I was recently directed to a video published by AnglicanApologist72 on Youtube, concerning Matthew 16:18 and Papal Supremacy. The text version to this video can be found here.
It should be mentioned that unlike Protestant arguments, Anglicans and Orthodox theologians offer the best of anti-papal arguments, since they can actually deal [more or less] with the ancient thought of the holy fathers and present them in their glorious context. Protestant proponents against the Papacy continually demonstrate a serious deficiency of understanding the fathers and the Councils, and because of this both Anglicans and Orthodox shudder at the mutilated, misconstrued, misplaced pretexts and erroneous interpretations Protestants generally [but not always, and certainly not all] apply to the holy fathers. With an Anglican presentation we can relax at least slightly, since we can be sure that 98% of the time the Anglican opponent has the same reverence and awe for the Councils and the fathers, attempting to treat them in their historical context. An example of this can be found in AnglicanApologist72's (whose true name is David) short article here, in which he says:
"The Apostles had been given the authority to govern the affairs of the church when Jesus told them that whatever they bound or loosed on earth would be bound or loosed in heaven. This authority didn't fade when the apostles died though. The apostles appointed who we call bishops (or you can say they established the episcopate) so that their authority could be exercised while they were not on earth. So whatever the church, as a whole, binds or looses has authority over the whole of Christ's church. The establishments of the church as a whole are infallible. The implications of this are so very important. The general councils which are accepted by the church (both east and west), namely the ecumenical councils, are a reflection of the binding and loosing authority that was bestowed to the bishops in the church...What these councils decide goes, if you want to be consistent with the words of Christ."
No Protestant can declare that and still be a Protestant, since these Holy Councils condemn his heretical teachings. Now that we are certain David displays the same reverence for the Councils as we do, let us proceed happily in this common ground and examine the subject in question, viz. the office of the Papacy and its Supremacy over the Church.
In his own words, David says in the written article,
"The specific passage in Matthew 16 ,
"Matt 16:16-19- And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto 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 unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
"According to Roman Catholics, this passage shows that Peter is the rock of the Church and was given the authority to bind and loose things on earth, which would then be bound and loosed in heaven. Because of these things, Roman Catholics claim, Peter MUST be the supreme head of the Church and all Christians must submit to him.
"First of all, we need to properly understand what being the rock of the church would constitute. Why must it mean that Peter is somehow superior to all the other apostles and must be the head of the church? I see no need to believe such a notion."
For one, St. Peter's superiority comes not from his own person, but as a result of the divine decree of God, viz. that Peter would be the Chief Pastor of the Christian Church. God infallibly declared through St. Peter that Jesus was the Messiah, the Divine Son. Christ declares to Peter that human understanding did not prompt him to say this, but "my Father which is in Heaven." Because of this Revelation, which did not come from Peter himself, Christ declares to Peter himself, "You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build My Church..." Why would Christ build His Church on Peter (as David concedes) if Peter, in reality, did absolutely nothing to deserve such an honory title, 'Rock'? Because from age to age, in His own unique timing, God raises up Prophets and Shepherds to declare the Word where it has not been heard. Jesus, being the Supreme Divine-Prophet and Supreme Divine-Shepherd was the Word incarnate, proclaiming Himself to the world. But when He would not be with them, as He knew He would soon not be, He desired that He [the Word] be preached evermore into the Earth, and to do this He needed those Prophets and Shepherds. But He would not execute this Plan in any old fashion, but rather in the consistent pattern He, His Father, and the Holy Spirit appointed and sent out Prophets and Shepherds in the Old Testament era.
They called out Moses, a prince in exile, an outcast, to be the Prophet of God, a sole supreme visible Head of the Invisible Head, God Himself. God Himself pastored Israel, at times coming down to meet with them, but on most occasions He relayed everything to Moses, who in turn relayed the same message to the people, being free from any error.
God called upon Judges to be the supreme heads of Israel, and when Israel protested desiring a king, God raised up Kings to be the visible Authorities of the Invisible Authority, Yahweh the True King.
In Hosea 3:10-11 we read:
10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children of the living God." 11And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (ESV)
It is interesting to note that these people appoint for themselves one head. Why? Wesley in his Notes writes concerning v. 11:
"Then - This verse has both an historical and a spiritual sense; the one referring to the return out of Babylon, the other to a more glorious deliverance from a more miserable captivity. Judah - The two tribes, who adhered to the house of David. Israel - Some of the ten tribes who were incorporated with the kingdom of Judah, and so carried captive with them. But this is spiritually to be understood of the whole Israel of God. One head - Zerubbabel, who was appointed by Cyrus, yet with full approbation of the people. And so Christ is appointed by the Father, head of his church, whom believers heartily accept. Come up - Literally out of Babylon, spiritually out of captivity to sin and to Satan. Great - Good, joyous and comfortable. Of Jezreel - Israel is here called Jezreel, the seed of God. This seed is now sown in the earth, and buried under the clods; but great shall be its day, when the harvest comes. Great was the day of the church, when there were daily added to it such as should be saved."
Likewise the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says of the same verse:
"...one head-Zerubbabel typically; Christ antitypically, under whom alone Israel and Judah are joined, the "Head" of the Church (Eph 1:22; 5:23), and of the hereafter united kingdom of Judah and Israel (Jer 34:5, 6; Eze 34:23). Though "appointed" by the Father (Ps 2:6), Christ is in another sense "appointed" as their Head by His people, when they accept and embrace Him as such."
The footnote in the ESV above the words "they shall appoint for themselves one head" directs us to Hosea 3:5, which says:
"Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king,and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days."
Directly, Hosea 1:11 is a typeology of Jesus Christ being Head of the Church. Rather than disprove the Papacy, this funamdental truth demands the need for the Papacy. At the same time, the Church did not elect Christ as their Head, and so this is a type of the election of the Bishop, specifically the Roman Bishop. In both cases, God chose Christ to be Head of the Church, and Christ choses who will be the Pope, the steward-Head of the Church. Not two Heads like a monster, as Pope Boniface 8th wrote in Unam Sanctum, but One Head: Christ and the Pope being in Union together. Since Christ is the Icon of the Invisible God, the Visible Head of the Invisible Father, it follows from logic and reason that Christ Himself would need a Visible Head in like manner to Him as He is to the Father, since the Earth is deprived of Christ's body. We understand quite clearly from His own words when He breathes on the Apostles the Holy Spirit and says:
"As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." (J. 20:21)
What is the consistent teaching of St. John's Gospel? Christ, the Word being made truly flesh, visibly comes to the world to reconcile Mankind with God, being made truly Man while still remaining truly God. Because Christ, the divine Word [or Memra, to the Jewish students of the Targums] is one, visible, Head of a community which He has established according to the typological Israel of the Old Testament [a theme found strongly in St. Matthew's Gospel], it follows that Christ would equip His inner circle to lead the community in the same way He did. For that to be executed to its fullest, a visible Head - not the Founder, but a mere steward, a servant - would be needed to fill Christ's role while He, being the Master and King, was away. When He declared to His Apostles and disciples, "As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you," He was saying that He would send them in the same manner which the Father sent Him into the world. The kings, judges, and prophets of the OT, all of which ruled from a sole chair, [i.e. Moses had helpers to shepherd Israel, but he was the Supreme Head of Israel, the Steward of God the Founder of Israel] represented God not seen by human eyes; the Apostles now came representing Christ in a much fuller way, viz. by Christ living within them, this same Christ now no longer seen by human eyes. The cosistency is the same from the Old Testament through to the New. By the simple fact that the Church is described as a spiritual house by St. Peter leads one to conclude there must be a Head. The Church is obviously a Family of the highest form, and every Family has a Supreme Head figure, the Father. When he is absent the eldest Son becomes Head, and when he is absent either the second-born son becomes Head, or a Servant is appointed Head. Since we are all servants of Christ, yet children by adoption, St. Peter being both servant and [adopted] son remains Head of the Family by royal right, since he must fulfill the continuous typology of a visible representation of God, as well as fulfull the Jewish role as a steward guarding the House till the Master return.
Isaiah 22:20-24, like the above passages, in its immediete context refers to Christ, and is even applied to Him by St. John in the book of Revelation.
"In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, 21and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. 23And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons."
Clearly Eliakim is a type of Christ the Servant, the Steward of God the Father. Notice Eliakim has one key, singular, and consequently so has Christ in Revelation. But St. Peter has keys, plural. It seems that Christ, being the Father's Chief Steward has the Master Key, and St. Peter being Christ's Chief Steward has a number of keys, because his keys are not the One Supreme Key which Christ alone possesses. His lone key represents Power, Authority, Supremacy, Jurisdiction, Binding and Loosing, all things deserving of Deity. His lone key binds and looses first in Heaven what St. Peter's keys, which belong to the Pope and the Church, will in repeated fashion bind and loose on Earth. Because Eliakim represents Christ, he must also represent St. Peter - the Matthew 16:18-19 passage parralleling Isaiah 22 being unmistakable - because St. Peter also represents Christ. If we choose to remain consistent with in Israeli thought stemming from the types of the Old Testament, we must conclude that St. Peter held some sort of primacy among the Apostles, clearly seen in Matt. 16:18-19.
In an older post, I said concerning this passage,
"Majority of Protestants. Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Evangelicals will admit the Rock is Peter, according to the Greek. However all of them unamiously likewise say this is not a sufficiant proof text that Peter had a Pope-role in the Church. Indeed, he was the pre-eminent Apostle, the spokesman for the Apostles. Yet at the same time in Revelation, when the Thrones of the Apostles are mentioned, we do not see a special chair for Peter alone, who apparantly was the first Pope. Neither do we see a special pillar for Peter among the Pillars of the Apostles, which is strange if he is supposed to be the visible Head. But this is the problem we run into when we look at leadership in the Bible strictly as a heirarchy. Leadership on God's terms has no rank, but all are on the same level - i.e, we have countless pastors in the world who tend to us the sheep, yet at the very core of it all pastors are sheep as well in God's eyes. Yet the pastor has authority over the laymen, and can perform the Sacraments (in the Roman Catholic and East Orthodox Churches alone), but in Heaven's eyes, he himself is still a sheep. Of course, there must be some structure of order, for God does not create confusion, but is a God of order." (Why the Christian Church needs a Pope)
Later on I said,
"Seeing that heirachy is needed, how are we to understand in what sense God's views it? One need only listen to Christ's words, "The greatest among you shall be the least...The servant is not greater than his master..." - but above all, His own example, when He said "I did not come to be served, but I came to serve." For this reason, the Pope is called Servant of the Servants of God. His role is the greatest among all; not in the sense as a king is greater than his subject, but in the sense where Christ said, "My Father is greater than I." - J. 10:29. The Arians and Jeovah's Witnesses apostasies declare that this verse means Christ is lesser than God, but this is far from the truth. The word "great" does not denote nature, but rank. Remember, at this point, Christ had already emptied Himself of all His divinity, but still was "very God from very God."
"Let's contrast this with Hebrews 1:4, "(Jesus) being so much better than the angels.."
"Notice the verse says He is "better" than the angels, not "greater". The Greek word here is κρείττων, which denotes nature. But in John 10:29, the Greek word for "greater" is μέγας, which denotes...
"1) great 1a) of the external form or sensible appearance of things (or of persons) 1a1) in particular, of space and its dimensions, as respects 1a1a) mass and weight: great 1a1b) compass and extent: large, spacious 1a1c) measure and height: long 1a1d) stature and age: great, old 1b) of number and quantity: numerous, large, abundant 1c) of age: the elder
"To put it simply, this particular Greek word implies position, not nature. Jesus, when He was a man, was "made a little lower than the angels", and therefore looked to the Father for guidance, since His Father was in a higher position than Christ. But Christ was still 100% God, never less than God, continually Yahweh the Son. The Father did not lord over Christ as a tyrant, but served Him just as Christ served the Father. In Hebrews Christ is called "better" than the angels, which most certainly denotes nature. Why is He better? Because He created them. The Father did not create Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ was continually with the Father, "eternally begotten." Do you see the difference?
"The Pope is greater than any man in this sense: as the Father is no more and no less than the Son, so the Pope is no more and no less than his flock. Christ looked to the Father; we look the Pope as the Church's Pastor, the Leuitenant-General of Christ." (Ibid)
This is an accurate description of how the Church views St. Peter and his Successors. I believe if we look at Scripture in light of the Apostolic Tradition and the Jewish mindset, it becomes rather blatant that the Papacy was a neccessary institution in honor of Christ, the King from the line of David, the ultimate fulfillment of Judah's royal lineage.
In his post, David argues,
"We also see that the foundation of Christ's church is NOT only Peter, but all of the Apostles AS WELL as Christ and the prophets, Ephesians 2:20. To label Peter as the sole rock of the Church is grossly incorrect. The church was built upon Peter, of course, but NOT ONLY Peter. Peter is the first among equals in terms of the foundation of the Church. He is the one to be most HONORED among all that are the foundation of the Church. He was never given a higher authority than the other apostles, while he was given a higher HONOR than the other apostles."
Unfortunately David fights a straw-man when he claims that the Church says St. Peter is the sole Rock of the Church. In the words of Pope St. Leo IX,
"The holy Church built upon a Rock, that is Christ, and upon Peter or Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome." (In Terra Pax Hominibus, Chap. 7)
The Catholic Haydock Bible Commentary, in regards to Eph. 2:20 simply says,
"The Church is in this place said to be built upon the apostles and prophets; why not then upon St. Peter?"
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, in its description of the Church says,
"The Church has but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the eternal Father hath made head over all the Church, which is his body; the visible one, the Pope, who, as legitimate successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, fills the Apostolic chair."
"The Church is also to be called holy because she is united to her holy Head, as His body; that is, to Christ the Lord,' the fountain of all holiness, from whom flow the graces of the Holy Spirit and the riches of the divine bounty."
"Moreover to this Church, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time; all of whom are founded and raised upon the one corner-stone, Christ, who made both one, and announced peace to them that are near and to them that are far."
The First Vatican Council declares,
"Therefore, before he was glorified he besought his Father, not for the apostles only, but also for those who were to believe in him through their word, that they all might be one as the Son himself and the Father are one. So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world, even as he had been sent by the Father,in like manner it was his will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation."
In this clear context, one can very easily see how Vatican Council I taught that St. Peter is the prime Bishop, the "principle of both unities and their visible foundation", that visible foundation being "the union of the clergy." St. Peter brings to fulness the visible Unity of the Church, all the Apostles being the Foundation, but Peter himself being Chief, a symbol of that said Unity. Just as Christ has Jurisdiction over the Church, so does His servant, the Head-Butler of the House.
David continues to write,
"Due to the above fact that Peter is not solely the rock of the Church and was not solely give the power to bind and loose, why should we think that the keys to the kingdom of Heaven were given to Peter alone either? The fact is, the authorities given to Peter in Matthew 16 are not limited to Peter. Nothing suggests such a proposition."
Indeed Haydock writes in his Commentary concerning Matt.16:19,
"Ver. 19. And I will give to thee the keys, &c. This is another metaphor, expressing the supreme power and prerogative of the prince of the apostles. The keys of a city, or of its gates, are presented or given to the person that hath the chief power. We also own a power of the keys, given to the other apostles, but with a subordination to St. Peter and to his successor, as head of the Catholic Church. --- And whatsoever thou shalt bind, &c. All the apostles, and their successors, partake also of this power of binding and loosing, but with a due subordination to one head invested with the supreme power."
Concerning Matt.18:18 Haydock says,
"Ver. 18. Whatsoever you shall bind, &c. The power of binding and loosing, which in a more eminent manner was promised to St. Peter, is here promised to the other apostles and their successors, bishops and priests. (Witham) --- The power of binding and loosing, conferred on St. Peter, excelled that granted to the other apostles, inasmuch as to St. Peter, who was head and pastor of the whole Church, was granted jurisdiction over the other apostles, while these received no power over each other, much less over St. Peter. (Tirinus) --- Priests receive a power not only to loose, but also to bind, as St. Ambrose writeth against the Novatians, who allowed the latter, but denied the former power to priests. (Lib. i. de pœnit. chap. ii.) (Bristow)"
A Complete Catechism of the Christian Religion asks under the heading, "The End of the Church and Her Qualities Resulting from this End", asks,
46. Who composes this Infallible Teaching Body?
A. The Pope, and the Bishops united with him.
The recent Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
Were we to look at more of the documents from the past, we would see a consistent flow of the teaching that all the Bishops with the Pope exercise the Keys at a General Council, which the recent Catechism affirms.
Near the end of his article, David references St. Cyprian's name and position regarding Peter being the Rock,
"While Cyprian held the view that Peter was the rock, he believed Peter's authority was equal with the other apostles..."
Orthodox scholar Nicholas Afanassieff writes concerning St. Cyprian and the Roman See,
"The ideal “Peter’s throne” occupied by the whole episcopate became confused in Cyprian’s mind with the actual throne occupied by the Bishop of Rome. According to Cyprian, every bishop occupies Peter’s throne (the Bishop of Rome among others), but the See of Peter is Peter’s throne par excellence. The Bishop of Rome is the direct heir of Peter, whereas the others are heirs only indirectly, and sometimes only by the mediation of Rome. Hence Cyprian’s insistence that the Church of Rome is the root and matrix of the Catholic Church." (The Church Which Presides In Love)
Anglican convert to Catholicism, Dom Chapman, also expounds on the Cyprian passage concerning the Roman Chair. Besides Newman, Chapman and Luke Rivington should be consulted by Catholic readers, since these two along with Newman were Anglican divines who converted to the Catholic Faith. I think you will find their works profitable. What St. Cyprian declares bolsters the Roman claim rather than alledgedly refute it.
The same can be applied to Origen, who taught that all Christians were the rock. This can be understood as all Christians being the rock indirectly, but Peter is the rock par excellence. St. Augustine taught that the Rock was Christ, Peter, and Peter's Confession, which is identical to the Roman teaching as we have just seen.
But David makes a point when he says,
"Therefore, we cannot use the Church fathers as authority to give us an answer. They disagree!"
So true! Hence why we must now turn to the Ecumenical Councils recognized by both East and West. Of these Councils there are Seven.
In Session III of the Council of Ephesus we read,
"There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down to this day and forever lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed Pope Celestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic Faith.
“Arcadius the legate of the Apostolic See said: “Nestorius hath brought us great sorrow…Celestine, most holy pope of the Apostolic See hath condescended to send us as his executors of this business, and also following the decrees of the holy synod we give this as our conclusion: Let Nestorius know that he is deprived of all Episcopal dignity, and is alien from the whole church and from the communion of all its priests.” (NPNF: The Seven Ecumenical Councils, pg. 223)
Perhaps even more blatant is Pope St. Agatho's letter at Constantinople III, which reads,
"This is the pure expression of piety. This is the true and immaculate profession of the Christian religion, not invented by human cunning, but which was taught by the Holy Ghost through the princes of the Apostles. This is the firm and irreprehensible doctrine of the holy Apostles, the integrity of the sincere piety of which, so long as it is preached freely, defends the empire of your Tranquillity in the Christian commonwealth, and exults [will defend it, will render it stable; and exulting], and (as we firmly trust) will demonstrate it full of happiness. Believe your most humble [servant], my most Christian lords and sons, that I am pouring forth these prayers with my tears, or its stability and exultation [in Greek exaltation]. And these things I (although unworthy and insignificant) dare advise through my sincere love, because your God-granted victory is our salvation, the happiness of your Tranquillity is our joy, the harmlessness of your kindness is the security of our littleness. And therefore I beseech you with a contrite heart and rivers of tears, with prostrated mind, deign to stretch forth your most clement right hand to the Apostolic doctrine which the co-worker of your pious labours, the blessed apostle Peter, has delivered, that it be not hidden under a bushel, but that it be preached in the whole earth more shrilly than a bugle: because the true confession thereof for which Peter was pronounced blessed by the Lord of all things, was revealed by the Father of heaven, for he received from the Redeemer of all himself, by three commendations, the duty of feeding the spiritual sheep of the Church; under whose protecting shield, this Apostolic Church of his has never turned away from the path of truth in any direction of error, whose authority, as that of the Prince of all the Apostles, the whole Catholic Church, and the Ecumenical Synods have faithfully embraced, and followed in all things; and all the venerable Fathers have embraced its Apostolic doctrine, through which they as the most approved luminaries of the Church of Christ have shone; and the holy orthodox doctors have venerated and followed it, while the heretics have pursued it with false criminations and with derogatory hatred. This is the living tradition of the Apostles of Christ, which his Church holds everywhere, which is chiefly to be loved and fostered, and is to be preached with confidence, which conciliates with God through its truthful confession, which also renders one commendable to Christ the Lord, which keeps the Christian empire of your Clemency, which gives far-reaching victories to your most pious Fortitude from the Lord of heaven, which accompanies you in battle, and defeats your foes; which protects on every side as an impregnable wall your God-sprung empire, which throws terror into opposing nations, and smites them with the divine wrath, which also in wars celestially gives triumphal palms over the downfall and subjection of the enemy, and ever guards your most faithful sovereignty secure and joyful in peace. For this is the rule of the true faith, which this spiritual mother of your most tranquil empire, the Apostolic Church of Christ, has both in prosperity and in adversity always held and defended with energy; which, it will be proved, by the grace of Almighty God, has never erred from the path of the apostolic tradition, nor has she been depraved by yielding to heretical innovations, but from the beginning she has received the Christian faith from her founders, the princes of the Apostles of Christ, and remains undefiled unto the end, according to the divine promise of the Lord and Saviour himself, which he uttered in the holy Gospels to the prince of his disciples: saying, “Peter, Peter, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift 332you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that (thy) faith fail not. And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Let your tranquil Clemency therefore consider, since it is the Lord and Saviour of all, whose faith it is, that promised that Peter’s faith should not fail and exhorted him to strengthen his brethren, how it is known to all that the Apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my littleness, have always confidently done this very thing: of whom also our littleness, since I have received this ministry by divine designation, wishes to be the follower, although unequal to them and the least of all. For woe is me, if I neglect to preach the truth of my Lord, which they have sincerely preached. Woe is me, if I cover over with silence the truth which I am bidden to give to the exchangers, i.e., to teach to the Christian people and imbue it therewith. What shall I say in the future examination by Christ himself, if I blush (which God forbid!) to preach here the truth of his words? What satisfaction shall I be able to give for myself, what for the souls committed to me, when he demands a strict account of the office I have received?"
Indeed, the Council examined the letter before accepting it as the Catholic Encyclopedia admits. However the First Vatican Council did the exact same thing with Papal Infallibility, examining the issue before formally declaring it to be dogma. This is standard Catholic procedure when it comes to these serious doctrinal matters.
When all this is taken into consideration, one begins to seriouslly wonder whether the Papal claims really are inventions of the Middle Ages, or long-ignored teachings of the Apostolic Church? I think the answer is pretty clear.