John Lollard (a pseudonym) has on his blog an article he believes challenges Catholic authority. I believe his premise is flawed, so let us look at this article (John's words in green) and my response to it:
|St. John Lateran, Peter's Seat|
The Catholic Trilemma of Matthew 23
I am trying to figure out how you see Matthew 23:2-3 as contrary to the papacy. First off, it’s not the papacy in this context, it is “Moses’ seat” which would be a prefiguring of Peter’s seat. Secondly, Jesus does not denounce the office/seat of Moses - and in fact reinforces that office saying they must still do whatever they tell you to do - just don’t do what they do. At this point Moses’ seat truly is still in authority.
OK, I’m with you so far...
Well first off, you’re not quite comparing apples to apples here. The Sanhedrin, while it was authoritative for the Jewish people, was never given infallible authority to bind or loose whatsoever they chose on earth - and that would also be bound in heaven. That’s where infallibility comes into play - for nothing errant could possibly be so bound in heaven.
True, to a point... a foreshadowing is not necessarily an equivocation, and in this case it most certainly is not.
I hope you can see where there is a difference here between the papacy and the Sanhedrin.
OK, I did not want to interrupt your train of thought, so let’s take this in order:
1) The Catholic Church has not set up three authorities. Jesus is our Authority, and He left St. Peter to be “in charge” as His Vicar.
2) The scribes and Pharisees are a thing of the past - though I suppose you’re comparing that to the Magisterium of the Church. If you refer to the Magisterium, the bishops - as a group - were given similar authority to St. Peter in Matthew 18:18, and again - by Jesus Himself, not some oral tradition after-the-fact.
3) St. Peter did not immediately receive the authority Jesus spoke of in Matthew 16:18-19, as Jesus was speaking of some point in the future when He would build His Church - it didn’t happen at that sitting. So, until this giving of the authority happened which we would surmise this happened at Pentecost, or as some like TheDen, may argue for the event of John 21:15-19 when Jesus tells Peter to "Feed My sheep" - either way the Sanhedrin was still holding the office of authority.
4) In Acts 4, Peter and John are still respecting that which preceded them, but the Jews did not accept the Messiah - Peter and John knew that the New Testament Church rested with them, not with the Jews who rejected their Messiah. They still respected their elders, but the time was nigh to move on, the Old Covenant had been fulfilled and the New Covenant is now in place.
No, not quite. Again, at the time Jesus makes the statement to obey the Pharisees, they truly are still occupying that seat - but as of Pentecost, that authority moves to the New Testament Church. At that point Peter alone (per Matthew 16) or Peter with the rest of the Bishops (Matthew 18) now sit in that seat.
Actually, though there were recognized portions of Scripture - and even a couple “canons” of Scripture prior to the Christian Church - they (the Jews) had not finalized what they considered to be canonical - in fact “canonical” was not even part of their vocabulary and really still isn’t as their view of “Scripture” is not quite how Christians view “Scripture.” Christians see ALL of Scripture as “God breathed” and/or God’s Word - whereas Jews see different levels of inspiration. The Torah, the Books of Moses or Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) they see on the same level as we see all of Scripture. Then comes the Prophets, and then to a lesser level comes the books of History and Poetry. God installed the Judges to govern His People, but they wanted a king - so God relented and let them have a king. It didn’t take long for the kingship to split the kingdom, but I digress.
If they were truly “right” about the Messiah then they would not have rejected Him.