What is the Petrine doctrine?


The Petrine doctrine is the teaching of the Catholic church that, through Jesus, gave Peter supreme authority among the apostles and the commission to lead the church. Catholics use this as justification for the supremacy and infallibility of the papacy.

Catholics base this interpretation upon several passages in the Bible. In Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, Peter's name is Cephas, which means rock. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." He goes on to say in verse 19, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." In John 21:17, Jesus instructs Peter, "Feed my sheep." In the gospels, Peter is always named first in the lists of apostles. In the early chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, Peter assumes leadership after the ascension of Jesus into heaven.

Though Peter never officially became pope or the bishop of Rome, Catholics consider him the first pope. Every pope elected to the office is considered Peter's successor and an inheritor of the power Jesus gave to Peter. At the First Vatican Council in 1870, the 433 attending bishops issued a decree of papal infallibility. This confirmed the pope's supreme spiritual leadership of the church and his final word in matters of church doctrine.

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What Is the Meaning of Petrine Doctrine?
The head of the Roman Catholic Church is the bishop of Rome, usually called the pope. The Petrine doctrine is the Catholic Church's justification for the pope's authority. It affirms the pope's right to rule the larger Christian church -- beyond Roman... More »
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