The Centre of Catholicity: Roman Primacy

Avery Dulles

in The Catholicity of the Church

Published in print October 1987 | ISBN: 9780198266952
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600555 | DOI:
The Centre of Catholicity: Roman Primacy

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According to the Branch Theory, which was popular in nineteenth‐century England, the Catholic Church exists in three forms: Roman, Orthodox, and Anglican. In contrast to this view, the Catholic Church considers that, to be authentically Catholic, one must be in communion with Rome. The bishop of Rome presides over a communion of particular churches that have their own ecclesial identity under their respective bishops. Vatican II understands the bishop of Rome as being related to the other bishops analogously as Peter was to the other apostles. Some Lutherans, Anglicans, and Orthodox, perceiving the need for an effective primacy, favour the restoration, under certain conditions, of Roman primacy for their own churches. The link between the primatial office and the city of Rome rests upon a long historic tradition that seems destined to stand, though it is not inconceivable that the Petrine succession could be transferred to another see.

Keywords: branch theory; collegiality; notes of church; papacy; particular church; primacy; Rome; subsidiarity; universal church

Chapter.  7818 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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