The Principal Heresies and Other Errors of Vatican II (Part 2)

c) Heretical and schismatic sects are means of salvation.

“The separated churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from the defects already mentioned, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fulness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.” (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 3)

This contradicts a doctrine which has been repeated perhaps more times than any other by the Church and is unquestionably Divinely revealed. Only a single example of the magisterial teaching of the true doctrine is necessary and we select the following from the Council of Florence held under Pope Eugene IV (1441):

“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the Devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with her…

We have heard it argued that the word “means”, occurring in the aberrant passage in this decree, was perhaps intended to signify something like “stepping-stone”; but of course the word is not capable of that meaning either in itself or in the Latin word of which it is the translation. A philosophical axiom states that “a means which cannot achieve its end is not a means.” Flying in an aeroplane is a means of getting from England to France, but riding on a bicycle is not, even if, on reaching the Channel, one tossed the bicycle aside and used some other form of transport instead.

Theological censure: HERETICAL.

(d) Communal public prayer with heretics and schismatics is useful and commendable.

“In certain circumstances, such as in prayer services ‘for unity’ and during oecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly a very effective means of petitioning for the grace of unity, and they are a genuine expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren.” (Decree on Oecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio, paragraph 8)

Into this short passage the Vatican II Fathers managed to squeeze two distinct doctrinal falsehoods:


  • That it is desirable that Catholics should join in “prayer services” with their separated brethren. Far from being desirable, joint religious activities with non-Catholics (except in the case of known individuals who are already on the path to conversion) are forbidden.
  • That such prayers in common are “a very effective means of petitioning for the grace of unity.”


The correct doctrine is set out clearly in Canon 1258 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which the most enthusiastic proponent of Vatican II cannot deny was in force when Vatican II was taking place. This canon states that it is unlawful to assist at actively in any way, or to take part in, the devotional acts of non-Catholics; and this is simply a repetition and statement of what has always been the rule of the Church. Casuists were consulted on what exceptions could be allowed in sixteenth-century England, where and when it really mattered, and the only concessions that they found were very minor activities such as saying grace – and even that was permitted only to avoid serious danger.

Now admittedly if Canon 1258 be purely ecclesiastical law – in other words, a type of human law – Vatican II (if it was a true Council) could have overruled it and imposed a new law. But Canon 1258 was not a purely ecclesiastical law. It represents in part an application of the Divine Law; and not even a pope can abolish a Divine law (nor can he dispense from it). Fully sufficient evidence that a Divine law is at issue is to be found in the following instruction on the subject of “communicatio in sacris cum acatholicis” addressed to the Catholics of England by Cardinal Allen in his letter of 12th December 1592. 4

“…You [priests] and all my brethren must have great regard that you teach not, nor defend, that it is lawful to communicate with the Protestants in their prayers or services or in the conventicles where they meet to minister their untrue sacraments; for this is contrary to the practice of the Church and the Holy Doctors in all ages, who never communicated or allowed any Catholic person to pray together with Arians, Donatists or what other soever. Neither is it a positive law of the Church, for in that case it might be dispensed with upon some occasion; but it is forbidden by God’s own eternal law, as by many evident arguments I could convince… To make all sure, I have asked for the judgement of the pope currently reigning [Pope Clement VIII] and he expressly told me that to participate with the Protestants either by praying with them or by coming to their churches or services or such like was by no means lawful or dispensable.”

In response to a correspondent we wrote the following:

“(i) The letter by Cardinal Allen was written in circumstances which could not have been more exacting, and which must have made Cardinal Allen and the pope look for every opportunity of compromising on the issue if compromise were to be found. At that time in Elizabethan England, for Catholics to be allowed to pray with non-Catholics might literally have saved the lives of Catholics, and might also have prevented the reduction to total ruin of entire families (and, of course, saved many from the temptation to apostatise, sometimes unhappily consented to).

“(ii) There is no possibility that the prohibition could only have related to attendance at church services, because, no less than twice, the document makes it clear that this is not so, and that the prohibition embraces everything. ‘…that you teach not, nor defend, that it is lawful to communicate with Protestants in their prayers or services or in the conventicles where they meet to minister their untrue sacraments…’ And: ‘…the pope…expressly told me that to participate with the Protestants either by praying with them or by coming to their churches or services or such like was by no means lawful or dispensable…’

“(iii) The document makes it clear that this prohibition had always existed. ‘…Contrary to the practice of the Church and the Holy Doctors in all ages who never communicated or allowed any Catholic person to pray together with Arians, Donatists or what other soever…’

“(iv) Again and again the document makes it clear that what is at issue is not merely man-made ecclesiastical law, but Divine law. Thus: ‘Neither is it a positive law of the Church, for in that case it might be dispensed with upon some occasion’ – it is only Divine law that cannot be dispensed with. Thus too: ‘…it is forbidden by God’s own eternal law.’ What could be clearer than that? Or do you assert that there is a distinction between Divine law and _God’s own eternal law’? And thus yet again: _…the pope currently reigning…expressly told me that to participate with Protestants…by praying with them…was by no means lawful or dispensable.’

“(v) And how could Cardinal Allen‘s pronouncement possibly be more definitive? In the first place, he, a prince of the Church and possibly one of the most revered cardinals of the sixteenth century, made it perfectly clear that he had researched the matter with great care, that he was merely repeating what had always been the inviolable practice of the Church, and also that he was completely certain that it was a matter of Divine law and not dispensable. And in the second place, because of the importance of the issue he deemed it his duty, notwithstanding his own complete certainty, to check the matter with the ultimate authority, the man with the keys to the kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose as though the binding and loosing were done by God Himself; and the pope, despite the fact that, as…already suggested, every human instinct must have screamed at him to find a way around the prohibition if a way round could be found, simply affirmed unequivocally that prayer with Protestants – not merely attendance at liturgical services – was both unlawful and not dispensable, i.e. was a matter of Divine law.”

We should make it clear that we by no means deny that there is scope for doubt with regard to a few exceptional cases; nor do we deny that the Divine law, which makes it per se unlawful to associate even in the orthodox private prayers of non-Catholics, does seem not to bind – in relation to the genuinely orthodox private prayers of non-Catholics – in cases of grave inconvenience where there is no danger of scandal. Naturally Cardinal Allen and Pope Clement VIII knew that there always would be scandal if Catholics prayed with Protestants in post-“Reformation” England, and they therefore had no need to mention this. What Cardinal Allen’s response makes clear without any shadow of doubt is that the concept of praying with non-Catholics is “per se” forbidden by the Divine law – a Divine law which Vatican II simply overruled as though it did not exist.

Theological censure: at least ERRONEOUS IN FAITH for the first proposition and HERETICAL5 for the second proposition.

Original source:

To be continued…

The Principal Heresies and Other Errors of Vatican II (Part 1)


(a) The civil right to religious liberty.

“The Council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person… This right to religious freedom is to be recognised in the constitutional law whereby society is governed. Thus it is to become a civil right.”2 (Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, paragraph 2)

What is more, the Vatican II “popes” took steps to ensure that, in countries where such freedom was not already a “civil right”, it became one. Thus the Catholic constitutions of Spain and Colombia were suppressed at the express direction of the Vatican, and the laws of those countries changed to permit the public practice of non-Catholic religions.
3 And as though to refute as clearly as possible the attempts of certain misguided “conservative” members of the Conciliar Sect to explain away the text cited above, interpreting it in some quite incredible fashion, Karol Wojtyla never misses an opportunity to inculcate his own – surely accurate – interpretation of the Council’s intention. For instance in February 1993 he declared, in the predominantly pagan African Republic of Benin, that “the Church considers religious liberty as an inalienable right…”

The correct doctrine, which popes have often reiterated, is most authoritatively stated in the following passage from Pope Pius IX’s Quanta Cura (1864):

“And from this wholly false idea of social organisation they do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by our predecessor, Gregory XVI, insanity, namely that the liberty of conscience and worship is the proper right of every man, and should be proclaimed by law in every correctly established society… Each and every doctrine individually mentioned in this letter, by Our Apostolic authority We reject, proscribe and condemn; and We wish and command that they be considered as absolutely rejected by all the sons of the Church.”

Almost the only label that Pope Pius IX does not attach to this doctrine is in fact that of “heresy”, but he clearly thought the “insanity” he spoke of to be heretical for he says that it contradicts Divine Revelation. Moreover, this notion of religious liberty had already been expressly qualified as heretical by Pope Pius VII in his brief Post Tam Diuturnas, so there is no doubt about the matter.

Theological Censure: HERETICAL.

(b) Revelation was completed at the Crucifixion.

“Finally, He brought His revelation to completion when He accomplished on the Cross the work of redemption by which He achieved salvation and true freedom for men.” (Declaration on Religious Liberty Dignitatis Humanae, paragraph 11)

This contradicts the traditional and definite Catholic teaching that many truths proposed by the Church as Divinely revealed were not revealed by Our Lord until after His Resurrection. For instance, the Council of Trent (Session 6, chapter 14) taught that “Jesus Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance when He said, “Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.” These words were pronounced by Our Lord (John 20:23) on the evening of Easter Sunday, more than two full days after His Crucifixion. And of course Catholic tradition contains not the slightest reason to believe that Our Lord had revealed before the Crucifixion His plan to institute the sacrament; and to claim that He did so would therefore be to invent a new dogma never before heard of in the Church. And even then the objection remains that the answers to such questions as exactly who were the ministers of the sacrament could not have been revealed before the Passion, since the apostasy of Judas was kept secret by Our Lord until it took place.

The list of dogmas revealed by Our Lord after His Crucifixion includes the form of the sacrament of Baptism, the extension of the preaching mandate of the Apostles to the entire world, the abolition of the patriarchal religions as means of salvation, the coming into force of the promised primacy and infallibility of St. Peter, the elevation to the Apostolic dignity of St. Paul, and of course Our Lord’s own Resurrection. This last He had already prophesied long before, of course; but it is as a historic event that we must believe it today, and its historical fulfilment was not revealed until the morning of Easter Sunday when it took place and was announced by the angels to the holy women.

So the doctrine of Vatican II on this topic denies the Divine revelation of a large part of the Catholic Faith and the Catholic sacramental system, relegating to the status of an unrevealed inessential the very linchpin of Christianity concerning which St. Paul wrote “If Christ be not risen again, your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:17). But of course if Our Lord did not reveal his choice of St. Paul as an Apostle (an event which probably happened more than a full year after the Crucifixion), it is not surprising that the Conciliar Sect takes no notice of his doctrine!

Finally we note that, in condemning the doctrine of those who hold that new revelations have been added to the deposit of the Faith since the Apostolic era, the Church has been accustomed to teach that the cut-off point after which no further revelation was made was the death of the last Apostle (cf. Denzinger 2021). Evidently the Church would not have chosen such a late date as the closing point of Revelation if it had already closed much earlier, to wit at the time of the Crucifixion.

Incidentally, we have seen it argued that the Latin word “perficere” which occurs in the original of the above text from Dignitatis Humanae means “to perfect” rather than “to bring to completion”. Even if it did, we do not see how it would help the opposing case, for Divine Revelation could hardly be considered perfect without the Resurrection and all the rest – the Apostles certainly thought the Resurrection was worth knowing about, and, casting their minds back to their mental state on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, would doubtless have snorted at the notion that Revelation was perfect without it. But anyhow, “perficere” does not normally mean “to perfect”. Its natural sense is “to complete” or “to bring to completion”; and even when the secondary meaning, “to perfect”, is possible, it is always in the sense of perfecting by completion.

Theological censure: HERETICAL.

Original source:

To be continued…

How are Christians Monotheists if God is a Trinity?

I love a good riddle. There’s something so enjoyable about pondering over a riddle while anticipating the relief of the answer – digging more and more as the pieces slowly come together. Finally, something inside “clicks”, and the answer suddenly becomes all too obvious. The satisfaction is amazing.

But not every riddle and puzzle has an answer that simply “clicks”. Some puzzles go beyond our ability to reason. It’s not that they don’t make sense, or even that they aren’t logical. Rather, they exceed our ability to think. There are people who are intellectual geniuses, whose ability to comprehend things exceeds our own (Einstein, Mozart, Plato, etc). But there are mysteries that even geniuses can’t comprehend.

As a Christian, I see many objections raised against my faith. There are many mysteries, puzzles, and seeming contradictions arise in Christianity. At the very top of these mysteries is the belief that God is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). How can a single God be three persons? This begs another question: If Christians believe God is a Trinity, why do they call themselves monotheists?

After all, Christians say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Sounds an awful lot like three Gods, doesn’t it? And if a polytheist is someone who believes in multiple gods, then why aren’t Christians polytheists?

To answer this question, we will need to do a little ground work to make sure we understand how Christians understand God as a Trinity. To begin, let’s look at the origin of this belief: we start with Jesus’ own words.

The Trinity is Revealed

Jesus did a lot in his earthly ministry. To name everything would be like trying to count the sand on the beach. But there is one thing in particular that he did that concerns our question: Jesus revealed who God is. Sure, God revealed himself to Israel through the Old Testament, but Jesus came to complete what was being revealed in the Old Testament.

There are many references to God’s identity throughout the New Testament. For instance, we see this in the Lord’s Prayer, as Jesus instructs us to address God as “Our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:9). We also see Jesus revealed as God in Thomas’ famous exclamation to the risen Christ: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Similarly, we see the “Spirit of God” (the Holy Spirit) descend upon Jesus shortly after his baptism (Matt 3:16).

Just before his ascension, Jesus put a bow on the topic when he told the Apostles to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19, emphasis added). Notice that he didn’t say “in the names…”. It’s a singular name, with three persons.

Jesus told us these things so that we could know God as he is: a Trinity. But at this point we should put up some caution tape. When I say Jesus “revealed” God, I mean that we couldn’t have figured this out on our own. We can use our reason to know that God exists, but we would never be able to figure out that God is a Trinity without Jesus having revealed it. We accept the doctrine of the Trinity by faith in Jesus’ words (for further discussion about faith, click here).

Some might be questioning the math here. Jesus revealed three persons, yet Christians say that there is only one God. What gives?

That’s a fantastic question. But before we can answer it, we need to do a little groundwork. We need to look at the difference between a “person” and a “nature”.

Person vs. Nature

I’ve been told that I’m freakishly similar to my father (a fact that I, too, agree with). We have the same build, tastes, and we both think that engineering is cool. But we have something even more fundamental in common: we share the same nature.

This can be said of all humans. We’re human because we all share our human nature. That’s what separates us from other creatures, like horses and cats (though some might disagree with me when it comes to cats…).

So what is a nature? Essentially, a nature defines what we are and what we can do. My human nature contains the fundamental characteristics that make me human.

What is a person? If a nature is what we are, then a person is who we are. A person is an individual, a “self”, distinct from others. Frank Sheed best sums up the distinction between person and nature:

Nature answers the question what we are; person answers the question who we are. Every being has a nature; of every being we may properly ask, What is it? But not every being is a person: only rational beings are persons. We could not properly ask of a stone or a potato or an oyster, Who is it? [1]

With that distinction, we can begin to make some sense of our math dilemma. There are three Persons in the Trinity: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But there is only one Divine Nature that each Divine Person possesses. The three Persons are completely distinct from one another, but they are completely (and mysteriously) unified, possessing the one Divine Nature.

If you find this confusing, don’t worry. There is more to the story. We need to understand (with our limited human abilities) how the three Persons of the Trinity are related.

How it Works

The Father is the Origin
God the Father is the first Person of the Trinity, and our starting point. He is all knowing and all powerful. He completely possesses the Divine Nature and is rightly called God.

But his name, Father, also tells us something important about him: He is the source, the origin of everything, including his Son, Jesus.

The Son Proceeds from the Father
“Now wait a minute,” some might argue. “I thought you said Jesus was God. Now you are saying God the Father created Jesus?”

The short answer is no, God didn’t create Jesus. But Jesus proceeds forth from the Father. Allow me to explain.

This is where things get technical (bear with me). God is all knowing. To know everything infinitely, that means he must know himself perfectly and infinitely. So his own knowledge, or thought of himself would also be infinite in nature. And his idea of himself would be divine in nature, since he is divine. And his self-knowledge would also have to exist with him for all eternity, since God can’t, even for a moment, stop being all knowing.

Let’s piece together what we have so far. God the Father has an infinite, eternal, and divine knowledge of himself. God’s self-knowledge is so infinite and real that it (he) becomes a person. At this point, the beginning to St. John’s Gospel might make more sense.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2).

We see that the Word (Jesus) was with God for all eternity, and was God. Some might object that “Jesus is referred to as God’s word, not his ‘thought’ or ‘idea’.”

This is a good point. But we need to rethink our understanding of what “word” means. A word expresses a thought, but it does so by creating a sound; it requires a medium (usually air) to carry its sound waves. But Jesus was with the Father before anything was created (including air). So by calling Jesus God’s Word, we can rightly think of him as God’s idea or thought. Frank Sheed echoed this when he said:

So God utters a word – not framed by a mouth, of course, for God has no mouth. He is pure spirit. So it is a word in the mind of God, not sounding outwardly as our words sound, akin rather to a thought or an idea. [2]

We need to be careful here. I’m not calling Jesus a figment of God’s imagination (that would be heresy). Jesus is more real than the screen you are looking at. You see, God’s image of himself is infinite. It’s so much greater than anything we can comprehend. It’s so real that it (he) takes on personhood. He becomes a person. He is not the Father, but he is real, eternal, infinite, and divine. He is the second person of the Holy Trinity.

The Father and the Son exist together in heaven for all eternity, both completely possessing the Divine Nature. The Son proceeds from the Father through the Father’s intellect. They are a family together.

The Spirit Proceeds from the Father and the Son
The third person of the Trinity emerges when we consider that God is all powerful. His ability to do all things with infinite power includes his ability to love. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in.

Like any good family, the Father and the Son love each other, as a father loves his son, and a son loves his father. The Father infinitely pours his love onto the Son. The Son, in response, returns that love back to the Father. This mutual love is continual and eternal. We saw how immeasurable this love is when, in perfect, loving obedience, the Son gave up his own life on the cross.

This infinite exchange of love between the Father and Son is so great, that it takes on an infinite, divine nature. It’s a nature that is so powerful and real that it becomes a person. This is the Third Person of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the very love that flows between the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. He is distinct from them both, yet he (as the Son is to the Father) proceeds forth from them. Frank Sheed sums this up well as he wrote:

As the one great operation of the spirit, knowing, produces the second person [Jesus], so the other, loving, produces the third [Holy Spirit]. But be careful upon this – the second proceeds from, is produced by, the first alone; but the third, the Holy Spirit, proceeds from Father and Son, as they combine to express their love. [3]

Don’t feel intimidated if you are having trouble wrapping your head around this – it’s deep stuff. The inner workings of the Holy Trinity make rocket science look like second grade math homework. God is a mystery, and we will never fully grasp the whole of his being, for we are finite beings trying to understand the infinite.

Final Thoughts

In short, Christians believe in one God, though he is three persons: three persons who share completely in one Divine Nature. Each person is completely distinct from the others, yet inseparable. The Father can’t simply cease to be the origin of the Son any more than he can cease to be infinite. And the Father and the Son can’t cease to infinitely love one another.

The Catholic Church echoes this teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church when it says:

The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God. [4]

Each Person is entirely eternal and divine. Each Person is God. This sheds some light on Jesus’ words when he said to baptize that nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). God is one. Yet God is made of three Divine Persons.

So Christians aren’t polytheists. We believe in One God. He is mysterious to us, yes, but shouldn’t we expect that of the infinite God of the universe? When Jesus revealed the mystery of the Trinity, he revealed something that we can only begin to grasp; he left us a great puzzle.


[1] “Theology and Sanity.” Frank Sheed: Author’s Page at Ignatius Insight. N.p., n.d. Web.          17 Apr. 2017.

[2] Sheed, F. J. Theology for Beginners. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant, 1981. Print.

[3] ibid

[4] Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 253

The Origins of the Authority of the Pope: The Historical Witness

Below is a collection of Early Christian writings that exhibit the belief of the Pope being the leader of the earthly Church.

Pope Clement I

“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have250px-Clemens_I.jpg nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).


“Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty” (The Shepherd 2:4:3 [A.D. 80]).

Ignatius of Antioch

“Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D.
“You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (ibid., 3:1).

Dionysius of Corinth

“For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying” (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).
“Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement” (ibid., 4:23:11).


“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

Eusebius of Caesarea

“A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia [Minor], as from an older tradition held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world . . . as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of the Savior [Sunday]. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be 220px-Eusebius_of_Caesarea.jpgcelebrated on no other but the Lord’s day and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only. . . . Thereupon [Pope] Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the community the parishes of all Asia [Minor], with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox. And he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace and of neighborly unity and love. . . . [Irenaeus] fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom” (Church History 5:23:1–24:11).
“Thus then did Irenaeus entreat and negotiate [with Pope Victor] on behalf of the peace of the churches—[Irenaeus being] a man well-named, for he was a peacemaker both in name and character. And he corresponded by letter not only with Victor, but also with very many and various rulers of churches” (ibid., 24:18).

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).
“Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church” (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).
“Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting … You wrote … that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church” (ibid., 55[52]:1).
“Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men … when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (ibid., 55[52]:8).
“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and b.asphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (ibid., 59:14).


“[Pope] Stephen … boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. … Stephen … announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter” (collected in Cyprian’s Letters 74[75]:17 [A.D. 253]).

Pope Julius I

“[The] judgment [concerning Athanasius] ought to have been made, not as it was, but according to the ecclesiastical canon. It behooved all of you to write us so that the justice of it might be seen as emanating from all. … Are you ignorant that the custom has been to write first to us and then for a just decision to be passed from this place [Rome]? If, then, any such suspicion rested upon the bishop there [Athanasius of Alexandria], notice of it ought to have been written to the church here. But now, after having done as they pleased, they want to obtain our concurrence, although we never condemned him. Not thus are the constitutions of Paul, not thus the traditions of the Fathers. This is another form of procedure, and a novel practice. … What I write about this is for the common good. For what we have heard from the blessed apostle Peter, these things I signify to you” (Letter on Behalf of Athanasius [A.D. 341], in Athanasius, Apology Against the Arians 20–35).