Throwback Thursday: The Papacy 101

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on October 23rd, 2015 and has been revised.


A Christian’s Pocket Guide To The Papacy: Its origin and role in the 21st century
By Leonardo De Chirico
Christian Focus Publications, 2015, 116 pages

5 Stars

In this short book, evangelical pastor and apologist, Leonardo De Chirico, examines the development of the papacy in Catholic history with a chapter especially devoted to recent popes, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis.

As early Christianity gradually displaced paganism and was declared the state religion of the Roman Empire, it adapted many of the beliefs, practices, and rituals of its former rival. The bishop of Rome vied with the three other patriarchates (Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) for preeminence. When the imperial seat was transferred to Constantinople, the bishop of Rome became the de facto emperor of the West along with the title of il Papa. The papacy patterned itself on the Caesarian imperial model and thenceforth sought to become the most powerful ecclesiastical and political authority in the world.

Dr. De Chirico provides many valuable insights into the history of the papacy and its possible future prospects especially in light of the growing secularization of the West combined with the relentless march of ecumenism. There is no doubt the Vatican is planning for all possible eventualities.

Every evangelical pastor needs to read this book and every believer would benefit from it as well in this era of increasing ecumenism. A Christian’s Pocket Guide To The Papacy can be ordered from Amazon here.

Here also is a link to Dr. De Chirico’s excellent blog, Vatican Files: Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Roman Catholicism.

Postscript: When this book was written in 2015, Dr. De Chirico could not have anticipated the mounting crisis within the Catholic church regarding pope Francis. Conservative and traditionalist Catholics are appalled by the doctrine-bending, progressive pope and some are even calling him a heretic.

39 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: The Papacy 101

  1. The papacy itself is a man-made innovation.

    Peter Lampe: Thesis: The fractionation in Rome favored a collegial presbyterial system of governance and prevented for a long time, until the second half of the second century, the development of a monarchical episcopacy in the city. Victor (c. 189-99) was the first who, after faint-hearted attempts by Eleutherus (c. 175-89), Soter (c. 166-75), and Anicetus (c. 155-66), energetically stepped forward as monarchical bishop and (at times, only because he was incited from the outside) attempted to place the different groups in the city under his supervision or, where that was not possible, to draw a line by means of excommunication. Before the second half of the second century there was in Rome no monarchical episcopacy for the circles mutually bound in fellowship. Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, trans. Michael Steinhauser (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), p. 397.

    Peter Lampe: It was useful to assign to someone in Rome the work connected with eternal communication. Hermas knows such a person by the name of Clement. In The Shepherd of Hermas, Vision 2.4.3, Hermas prepares two copies of his small book and sends (πέμπω, within the city) one of them to Clement, who forwards it “to the cities outside, for he is entrusted with that task” (πέμψει Κλήμης εἰς τὰς ἔξω πόλεις, ἐκείνῳ γὰρ ἐπιτέτραπται).
    It is important to note that Hermas’s “minister of external affairs” is not a monarchical bishop. In the second next sentence, Hermas describes how he circulates his little book within the city. He makes it known “to this city together with the presbyters who preside over the church” (εἰς ταύτην τὴν πόλιν μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τῶν προϊσταμένων τῆς ἐκκλησίας). A plurality of presbyters leads Roman Christianity. This Christianity, conscious of spiritual fellowship with the city, is summed up under the concept “ecclesia,” but that changes nothing in regard to the plurality of those presiding over it. In Vis. 3.9.7, Hermas also calls them προηγούμενοι [ verb roughly trans. “leading,” but can function as a noun] or πρωτοκαθεδρίται. See Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries, trans. Michael Steinhauser (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), p. 398.

    Shepherd of Hermas: Therefore you will write two little books, and you will send one to Clement and one to Grapte. Then Clement will send it to the cities abroad, because that is his job. But Grapte will instruct the widows and orphans. But you yourself will read it to this city, along with the elders (i.e., presbyters, πρεσβυτέρων) who preside over the church. See J. B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer, eds. And trans., The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations of Their Writings, 2nd Edition, The Shepherd of Hermas, Vision 2.4.3 (Grand Rapids: Babke Book House, 1992), pp. 345-347.

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      1. Have you read “Papal Primacy”? The book is short but cuts downs a lot of the traditional claims of the papacy. Ironically, it’s written by a Jesuit, Klaus Schatz!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 2015 was not that long ago. Surprised that such a book is still published, glory to God. I read an older book on the history of the Papacy’s origin about 10 years ago, and this book sounds like its a good supplement with that one too, though the name of the book I read escapes me

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    1. Thanks! I remember being very pleased when this book was published. I’m encouraged that Leonardo De Chirico is so active in defense of the Gospel and in exposing Romanism. Fewer and fewer of such men these days. If you ever recall the title of that book I’d be curious to know.

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      1. When I walked away from the Lord – my prodigal “season” – I threw out all of my books on Catholicism like a big dummy. There was probably around 100 of them. I’ve since replaced a lot of them but not that one.

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      2. Hi brother I have a loved one who died tonight can you please pray for us. I asked him years ago if he believed that Jesus came to the world was born of a virgin and died on the cross for our sins and rose again three days later he said certainly.

        Liked by 1 person

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