The Decrees of the Vatican Council/Part 3/Chapter 1

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On the Institution of the Apostolic Primacy in Blessed Peter

WE therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to Blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ the Lord. For it was to Simon alone, to whom He had already said: "Thou shalt be called Cephas,"[1] that the Lord, after the confession made by him, saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," addressed these solemn words, "Blessed art thou, Simon, Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood have 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 upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."[2] And it was upon Simon alone that Jesus after His resurrection bestowed the jurisdiction of Chief Pastor and Ruler over all His fold in the words, "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep."[3] At open variance with this clear doctrine of Holy Scripture, as it has ever been understood by the Catholic Church, are the perverse opinions of those who, while they distort the form of government established by Christ the Lord in His Church, deny that Peter in his simple person preferably to all the other Apostles, whether taken separately or together, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction; or of those who assert that the same primacy was not be stowed immediately and directly upon Blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through the Church on Peter as her minister.

If anyone, therefore, shall say that Blessed Peter the Apostle was not appointed the Prince of the Apostles and the visible head of the whole Church militant, or that the same directly and immediately received from the same our Lord Jesus Christ a primacy of honour only, and not of true and proper jurisdiction; let him be anathema.

  1. John 1, 42.
  2. Matthew xvi, 16, 19.
  3. John xxi, 15, 17.