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Pope St. Gelasius I

Apostolic See, Keys, The Roman See, St. Peter

“This is what the Apostolic See guards against with all her strength because the glorious confession of the Apostle is the root of the world, so that she is polluted by no crack of depravity and altogether no contagion. For if such a thing would ever occur (which may God forbid and we trust cannot be), why would we make bold to resist any error?” (Epistle to the Emperor Anastasius; quoted in: Bellarmine, Robert. On the Roman Pontiff, vol. 2: Books III-V, De Controversiis, p. 161, Mediatrix Press (Pope from A.D. 492-496).

“Yet, we do not hesitate to mention that which is known to the Universal Church, namely, that as the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle has the right to loose what has been bound by the judgments of any bishops, whatsoever, and since it has jurisdiction over every church, so that no one may pass judgement on its verdict, the canons providing that an appeal should be to it from any part of the world, no one is permitted to appeal against its judgement.” (Epistle 26).

“These are the canons which decreed that appeals from the whole Church should be directed to this See. They have, however, by no means sanctioned an appeal elsewhere from its judgement; in this way they have ordained that it should sit in judgement over the whole Church, but that it should itself be judged by no one, and never that its judgement should be nulled, but rather ordered that its decrees should be followed.” (Commentary on the Canons of Sardica, or an epistle of instructions to Magister Faustus, Patrologia Latina 59.28B).

“The entire Church over the entire world knows that the Chair of Blessed Peter has the right to loose what has been bound by the sentences of any bishop whatsoever, as the See of Peter is entitled to jurisdiction over any Church, while no one is entitled to pass judgement on its decision, for the canons have permitted that appeals should be directed to it from all the world, but no one is permitted to appeal its decision…”

“If it is fitting that, in general, the faithful should subordinate their hearts to all priests who are correctly administering things divine, how much more should one endeavor to be in accord with the holder of the See, whom not only the divine will wished to be superior to all priests, but whom also the common piety of the Church following the divine will has continually celebrated as such. As your piety can clearly realize, never can anyone elevate himself through any human counsel whatever to that privilege or confession of Peter whom the voice of Christ had placed above all, and whom the venerable Church has always confessed and reverently regarded as its primate. What has been established by divine decree can be attacked by human presumption; it cannot however, be defeated by any power” (Epistle to the Emperor Anastasius).

“The Apostolic See has often had the freedom (facultas), without a Synod preceding it, to loose those whom a Synod had unjustly condemned, and also, if necessary, to condemn others without the convocation of a Synod…”

“and thus he [the Pope] judges the whole Church and himself stands before no tribunal and no judgment can be passed on his judgment, nor can his decision be abrogated.”

“[The Keys] which our Savior delegated to blessed Peter the apostle before the rest.”

“[The Roman See] whom the voice of Christ set before all, whom the venerable Church has always acknowledged and in her devotedness holds as primate…[safeguarding] the upright root [that] is the glorious confession of the Apostle…from any gash of crookedness, by any infection at all.

“They [Easterners] may say, as usual, that if the Council of Chalcedon is allowed to stand, they will have to accept everything which apparently was done there. It must everything or, if some part can be rejected, then no part of it can stand. These people should know that only that part must be accepted by the whole Church which is in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, the tradition of our ancestors, in accordance with the canons and regulations of the Church, only that part which promotes the Catholic and Apostolic faith, communion, and truth, for the accomplishment of which the Apostolic See has ordered this done and has confirmed it after it had been accomplished. But other things [Canon 28], those which were done or simply talked about through foolish presumption, things which the Apostolic See in no way ordered, which were clearly and speedily rejected by the legates of the Apostolic See which the Apostolic See, even with the Emperor Marcian asking for them, in no way approved, which the bishop of Constantinople at the time, Anatolius, claimed not to have sought and did not deny was in the power of the bishop of the Apostolic See; in sum, as we said, that which the Apostolic See has not accepted, because it was shown to be contradictory to the privileges of the universal church, can in no way be accepted.” (Bond of Anathema, On the Council of Chalcedon and Canon 28).

“If we lose them [right believing faith and communion], God forbid, how could an ything ever be restored again, especially if in its summit, the Apostolic See, it became tainted with heresy, something God would never allow to happen….If I, God forbid, were to become an accomplice in the evil [heresy], then I would be in need of a remedy myself, rather than being able to offer others remedy; and the see of blessed Peter would be seeking a remedy from elswhere rather than itself offering a remedy to others, something God would never allow to happen….Therefore those in the East stand firm in the Catholic faith, because they see me defending it and are encourage by me..” (Epistle 1, Gelasius to the Eastern bishops, taken from Ybarra’s “Papal jurisdiction & The Universal Petrine Episcopate”).

“It is no wonder that they [Eastern schismatics] presume to blaspheme the see of the blessed apostle Peter…And on top of this, they call us proud when the first See has never ceased offering them whatever there is of piety. They with their utter shamelessness trust they will be able to subjugate it….I will ask them this: the trial which they call for, where can it be held ? With them in the East, so that they may be the plaintiff, witnesses, and judges all in one? Neither human affairs nor the integrity of the divine faith must be entrusted to such a tribunal. In matters of religion, the canons say that the ultimate judgement must come only from the Apostolic See. The powers of this world? It is not for them to judge — rather they are to learn from the bishops — and above all from the vicar of blessed Peter, about divine things. No ruler of this world, however powerful, whether Christian or not, can presume to claim this for himself, unless of course, he is a persecutor” (Letter 10, to Faustus, an Eastern Christian).

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