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Vatican Unveils Revolutionary Document on Papal Primacy

Pope Francis downgrades the pontificate for unity with Orthodox and Protestants

The Vatican has published a new document seeking to significantly downgrade papal supremacy and universal jurisdiction, so that the Petrine office will no longer be a “grave obstacle” to Christian unity. 

The Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity released a document titled, “The Bishop of Rome: Primacy and Synodality in Ecumenical Dialogues and Responses to the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint,” at a press conference on Thursday. 

The 151-page publication, which claims to have the status of a “study document” that “does not claim to exhaust the subject nor to summarize the Catholic magisterium on it,” but “summarizes some thirty responses to Ut unum sint and fifty ecumenical dialogue documents on the subject.” 

Exploring “fundamental theological questions,” the document warns Catholics against using “an anachronistic projection of all doctrinal and institutional developments concerning papal ministry into the ‘Petrine texts,’” particularly Matthew 16:18 (“You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church”.)

“From the moment they appear in patristic literature at the beginning of the third century, the interpretations of Matthew 16:17–19 are multiple,” the document maintains, exploring how “theological dialogues have challenged confessional readings of the New Testament.”

Echoing the case made by Abp. Peter Kenrick of St. Louis, Missouri, at Vatican I, the document notes that the Church Fathers applied Jesus' words to Peter to all faithful Christians, or to all the apostles and their successors, and/or to Peter, “either because he himself is made the foundation of the Church, or because his confession of faith is the foundation of the Church.” 

Kenrick demonstrated that most of the Church Fathers did not believe that the “rock” of Matthew 16:18 was Peter; 44 Fathers understood the rock as Peter’s confession, 16 interpreted the rock as Jesus, 8 interpreted the rock as all the apostles, a few believed the rock to be the faithful. Only 17 Fathers thought the rock was Peter.

“From this it follows, either that no argument at all, or one of the slenderest probability, is to be derived from the words, ‘On this rock will I build my church,’ in support of the primacy,” Kenrick concluded at Vatican I.

“It is never forgotten that the first stone on which the Church is built is Christ himself,” the Vatican document declares. 

In the light of ecumenical dialogues, the document also argues that “the New Testament contains no explicit record of a transmission of Peter’s leadership; nor is the transmission of apostolic authority in general very clear.”

Calling for a reinterpretation of the dogmas of the First Vatican Council, including papal infallibility and papal supremacy, the document suggests that “Vatican I should be understood within the framework of its historical context.” 

The Council’s “dogmatic definitions have proved to be a significant obstacle for other Christians with regard to the papacy,” it laments, noting that Vatican I was a product of its times and, hence, it is historically contingent. 

“That Council had no intention of either denying or rejecting the tradition of the first millennium, to wit: the church as a network of mutually communicating churches,” it claims, noting that “Vatican I can only be correctly received in light of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council,” since “Vatican II treated questions which had remained open at Vatican I.”

The document agrees with the Eastern Orthodox Churches that the pope did not enjoy universal jurisdiction in the first thousand years of Christianity and quotes Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI): “As far as the doctrine of the primacy is concerned, Rome must not require more of the East than was formulated and lived during the first millennium.” 

It also cites the Orthodox–Catholic international dialogue on Synodality and Primacy during the First Millennium, which notes, “the right of appeal to major sees” existed but “the bishop of Rome did not exercise canonical authority over the churches of the East.” 

“The Petrine ministry cannot be fully understood without this openness to dialogue with all believers in Christ,” the document emphasizes, quoting the words of Pope Paul VI:  “the Pope [...] is undoubtedly the gravest obstacle on the path of ecumenism.”

The two most important Lutheran doctrinal treatises on the Petrine office — Papacy: The Smalcald Articles (1537), and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope (1537), are mentioned favorably in the Vatican document. 

The document even quotes the Lutheran reformer Philip Melanchthon, who argued that if the pope “would allow the gospel,” the papacy’s “superiority over the bishops” could be granted iure humano (by human law.)  

The document signals a radical shift from Vatican I, which stressed “the primacy of Peter over the whole Church.” 

Instead, it overturns the paradigm, claiming that, “the Pope is not, by himself, above the Church; but within it as one of the baptized, and within the College of Bishops as a Bishop among Bishops, called at the same time — as Successor of Peter — to lead the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.” 

The document concludes that “growing synodality is required within the Catholic Church” and that “many synodal institutions and practices of the Eastern Catholic Churches could inspire the Latin Church.” 

It proposes “a synodality ad extra,” which could include regular meetings among Christian representatives at the worldwide level in a “conciliar fellowship” to foster unity.

Speaking at the press conference, the Anglican representative, Abp. Ian Ernest, stressed "the importance of a ‘reformulation’ or an official commentary on the teaching of Vatican I, which remains a major stumbling block between our Churches, especially because it is difficult to understand nowadays and open to misinterpretation.” 

“It is therefore still necessary to present the teaching of Vatican I in the light of an ecclesiology of communion, clarifying the terminology used,” Ernest said.  

Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.

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Mel Gibson posted an open letter to Archbishop Viganò,

as with republican/democrat debate, always remember: it’s not what they disagree on that matters but what they agree on:

Dear Archbishop,

I’m sure you expected nothing else from Jorge Bergoglio.

I know that you know he has no authority whatsoever – so I’m not sure how this will effect you going forward- I hope you will continue to say mass & receive the sacraments yourself – it really is a badge of honor to be shunned by the false, post-conciliar church.

You have my sympathies that you suffer publicly this grave injustice. To me & many others you are a most courageous Hero.

As always, you have hit the nail on the head…



Archbishop Vigano has been excommunicated for the “crime of schism.” Quo vadis, Taylor Marshall? Quo vadis, John-Henry Westen? Quo vadis, Michael Matt? Quo vadis, Robert Moynihan? Are you going to put your money where your mouth is and follow Vigano into schism? Or are you going to apologize for supporting him and leading your followers into the sin which got him excommunicated? Non datur tertius. Join me tonight at five at for my podcast discussing this.


Latae Sententiae is simply a diagnosis that an excommunication has already occurred. For instance, when Lefebvre and Williamson consecrated Bishops without Vatican approval, this fell foul of a Church Law brought in by Pius XII. It is the running foul of church law itself that supposedly excommunicated Lefebvre, Fellay, De Castro Mayer, and Tissier. John Paul and Frankenpope never issued a formal writ of excommunication.

Frankenpope could excommunicate Vigano in an active sense but chose not so.

Now that Vigano is gone, I fully expect the full suppression of the 1962 Missal to follow in short order.

 Sedevacanteists or Papal-throne-emptyists could diagnose Roncalli to Frankenpope as latae sententiae excommunicated.

To be a pre-conciliar Catholic Pope is to hold to the Pre-conciliar Catholic Faith and Liturgy.…

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