock to take the place of Himself, the Good Shepherd. The passage receives an admirable comment from St. Chrysostom: "He saith to him, 'Feed my sheep'. Why does He pass over the others and speak of the sheep to Peter? He was the chosen one of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, the head of the choir. For this reason Paul went up to see him rather than the others. And also to show him that he must have confidence now that his denial had been purged away. He entrusts him with the rule [] over the brethren.... If anyone should say 'Why then was it James who received the See of Jerusalem?', I should reply that He made Peter the teacher not of that see but of the whole world" ["Hom. 88 (87) in Joan.", 1. Cf. Origen, "In Ep. ad Rom.", 5:10; Ephraem Syrus "Hymn. in B. Petr." in "Bibl. Orient. Assemani", 1:95; Leo I, "Serm. iv de natal.", 2]. Even certain Protestant commentators (e.g. Hengstenberg and recently Weizsecker) frankly own that Christ undoubtedly intended here to confer the supreme pastorate on Peter. On the other hand Dr. Gore (op. cit., 79) and Mr. Puller (op. cit., 119), relying on a passage of St. Cyril of Alexandria ("In Joan." 12:1), maintain that the purpose of the threefold charge was simply to reinstate St. Peter in the Apostolic commission which his threefold denial might be supposed to have lost to him. This interpretation is devoid of all probability. There is not a word in Scripture or in patristic tradition to suggest that St. Peter had forfeited his Apostolic commission; and the supposition is absolutely excluded by the fact that on the evening of the Resurrection he received the same Apostolic powers as the others of the eleven. The solitary phrase of St. Cyril is of no weight against the overwhelming patristic authority for the other view. That such an interpretation should be seriously advocated proves how great is the difficulty experienced by Protestants regarding this text.

The position of St. Peter after the Ascension, as shown in the Acts of the Apostles, realizes to the full the great commission bestowed upon him. He is from the first the chief of the Apostolic band -- not , but the undisputed head of the Church (see CHURCH, THE, III). If then Christ, as we have seen, established His Church as a society subordinated to a single supreme head, it follows from the very nature of the case that this office is perpetual, and cannot have been a mere transitory feature of ecclesiastical life. For the Church must endure to the end the very same organization which Christ established. But in an organized society it is precisely the constitution which is the essential feature. A change in constitution transforms it into a society of a different kind. If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork. It would no longer be the Divine kingdom established by Him. As a society it would have passed through essential modifications, and thereby would have become a human, not a Divine institution. None who believe that Christ came on earth to found a Church, an organized society destined to endure for ever, can admit the possibility of a change in the organization given to it by its Founder. The same conclusion also follows from a consideration of the end which, by Christ's declaration, the supremacy of Peter was intended to effect. He was to give the Church strength to resist her foes, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. The contest with the powers of evil does not belong to the Apostolic age alone. It is a permanent feature of the Church's life. Hence, throughout the centuries the office of Peter must be realized in the Church, in order that she may prevail in her age-long struggle. Thus an analysis of Christ's words shows us that the perpetuity of the office of supreme head is to be reckoned among the truths revealed in Scripture. His promise to Peter conveyed not merely a personal prerogative, but established a permanent office in the Church. And in this sense, as will appear in the next section, His words were understood by Latin and Greek Fathers alike.


We have shown in the last section that Christ conferred upon St. Peter the office of chief pastor, and that the permanence of that office is essential to the very being of the Church. It must now be established that it belongs of right to the Roman See. The proof will fall into two parts: (a) that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and (b) that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the supreme headship.

(a) that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome

It is no longer denied by any writer of weight that St. Peter visited Rome and suffered martyrdom there (Harnack, "Chronol.", I, 244, n. 2). Some, however, of those who admit that he taught and suffered in Rome, deny that he was ever bishop of the city e. g. Lightfoot, "Clement of Rome", II, 501; Harnack, op. cit., I, 703. It is not, however, difficult to show that the fact of his bishopric is so well attested as to be historically certain. In considering this point, it will be well to begin with the third century, when references to it become frequent, and work backwards from this point. In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian expressly terms the Roman See the Chair of St. Peter, saying that Cornelius has succeeded to "the place of Fabian which is the place of Peter" (Ep 55:8; cf. 59:14). Firmilian of Caesarea notices that Stephen claimed to decide the controversy regarding rebaptism on the ground that he held the succession from Peter (Cyprian, Ep. 75:17). He does not deny the claim: yet certainly, had he been able, he would have done so. Thus in 250 the Roman episcopate of Peter was admitted by those best able to know the truth, not merely at Rome but in the churches of Africa and of Asia Minor. In the first quarter of the century (about 220) Tertullian (De Pud. 21) mentions Callistus's claim that Peter's power to forgive sins had descended in a special manner to him. Had the Roman Church been merely founded by Peter and not reckoned him as its first bishop, there could have been no ground for such a contention. Tertullian, like Firmilian, had every motive to deny the claim. Moreover, he had himself resided at Rome, and would have been well aware if the idea of a Roman episcopate of Peter had been, as is contended by its opponents, a novelty dating from the first years of the third century, supplanting the older tradition according to which Peter and Paul were co-founders, and Linus first bishop. About the same period, Hippolytus (for Lightfoot is surely right in holding him to be the author of the first part of the "Liberian Catalogue" -- "Clement of Rome", 1:259) reckons Peter in the list of Roman bishops.

We have moreover a poem, "Adversus Marcionem", written apparently at the same period, in which Peter is said to have passed on to Linus "the chair on which he himself had sat" (P.L., II 1077). These witnesses bring us to the beginning of the third century. In the second century we cannot look for much evidence. With the exception of Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement of Alexandria, all the writers whose works we possess are apologists against either Jews or pagans. In works of such a character there was no reason to refer to such a matter as Peter's Roman episcopate. Irenaeus, however, supplies us with a cogent argument. In two passages (Adv. haer. 1:27:1, and 3:4:3) he speaks of Hyginus as ninth Bishop of Rome, thus employing an enumeration which involves the inclusion of Peter as first bishop (Lightfoot was undoubtedly wrong in supposing that there was any doubt as to the correctness of the reading in the first of these passages. See "Zeitschrift fer kath. Theol.", 1902. In 3:4:3, the Latin version, it is true, gives "octavus"; but the Greek text as cited by Eusebius reads . Irenaeus we know visited Rome in 177. At this date, scarcely more than a century after the death of St. Peter, he may well have come in contact with men whose fathers had themselves spoken to the Apostle. The tradition thus supported must be regarded as beyond all legitimate doubt. Lightfoot's suggestion (Clement 1:64), maintained as certain by Mr. Puller, that it had its origin in the Clementine romance, has proved singularly unfortunate. For it is now recognized that this work belongs not to the second, but to the fourth century. Nor is there the slightest ground for the assertion that the language of Irenaeus, 3:3:3, implies that Peter and Paul enjoyed a divided episcopate at Rome -- an arrangement utterly unknown to the Church at any period. He does, it is true, speak of the two Apostles as together handing on the episcopate to Linus. But this expression is explained by the purpose of his argument, which is to vindicate against the Gnostics the validity of the doctrine taught in the Roman Church. Hence he is naturally led to lay stress on the fact that that Church inherited the teaching of both the great Apostles. Epiphanius ("Haer." 27:6) would indeed seem to suggest the divided episcopate; but he has apparently merely misunderstood the words of Irenaeus.

(b) that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the supreme headship

History bears complete testimony that from the very earliest times the Roman See has ever claimed the supreme headship, and that that headship has been freely acknowledged by the universal Church. We shall here confine ourselves to the consideration of the evidence afforded by the first three centuries. The first witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit". The tone of authority which inspires the latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as" the first step towards papal domination (Clement 1:70). Thus, at the very commencement of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head.

A few years later (about 107) St. Ignatius of Antioch, in the opening of his letter to the Roman Church, refers to its presiding over all other Churches. He addresses it as "presiding over the brotherhood of love [] The expression, as Funk rightly notes, is grammatically incompatible with the translation advocated by some non-Catholic writers, "pre-eminent in works of love". The same century gives us the witness of St. Irenaeus -- a man who stands in the closest connexion with the age of the Apostles, since he was a disciple of St. Polycarp, who had been appointed. Bishop of Smyrna by St. John. In his work "Adversus Haereses" (3:3:2) he brings against the Gnostic sects of his day the argument that their doctrines have no support in the Apostolic tradition faithfully preserved by the Churches, which could trace the succession of their bishops back to the Twelve. He writes: " Because it would be too long in such a volume as this to enumerate the successions of all the churches, we point to the tradition of that very great and very ancient and universally known Church, which was founded and established at Rome, by the two most glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul: we point I say, to the tradition which this Church has from the Apostles, and to her faith proclaimed to men which comes down to our time through the succession of her bishops, and so we put to shame . . . all who assemble in unauthorized meetings. For with this Church, because of its superior authority, every Church must agree -- that is the faithful everywhere -- in communion with which Church the tradition of the Apostles has been always preserved by those who are everywhere [Ad hanc enim eoclesiam propter potentiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem convenire ecclesiam, hoc est eos qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his qui sunt undique, conservata est ea que est ab apostolis traditio]". He then proceeds to enumerate the Roman succession from Linus to Eleutherius, the twelfth after the Apostles, who then occupied the see. Non-Catholic writers have sought to rob the passage of its importance by translating the word "to resort to", and thus understanding it to mean no more than that the faithful every side () resorted to Rome, so that thus the stream of doctrine in that Church was kept immune from error. Such a rendering, however, is excluded by the construction of the argument, which is based entirely on the contention that the Roman doctrine is pure by reason of its derivation from the two great Apostolic founders of the Church, Sts. Peter and Paul. The frequent visits made to Rome by members of other Christian Churches could contribute nothing to this. On the other hand the traditional rendering is postulated by the context, and, though the object of innumerable attacks, none other possessing any real degree of probability has been suggested in its place (see Dom. J. Chapman in "Revue Benedictine", 1895, p. 48).

During the pontificate of St. Victor (189-98) we have the most explicit assertion of the supremacy of the Roman See in regard to other Churches. A difference of practice between the Churches of Asia Minor and the rest of the Christian world in regard to the day of the Paschal festival led the pope to take action. There is some ground for supposing that the Montanist heretics maintained the Asiatic (or Quartodeciman) practice to be the true one: in this case it would be undesirable that any body of Catholic Christians should appear to support them. But, under any circumstances, such a diversity in the ecclesiastical life of different countries may well have constituted a regrettable feature in the Church, whose very purpose it was to bear witness by her unity to the oneness of God (John 17:21). Victor bade the Asiatic Churches conform to the custom of the remainder of the Church, but was met with determined resistance by Polycrates of Ephesus, who claimed that their custom derived from St. John himself. Victor replied by an excommunication. St. Irenaeus, however, intervened, exhorting Victor not to cut off whole Churches on account of a point which was not a matter of faith. He assumes that the nope can exercise the power, but urges him not to do so. Similarly the resistance of the Asiatic bishops involved no denial of the supremacy of Rome. It indicates solely that the bishops believed St. Victor to be abusing his power in bidding them renounce a custom for which they had Apostolic authority. It was indeed inevitable that, as the Church spread and developed, new problems should present themselves, and that questions should arise as to whether the supreme authority could be legitimately exercised in this or that case. St. Victor, seeing that more harm than good would come from insistence, withdrew the imposed penalty.

Not many years since a new and important piece of evidence was brought to light in Asia Minor dating from this period. The sepulchral inscription of Abercius, Bishop of Hieropolis (d. about 200), contains an account of his travels couched in allegorical language (see ABERCIUS, INSCRIPTION OF). He speaks thus of the Roman Church: "To Rome He [Christ] sent me to contemplate majesty: and to see a queen golden-robed and golden-sandalled." It is difficult not to recognize in this description a testimony to the supreme position of the Roman See. Tertullian's bitter polemic, "De Pudicitia" (about 220), was called forth by an exercise of papal prerogative. Pope Callistus had decided that the rigid discipline which had hitherto prevailed in many Churches must be in u large measure relaxed. Tertullian, now lapsed into heresy, fiercely attacks "the peremptory edict", which "the supreme pontiff, the bishop of bishops", has sent forth. The words are intended as sarcasm: but none the less they indicate clearly the position of authority claimed by Rome. And the opposition comes, not from a Catholic bishop, but from a Montanist heretic.

The views of St. Cyprian (d. 258) in regard to papal authority have given rise to much discussion (see CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE, SAINT). He undoubtedly entertained exaggerated views as to the independence of individual bishops, which eventually led him into serious conflict with Rome. Yet on the fundamental principle his position is clear. He attributed an effective primacy to the pope as the successor of Peter. He makes communion with the See of Rome essential to Catholic communion, speaking of it as "the principal Church whence episcopal unity had its rise" (ad Petri cathedram et ad ecclesiam principalem unde unitas sacerdotalis exorta est). The force of this expression becomes clear when viewed in the light of his doctrine as to the unity of the Church. This was he teaches, established by Christ when He founded His Church upon Peter. By this act the unity of the Apostolic college was ensured through the unity of the foundation. The bishops through all time form a similar college, and are bound in a like indivisible unity. Of this unity the Chair of Peter is the source. It fulfils the very office as principle of union which Peter fulfilled in his lifetime. Hence to communicate with an antipope such as Novatian would be schism (Ep. 68:1). He holds, also, that the pope has authority to depose an heretical bishop. When Marcian of Arles fell into heresy, Cyprian, at the request of the bishops of the province, wrote to urge Pope Stephen "to send letters by which, Marcian having been excommunicated, another may be substituted in his place" (Ep. 68:3). It is manifest that one who regarded the Roman See in this light believed that the pope possessed a real and effective Primacy. At the same time it is not to be denied that his views as to the right of the pope to interfere in the government of a diocese already subject to a legitimate and orthodox bishop were inadequate. In the rebaptism controversy his language in regard to St. Stephen was bitter and intemperate. His error on this point does not, however, detract from the fact that he admitted a primacy, not merely of honour but of jurisdiction. Nor should his mistake occasion too much surprise. It is as true in the Church as in merely human institutions that the full implications of a general principle are only realized gradually. The claim to apply it in a particular case is often contested at first, though later ages may wonder that such opposition was possible.

Contemporary with St. Cyprian was St. Dionysius of Alexandria. Two incidents bearing on the present question are related of him. Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 7:9) gives us a letter addressed by him to St. Xystus II regarding the case of a man who, as it appeared, had been invalidly baptized by heretics, but who for many years had been frequenting the sacraments of the Church. In it he says that he needs St. Xystus's advice and begs for his decision (), that he may not fall into error (). Again, some years later, the same patriarch occasioned anxiety to some of the brethren by making use of some expressions which appeared hardly compatible with a full belief in the Divinity of Christ. They promptly had recourse to the Holy See and accused him to his namesake, St. Dionysius of Rome, of heretical leanings. The pope replied by laying down authoritatively the true doctrine on the subject. Both events are instructive as showing us how Rome was recognized by the second see in Christendom as empowered to speak with authority on matters of doctrine. (St. Athanasius, "De sententia Dionysii" in P. G., XXV, 500). Equally noteworthy is the action of Emperor Aurelian in 270. A synod of bishops had condemned Paul of Samosata, Patriarch of Alexandria, on a charge of heresy, and had elected Domnus bishop in his place. Paul refused to withdraw, and appeal was made to the civil power. The emperor decreed that he who was acknowledged by the bishops of Italy and the Bishop of Rome, must be recognized as rightful occupant of the see. The incident proves that even the pagans themselves knew well that communion with the Roman See was the essential mark of all Christian Churches. That the imperial Government was well aware of the position of the pope among Christians derives additional confirmation from the saying of St. Cyprian that Decius would have sooner heard of the proclamation of a rival emperor than of the election of a new pope to fill the place of the martyred Fabian (Ep. 55:9).

The limits of the present article prevent us from carrying the historical argument further than the year 300. Nor is it in fact necessary to do so. From the beginning of the fourth century the supremacy of Rome is writ large upon the page of history. It is only in regard to the first age of the Church that any question can arise. But the facts we have recounted are entirely sufficient to prove to any unprejudiced mind that the supremacy was exercised and acknowledged from the days of the Apostles. It was not of course exercised in the same way as in later times. The Church was as yet in her infancy: and it would be irrational to look for a fully developed procedure governing the relations of the supreme pontiff to the bishops of other sees. To establish such a system was the work of time, and it was only gradually embodied in the canons. There would, moreover, be little call for frequent intervention when the Apostolic tradition was still fresh and vigorous in every part of Christendom. Hence the papal prerogatives came into play but rarely. But when the Faith was threatened, or the vital welfare of souls demanded action, then Rome intervened. Such were the causes which led to the intervention of St. Dionysius, St. Stephen, St. Callistus, St. Victor, and St. Clement, and their claim to supremacy as the occupants of the Chair of Peter was not disputed. In view of the purposes with which, and with which alone, these early popes employed their supreme power, the contention, so stoutly maintained by Protestant controversialists, that the Roman primacy had its origin in papal ambition, disappears. The motive which inspired these men was not earthly ambition, but zeal for the Faith and the consciousness that to them had been committed the responsibility of its guardianship. The controversialists in question even claim that they are justified in refusing to admit as evidence for the papal primacy any pronouncement emanating from a Roman source, on the ground that, where the personal interests of anyone are concerned, his statements should not be admitted as evidence (cf., for example, Puller, op. cit., 99, note). Such an objection is utterly fallacious. We are dealing here, not with the statements of an individual, but with the tradition of a Church -- of that Church which, even from the earliest times, was known for the purity of its doctrine, and which had had for its founders and instructors the two chief Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul. That tradition, moreover, is absolutely unbroken, as the pronouncements of the long series of popes bear witness. Nor does it stand alone. The utterances, in which the popes assert their claims to the obedience of all Christian Churches, form part and parcel of a great body of testimony to the Petrine privileges, issuing not merely from the Western Fathers but from those of Greece, Syria, and Egypt. The claim to reject the evidence which comes to us from Rome may be skilful as a piece of special pleading, but it can claim no other value. The first to employ this argument were some of the Gallicans. But it is deservedly repudiated as fallacious and unworthy by Bossuet in his "Defensio cleri gallicani" (II, 1. XI, c. vi).

The primacy of St. Peter and the perpetuity of that primacy in the Roman See are dogmatically defined in the canons attached to the first two chapters of the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus":

    "If anyone shall say that Blessed Peter the Apostle was not constituted by Christ our Lord as chief of all the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant: or that he did not receive directly and immediately from the same Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of true and proper jurisdiction, but one of honour only: let him be anathema." "If any one shall say that it is not by the institution of Christ our Lord Himself or by divinely established right that Blessed Peter has perpetual successors in his primacy over the universal Church: OF that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Blessed Peter in this same primacy. -- let him be anathema" (Denzinger-Bannwart, "Enchiridion", nn. 1823, 1825).

    A question may be raised as to the precise dogmatic value of the clause of the second canon in which it is asserted that the Roman pontiff is Peter's successor. The truth is infallibly defined. But the Church has authority to define not merely those truths which form part of the original deposit of revelation, but also such as are necessarily connected with this deposit. The former are held , the latter . Although Christ established the perpetual office of supreme head, Scripture does not tell us that He fixed the law according to which the headship should descend. Granting that He left this to Peter to determine, it is plain that the Apostle need not have attached the primacy to his own see: he might have attached it to another. Some have thought that the law establishing the succession in the Roman episcopate became known to the Apostolic Church as an historic fact. In this case the dogma that the Roman pontiff is at all times the Church's chief pastor would be the conclusion from two premises -- the revealed truth that the Church must ever have a supreme head, and the historic fact that St. Peter attached that office to the Roman See. This conclusion, while necessarily connected with revelation, is not part of revelation, and is accepted . According to other theologians the proposition in question is part of the deposit of faith itself. In this case the Apostles must have known the law determining the succession to the Bishop of Rome, not merely on human testimony, but also by Divine revelation, and they must have taught it as a revealed truth to their disciples. It is this view which is commonly adopted. The definition of the First Vatican to the effect that the successor of St. Peter is ever to be found in the Roman pontiff is almost universally held to be a truth revealed by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and by them transmitted to the Church.


    This section is divided as follows :

    the pope's universal coercive jurisdiction

    the pope's immediate and ordinary jurisdiction in regard of all the faithful, whether singly or collectively

    the right of entertaining appeals in all ecclesiastical causes.

    The relation of the pope's authority to that of ecumenical councils, and to the civil power, are discussed in separate articles (see COUNCILS, GENERAL; CIVIL ALLEGIANCE).

    (1) The Pope's Universal Coercive Jurisdiction Not only did Christ constitute St. Peter head of the Church, but in the words, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in heaven," He indicated the scope of this headship. The expressions binding and loosing here employed are derived from the current terminology of the Rabbinic schools. A doctor who declared a thing to be prohibited by the law was said to , for thereby he imposed an obligation on the conscience. He who declared it to be lawful was said to ). In this way the terms had come respectively to signify official commands and permissions in general. The words of Christ, therefore, as understood by His hearers, conveyed the promise to St. Peter of legislative authority within the kingdom over which He had just set him, and legislative authority carries with it as its necessary accompaniment judicial authority. Moreover, the powers conferred in these regards are plenary. This is plainly indicated by the generality of the terms employed: "Whatsoever thou shalt bind . . . Whatsoever thou shalt loose"; nothing is withheld. Further, Peter's authority is subordinated to no earthly superior. The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven. They do not need the antecedent approval of any other tribunal. He is independent of all save the Master who appointed him. The words as to the power of binding and loosing are, therefore, elucidatory of the promise of the keys which immediately precedes. They explain in what sense Peter is governor and head of Christ's kingdom, the Church, by promising him legislative and judicial authority in the fullest sense. In other words, Peter and his successors have power to impose laws both preceptive and prohibitive, power likewise to grant dispensation from these laws, and, when needful, to annul them. It is theirs to judge offences against the laws, to impose and to remit penalties. This judicial authority will even include the power to pardon sin. For sin is a breach of the laws of the supernatural kingdom, and falls under the cognizance of its constituted judges. The gift of this particular power, however, is not expressed with full clearness in this passage. It needed Christ's words (John 20:23) to remove all ambiguity. Further, since the Church is the kingdom of the truth, so that an essential note in all her members is the act of submission by which they accept the doctrine of Christ in its entirety, supreme power in this kingdom carries with it a supreme -- authority to declare that doctrine and to prescribe a rule of faith obligatory on all. Here, too, Peter is subordinated to none save his Master alone; he is the supreme teacher as he is the supreme ruler. However, the tremendous powers thus conferred are limited in their scope by their reference to the ends of the kingdom and to them only. The authority of Peter and his successors does not extend beyond this sphere. With matters that are altogether extrinsic to the Church they are not concerned.

    Protestant controversialists contend strenuously that the words, "Whatsoever thou shalt bind etc.", confer no special prerogative on Peter, since precisely the same gift, they allege, is conferred on all the Apostles (Matthew 18:18). It is, of course, the case that in that passage the same words are used in regard of all the Twelve. Yet there is a manifest difference between the gift to Peter and that bestowed on the others. In his case the gift is connected with the power of the keys, and this power, as we have seen, signified the supreme authority over the whole kingdom. That gift was not bestowed on the other eleven: and the gift Christ bestowed on them in Matthew 18:18, was received by them as members of the kingdom, and as subject to the authority of him who should be Christ's vicegerent on earth. There is in fact a striking parallelism between Matthew 16:19, and the words employed in reference to Christ Himself in Apocalypse 3:7: "He that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; shutteth, and no man openeth." In both cases the second clause declares the meaning of the first, and the power signified in the first clause by the metaphor of the keys is supreme. It is worthy of note that to no one else save to Christ and His chosen vicegerent does Holy Scripture attribute the power of the keys.

    Certain patristic passages are further adduced by non-Catholics as adverse to the meaning given by the Church to Matthew 16:19. St. Augustine in several places tells us that Peter received the keys as representing the Church -- e. g. "In Joan.", tr. 1:12: "Si hoc Petro tantum dictum est, non facit hoc Ecclesia . . .; si hoc ergo in Ecclesia fit, Petrus quando claves accepit, Ecclesiam sanctam significavit' (If this was said to Peter alone, the Church cannot exercise this power . . .; if this power is exercised in the Church, then when Peter received the keys, he signified the Holy Church); cf. tr. 124:5; Serm. 295. It is argued that, according to Augustine, the power denoted by the keys resides primarily not in Peter, but in the whole Church. Christ's gift to His people was merely bestowed on Peter as representing the whole body of the faithful. The right to forgive sins, to exclude from communion, to exercise any other acts of authority, is really the prerogative of the whole Christian congregation. If the minister performs these acts he does so as delegate of the people. The argument, which was formerly employed by Gallican controversialists (cf. Febronius, "De statu eccl.", 1:76), however, rests on a misunderstanding of the passages. Augustine is controverting the Novatian heretics, who affirmed that the power to remit sins was a purely Personal gift to Peter alone, and had disappeared with him. He therefore asserts that Peter received it that it might remain for ever in the Church and be used for its benefit. It is in that sense alone that he says that Peter represented the Church. There is no foundation whatever for saying that he desired to affirm that the Church was the true recipient of the power conferred. Such a view would be contrary to the whole patristic tradition, and is expressly reprobated in the First Vatican Decree, cap. 1.

    It appears from what has been said that, when the popes legislate for the faithful, when they try offenders by juridical process, and enforce their sentences by censures and excommunications, they are employing powers conceded to them by Christ. Their authority to exercise jurisdiction in this way is not founded on the grant of any civil ruler. Indeed the Church has claimed and exercised these powers from the very first. When the Apostles, after the Council of Jerusalem, sent out their decree as vested with Divine authority (Acts 15:28), they were imposing a law on the faithful. When St. Paul bids Timothy not receive an accusation against a presbyter unless it be supported by two or three witnesses, he clearly supposes him to be empowered to judge him . This claim to exercise coercive jurisdiction has, as might be expected been denied by various heterodox writers. Thus Marsilius Patavinus (Defensor Pacis 2:4), Antonius de Dominis (De rep. eccl. 4:6-7, 9), Richer (De eccl. et pol. potestate, 11- 12), and later the Synod of Pistoia, all alike maintained that coercive jurisdiction of every kind belongs to the civil power alone, and sought to restrict the Church to the use of moral means. This error has always been condemned by the Holy See. Thus, in the Bull "Auctorem Fidei", Pius VI makes the following pronouncement regarding one of the Pistoian propositions: "[The aforesaid proposition] in respect of its insinuation that the Church does not possess authority to exact subjection to her decrees otherwise than by means dependent on persuasion: so far as this signifies that the Church 'has not received from God power, not merely to direct by counsel and persuasion but further to command by laws, and to coerce and compel the delinquent and contumacious by external and salutary penalties' [from the brief 'Ad assiduas' (1755) of Benedict XIV], leads to a system already condemned as heretical. " Nor may it be held that the pope's laws must exclusively concern spiritual objects, and their penalties be exclusively of a spiritual character. The Church is a perfect society (see CHURCH XIII). She is not dependent on the permission of the State for her existence, but holds her charter from God. As a perfect society she has a right to all those means which are necessary for the attaining of her end. These, however, will include far more than spiritual objects and spiritual penalties alone: for the Church requires certain material possessions, such, for example, as churches, schools, seminaries, together with the endowments necessary for their sustentation. The administration and the due protection of these goods will require legislation other than what is limited to the spiritual sphere. A large body of canon law must inevitably be formed to determine the conditions of their management. Indeed, there is a fallacy in the assertion that the Church is a spiritual society; it is spiritual as regards the ultimate end to which all its activities are directed, but not as regards its present constitution nor as regards the means at its disposal. The question has been raised whether it be lawful for the Church, not merely to sentence a delinquent to physical penalties, but itself to inflict these penalties. As to this, it is sufficient to note that the right of the Church to invoke the aid of the civil power to execute her sentences is expressly asserted by Boniface VIII in the Bull "Unam Sanctam" This declaration, even if it be not one of those portions of the Bull in which the pope is defining a point of faith, is so clearly connected with the parts expressly stated to possess such character that it is held by theologians to be theologically certain (Palmieri, "De Romano Pontifice", thes. 21). The question is of theoretical, rather than of practical importance, since civil Governments have long ceased to own the obligation of enforcing the decisions of any ecclesiastical authority. This indeed became inevitable when large sections of the population ceased to be Catholic. The state of things supposed could only exist when a whole nation was thoroughly Catholic in spirit, and the force of papal decisions was recognized by all as binding in conscience.

    (2) The Pope's Immediate and Ordinary Jurisdiction

    In the Constitution "Pastor Aeternus", cap. 3, the pope is declared to possess ordinary, immediate, and episcopal jurisdiction over all the faithful: "We teach, moreover, and declare that, by the disposition of God, the Roman Church possesses supreme ordinary authority over all Churches, and that the jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is true episcopal jurisdiction is immediate in its character" (Enchir., n. 1827). It is further added that this authority extends to all alike, both pastors and faithful, whether singly or collectively. An ordinary jurisdiction is one which is exercised by the holder, not by reason of any delegation, but in virtue of the office which he himself holds. All who acknowledge in the pope any primacy of jurisdiction acknowledge that jurisdiction to be ordinary. This point, therefore, does not call for discussion. That the papal authority is likewise immediate has, however, been called in question. Jurisdiction is immediate when its possessor stands in direct relation to those with whose oversight he is charged. If, on the other hand, the supreme authority can only deal directly with the proximate superiors, and not with the subjects save through their intervention, his power is not Immediate but mediate. That the pope's jurisdiction is not thus restricted appears from the analysis already given of Christ's words to St. Peter. It has been shown that He conferred on him a primacy over the Church, which is universal in its scope, extending to all the Church's members, and which needs the support of no other power. A primacy such as this manifestly gives to him and to his successors a direct authority over all the faithful. This is also implied in the words of the pastoral commission, " Feed my sheep ". The shepherd exercises immediate authority over all the sheep of his flock. Every member of the Church has been thus committed to Peter and those who follow him. This immediate authority has been always claimed by the Holy See. It was, however, denied by Febronius (op. cit., 7:7). That writer contended that the duty of the pope was to exercise a general oversight over the Church and to direct the bishops by his counsel; in case of necessity, where the legitimate pastor was guilty of grave wrong, he could pronounce sentence of excommunication against him and proceed against him according to the canons, but he could not on his own authority depose him (op. cit., 2:4:9). The Febronian doctrines, though devoid of any historical foundation, yet, through their appeal to the spirit of nationalism, exerted a powerful influence for harm on Catholic life in Germany during the eighteenth and part of the nineteenth century. Thus it was imperative that the error should be definitively condemned. That the pope's power is truly episcopal needs no proof. It follows from the fact that he enjoys an ordinary pastoral authority, both legislative and judicial, and immediate in relation to its subjects. Moreover, since this power regards the pastors as well as the faithful, the pope is rightly termed , and .

    It is frequently objected by writers of the Anglican school that, by declaring the pope to possess an immediate episcopal jurisdiction over all the faithful, the First Vatican Council destroyed the authority of the diocesan episcopate. It is further pointed out that St. Gregory the Great expressly repudiated this title (Ep. 7:27; 8:30). To this it is replied that no difficulty is involved in the exercise of immediate jurisdiction over the same subjects by two rulers, provided only that these rulers stand in subordination, the one to the other. We constantly see the system at work. In an army the regimental officer and the general both possess immediate authority over the soldiers; yet no one maintains that the inferior authority is thereby annulled. The objection lacks all weight. The First Vatican Council says most justly (cap. iii): "This power of the supreme pontiff in no way derogates from the ordinary immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, in virtue of which the bishops, who, appointed by the Holy Spirit [Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the place of the Apostles as true pastors, feed and rule their several flocks, each the one which has been assigned to him: that power is rather maintained, confirmed and defended by the supreme pastor" (Enchir., n. 1828). It is without doubt true that St. Gregory repudiated in strong terms the title of universal bishop, and relates that St. Leo rejected it when it was offered him by the fathers of Chalcedon. But, as he used it, it has a different signification from that with which it was employed in the First Vatican Council. St. Gregory understood it as involving the denial of the authority of the local diocesan (Ep. 5:21). No one, he maintains, has a right so to term himself universal bishop as to usurp that apostolically constituted power. But he was himself a strenuous asserter of that immediate jurisdiction over all the faithful which is signified by this title as used in the First Vatican Decree. Thus he reverses (Ep. 6:15) a sentence passed on a priest by Patriarch John of Constantinople, an act which itself involves a claim to universal authority, and explicitly states that the Church of Constantinople is subject to the Apostolic See (Ep. 9:12). The title of universal bishop occurs as early as the eighth century; and in 1413 the faculty of Paris rejected the proposition of John Hus that the pope was not universal bishop (Natalis Alexander, 'Hist. eccl.", saec. XV and XVI, c. ii, art. 3, n. 6)

    (3) The Right of Entertaining Appeals in All Ecclesiastical Causes

    The Council goes on to affirm that the pope is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that to him appeal may be made in all ecclesiastical causes. The right of appeal follows as a necessary corollary from the doctrine of the primacy. If the pope really possesses a supreme jurisdiction over the Church, every other authority, whether episcopal or synodal, being subject to him, there must of necessity be an appeal to him from all inferior tribunals. This question, however, has been the subject of much controversy. The Gallican divines de Marca and Quesnel, and in Germany Febronius, sought to show that the right of appeal to the pope was a mere concession derived from ecclesiastical canons, and that the influence of the pseudo-Isidorean decretals had led to many unjustifiable exaggerations in the papal claims. The arguments of these writers are at the present day employed by frankly anti-Catholic controversialists with a view to showing that the whole primacy is a merely human institution. It is contended that the right of appeal was first granted at Sardica (343), and that each step of its subsequent development can be traced. History, however, renders it abundantly clear that the right of appeal had been known from primitive times, and that the purpose of the Sardican canons was merely to give conciliar ratification to an already existing usage. It will be convenient to speak first of the Sardican question, and then to examine the evidence as regards previous practice.

    In the years immediately preceding Sardica, St. Athanasius had appealed to Rome against the decision of the Council of Tyre (335). Pope Julius had annulled the action of that council, and had restored Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra to their sees. The Eusebians, however, had contested his right to call a conciliar decision in question. The fathers who met at Sardica, and who included the most eminent of the orthodox party from East and West alike, desired by their decrees to affirm this right, and to establish a canonical mode of procedure for such appeals. The principal provisions of the canons which deal with this matter are:

      that a bishop condemned by the bishops of his province may appeal to the pope either on his own initiative or through his judges; that if the pope entertains the appeal he shall appoint a court of second instance drawn from the bishops of the neighbouring provinces; he may, if he thinks fit, send judges to sit with the bishops.
    There is nothing whatever to suggest that new privileges are being conferred. St. Julius had recently, not merely exercised the right of hearing appeals in the most formal manner, but had severely censured the Eusebians for neglecting to respect the supreme judicial rights of the Roman See: "for", he writes, "if they [Athanasius and Marcellus] really did some wrong, as you say, the judgment ought to have been given according to the ecclesiastical canon and not thus.... Do you not know that this has been the custom first to write to us, and then for that which is just to be defined from hence?" (Athanasius, "Apol." 35) . Nor is there the smallest ground for the assertion that the pope's action is hedged in within narrow limits, on the ground that no more is permitted than that he should order a re-hearing to take place on the spot. The fathers in no way disputed the pope's right to hear the case at Rome. But their object was to deprive the Eusebians of the facile excuse that it was idle for appeals to be carried to Rome, since there the requisite evidence could not be forthcoming. They therefore provided a canonical procedure which should not be open to that objection.

    Having thus shown that there is no ground for the assertion that the right of appeal was first granted at Sardica, we may now consider the evidence for its existence in earlier times. The records of the second century are so scanty as to throw but little light on the subject. Yet it would seem that Montanus, Prisca, and Maximilla appealed to Rome against the decision of the Phrygian bishops. Tertullian (Con. Prax. 1), tells us that the pope at first acknowledged the genuineness of their prophecies, and that thus "he was giving peace to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia", when further information led him to recall the letters of peace which he had issued. The fact that the pope's decision had weight to decide the whole question of their orthodoxy is sufficiently significant. But in St Cyprian's correspondence we find clear and unmistakable evidence of a system of appeals. Basilides and Martial, the bishops of Leon and Merida in Spain, had in the persecution accepted certificates of idolatry. They confessed their guilt, and were in consequence deposed, other bishops being appointed to the sees. In the hope of having themselves reinstated they appealed to Rome, and succeeded, by misrepresenting the facts, in imposing on St. Stephen, who ordered their restoration. It has been objected to the evidence drawn from this incident, that St. Cyprian did not acknowledge the validity of the papal decision, but exhorted the people of Leon and Merida to hold fast to the sentence of deposition (Ep. 67:6). But the objection misses the point of St. Cyprian's letter. In the case in question there was no room for a legitimate appeal, since the two bishops had confessed. An acquittal obtained after spontaneous confession could not be valid. It has further been urged that, in the case of Fortunatus (Ep. 59:10), Cyprian denies his right of appeal to Rome, and asserts the sufficiency of the African tribunal. But here too the objection rests upon a misunderstanding. Fortunatus had procured consecration as Bishop of Carthage from a heretical bishop, and St. Cyprian asserts the competency of the local synod in his case on the ground that he is no true bishop -- a mere . Juridically considered he is merely an insubordinate presbyter, and he must submit himself to his own bishop. At that period the established custom denied the right of appeal to the inferior clergy. On the other hand, the action of Fortunatus indicates that he based his claim to bring the question of his status before the pope on the ground that he was a legitimate bishop. Privatus of Lambese, the heretical consecrator of Fortunatus who had previously been himself condemned by a synod of ninety bishops (Ep. 59:10), had appealed to Rome without success (Ep. 36:4).

    The difficulties at Carthage which led to the Donatist schism provide us with another instance. When the seventy Numidian bishops, who had condemned Caecilian, invoked the aid of the emperor, the latter referred them to Rome, that the case might be decided by Pope Miltiades (313). St. Augustine makes frequent mention of the circumstances, and indicates plainly that he holds it to have been Caecilian's undoubted right to claim a trial before the pope. He says that Secundus should never have dared to condemn Caecilian when he declined to submit his case to the African bishops, since he had the right "to reserve his whole case to the judgment of other colleagues, especially to that of Apostolical Churches" (Ep. 43:7). A little later (367) a council, held at Tyana in Asia Minor, restored to his see Eustathius, bishop of that city, on no other ground than that of a successful appeal to Rome. St. Basil (Ep. 263:3) tells us that they did not know what test of orthodoxy Liberius had required. He brought a letter from the pope demanding his restoration, and this was accepted as decisive by the council It should be observed that there can be no question here of the pope employing prerogatives conferred on him at Sardica, for he did not follow the procedure there indicated. Indeed there is no good reason to believe that the Sardican procedure ever came into use in either East or West. In 378 the appellate jurisdiction of the pope received civil sanction from Emperor Gratian. Any charge against a metropolitan was to come before the pope himself or a court of bishops nominated by him, while all (Western) bishops had the right of appeal from - their provincial synod to the pope (Mansi, III, 624). Similarly Valentinian III in 445 assigned to the pope the right of evoking to Rome any cause he should think fit (Cod. Theod. Novell., tit. 24, De episcoporum ordin.). These ordinances were not, however, in any sense the source of the pope's jurisdiction, which rested on Divine institution; they were civil sanctions enabling the pope to avail himself of the civil machinery of the empire in discharging the duties of his office. What Pope Nicholas I said of the synodal declarations regarding the privileges of the Holy See holds good here also: "Ista privilegia huic sanctae Ecclesiae a Christo donata, a synodis non donata, sed jam solummodo venerata et celebrata" (These privileges bestowed by Christ on this Holy Church have not been granted her by synods, but merely proclaimed and honoured by them) ("Ep. ad Michaelem Imp." in P. L., CXIX, 948).

    Much has been made by anti-Catholic writers of the famous letter "Optaremus", addressed in 426 by the African bishops to Pope St. Celestine at the close of the incident relating to the priest Apiarius. As the point is discussed in a special article (APIARIUS OF SICCA), a brief reference will suffice here. Protestant controversialists maintain that in this letter the African bishops positively repudiate the claim of Rome to an appellate jurisdiction, the repudiation being consequent on the fact that they had in 419 satisfied themselves that Pope Zosimus was mistaken in claiming the authority of Nicaea for the Sardican canons. This is an error. The letter, it is true, urges with some display of irritation that it would be both more reasonable and more in harmony with the fifth Nicene canon regarding the inferior clergy and the laity, if even episcopal cases were left to the decision of the African synod. The pope's authority is nowhere denied, but the sufficiency of the local tribunals is asserted. Indeed the right of the pope to deal with episcopal cases was freely acknowledged by the African Church even after it had been shown that the Sardican canons did not emanate from Nicaea. Antony, Bishop of Fussala, prosecuted an appeal to Rome against St. Augustine in 423, the appeal being supported by the Primate of Numidia (Ep. ccix). Moreover, St. Augustine in his letter to Pope Celestine on this subject urges that previous popes have dealt with similar cases in the same manner, sometimes by independent decisions and sometimes by confirmation of the decisions locally given (ipsa sede apostolica judicante vel aliorum judicata firmante), and that he could cite examples either from ancient or from more recent times (Ep. 209:8). These facts appear to be absolutely conclusive as to the traditional African practice. That the letter "Optaremus" did not result in any change is evinced by a letter of St. Leo's in 446, directing what is to be done in the case of a certain Lupicinus who had appealed to him (Ep. 12:13). It is occasionally argued that if the pope really possessed a supreme jurisdiction, the African bishops would neither have raised any question in 419 as to whether the alleged canons were authentic, nor again have in 426 requested the pope to take the Nicene canon as the norm of his action. Those who reason in this way fail to see that, where canons have been established prescribing the mode of procedure to be followed in the Church, right reason demands that the supreme authority should not alter them except for some grave cause, and, as long as they remain the recognized law of the Church should observe them. The pope as God's vicar must govern according to reason, not arbitrarily nor capriciously. This, however, is a very different thing from saying, as did the Gallican divines, that the pope is subject to the canons. He is not subject to them, because he is competent to modify or to annul them when he holds this to be best for the Church.


    In virtue of his office as supreme teacher and ruler of the faithful, the chief control of every department of the Church's life belongs to the pope. In this section the rights and duties which thus fall to his lot will be briefly enumerated. It will appear that, in regard to a considerable number of points, not merely the supreme control, but the whole exercise of power is reserved to the Holy See, and is only granted to others by express delegation. This system of reservation is possible, since the pope is the universal source. of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Hence it rests with him to determine in what measure he will confer jurisdiction on bishops and other prelates.

    (1) As the supreme teacher of the Church, whose it is to prescribe what is to be believed by all the faithful, and to take measures for the preservation and the propagation of the faith, the following are the rights which pertain to the pope:

      it is his to set forth creeds, and to determine when and by whom an explicit profession of faith shall be made (cf. Council of Trent, Sess. 24, cc. 1 and 12); it is his to prescribe and to command books for the religious instruction of the faithful; thus, for example, Clement XIII has recommended the Roman Catechism to all the bishops.

      The pope alone can establish a university, possessing the status and privileges of a canonically erected Catholic university; to him also belongs the direction of Catholic missions throughout the world; this charge is fulfilled through the Congregation of the Propaganda.

      It is his to prohibit the reading of such books as are injurious to faith or morals, and to determine the conditions on which certain classes of books may be issued by Catholics; his is the condemnation of given propositions as being either heretical or deserving of some minor degree of censure, and lastly he has the right to interpret authentically the natural law. Thus, it is his to say what is lawful or unlawful in regard to social and family life, in regard to the practice of usury, etc.

      (2) With the pope's office of supreme teacher are closely connected his rights in regard to the worship of God: for it is the law of prayer that fixes the law of belief. In this sphere very much has been reserved to the sole regulation of the Holy See. Thus the pope alone can prescribe the liturgical services employed in the Church. If a doubt should occur in regard to the ceremonial of the liturgy, a bishop may not settle the point on his own authority, but must have recourse to Rome. The Holy See likewise prescribes rules in regard to the devotions used by the faithful, and in this way checks the growth of what is novel and unauthorized.

      At the present day the institution and abrogation of festivals which was till a comparatively recent time free to all bishops as regards their own dioceses, is reserved to Rome.

      The solemn canonization of a saint is proper to the pope. Indeed it is commonly held that this is an exercise of the papal infallibility. Beatification and every permission for the public veneration of any of the servants of God is likewise reserved to his decision.

      He alone gives to anyone the privilege of a private chapel where Mass may be said.

      He dispenses the treasury of the Church, and the grant of plenary indulgences is reserved to him. While he has no authority in regard to the substantial rites of the sacraments, and is bound to preserve them as they were given to the Church by Christ and His Apostles, certain powers in their regard belong to him; he can give to simple priests the Power to confirm, and to bless the oil of the sick and the oil of catechumens, and he can establish diriment and impedient impediments to matrimony.

      (3) The legislative power of the pope carries with it the following rights: he can legislate for the whole Church, with or without the assistance of a general council; if he legislates with the aid of a council it is his to convoke it, to preside, to direct its deliberations, to confirm its acts.

      He has full authority to interpret, alter, and abrogate both his own laws and those established by his predecessors. He has the same plenitude of power as they enjoyed, and stands in the same relation to their laws as to those which he himself has decreed; he can dispense individuals from the obligation of all purely ecclesiastical laws, and can grant privileges and exemptions in their regard. In this connexion may be mentioned his power to dispense from vows where the greater glory of God renders it desirable. Considerable powers of dispensation are granted to bishops, and, in a restricted measure, also to priests; but there are some vows reserved altogether to the Holy See.

      (4) In virtue of his supreme judicial authority are reserved to him. By this term are signified cases dealing with matters of great moment, or those in which personages of eminent dignity are concerned.

      His appellate jurisdiction has been discussed in the previous section. It should, however, be noted that the pope has full right, should he see fit, to deal even with in the first instance, and not merely by reason of an appeal (Trent, Sess. XXIV; cap. 20). In what concerns punishment, he can inflict censures either by judicial sentence or by general laws which operate without need of such sentence.

      He further reserves certain cases to his own tribunal. All cases of heresy come before the Congregation of the Inquisition. A similar reservation covers the cases in which a bishop or a reigning prince is the accused party.

      (5) As the supreme governor of the Church the pope has authority over all appointments to its public offices. Thus it is his to nominate to bishoprics, or, where the nomination has been conceded to others, to give confirmation. Further, he alone can translate bishops from one see to another, can accept their resignation, and can, where grave cause exists, sentence to deprivation.

      He can establish dioceses, and can annul a previously existing arrangement in favour of a new one. Similarly, he alone can erect cathedral and collegiate chapters.

      He can approve new religious orders, and can, if he sees fit, exempt them from the authority of local ordinaries.

      Since his office of supreme ruler imposes on him the duty of enforcing the canons, it is requisite that he should be kept informed as to the state of the various dioceses. He may obtain this information by legates or by summoning the bishops to Rome. At the present day this is exercised through the triennial visit required of all bishops. This system was introduced by Sixtus V in 1585 (Constitution, "Rom. Pontifex"), and confirmed by Benedict XIV in 1740 (Constitution, "Quod Sancta").

      It is to be further observed that the pope's office of chief ruler of the Church carries with it the right to free intercourse with the pastors and the faithful. The , by which this intercourse was limited and impeded, was therefore an infringement of a sacred right, and as such was solemnly condemned by the First Vatican Council (Constitution, "Pastor Aeternus", cap. iii). To the pope likewise belongs the supreme administration of the goods of the Church. He alone can, where there is just cause, alienate any considerable quantity of such property. Thus, e. g., Julius III, at the time of the restoration of religion in England under Queen Mary validated the title of those laymen who had acquired Church lands during the spoliations of the previous reigns.

      The pope has further the right to impose taxes on the clergy and the faithful for ecclesiastical purposes (cf. Trent, Sess. XXI, cap. iv de Ref.).

    Though the power of the pope, as we have described it, is very great, it does not follow that it is arbitrary and unrestricted. "The pope", as Cardinal Hergenroether well says, "is circumscribed by the consciousness of the necessity of making a righteous and beneficent use of the duties attached to his privileges....He is also circumscribed by the spirit and practice of the Church, by the respect due to General Councils and to ancient statutes and customs, by the rights of bishops, by his relation with civil powers, by the traditional mild tone of government indicated by the aim of the institution of the papacy -- to 'feed' -- and finally by the respect indispensable in a spiritual power towards the spirit and mind of nations" ("Cath. Church and Christian State", tr., I, 197).


    Certain titles and distinctive marks of honour are assigned to the pope alone; these constitute what is termed his primacy of honour. These prerogatives are not, as are his jurisdictional rights, attached to his office. They have grown up in the course of history, and are consecrated by the usage of centuries; yet they are not incapable of modification.

    (1) Titles

    The most noteworthy of the titles are , , , . The title () was, as has been stated, at one time employed with far more latitude. In the East it has always been used to designate simple priests. In the Western Church, however, it seems from the beginning to have been restricted to bishops (Tertullian, "De Pud." 13). It was apparently in the fourth century that it began to become a distinctive title of the Roman Pontiff. Pope Siricius (d. 398) seems so to use it (Ep. vi in P. L., XIII, 1164), and Ennodius of Pavia (d. 473) employs it still more clearly in this sense in a letter to Pope Symmachus (P. L., LXIII, 69). Yet as late as the seventh century St. Gall (d. 640) addresses Desiderius of Cahors as (P. L., LXXXVII, 265). Gregory VII finally prescribed that it should be confined to the successors of Peter. The terms , were doubtless originally employed with reference to the Jewish high-priest, whose place the Christian bishops were regarded as holding each in his own diocese (I Clement 40). As regards the title , especially in its application to the pope, there was further a reminiscence of the dignity attached to that title in pagan Rome. Tertullian, as has already been said, uses the phrase of Pope Callistus. Though his words are ironical, they probably indicate that Catholics already applied it to the pope. But here too the terms were once less narrowly restricted in their use. was used of the bishop of some notable see in relation to those of less importance. Hilary of Arles (d. 449) is so styled by Eucherius of Lyons (P. L., L, 773), and Lanfranc is termed "primas et pontifex summus" by his biographer, Milo Crispin (P. L., CL, 10). Pope Nicholas I is termed "summus pontifex et universalis papa" by his legate Arsenius (Hardouin, "Conc.", V, 280), and subsequent examples are common. After the eleventh century it appears to be only used of the popes. The phrase is now so entirely a papal title that a Bull in which it should be wanting would be reckoned unauthentic. Yet this designation also was once applied to others. Augustine (Ep. 217 a. d. Vitalem) entitles himself "servus Christi et per Ipsum servus servorum Ipsius". Desiderius of Cahors made use of it (Thomassin, "Ecclesiae nov. et vet. disc.", pt. I, I. I, c. iv, n. 4): so also did St. Boniface (740), the apostle of Germany (P. L., LXXIX, 700). The first of the popes to adopt it was seemingly Gregory I; he appears to have done co in contrast to the claim put forward by the Patriarch of Constantinople to the title of universal bishop (P. L., LXXV, 87). The restriction of the term to the pope alone began in the ninth century.

    (2) Insignia and Marks of Honour

    The pope is distinguished by the use of the tiara or triple crown (see TIARA). At what date the custom of crowning the pope was introduced is unknown. It was certainly previous to the forged donation of Constantine, which dates from the commencement of the ninth century, for mention is there made of the pope's coronation. The triple crown is of much later origin. The pope moreover does not, like ordinary bishops, use the bent pastoral staff, but only the erect cross. This custom was introduced before the reign of Innocent III (1198-1216) (cap. un. X de sacra unctione, I, 15). He further uses the pallium (q. v.) at all ecclesiastical functions, and not under the same restrictions as do the archbishops on whom he has conferred it. The kissing of the pope's foot -- the characteristic act of reverence by which all the faithful do honour to him as the vicar of Christ -- is found as early as the eighth century. We read that Emperor Justinian II paid this respect to Pope Constantine (708-16) (Anastasius Bibl. in P. L., CXXVIII 949). Even at an earlier date Emperor Justin had prostrated himself before Pope John I (523- 6; op. cit., 515), and Justinian I before Agapetus (535-6; op. cit., 551). The pope, it may be added, ranks as the first of Christian princes, and in Catholic countries his ambassadors have precedence over other members of the diplomatic body.


    The supreme headship of the Church is, we have seen, annexed to the office of Roman bishop. The pope becomes chief pastor because he is Bishop of Rome: he does not become Bishop of Rome because he has been chosen to be head of the universal Church. Thus, an election to the papacy is, properly speaking, primarily an election to the local bishopric. The right to elect their bishop has ever belonged to the members of the Roman Church. They possess the prerogative of giving to the universal Church her chief pastor; they do not receive their bishop in virtue of his election by the universal Church. This is not to say that the election should be by popular vote of the Romans. In ecclesiastical affairs it is always for the hierarchy to guide the decisions of the flock. The choice of a bishop belongs to the clergy: it may be confined to the leading members of the clergy. It is so in the Roman Church at present. The electoral college of cardinals exercise their office because they are the chief of the Roman clergy. Should the college of cardinals ever become extinct, the duty of choosing a supreme pastor would fall, not on the bishops assembled in council, but upon the remaining Roman clergy. At the time of the Council of Trent Pius IV, thinking it possible that in the event of his death the council might lay some claim to the right, insisted on this point in a consistorial allocution (Phillips, "Kirchenrecht", V, p. 737 n.). It is thus plain that a pope cannot nominate his successor. History tells us of one pope -- Benedict II (530) -- who meditated adopting this course. But he recognized that it would be a false step, and burnt the document which he had drawn up for the purpose. On the other hand the Church's canon law (10 D. 79) supposes that the pope may make provision for the needs of the Church by suggesting to the cardinals some one whom he regards as fitted for the office: and we know that Gregory VII secured in this way the election of Victor III. Such a step, however, does not in any way fetter the action of the cardinals. The pope can, further, legislate regarding the mode in which the subsequent election shall be carried out, determining the composition of the electoral college, and the conditions requisite for a definitive choice. The method at present followed is the result of a series of enactments on this subject.

    A brief historical review will show how the principle of election by the Roman Church has been maintained through all the vicissitudes of papal elections. St. Cyprian tells us in regard to the election of Pope St. Cornelius (251) that the comprovincial bishops, the clergy, and the people all took part in it: "He was made bishop by the decree of God and of His Church, by the testimony of nearly all the clergy, by the college of aged bishops [], and of good men"(Ep. Iv ad Anton., n. 8). And a precisely similar ground is alleged by the Roman priests in their letter to Emperor Honorius regarding the validity of the election of Boniface I (A. D. 418; P. L., XX, 750). Previous to the fall of the Western Empire interference by the civil power seems to have been inconsiderable. Constantius, it is true, endeavoured to set up an antipope, Felix II (355), but the act was universally regarded as heretical. Honorius on the occasion of the contested election of 418 decreed that, when the election was dubious, neither party should hold the papacy, but that a new election should take place. This method was applied at the elections of Conon (686) and Sergius I (687). The law is found in the Church's code (c. 8, d. LXXIX), though Gratian declares it void of force as having emanated from civil and not ecclesiastical authority (d. XCVI, proem.; d. XCVII, proem.). After the barbarian conquest of Italy, the Church's rights were less carefully observed. Basilius, the prefect of Odoacer, claimed the right of supervising the election of 483 in the name of his master, alleging that Pope Simplicius had himself requested him to do so (Hard., II, 977). The disturbances which occurred at the disputed election of Symmachus (498) led that pope to hold a council and to decree the severest penalties on all who should be guilty of canvassing or bribery in order to attain the pontificate. It was moreover decided that the majority of votes should decide the election. Theodoric the Ostrogoth, who at this period ruled Italy, became in his later years a persecutor of the Church. He even went so far as to appoint Felix III (IV) in 526 as the successor of Pope John I, whose death was due to the incarceration to which the king had condemned him. Felix, however, was personally worthy of the office, and the appointment was confirmed by a subsequent election. The precedent of interference set by Theodoric was fruitful of evil to the Church. After the destruction of the Gothic monarchy (537), the Byzantine emperors went even farther than the heretical Ostrogoth in encroaching on ecclesiastical rights. Vigilius (540) and Pelagius I (553) were forced on the Church at imperial dictation. In the case of the latter there seems to have been no election: his title was validated solely through his recognition as bishop by clergy and people. The formalities of election at this time were as follows (Lib. Diurnus Rom. Pont., 2, in P. L., CV, 27). After the pope's death, the archpriest, the archdeacon and the primicerius of the notaries sent an official notification to the exarch at Ravenna. On the third day after the decease the new pope was elected, being invariably chosen from among the presbyters or deacons of the Roman Church (cf. op. cit., 2, titt. 2, 3 5), and an embassy was despatched to Constantinople to request the official confirmation of the election. Not until this had been received did the consecration take Place. The Church acquired greater freedom after the Lombard invasion of 568 had destroyed the prestige of Byzantine power in Italy. Pelagius II (,578) and Gregory I (590) were the spontaneous choice of the electors. And in 684, owing to the long delays involved in the journey to Constantinople, Constantine IV (Pogonatus) acceded to Benedict II's request that in future it should not be necessary to wait for confirmation, but that a mere notification of the election would suffice. The 1088 of the exarchate and the iconoclastic heresy of the Byzantine court completed the severance between Rome and the Eastern Empire, and Pope Zacharias (741) dispensed altogether with the customary notice to Constantinople.

    In 769 a council was held under Stephen III to rectify the confusion caused by the intrusion of the antipope Constantine. This usurper was a layman hurriedly raised to priest's orders to render his nomination to the pontificate possible. To make a repetition of the scandal impossible it was decreed that only members of the sacred college were eligible for election. The part of the laity was, moreover, reduced to a mere right of acclamation. Under Charlemagne and Louis the Pious the Church retained her freedom. Lothair, however, claimed more ample rights for the civil power. In 824 he exacted an oath from the Romans that none should be consecrated pope without the permission and the presence of his ambassadors. This was, in fact, done at most of the elections during the ninth century, and in 898 the riots which ensued upon the death of Pope Stephen V led John IX to give ecclesiastical sanction to this system of imperial control. In a council held at Rome in that year he decreed that the election should be made by bishops (cardinal) and clergy, regard being had to the wishes of the people, but that no consecration should take place except in the presence of the imperial legate (Mansi XVIII, 225).

    The due formalities at least of election appear to have been observed through the wild disorders which followed the collapse of the Carlovingian Empire: and the same is true as regards the times of Otto the Great and his son. Under the restored empire, however, the electors enjoyed no freedom of choice. Otto I even compelled the Romans to swear that they would never elect or ordain a pope without his or his son's consent (963; cf. Liutprand, "Hist. Ott.", viii). In 1046 the scandals of the preceding elections, in which the supreme pontificate had become a prize for rival factions entirely regardless of what means they employed, led clergy and people to leave the nomination to Henry III. Three popes were chosen in this manner. But Leo IX insisted that the Church was free in the choice of her pastors, and, until he was duly elected at Rome, declined to assume any of the state of his office. The party of reform, of which Hildebrand was the moving spirit, were eager for some measure which should restore an independent choice to the Church. This was carried out by Nicholas II. In 1059 he held a council in the Lateran and issued the Decree "In Nomine". This document is found in two recensions, a papal and an imperial, both of early date. There is however little doubt that the papal recension embodied in the "Decretum Gratiani " (c. 1. d. XXIII) is genuine, and that the other was altered in the interest of the antipope Guibert (1080, Hefele, "Conciliengesch.", IV, 800, 899). The right of election is confined to the cardinals, the effective choice being placed in the hands of the cardinal bishops: clergy and people have a right of acclamation only. The right of confirmation is granted to the Emperor Henry IV and to such of his successors as should personally request and receive the privilege. The pope need not necessarily be taken from the number of cardinals, though this should be the case if possible.

    This decree formed the basis of the present legislation on the papal election, though the system underwent considerable development. The first important modification was the Constitution "Licet de Vitanda" [c. vi, X, "De elect." (I, 6)] of Alexander III, the first of the decrees passed by the Third Oecumenical Council of the Lateran (1179). To prevent the evils of a disputed election it was established by this law that no one should be held dub elected until two thirds of the cardinals should have given their votes for him. In this decree no distinction is made between the rights of the cardinal bishops and those of the rest of the Sacred College. The imperial privilege of confirming the election had already become obsolete owing to the breach between the Church and the Empire under Henry IV and Frederick I. Between the death of Clement IV (1268) and the coronation of Gregory X (1272) an interregnum of nearly three years intervened. To prevent a repetition of so great a misfortune the pope in the Council of Lyons (1179) issued the Decree " Ubi periculum " [c. iii, " De elect.", in 60 (I, 6)], by which it was ordained that during the election of a pontiff the cardinals should be secluded from the world under exceedingly stringent regulations, and that the seclusion should continue till they had fulfilled their duty of providing the Church with a supreme pastor. To this electoral session was given the name of the Conclave (q. v.). This system prevails at the present day.


    The historical lists of the popes, from those drawn up in the second century to those of the present day, form in themselves a considerable body of literature. It would be beyond the scope of the article to enter upon a discussion of these catalogues. For an account of the most famous of them all, the article LIBER PONTIFICALIS may be consulted. It appears, however, desirable to indicate very briefly what are our authorities for the names and the durations in office of the popes for the first two centuries of the Church's existence.

    Irenaeus, writing between 175 and 190, not many years after his Roman sojourn, enumerates the series from Peter to Eleutherius (Adv. Haer. 3:3:3; Eusebius, "Hist. eccl." 5:6) . His object, as we have already seen, was to establish the orthodoxy of the traditional doctrine, as opposed to heretical novelties, by showing that the bishop was the natural inheritor of the Apostolic teaching. He gives us the names alone, not the length of the various episcopates. This need is supplied by other witnesses. Most important evidence is furnished by the document entitled the " Liberian Catalogue " -- so called from the Pope whose name ends the list. The collection of tracts of which this forms a part was edited (apparently by one Furius Dionysius Philocalus) in 354. The catalogue consists of a list of the Roman bishops from Peter to Liberius, with the length of their respective episcopates, the consular dates, the name of the reigning emperor, and in many cases other details. There is the strongest ground for believing that the earlier part of the catalogue, as far as Pontian (230-35), is the work of Hippolytus of Portus. It is manifest that up to this point the fourth century compiler was making use of a different authority from that which he employs for the subsequent popes: and there is evidence rendering it almost certain that Hippolytus's work "Chronica" contained such a list. The reign of Pontian, moreover, would be the point at which that list would have stopped: for Hippolytus and he were condemned to servitude in the Sardinian mines -- a fact which the chronographer makes mention when speaking of Pontian's episcopate. Lightfoot has argued that this list originally contained nothing but the names of the bishops and the duration of their episcopates, the remaining notes being additions by a later hand. The list of popes is identical with that of Irenaeus, save that Anacletus is doubled into Cletus and Anacletus, while Clement appears before, instead of after, these two names. The order of Popes Pius and Anicetus has also been interchanged. There is every reason to regard; these differences as due to the errors of copyists. Another witness is Eusebius. The names and episcopal years of the bishops can be gathered alike from his "History" and his "Chronicle". The notices in the two works; can be shown to be m agreement, notwithstanding certain corruptions in many texts of the "Chronicle". This Eastern list in the hands of Eusebius is seen to have been identical with the Western list of Hippolytus, except that in the East the name of Linus's successor seems to have been given as Anencletus, in the original Western list as Cletus. The two authorities presuppose the following list: (1) Peter, xxv; (2) Linus, xii; (3) Anencletus [Cletus], xii; (4) Clement, ix; (5) Evarestus, viii; (6) Alexander, x; (7) Sixtus, x; (8) Telesophorus, xi; (9) Hyginus, iv; (10) Pius, xv; (11) Anicetus, xi;, (12) Soter, viii; (13) Eleutherius, xv; (14) Victor, x; (15) Zephyrinus, xviii; (16) Callistus, v; (17) Urban, viii; (18) Pontian, v (Harnack, "Chronologie", I, 152).

    We learn from Eusebius (Hist. eccl. 4:22) that in the middle of the second century Hegesippus, the Hebrew Christian, visited Rome and that he drew up a list of bishops as far as Anicetus, the then pope. Eusebius does not quote his catalogue, but Lightfoot sees ground for holding that we possess it in a passage of Epiphanius (Haer. 27:6), in which the bishops as far as Anicetus are enumerated. This list of Hegesippus, drawn up less than a century after the martyrdom of St. Peter, was he believes, the foundation alike of the Eusebian and Hippolytan catalogues (Clement of Rome I, 325 so.). His view has been accepted by many scholars. Even those who, like Harnack (Chronologie, I, 184 sq.), do not admit that this list is really that of Hegesippus, recognize it as a catalogue of Roman origin and of very early date, furnishing testimony independent alike of the Eusebian and Liberian lists.

    The "Liber Pontificalis", long accepted as an authority of the highest value, is now acknowledged to have been originally composed at the beginning of the fifth century, and, as regards the early popes, to be dependent on the "Liberian Catalogue".

    In the numbering of the successors of St. Peter, certain differences appear in various lists. The two forms Anacletus and Cletus, as we hare seen, very early occasioned the third pope to be reckoned twice. There are some few cases, also, in which it is still doubted whether particular individuals should be accounted genuine popes or intruders, and, according to the view taken by the compiler of the list, they will be included or excluded. In the accompanying list the Stephen immediately following Zacharias (752) is not numbered, since, though duly elected, he died before his consecration. At that period the papal dignity was held to be conferred at consecration, and hence he is excluded from all the early lists. Leo VIII (963) is included, as the resignation of Benedict V, though enforced, may have been genuine. Boniface VII is also ranked as a pope, since, in 984 at least, he would seem to have been accepted as such by the Roman Church. The claim of Benedict X (1058) is likewise recognized. It cannot be affirmed that his title was certainly invalid, and his name, though now sometimes excluded, appears in the older catalogues. It should be observed that there is no John XX in the catalogue. This is due to the fact that, in the " Liber Pontificalis ", two dates are given in connexion with the life of John XIV (983). This introduced confusion into some of the papal catalogues, and a separate pope was assigned to each of these dates. Thus three popes named John were made to appear between Benedict VII and Gregory V. The error led the pope of the thirteenth century who should have been called John XX to style himself John XXI (Duchesne, "Lib. Pont." 2:17). Some only of the antipopes find mention in the list. No useful purpose would be served by giving the name of every such claimant. Many of them possess no historical importance whatever. From Gregory VII onward not merely the years but the precise days are assigned on which the respective reigns commenced and closed. Ancient authorities furnish these details in the case of most of the foregoing popes also: but, previously to the middle of the eleventh century, the information is of uncertain value. With Gregory VII a new method of reckoning came in. The papal dignity was held to be conferred by the election, and not as previously by the coronation, and the commencement of the reign was computed from the day of election. This point seems therefore a convenient one at which to introduce the more detailed indications.

    Chronological List of the Popes

    St. Peter, d. 67 (?)

    St. Linus, 67-79 (?)

    St. Anacletus, I, 79-90(?)

    St. Clement I, 90-99(?)

    St. Evaristus 99-107(?)

    St. Alexander I, 107-16(?)

    St. Sixtus (Xystus) I, 116-25(?)

    St. Telesphorus, 125-36(?)

    St. Hyginus, 136-40(?)

    St. Pius, 140-54(?)

    St. Anicetus, 154-65(?)

    St. Soter, 165-74

    St. Eleutherius, 174-89

    St. Victor, 189-98

    St. Zephyrinus, 198-217

    St. Callistus I, 217-22

    St. Urban I, 222-30

    St. Pontian, 230-35

    St. Anterus, 235-36

    St. Fabian, 236-50

    St. Cornelius, 251-53

    , 251-58(?)

    St. Lucius I, 253-54

    St. Stephen I, 254-57

    St. Sixtus (Xystus) II, 257-58

    St. Dionysius, 259-68

    St. Felix I, 269-74

    St. Eutychian, 275-83

    St. Caius, 283-96

    St. Marcellinus, 296-304

    St. Marcellus I, 308-09

    St. Eusebius, 309(310)

    St. Melchiades (Miltiades), 311-14

    St. Sylvester I, 314-35

    St. Marcus, 336

    St. Julius I, 337-52

    St. Liberius, 352-6

    , 355-65

    Damasus I, 366-84

    St. Siricius, 384-98

    St. Anastasius I, 398-401

    St. Innocent I, 402-17

    St. Zosimus, 417-18

    St. Boniface I, 418-22

    St. Celestine I, 422-32

    St. Sixtus (Xystus) III, 432-40

    St. Leo I, 440-61

    St. Hilarius, 461-68

    St. Simplicius, 468-83

    St. Felix II (III), 483-92

    St. Gelasius I, 492-96

    St. Anastasius II, 496-98

    St. Symmachus, 498-514

    St. Hormisdas, 514-23

    St. John I, 523-26

    St. Felix III (IV), 526-30

    Boniface II, 530-32

    John II, 533-35

    St. Agapetus I, 535-36

    St. Silverius, 536-38(?)

    Vigilius, 538(?)-55

    Pelagius I, 556-61

    John III, 561-74

    Benedict I, 575-79

    Pelagius II, 579-90

    St. Gregory I, 590-604

    Sabinianus, 604-06

    Boniface III, 607

    St. Boniface IV, 608-15

    St. Deusdedit, 615-18

    Boniface V, 619-25

    Honorius I, 625-38

    Severinus, 638-40

    John IV, 640-2

    Theodore I, 642-49

    St. Martin I, 649-55

    St. Eugene I, 654-57

    St. Vitalian, 657-72

    Adeodatus, 672-76

    , 676-78

    St. Agatho, 678-81

    St. Leo II, 682-83

    St. Benedict II, 684-85

    John V, 686-86

    Conon, 686-7

    St. Sergius I, 687-701

    John VI, 701-05

    John VII, 705-07

    Sisinnius, 708

    Constantine, 708-15

    St. Gregory II, 715-31

    St. Gregorv III, 731-41

    St. Zacharias, 741-52

    Stephen II (III), 752-57

    St. Paul I, 757-67

    , 767-68

    Stephen III (IV), 768-72

    Adrian I, 772-95

    St. Leo III, 795-816

    Stephen IV (V), 816-17

    St. Paschal I, 817-24

    Eugene II, 824-27

    Valentine, 827

    Gregory IV, 827-44

    Sergius II, 844-47

    St. Leo IV, 847-55

    Benedict III, 855-58

    , 855

    St. Nicholas I, 858-67

    Adrian II, 867-72

    John VIII, 872-82

    Marinus I (Martin II), 882-84

    Adrian III, 884-85

    Stephen V (VI), 885-91

    Formosus, 891-96

    Boniface VI, 896

    Stephen VI (VII), 896-97

    Romanus, 897

    Theodore II, 897

    John IX, 898-900

    Benedict IV, 900-03

    Leo V, 903

    Christopher, 903-04

    Sergius III, 904-11

    Anastasius III, 911-13

    Lando, 913-14

    John X, 914-28

    Leo VI, 928

    Stephen VII (VIII), 928-31

    John XI, 931-36

    Leo VII, 936-39

    Stephen VIII (IX), 939-42

    Marinus II (Martin III), 942-46

    Agapetus II, 946-55

    John XII, 955-64

    Leo VIII, 963-65

    Benedict V, 964

    John XIII, 965-72

    Benedict VI, 973-74

    , 974

    Benedict VII, 974-83

    John XIV, 983-84

    Boniface VII, 984-85

    John XV, 985-96

    Gregory V, 996-99

    , 997-98

    Silvester II, 999-1003

    John XVII, 1003

    John XVIII, 1003-09

    Sergius IV, 1009-12

    Benedict VIII, 1012-24

    John XIX, 1024-32

    Benedict IX (a) , 1032-45

    , 1045

    Gregory VI. 1045-46

    Clement II, 1046-47

    , 1047-48

    Damasus II, 1048

    St. Leo IX, 1049-54

    Victor II, 1055-57

    Stephen IX (X), 1057-58

    Benedict X, 1058-59

    Nicholas II, 1059-61

    Alexander II, 1061-73

    , 1061-64

    St. Gregory VII, 22 Apr., 1073-25 May, 1085

    , 1084-1100

    Victor III, 9 May, 1087-16 Sept., 1087

    Urban II, 12 March, 1088-29 July, 1099

    Paschal II, 13 Aug., 1099-21 Jan., 1118

    , 1105-11

    Gelasius II, 24 Jan., 1118-28 Jan., 1119

    , 1118-21

    Callistus II, 2 Feb., 1119-13 Dee. 1124

    Honorius II, 15 Dec., 1124-13 Feb., 1130

    , 1124

    Innocent II, 14 Feb., 1130-24 Sept., 1143

    , 1130-38

    , 1138

    Celestine II, 26 Sept., 1143-8 March, 1144

    Lucius II, 12 March, 1144 (cons.)-15 Feb.,1145

    Eugene III, 15 Feb., 1145-8 July, 1153

    Anastasius IV, 12 July, 1153 (cons.)-3 Dec., 1154

    Adrian IV, 4 Dee., 1154-1 Sept., 1159

    Alexander III, 7 Sept., 1159-30 Aug., 1181

    , 1159-64

    , 1164-68

    , 1168-78

    , 1179-80

    Lucius III, 1 Sept., 1181-25 Nov., 1185

    Urban III, 25 Nov., 1185-20 Oct., 1187

    Gregory VIII, 21 Oct.-17 Dec., 1187

    Clement III, 19 Dec., 1187-March, 1191

    Celestine III, 30 March, 1191-8 Jan., 1198

    Innocent III, 8 Jan., 1198-16 July, 1216

    Honorius III, 18 July, 1216-18 Mareb, 1227

    Gregory IX, 19 Mareh, 1227-22 Aug., 1241

    Celestine IV, 25 Oct.-10 Nov., 1241

    Innocent IV, 25 June, 1243-7 Dec., 1254

    Alexander IV, 12 Dec., 1254-25 May 1261

    Urban IV, 29 Aug., 1261-2 Oct., 1264

    Clement IV, 5 Feb., 1265-29 Nov., 1268

    St. Gregory X, 1 Sept., 1271-10 Jan., 1276

    Innocent V, 21 Jan.-22 June, 1276

    Adrian V, 11 July-18 Aug., 1276

    John XXI, 8 Sept., 1276-20 May, 1277

    Nieholas III, 25 Nov., 1277-22 Aug., 1280

    Martin IV, 25 Feb., 1281-28 March, 1285

    Honorius IV, 2 Apr., 1285-3 Apr., 1287

    Nicholas IV, 22 Feb., 1288-4 Apr., 1292

    St. Celestine V, 5 July-13 Dec., 1294

    Boniface VIII, 24 Dec., 1294-11 Oct., 1303

    Benedict XI, 22 Oct., 1303-7 July, 1304

    Clement V, 5 June, 1305-20 Apr., 1314

    John XXII, 7 Aug., 1316-4 Dec., 1334

    , 1328-30

    Benedict XII, 20 Dec., 1334-25 Apr., 1342

    Clement VI, 7 May, 1342-6 Dec., 1352

    Innocent VI, 18 Dec., 1352-12 Sept., 1362

    Urban V, 6 Nov. 1362 (cons.)-19 Dec., 1370

    Gregory XI, 30 Dec., 1370-27 March, 1378

    Urban VI, 8 Apr., 1378-15 Oct., 1389

    , 1378-94

    Boniface IX, 2 Nov., 1389-1 Oct., 1404

    , 1394-1424

    Innocent VII, 17 Oct., 1404-6 Nov., 1406

    Gregory XII, 30 Nov., 1406-4 July, 1415

    Alexander V, 26 June, 1409-3 May, 1410

    John XXIII, 17 May, 1410-29 May, 1415

    Martin V, 11 Nov., 1417-20 Feb., 1431

    , 1424-29

    , 1424

    Eugene IV, 3 March, 1431-23 Feb., 1447

    , 1439-49

    Nicholas V, 6 March, 1447-24 March, 1455

    Callistus III, 8 Apr., 1455-6 Aug., 1458

    Pius II, 19 Aug., 1458-15 Aug., 1464

    Paul II, 31 Aug., 1464-26 July, 1471

    Sixtus IV, 9 Aug., 1471-12 Aug., 1484

    Innocent VIII, 29 Aug., 1484-25 July, 1492

    Alexander VI, 11 Aug., 1492-18 Aug., 1503

    Pius III, 22 Sept.-18 Oct., 1503

    Julius II, 1 Nov., 1503-21 Feb., 1513

    Leo X, 11 March, 1513-1 Dec., 1521

    Adrian VI, 9 Jan., 1522-14 Sept., 1523

    Clement VII, 19 Nov., 1523-25 Sept., 1534

    Paul III, 13 Oct., 1534-10 Nov., 1549

    Julius III, 8 Feb., 1550-23 March, 1555

    Marcellus II, 9-30 Apr., 1555

    Paul IV, 23 May, 1555-18 Aug., 1559

    Pius IV, 25 Dec., 1559-9 Dec., 1565

    St. Pius V, 7 Jan., 1566-1 May, 1572

    Gregory XIII, 13 May, 1572-10 Apr., 1585

    Sixtus V, 24 Apr., 1585-27 Aug., 1590

    Urban VII, 15-27 Sept., 1590

    Gregory XIV, 5 Dec., 1590-15 Oct., 1591

    Innocent IX, 29 Oct.-30 Dec., 1591

    Clement VIII, 30 Jan., 1592-5 March, 1605

    Leo XI, 1-27 Apr., 1605

    Paul V, 16 May, 1605-28 Jan., 1621

    Gregorv XV, 9 Feb., 1621-8 July, 1623

    Urban VIII, 6 Aug., 1623-29 July, 1644

    Innocent X, 15 Sept., 1644-7 Jan., 1655

    Alexander VII, 7 Apr., 1655-22 May, 1667

    Clement IX, 20 June, 1667-9 Dec., 1669

    Clement X, 29 Apr., 1670-22 July, 1676

    Innocent XI, 21 Sept., 1676-11 Aug., 1689

    Alexander VIII, 6 Oct., 1689-1 Feb., 1691

    Innocent XII, 12 July, 1691-27 Sept., 1700

    Clement XI, 23 Nov., 1700-19 March, 1721

    Innocent XIII, 8 May, 1721-7 March, 1724

    Benedict XIII, 29 May, 1724-21 Feb., 1730

    Clement XII, 12 July, 1730-6 Feb., 1740

    Benedict XIV, 17 Aug., 1740-3 May, 1758

    Clement XIII, 6 July, 1758-2 Feb., 1769

    Clement XIV, 19 May, 1769-22 Sept., 1774

    Pius VI, 15 Feb., 1775-29 Aug., 1799

    Pius VII, 14 March, 1800 20 Aug., 1823

    Leo XII, 28 Sept., 1823-10 Feb., 1829

    Pius VIII, 31 March, 1829-30 Nov., 1830

    Gregory XVI, 2 Feb., 1831-1 June, 1846

    Pius IX, 16 June, 1846-7 Feb., 1878

    Leo XIII, 20 Feb., 1878-20 July, 1903

    Pius X, 4 Aug., 1903-

    ROCABERTI, (21 vols., Rome, 1695-99); ROKOVANY, (16vols., Neutra, 1867-79). The collection of ROCABERTI embraces the works of more than a hundred authors (from the ninth to the seventeenth century) on primacy. ROKOVANY'S work is a collection of documents dealing with the primacy, the civil principality, infallibility, the First Vatican Council, etc. A valuable feature of the work is a vast bibliography of books and pamphlets treating of the subject from the earliest times up to the date of publication, with useful appreciations of many of the works mentioned. BELLARMINE, , I (Ingolstadt, 1601); BALLERINI, in MIGNE, Thesaurus, III, 906; PALMIERI, (Rome, 1877); PASSAGLIE, (Ratisbone, 1850); HERGENROETHER, (London, 1876). On the primacy in the primitive Church: RIVINGTON, (London, 1894); IDEM, (London, 1899); CHAPMAN, (London, 1905), vi-vii. On the right of the pope to receive appeals: LUPUS, , VIII (Venice, 1726); ALEXANDER NATALIS, 4:28: ; BALLERINI, in MIGNE, P.L., LV, 534; HEFELE-LECLERCQ, , I (2), p. 759 sq. (Paris, 1907). On the primacy of honour: PHILLIPS, (Ratisbon, 1854); HINSCHIUS, (Berlin 1869). On papal elections: PHILLIPS, op. cit.; HINSCHIUS, op. cit.; THOMASSIN, (Lyons, 1706); SCHEFFER-BOICHORST, (Strasburg, 1879). On the chronology of the popes: DUCHESNE, (Paris, 1892); GAMS, (Ratisbon, 1873).

    G. H. JOYCE

    Transcribed by Gerard Haffner

    Taken from the New Advent Web Page (www.knight.org/advent).

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