The Papacy, Chapter 1

A friend of mine is (slowly) working on a book about the papacy. Here’s a sneak peak at the first chapter. The copyrights to this abstract and rough draft belong to Jordan Joseph Wales.


When considering the nature of the charism of the Bishop of Rome within the Church, it is imperative to give proper attention to the role he historically played and the way this role was interpreted by the fathers of the Church. Fundamental to the matter is the question of his authority: does or does not the Bishop of Rome have a special jurisdictional authority over other Churches? This chapter details the first of a series of historical illustrations of the universal "care for the churches" exercised by the occupant of the See of Peter. This particular illustration, that of St Clement of Rome in A.D. 96, is especially important in any discussion of the papacy because it is so often put forth by proponents of almost any view of the Roman bishop’s role in the universal church. Herein, we attempt an ordered and clear exposition of the events with special attention given to the role of Pope St Clement’s letter as it was understood by the early church fathers. Their views must take precedence over those of any later theologians and apologists, for the fathers wrote from within the tradition received from the apostles.

St Clement I