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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Church and the Gates of Hell

Some things I thought were interesting from the forum here and here.

Fr. Patrick posted this:

Archbishop Kenrick, who was one of America's
extraordinary bishops, was opposed to the doctrine of
papal infallibilty and at the First Vatican Council
in 1869 he voted against it. He wanted to deliver
a speech against the proposed doctrine at the Council
but instead he ceased to attend the Council meetings.
He published his speech in Naples the following year.

It is important because he lists the five different
patristic interpretations of Matthew 16:18.

Let's look at how the Church Fathers line up over this verse:

1...."That St. Peter is the Rock" is taught
by seventeen (17) Fathers

2....That the whole Apostolic College is the Rock,
represented by Peter as its chief,
is taught by eight (8.) Church Fathers

3....That St. Peter's faith is the Rock,
is taught by forty-four (44) Church Fathers

4....That Christ is the Rock,
is taught by sixteen Fathers (16)

5....That the rock is the whole body of the faithful.
Archbp. Kendrick gives no figure.

Archbishop Kendrick summarises

"If we are bound to follow the greater number
of Fathers in this matter, then we must hold
for certain that the word "Petra" means not Peter
professing the Faith, but the faith professed by Peter."

This is an important point by Kendrick since one of the
RC Councils (I need to check which one) laid down the
regulation that a preponderance of patristic consensus
is needed for the promulgation of any dogma.)

You can look this up and check that I have it
accurately in Friedrich, Docum ad illust. Conc. Vat. 1, pp. 185-246

As to who Archbishop Kenrick was.
Please see the Catholic Encyclopedia "

And in the other thread a post by Asteriktos and another by Melodist interested me:

By Melodist

"St John Chrysostom Homily 52 on Matthew

He added this, “And I say unto thee, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church;” that is, on the faith of his confession. Hereby He signifies that many were now on the point of believing, and raises his spirit, and makes him a shepherd. “And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” “And if not against it, much more not against me. So be not troubled because thou art shortly to hear that I shall be betrayed and crucified.”

Then He mentions also another honor. “And I also will give thee the keys of the heavens.” But what is this, “And I also will give thee?” “As the Father hath given thee to know me, so will I also give thee.”

And He said not, “I will entreat the Father” (although the manifestation of His authority was great, and the largeness of the gift unspeakable), but, “I will give thee.” What dost Thou give? tell me. “The keys of the heavens, that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in Heaven.” How then is it not “His to give to sit on His right hand, and on His left,” when He saith, “I will give thee”?

Seest thou how He, His own self, leads Peter on to high thoughts of Him, and reveals Himself, and implies that He is Son of God by these two promises? For those things which are peculiar to God alone, (both to absolve sins, and to make the church in capable of overthrow in such assailing waves, and to exhibit a man that is a fisher more solid than any rock, while all the world is at war with him), these He promises Himself to give; as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said, He would make him as “a brazen pillar, and as a wall;” but him to one nation only, this man in every part of the world.

St Augustine

This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can: be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they went all out of it, like as unprofitable branches pruned from the vine: but itself abideth in its root, in its Vine, in its charity. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”,xvi,18#highlight

One patristic quote that may be of interest to understanding a real difference in how this is understood between Orthodox and Protestants.

Cyprian of Carthage
Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: “I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers.

By Arteriktos,

Fwiw, the quotes I listed in this thread may be of some interest to you...

" like manner each one of those who are the authors of any evil opinion has become the architect of a certain gate of Hades; but those who co-operate with the teaching of the architect of such things are servants and stewards, who are the bond-servants of the evil doctrine which goes to build up impiety." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 12

"the gates of hell are the belief or rather the misbelief of heretics." - St. John Cassian, The Seven Books on the Incarnation of the Lord (Against Nestorius), 3, 14

"the gates of hell, the mouths of heretics, the machines of demons-for they will attack-will not prevail. They will take up arms but they will not conquer" - St. John of Damascus, Homily on the Transfiguration

"all the sects are truly 'gates of hell,' but 'They will not prevail against the rock,' that is, the truth." - St. Epiphanius of Salamis

"I suppose the gates of hell to mean vice and sin, or at least the doctrines of heretics by which men are ensnared and drawn into hell." - St. Jerome

"He said that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church,' even though persecuted, and that no one shall quench the preaching of the Gospel: and the experience of events bears witness to this prediction..." - St. John Chrysostom; Homily 21 on Hebrews

"The Church is unshaken, and ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,’ according to the voice of the Saviour, for it has Him for a foundation" - St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Zacharias

"For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord" - Cassiodorus, Expositions in the Psalms, Psalm 45

"neither against the rock on which Christ builds the church, nor against the church will the gates of Hades prevail [...] but the church, as a building of Christ who built His own house wisely upon the rock, is incapable of admitting the gates of Hades which prevail against every man who is outside the rock and the church, but have no power against it." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 11

"Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer" - St. Augustine

"Faith, then, is the foundation of the Church, for it was not said of Peter's flesh, but of his faith, that 'the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' But his confession of faith conquered hell." - St. Ambrose of Milan

"A belief that the Son of God is Son in name only, and not in nature, is not the faith of the Gospels and of the Apostles...whence I ask, was it that the blessed Simon Bar-Jona confessed to Him, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God?...And this is the rock of confession whereon the Church is built...that Christ must be not only named, but believed, the Son of God. This faith is that which is the foundation of the Church; through this faith the gates of hell cannot prevail against her." - St. Hilary of Poitiers

"How powerful is Peter's faith and his confession that Christ is the only-begotten God, the word, the true Son of God, and not merely a creature. Though he saw God on earth clothed in flesh and blood, Peter did not doubt, for he was willing to receive what 'flesh and blood have not revealed to you.' Moreover he recognized the consubstantial and coeternal branch of God, thereby glorifying that uncreated root, that root without beginning which had revealed the truth to him. Peter believedthat Christ was one and the same deity with the Father; and so he was called blessed by him who alone is the blessed Lord. Upon this rock the Church was built, the Church which the gates of hell-that is, the arguments of heretics-will not overcome." - St. Didymus the Blind

"The first of the Apostles, that firm rock upon which the church of God is built, so that the gates of hell, that is to say the heresies and heresiarchs, will not prevail against it." - St. Epiphanius

"These things therefore being settled with all accuracy, we, bearing in remembrance the promises made respecting the holy Church, and who it was that said that the gates of hell should not prevail against her, that is, the deadly tongues of heretics..." - Fourth Ecumenical Council

"the foundation of the Church should prevail against all heresies. The day will fail me sooner than the names of heretics and the different sects, yet against all is this general faith-that Christ is the Son of God, and eternal from the Father, and born of the Virgin Mary." - St. Ambrose of Milan

"I suppose the gates of hell to mean vice and sin..." - St. Jerome

"...flee from corruption, into which, as you know, many have fallen. Forsake the path which leads to the gates of hell." - Monk Jonas

"Thou hast shown us the way of resurrection, having broken the gates of hell, and brought to nought him who had the power of death-the devil." - St. Gregory of Nyssa

"Peter's key is Peter's faith, by which he opened heaven, by which, secure, he penetrated hades, by which, fearless, he walked on water. For so great is the power of apostolic faith, that all elements lie open to it: the angelic gates are not closed to it, nor do the gates of Hell prevail against it, nor do floods of water sink it. That key itself, which we call faith, let us see how firm and solid it is. I judge that it was produced by the work of 12 artisans; for the holy faith was comprehended in the creed of the 12 apostles, who, like skilled artisans working in concert, produced the key by their understanding. For I call the creed itself the key, which causes the shades of the devil to draw back, that the light of Christ may come. The hidden sins of conscience are brought into the open so that the clear works of justification may shine. Therefore this key must be shown to our brothers in order that they also as followers of Peter may learn to unlock hades and to open heaven." - Maximus of Turin, Sermon 28

"Notwithstanding, these gates have a certain power by which they gain the mastery over some who do not resist and strive against them; but they are overcome by others who, because they do not turn aside from Him who said, 'I am the door,' have rased from their soul all the gates of Hades. And this also we must know that as the gates of cities have each their own names, in the same way the gates of Hades might be named after the species of sins; so that one gate of Hades is called "fornication," through which fornicators go, and another "denial," through which the deniers of God go down into Hades." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 12

"Shall ye be illuminated with such eyes as are only with greediness cast on those things that lead headlong to vices (that is to say), to the gates of hell?" - Gildas

"the church, as a building of Christ who built His own house wisely upon the rock, is incapable of admitting the gates of Hades which prevail against every man who is outside the rock and the church, but have no power against it." "Now, if you attend to the saying, 'Many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able,' you will understand that this refers to those who boast that they are of the church, but live weakly and contrary to the word. Of those, then, who seek to enter in, those who are not able to enter will not be able to do so, because the gates of Hades prevail against them; but in the case of those against whom the gates of Hades will not prevail, those seeking to enter in will be strong, being able to do all things, in Christ Jesus, who strengtheneth them." - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 11-12

"Your rock is your deed, your rock is your mind. Upon this rock your house is built. Your rock is your faith, and faith is the foundation of the Church. If you are a rock, you will be in the Church, because the Church is on a rock. If you are in the Church the gates of hell will not prevail against you" - St. Ambrose of Milan

"the gates of Zion may be conceived as opposed to the gates of death [...]And let us take heed in regard to each sin, as if we were descending into some gate of death if we sin; but when we are lifted up from the gates of death let us declare all the praises of the Lord in the gates of the daughter of Zion; as, for example, in one gate of the daughter of Zion-that which is called self-control-we will declare by our self-control the praises of God; and in another which is called righteousness, by righteousness we will declare the praises of God; and, generally, in all things whatsoever of a praiseworthy character with which we are; occupied, in these we are at some gate of the daughter of Zion, declaring at each gate some praise of God" - Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, 12, 13

"In Thy saints, who in every age have been well pleasing to Thee, is truly Thy faith; for Thou hast founded the world on Thy faith, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." - St. Athanasius"

Christ is in our Midst!


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