SÃO PAULO RESISTIU A SÃO PEDRO?:
- Publicado em 02/05/2017
- Por Diogo Rafael Moreira
St. Paul’s Rebuke of St. Peter in Galatians 2:11-15
Excerpt from The Chair Is Still Empty: A Response to John Salza on the Alleged “Errors of Sedevacantism”, Part 2
(4) St. Peter’s Sin in Galatians 2:11
Next, Salza makes reference to St. Thomas’ teaching on fraternal correction, how even subjects are permitted (or even bound) to correct their superiors in certain cases. Mention is made of Galatians 2:11, where St. Paul rebuked St. Peter in public “on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith” (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 33, a. 4, ad 2). It’s hard to see what that has to do with anything we’re discussing, but Salza insists that this is evidence that “it is not only licit but even necessary to oppose a Pope who endangers the Faith, without labeling him a formal heretic” (Salza, “Presumption”, p. 1; italics added).
To answer this, we need only to look at what St. Peter did that caused St. Paul’s rebuke. Just what was it that St. Peter was doing? Was he telling the Jews who were persecuting him that their covenant with God was still valid, as John Paul II did? Was he inviting pagans to offer sacrifice to their idols to obtain true peace, thus legitimizing their false religion, as John Paul II and Benedict XVI did in Assisi?
No, not exactly. The popular Challoner Douay-Rheims Bible has the following note on this passage:
The fault that is here noted in the conduct of St. Peter, was only a certain imprudence, in withdrawing himself from the table of the Gentiles, for fear of giving offence to the Jewish converts; but this, in such circumstances, when his so doing might be of ill consequence to the Gentiles, who might be induced thereby to think themselves obliged to conform to the Jewish way of living, to the prejudice of their Christian liberty.
(Challoner Note on Galatians 2:11)
What John Salza wants to raise to the level of a materially heretical offense (which would then allow him to argue, “But see, notoriety or pertinacity weren’t presumed!”) is nothing but a “certain imprudence” in the conduct of St. Peter. That’s it. This is seconded in the Bible commentary of the famous Fr. George Haydock: “. . . the opinion of St. Augustine is commonly followed, that St. Peter was guilty [only] of a venial fault of imprudence” (Haydock Note on Galatians 2:11). St. Peter was simply afraid of giving offense to the Jewish converts by eating with the Gentiles; hence, he withdrew from the Gentile converts when the Jews arrived. Because this conduct can give the false impression that Christians are still bound by the Old Law, it was imprudent for St. Peter to act this way, though he probably simply sought to avoid giving so-called “scandal of the weak,” and so his intention was good. In any case, St. Peter humbly accepted St. Paul’s rebuke, and that was the end of it.
We see, then, that there is absolutely nothing in here to help Salza’s case. For, while an action indifferent in itself can nonetheless, due to special circumstances, “accidentally” endanger the Faith, such as St. Peter’s conduct mentioned here (eating separately with Jewish converts was not wrong in and of itself, after all, but only became imprudent due to particular circumstance), this is in no wise comparable to actions which are directly and in and of themselves sins against the Faith, such as joining today’s apostate Jews in singing a hymn awaiting the Messiah, or approving of the religions of the pagans (such as Jainism, Voodoo, Hinduism, etc.), or saying that papal primacy as defined at the First Vatican Council may be erroneous, as John Paul II and Benedict XVI have done.
What John Salza is doing here is simply grasping at straws. He is desperate to find any sort of argument he can to make sedevacantism look flawed. And this is really saying more than a mouthful, for if he had really good, strong arguments, then we may surmise he would have used them, no? Instead, he resorts to these old taken-out-of-context “proof-texts,” polishes them up by giving them a new spin, and hopes perhaps that the reader will be impressed by all the complicated canonico-theological lingo he is throwing around.