John Kilcullen

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Tract 1

Book 1

Question: Does the pope's power extend to everything not against divine or natural law?

Opinion 1: The pope has such power from Christ

Opinion 2: in spirituals, but not in temporals

Opinion 3: partly from Christ, partly from men

Opinion 4: He does not have it, from Christ or from men, either regularly or occasionally

Opinion 5: He has it from Christ, in both spirituals and temporals, not regularly but occasionally

Book 2

Discussion of opinion 5

Did Christ make Peter head of the Church?

Would it be beneficial for the Church to have one head?

Affirmative arguments

Four negative arguments

Greek political terms explained

Affirmative arguments again

Against monarchy

In favour of monarchy

Answer to negative argument 1

Answers to negative arguments 3 and 4

Should the Church be able to change its regime?

Could there be several independent primates?

Answer to negative argument 2

Answers to affirmative arguments

Book 3

Did Christ in fact make Peter head?

Preliminary question: Which writings are authoritative for Christians?

Opinion 1: Bible and Councils

Opinion 2: Also decrees, writings of approved doctors

Opinion 3: Also other doctors, when they agree

Opinion 4: The Bible, Bible writers, Apostles, and sometimes others

Are we ever bound to believe one who may sometimes err?

Can a general council err?

Can there be Bible passages that cannot be interpreted?

Can interpretation ever need a new revelation?

Discussion of claim by opinion 1 that only Bible and Councils should be accepted

Reply by opinion 4 to arguments of opinion 2 for believing writings of Apostles, popes and approved doctors.

Reply by opinion 4 to arguments of opinion 3 for believing non-approved doctors when they agree.

Book 4

Did Christ in fact make Peter head?

Opinion 1: He did not

Opinion 2: He did

First argument for opinion 2, from John 21:15-17

Second argument for opinion 2, from Matthew 16:18-19

Third argument for opinion 2, from Luke 22:32

Fourth argument for opinion 2, from constant belief from ancient times

Fifth argument for opinion 2: Christ would not have left the Church headless

Replies to arguments for opinion 1


People are accusing one another of heresy, so there is disagreement about who belongs to the true Church. Part 3 is about "the actions of those who are quarrelling about the orthodox faith". It will contain nine tractates, the first two being preambles:

(1) on the power of the pope and clergy,

(2) on the power and rights of the Roman Empire (and some kings and princes and laity).

The remaining seven will be on the actions of various people - John XXII, Lewis of Bavaria, Benedict XII, Michael of Cesena, Guiral Ot, William of Ockham, and others.

The Master is held back by fear of accusations of disputing illicitly the power of the pope, and by lack of necessary books. The Student reminds him that disputation is licit, especially since the method will be to report positions and arguments without asserting. Though lack of books may lead to imperfections, the work will be useful and may occasion more complete works by others who have better access to books. The Master agrees that it is permissible to report false doctrines without asserting them, and that it is not necessary on every occasion to assert the truth. He will argue as strongly as he can for the opinions he reports, even those he regards as wrong.

* Tract 1.
* Book 1

Chapter 1.

Most Christians do not doubt that the pope has received some power from Christ, and many believe that he has received some power from human decree. Questions: what power does the pope have, and by what law, (i) over spiritual matters and ecclesiastical persons, (ii) over the laity in spiritual matters, (iii) over possessions and temporal rights belonging to the Roman church alone, (iv) over those belonging to other clergy? (v) over the persons, possessions and temporal rights of the believing laity? (vi) over the persons and possessions of unbelievers? Later there will be similar questions about the power of other clergy. One question comprehends [but only if answered affirmatively] all the above questions about the power of the pope:


[This does not cover the "later questions" about the power of the other clergy.]

On this question there are 5 opinions [all of which give an affirmative answer - but 2 includes a negative with respect to temporals, and the others also imply their negatives].

Chapter 2

* Opinion (1) The pope has regularly and in every case, in spirituals and temporals, immediately from Christ, power to do whatever is not contrary to divine or natural law.

Arguments for opinion (1):

(1) "Whatever you bind" (Mt. 16:19). Objections: "Whatever" may not be meant to cover everything, as illustrated by various Bible texts. Answers:

(a) according to the canons, where a canon does not exclude or limit, neither should we, and similarly with sayings of Christ;

(b) a power given by a Prince should be interpreted widely;

(c) Innocent III says, "He who said 'Whatever' excepted nothing".

Chapter 3

Arguments, cont.:

(2) Gregory in dist. 12, c. Preceptis.

(3) Stephen, dist. 19, c. Enimvero.

(4) Leo, dist. 19, Ita dominus.

(5) Dist. 19, Sic omnes.

(6) anyone who cannot be schismatic except by being a heretic must be obeyed by those who can be schismatic without heresy.

Chapter 4

(7) The pope is free from all positive law.

(8) The pope is Christ's vicar.

(9) various canons testify that the pope does have fullness of power, and not from man, therefore he must have it from God.

(10) The pope has fullness of power and the power to grant indulgences from the same source, but the power to grant indulgences is from God.

(11) One whose judgment and power it is not permitted to judge or dispute has power from God.

(12) The pope has fullness of power from the same person as he has the power of the keys.

(13) It is greater to be able to dispense against the Lord and against the Apostle than to be able to do whatever is not against natural or divine law, but the pope can do the former.

(14) The sentence of the pope should be feared, whether just or unjust.

(15) The pope should not be rebuked or corrected by anyone.

(16) The pope cannot err against faith.

(17) The pope has from Christ fullness of power over a general council.

(18) The pope has power from Christ over things opposed to natural equity.

[ Beginning of Ch. 5: "these will clearly be refuted". However, these arguments are nowhere answered in Dialogus. Some are answered in Brev.]

* Against opinion (1)

Chapter 5

Some say that opinion (1) is dangerous and heretical. Arguments:

(1) The Christian law is a law of freedom.

Chapter 6

Objections against this argument:

(a) The Christian law frees from the Mosaic law and from sin, not from obedience to the pope.

(b) No one would be permitted to subject himself to anyone in things not against God's law or the law of nature.

(c) The rule of the Friars Minor would be heretical.

(d) No one could have slaves.

Chapter 7

Clarification: The Christian law frees from any servitude as great as that of the Mosaic law, in the negative sense that the Christian law itself obliges no one to any servitude as great as that of the Mosaic law (someone can be obliged to servitude by something else, e.g. his own choice). Texts proving this interpretation: Acts 15, 2 Cor. 3:17; texts of the holy fathers.

Answer to (a) and (b): No one becomes a slave of the pope by virtue of the Christian law, but some can be subjected in some other way.

Answer to (c) : The Friars Minor are not bound to obey the pope in everything.

Answer to (d) : No one becomes a slave through the Christian law, but some may be enslaved in some other way. The Christian law introduces no subjection except where it is necessary or advantageous to the one subjected or to a community.

Chapter 8

More arguments from the proposition that Christians are not slaves, to show that opinion (1) is heretical and dangerous:

(2) Not all men are the pope's slaves in the sense of being incapable of dominium; many Christians do have dominium, and so do Jews and infidels.

(3) A slave cannot have slaves, but many Christians have slaves.

(4) Many obtain freedom from the Church. Texts: Mt. 17:25, Gal. 4:1-2.

Chapter 9

(5) A vicar does not have more power than him whose vicar he is, and Christ did not make men slaves.

(6) The pope ought not involve himself in secular occupations (2 Tim. 2:4, and many canons).

(7) The pope is the servant of other Christians (Mt. 20:25-7, etc.).

(8) The pope has not been established by Christ as judge in secular matters (11, q. 1, Te quidem).

(9) The pope is not the lord of the clergy (1 Pet. 5:3).

(10) The pope does not have temporal power in all lands (Innocent III, Vergentis).

(11) The power of emperors and kings is not derived from the pope (Innocent III, Per venerabilem).

(12) Prescription runs against the pope.

Chapter 10

* Opinion (2) By Christ's decree the pope has such power in spirituals, but not in temporals.

Arguments that he has such power in spirituals:

(1) Just as the emperor has fullness of power in temporals, so should the spiritual head have fullness of power in spirituals.

(2) Christ gave Peter fullness of power, "Whatever you bind".

(3) The pope can reprove every man for sin.

(4) All of God's causes belong to the highest pontiff (canon law).

Chapter 11

The arguments of chapters 2-4 can be used to show that the pope has fullness of power in spiritual matters, the arguments of chapters 5, 7, 8, 9 to show that he does not have fullness of power in temporal matters.

[No arguments are given against opinion (2).]

* Opinion (3) The pope has such power partly from Christ and partly from men

From Christ he has full power in the penitential forum (Mt. 16:19), full power to teach the Christian people (Jn. 21:17), and full power to distribute Church offices (Jn. 1:42). From general councils he has all other power needed to rule the Christian people. Concerning this opinion much said of other opinions will apply, so only one thing needs discussion [in fact more general arguments are added]: Has the pope received some power from General Councils? Canon law texts seem to say that general councils get their power from the Roman Church.

Arguments quoting various canon law texts to show that the pope has various powers from the canons enacted by councils, powers which together with those granted directly by Christ add up to fullness of power.

More arguments to show that the pope has fullness of power either from Christ or by human decree, or partly from both: Various texts of canon law say that he has it; others say that the pope should be obeyed in all things.

* Against opinion (3)

Chapter 12

Arguments against opinion (3):

(1) It would make all Christians the pope's slaves (like the first, above --- but opinion (3) is not heretical).

(2) It is dangerous.

Chapter 13

* Opinion (4): Pope does not have such fullness of power, either by Christ's institution or by human decree, either regularly or occasionally

Opinion (4A) (i) Pope has no more power from Christ than other priests, and (ii) no coercive power; but (iii) from men some temporal power, including coercive [cf. Marsilius].

(4B) Has power from Christ, but not full, from men no power.

(4C) From Christ in spirituals, but not full, and in temporals some power from men, but not full.

Argument for (4Ai): texts of Jerome, and other canon law texts.

Chapter 14

Arguments against (4Ai):

(1) From canon law.

(2) Christ must have given the Christian community a head --- otherwise it would be not well ordered.

(3) The Hebrew's had a head.

Chapter 15

Argument for (4Aii) : The community must have only one head with coercive power, who should be lay.

Arguments for (4Aiii): No temporal power from Christ:

(1) just as the Emperor has no spiritual power;

(2) Bible and canon law exclude him from secular occupations.

But some temporal power from the faithful:

(1) canon law establishes that he does sometimes intervene in temporals;

(2) Pope has more power in some regions than in others.

Chapter 16

* Opinion (5) From Christ the pope has fullness of power in temporals and spirituals, not regularly but on occasion

In temporal and spiritual matters the pope has such fullness of power that either by ordained power or by absolute power he can do anything that is not against divine law or the natural law. He does not have this regularly and simply, either by divine law or by human law, but by Christ's decree or divine law he has such fullness of power occasionally or in a particular case and conditionally (secundum quid). The position explained: The pope can intervene in temporals only in case of a danger to the Christian community that lay rulers are not meeting effectively. In spiritual matters he cannot regularly enjoin things that are supererogatory, but in some cases he can. No abstract, simple rule can be given for recognizing the exceptional cases.

Chapter 17

What regular power Christ gave to Peter and his successor, the pope, according to opinion (5): Christ made Peter and the pope ruler of the Christian community, giving him every power in spiritual matters (i.e. things proper to the Gospel law) that is necessary (not simply desirable), provided it can be committed to one man without danger, including freedom and coercive power, but without notable cost to the temporal rights rulers had before Christ; and in temporals he may seek a temporal stipend. Any further power is from men.

[No arguments are given for opinion 5 and no answers from its viewpoint to arguments for the other opinions. It is taken up by Book 2.]

* Book 2

Chapter 1

Let us discuss the various elements of Opinion (5), beginning with the assertion that Christ made Peter head and ruler. [Books 2-4 will discuss this assertion]


Preliminary question ---

* Would it beneficial for the Church to have one head?

* Arguments for the affirmative.

(1) A body without a head is imperfect. The head must rule visibly, so the Church needs a head under Christ (who rules invisibly).

(2) One fold should be ruled by one shepherd.

(3) Every people needs one ruler.

(4) If a community requires a multitude of judges who may disagree, one supreme judge is needed.

(5) If many are obliged to agree in faith and rites, it is necessary for a head to compel or lead them to unity.

(6) If there are many fallible judges, a supreme judge is needed.

(Objection to (5) and (6): This can be done by a general council. Answer: It is impractical to keep a general council in being continuously.)

(7) Corrupt prelates need some superior to correct them.

(8) It is beneficial for each part to have one bishop and not many, therefore it is beneficial for the whole to have one head.

(9) The best secular constitution is kingship, and the Christian community should be governed in the way that most resembles the best secular constitution.

(10) It is beneficial for all mortals to be governed by one man, so it is beneficial for the whole Christian community to be governed by one man.

Chapter 2

* Four arguments for the negative.

(1) It is unjust for someone to rule his similars and equals (Aristotle).

(2) Without riches, which the head of the faithful cannot have, no one can effectively rule.

(3) Many judge better than one.

(4) Many are less pervertible than one.

Chapter 3

On occasion of references to Aristotle, an explanation of Greek terms not familiar to lawyers, and of Aristotle's views (as some understand them) on who should rule others and how. Distinction between despotism and other kinds of rule in the household.

Chapter 4

The village. Its rule not simply parternal.

Chapter 5

The city. Some of the members of a city share in rulership. A city needs a constitution.

Chapter 6

Two kinds of constitution: directed to the common good (right), or not (perverted). To the former kind belong royal monarchy, of three kinds. The perverted counterpart is tyranny.

Chapter 7

The second kind of right constitution is aristocracy, its perverted counterpart oligarchy.

Chapter 8

The third kind of right constitution is "constitution" or timocracy, its perverted counterpart democracy.

Chapter 9

[Employing this Greek philosophical material, the question is discussed again, whether the Christian community should be ruled by one man.]

* More arguments for the affirmative:

(1) Monarchy is more like natural government, because more like household government, and the household is natural. (Objection: there are several kinds of rule in the household, including constitutional rule. Answer: royal rule is more like the rule of father over children, which is better and more natural than rule over the wife; further, royal government is more like rule by father of offspring than constitutional government is like rule of husband over wife.)

Chapter 10

(2) That government is best by which friendship is best preserved . . . [chapter incomplete --- needs argument to show that monarchy best preserves friendship]

Chapter 11

[Extant chapters 11 and 12 are not authentic; they were probably constructed for the 1494 edition on the basis of back-references in later chapters]

[Another possible reconstruction:

THIS COULD BE A RESTATEMENT OF ARGUMENT 1 OF CHAPTER 2, WITH THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS BEING THE ANSWER TO THAT ARGUMENT. AGAINST: No one is better than all the rest, as a monarch must be; therefore there should not be rule by one man for life. Objection: there are two modes of monarchy, (A) where the monarch is better than the rest, and (B) where he is not; the fact that no one is best is not an argument against the second kind of monarchy.]

1494 text: What sort of person should the one ruler be? Answer: some say that [1] no one should rule the rest unless he surpasses them all in wisdom and virtue; others say that [2] someone can rule even if he does not excel them all, and of these some say [2a] that if there is someone good (though not most excellent), he should rule, but if not, no one should rule the rest; others say that [2b] in any case one should rule, even if not good.]

Chapter 12

[Possible reconstruction:

Answer to the objection: arguments against (B), as applied to the government of the Church.]

1494 text: For [1] and against [2b] some argue that no one can shepherd a flock unless he excels them all in wisdom and holiness - various canon law texts imply this.]

Chapter 13

[More arguments against (B)]

(1) According to Aristotle, unless the ruler is as superior as gods and heroes are to men, it is unjust for the one person to rule for life --- equals should rule by turns. Since a pope rules for life, no one should become pope unless he is superior to all.

(2) Papal rule is more perfect than kingly, but no one should be king unless he surpasses others in all good things, as Aristotle says.

(3) Kingship is akin to aristocracy, which is rule by the best.

Chapter 14

Argument on the other side, to show that one should rule, even if there is no one better than the rest: In the Old Testament God wanted his people to be ruled by one man for life, even if he was not better than the rest, and in the New Testament Christ wanted Peter to rule, even though he was not better than the rest.

Chapter 15

Distinction between two ways of asserting that monarchy is best even when the monarch is not better than all the rest:

(B1) monarchy is best, provided there is someone who, though not better than the rest, is good enough;

(B2) monarchy is best in any case.

* Answers to the FIRST OF THE negative arguments of chapter 2 from the viewpoint of B2

(1) If there are some wicked, the good should agree to the rule of one of the good, and their agreement makes it just (though if there is much opposition it may be right not to institute such rule for the time). While it is true that offices and ranks should be distributed (other things being equal) according to personal merit, the public advantage is better served by monarchy, and more regard should be had to the common good than to personal merits.

Chapter 16

Answer to arguments of chapters 12 and 13, which seem to be directed against B2: If someone is best, he should be elected supreme pontiff, but if no one excels, one of those equal in wisdom and virtue should be elected, having regard to something else that in some way recommends him. Answer to texts quoted in [the not extant] chapter 12, showing that it is enough if the shepherd is superior to the bad sheep. (If someone is discovered who is outstanding, the merely good enough pastor should make way.)

Chapter 17

Answer to chapter 13: (1) A discussion of various texts of Aristotle, to show that sometimes it is just, because it is for the public good, for one to rule who is not better than the rest.

Chapter 18

Why it is for the public good to be ruled by one rather than by many: ease of access to the ruler, the ruler can act more promptly, a single ruler is corrected more easily than many, the one ruler can coordinate advice from many wise advisers, decisions are made more easily. It is better to be ruled by a good and wise man willing to take the advice of wise men, than to be ruled by many good and wise men.

Chapter 19

* Answers to the negative arguments of chapter 2 (arguments 3 and 4)

(3) It is better for the Church to be ruled by one many taking the advice of many than by many ruling together.

(4) The many are more pervertible, since the many are corrupted by the corruption of any one. Under some circumstances the one ruler should call together many advisers. Under some circumstances aristocracy is better, but more commonly monarchy is best.

[Argument 2 is answered below, in chapter 29]

Chapter 20

* Should the faithful community be able to change the government of the Church from aristocracy to monarchy and vice versa?

Arguments for the affirmative:

(1) Different regimes suit different circumstances.

Objection: rulership of the Church was established by God alone, therefore men cannot change it.

Answer: In many respects it is human.

(2) The Church has been provided for in the best way, not less well than any other community; and this includes power to change regimes when useful.

(3) Church has power to change customs when they cease to be useful, therefore also regime.

(4) The Church should not be tied to a regime that can become the worst, as monarchy can become tyranny.

(5) There should be innovation in law, and in government, when it is advantageous.

(6) The regime exists for the advantage of the faithful, so should change when change is advantageous.

(7) Rule by one highest pontiff was established for concord, so when that leads to discord the regime should be changed.

(8) When the reason ceases the effect should cease. The common advantage is the reason for papal rule, therefore when the rule of one man does damage it should cease.

(9) What the greater part decides on should be observed, so if the majority of the faithful want change it should be made.

Objection to (9): What the greater part wants should not always be done.

Answer: it is up to the minority to show reason why the majority decision should not be adopted, and if the majority decision is justified by the public good, there is no reason why it should not be followed.

Objection renewed: Christ's ordinance should prevail.

Answer: To some it seems that even if Christ had ordained that one should rule, the Church could, for the common utility, establish another regime, because for necessity or utility it is permissible to do against a divine commandment something not intrinsically evil.

(10) In the Old Testament, despite the commandment of God to appoint one supreme pontiff, David afterwards appointed several.

Chapter 21

Arguments for the negative:

(1) Christians are Christ's slaves and disciples, and have no power to change his ordinance that one should be head.

(2) Christians do not have power to do away with the oneness of the Church, which requires one head under Christ.

(3) The Church must be Apostolic, i.e. ruled by the Apostolic See.

(4) The pope cannot dispense against the state of the Church and therefore cannot abolish the pontificate, so neither can the Christian multitude.

(5) To take away a privilege of the Roman church is heresy.

(6) A bishopric cannot have two bishops, and the Church cannot have two highest pontiffs.

(7) No one can make the Church worse in respect of spiritual matters, and that would be the result of abolishing monarchy in the Church.

Chapter 22

Answer to negative arguments of Chapter 21:

(1) As was said earlier, urgent necessity and evident utility justify departing from Christ's ordinance, and he intends this unless he explicitly says otherwise. Several additional arguments to show that the rule in case of necessity and utility can be different from what is the rule at other times (Christ's commandments not to resist evil, not to swear, for the Apostles not to possess gold).

Chapter 23

Objections against the assertion that necessity and utility justify exceptions:

(1) Divine commandments should all be construed in the same way. The commandment not to dissolve a marriage except for adultery has no exceptions; therefore neither does any other.

(2) It is not permissible to change the sacraments (e.g. by using something other liquid than water for baptism).

(3) No one can dispense against or interpret divine commandments.

Chapter 24

Answer to objection (3): There is no power to dispense, but experts can interpret some things by explaining them to those who do not understand (not those that require a new revelation, nor those already sufficiently interpreted), not always sticking to the words, but to the intention. (In what sense the pope's interpretations are more authoritative than those given by experts.)

Answer to (1): In explicitly excepting adultery, Christ prohibited other exceptions. The commandments are not all to be construed in the same way. Commandments of natural law allow no exceptions, purely positive commandments allow exceptions for necessity and utility unless it can be especially gathered from Scripture that no exception can be made.

Answer to (2): It is sometimes permissible, on account of necessity or utility, to omit a sacrament, but never to change one.

Chapter 25

Answer to negative arguments of Chapter 21, cont. :

(2) The unity of the Church does not require that there be one pontiff---it continues even during a papal vacancy. If, for necessity and utility, without discord, and with the consent of the faithful, several ruled together in concord, there would be no danger of division. A diocese can have two bishops---Augustine was co-bishop. Discussion of the case of Cornelius and Novatian. A plurality ruling aristocratically does not destroy the unity of a city.

Chapter 26

(3) The regime would still be apostolic, just as if there were several emperors each would be a true emperor. There would not be any variation of power but merely a plurality of rulers. (Aristocratic and Royal government differ not so much through unity or plurality of rulers, but because in aristocratic government no individual ruler can act without commission from the others, but this is not so in the rule of several kings or emperors, and it would not be so in the government of several apostolics.)

(4) It is true regularly that the pope cannot appoint another pope as successor or as co-ruler, but on occasion he may, as on occasion he may dispense with things that regularly belong to the state of the Church.

(5) No privilege would be taken from the Roman Church, which would continue to have power to appoint a pontiff, or, when beneficial, several.

(6) A diocese may have several bishops, as Augustine was co-bishop with Valerius. Regularly there cannot be several, but on occasion there may be.

(7) For utility and necessity, several pontiffs may be appointed without worsening the condition of the Church.

Chapter 27

Answers to the affirmative arguments of Chapter 20:

(1) For there to be several apostolics would conflict with an ordinance of Christ.

(2) Although sometimes it would be better to have several apostolics if it were not against Christ's ordinance, in fact it is not better.

(3) Divine ordinances must be borne with, even if they become burdensome.

(4) It is good for the Church to be bound, if it is Christ's will, to a regime that could become a tyranny.

(5) Innovation may be justified if the law is human, but not if it is divine.

(6) Government by one pontiff can become damaging only because of human wickedness, and that is what should be changed, not the regime.

(7) If the discord results because of the wickedness of some, that is what should be changed.

(8) It is not always true that the effect ceases when the cause ceases.

(9) It is not true that we must always follow the majority. In this case the minority will rely on the better reason, viz. Christ's ordinance. Necessity does not make an exception to a divine command, except when it can be shown from the Scriptures that an exception can be made; but it cannot be shown that any necessity was excepted in Christ's ordinance about electing one Apostolic.

(10) David acted by divine inspiration.

Chapter 28

* Would it ever be permissible to appoint several primates without superior, none of whom should be regarded as an Apostolic?

According to one version of the opinion of chapter 20, it might be. Cases:

(1) If the pope, cardinals and Romans all became heretics, or

(2) if for some reason the Apostolic See were vacant for a long time, or

(3) if Christians were oppressed by war or by unbelievers, etc. In such cases provinces could elect primates until a pope could be appointed.


(1) Each city and people can establish its own law.

(2) Anyone who can resign their right for the common advantage can accept a superior, and therefore lay people and clergy, including bishops and archbishops, can establish a provincial superior.

Objection: Canon law says that a new office cannot be established without the pope's permission.

Answer: If it is not possible to have recourse to a true pope, then a new office can be established, at least until a pope can be consulted.

Chapter 29

* Answers to the negative arguments of chapter 2 (argument 2)

Answer to (2) Christians are subject in criminal matters to secular rulers; the pope regularly corrects only by spiritual penalty, and for this riches are not needed.

Chapter 30

* Answer to the affirmative arguments of chapter 1

(1) Christ is the one head, and visible rule may be through many provincial primates.

(2) One fold should have one visible shepherd if they live together, but if they live in different provinces Christ's headship is sufficient.

(3) Similarly, every people that lives in one place should have one ruler, otherwise it is enough to be under Christ.

(4) If a community is very large, one supreme judge may not be able to deal with appeals from all the subordinate judges, and in that situation rule by several superior judges who have no superior may be better.

(5) Similarly, if the multitude is great, one head may not be able to compel unity.

(6) One supreme judge may not be able to deal with the multitude of appeals.

(7) There is a greater danger that almost the whole community will be corrupted if there is a single corruptible head. ("Almost", because Christ will not allow the whole community to become corrupt.)

(8) What is beneficial to the part is not always beneficial to the whole. A single man may not be sufficient for the task of ruling the whole, and his corruption endangers the whole.

(9) Kingship is the best constitution for a single city, but not for the whole world.

(10) Similarly it is not best for all mortals to be governed by one man.

* Book 3

Chapter 1

Whether it would have been beneficial or not, there is no doubt that Christ had power to appoint Peter to be head. Did he do so in fact? This question cannot be answered except by studying authoritative texts. In Part 1 there was a discussion of the authority of non-canonical texts, but "on account of the remarks of some people that were not available to us at the time" we will again discuss the question,

* Which writings are authoritative for christians?

* Opinion (1): The Bible and general councils and nothing else [Marsilius]

(1) It ought to be held as a matter of piety that the interpretations of Scripture by a general council have been revealed by the Holy Spirit. Supporting texts:

(a) Matthew 28:20, "Behold I will be with you always, until the end of time."

(b) Rabanus, "From this it is understood that until the end of time the world will not be without those who are worthy of divine immanence and indwelling".

(c) Jerome, "He [Christ] promises therefore that he will be with his disciples until the end of time, and shows that they will always live, and that he will never abandon those who believe in him".

(d) Acts 15:28, "For it has seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us".

(2) A council represents the congregation of the Apostles, elders and faithful of New Testament times.

(3) Christ would have given the law of eternal salvation in vain if he did not reveal its true meaning to those seeking this meaning and together calling on him for it, but permitted the greater number of the faithful to make a mistake about it. Such a law would lead to the eternal destruction of men.

Chapter 2

* Opinion (2): Also papal decrees, the Canons of the Apostles, writings of doctors approved by the Church

Arguments for accepting the Canons of the Apostles (Hinschius, pp. 27-30) (dist. 16, c. 2-4), for accepting papal decrees (texts of popes Nicholas and Agatho, dist. 19, c. 1-2, and various other canons), for accepting writings of doctors approved by the Church (dist. 15).

Chapter 3

* Opinion (3): Also other doctors when they agree among themselves

Arguments for this:

(1) Leo: "What is more wrong than to think impious thoughts and not believe the wiser and those who are doctors?"

(2) Clement: "We must learn knowledge of the scriptures from him who preserves it in line with the truth handed down to him by the seniors." Doctors are seniors.

(3) Presumption should favour the multitude, and especially the multitude of the wise, which includes doctors.

(4) Proverbs 3:5, "Do not rely on your own prudence." According to Jerome, a person relies on his own prudence if he prefers his own opinions to those of the doctors.

(5) The testimony of those who are worthy of credit should be believed.

(6) Those experienced or skilled in some science, art or faculty should be believed.

Chapter 4

An opinion following the middle way, but in some way opposed to each of the above:

* Opinion (4): The Bible, Bible writers and the apostles must always be believed, others sometimes but not always

* Can we ever be bound to believe one who may sometimes err?

Negative: one who is guilty in one affair should not be admitted as a witness; similarly one who errs, or can err, in one thing should not be believed necessarily in anything.

Text from Augustine: If any falsehoods are found in the scriptures, what authority will remain in them?

Affirmative: There is a distinction between deliberate false witness and error without offence or sin. It should not be presumed of anyone who errs without sin that he wishes knowingly to assert falsehood. Therefore those who err in certain matters or hold false opinions (not culpably) ought to be admitted as witnesses, in court and elsewhere, and in many matters should be trusted.

Answer to Augustine: he is speaking of writings in all parts of which there is the same reason for showing trust (viz. divine inspiration). But if there is not the same reason for believing each part of it, it is possible to accept some parts and not others, e.g. the books of the philosophers, because there is not the same reason for believing them in every part.

Chapter 5

*Whether a general council may err

Affirmative: A general council may err, according to opinion (4). Compare 1 Dial., 5.26, 27, 28 and 29. Arguments there: it is the whole only, of which a general council is only a part, which can not err against the faith; a gathering which can be dissolved by human will and which ceases (and a general council is of this kind) can err against the faith; all who while living in different places can err against the faith can err against the faith even if they meet in the same place; no human summoning of certain people, especially a few, and no human mandate given to several people, especially to a few, can confirm them in faith; those gathered in a general council should not be said to be unable to err, either on account of their their wisdom or sanctity or authority or power, or on account of the promise made by Christ (which can be satisfied if faith remains in others outside the general council).

Additional arguments: (1) There is a presumption in favour of a multitude, but not so that one cannot believe that the multitude can err. There is no presumption in favour of the few assembled in a general council.

(2) To be considered authentic, a council needs papal confirmation; a body can err against the faith which needs to be confirmed by a man who can err against the faith, as the pope can.

Chapter 6

A council's statement on matters of fact within their direct knowledge should be presumed true, according to opinion (4). Anyone to whom the falsity of the council's statement is evident may deny it, but anyone to whom it is not evident must presume that the council would assert nothing about which it was not certain, just as a judge must believe witnesses whom he can not reject, but regards and ought to regard as suitable and truthful, even if in fact they make a false deposition. On other matters, those to whom the error is not evident should not reject the council's assertion, unless some men who are learned and of praiseworthy views oppose it. If the council is not in error no one has the right to contradict it.

Chapter 7

More on matters of fact. Men are more believed about things they say they have directly perceived than about things they infer from the words of others or by arguing from things known to them. Thus often many people believe without doubting a doctor of theology offering testimony about some fact, and yet do not believe his theological opinions, because they believe that he is certain about the matter of fact and would not knowingly speak a falsehood, but think he is deceived in his theological opinions. Similarly a council should be believed if it claims to be reporting something it knows directly, or reports something explicit in Scripture, but not if its statements are a matter of inference, since the members of the council may not be expert in avoiding fallacious inference.

Chapter 8

Answers (according to opinion (4)) to arguments of opinion (1) to prove the infallibility of a general council:

The answer to the first, which claims that the decisions of a council are revealed to us by the same spirit as revealed the Scriptures, is that a general council often relies on human wisdom, and we are not bound to believe that its decisions are revealed to it by God:

(1) Those who hope for revelation do not devote themselves to study and human thought, but to prayer, whereas a council seeks wisdom through study. God may reveal things by special grace, but it must not be held as certain that he does so unless God reveals this miraculously and openly.

(2) If it is certain that something is to be had through revelation, recourse should be had to those who are, not wiser, but better, to those who are holy, whose prayers are more acceptable to God.

It must therefore be held, unless God miraculously reveals the opposite, that God permits the council to proceed according to their own intelligence, assisted by the general divine influence. Therefore they may err.

Further argument: (3) The council does not commit the whole to God, only calling on him through prayer. Rather, they rely on expertise concerning the Scripture and careful thought. But error can be found when there is reliance on human wisdom and virtue.

(4) A general council is not guided by the Holy Spirit in any other way than a pope in his consistory or a primate in a provincial council. God can miraculously preserve them from error, but unless by manifest miracles he confirms their definition, it is not necessary to hold that he has miraculously guided them.

(5) An assembly that can be convened badly and proceed badly can conclude badly; but since the pope can be a sinner and err against the faith, he can assemble a council with a corrupt purpose.

Chapter 9

Answer to Matthew 28:20 and Rabanus: Christ's promise should be understood not of a general council but of the whole Church, and Jerome is also referring to the whole Church, since there will always be believers but not always a council.

Acts 15:28 may mean that the decision made by the Apostles and elders was miraculously guided by the Holy Spirit --- but we are not obliged to believe this of other councils; or that it was from the Holy Spirit in the sense that all good things are, though God does not in all such cases work a miracle.

Does this mean that it is permissible to reject the definition of a council? Answer: If the council has defined in a Catholic way (to be judged by expert theologians) it is not permissible to reject or doublt its definition publicly, or privately to doubt pertinaciously, though explicit belief is not required, implicit will suffice. If the definition is erroneous, those who do not know this ought to presume that it is right (not so strongly as to refuse to hear any proof to the contrary); those who are certain that it has erred are bound to reject it, even publicly (under the appropriate circumstances).

Answer to the second: Only the whole Church perfectly represents the congregation of Apostles, elders and faithful. It cannot be proved by such imperfect representation that a council cannot err.

Chapter 10

To answer the third, two distinctions are needed: (a) between things that can, and things that cannot, be inferred from the Scriptures by necessary deduction; and (b) between things of which explicit knowledge is necessary to salvation and those of which explicit knowledge is not necessary. If a question can be solved by necessary deduction from Scripture, and knowledge of it is necessary for salvation, then the members of the council must do what reasonable and prudently can be done to answer it . . . [chapter incomplete].

Chapter 11

Answer to the third:

If they [Marsilius] are referring to things necessarily implied by Scripture and necessary to salvation, these need not be revealed to a general council (which may err), since they can be learned in other ways by those who inquire.


(a) by "greater number" of the faithful they mean something less than the whole, and

(b) mean by "its true meaning" whatever is contained in the law (necessary to salvation or not), and

(c) mean by "those seeking this meaning" those who at any time seek understanding,

then it is not true that Christ's law would be in vain if the greater number seeking to understand it might err, because

(i) Christ's law would not have been given in vain as long as any Christian escaped damnable error, and

(ii) many things in Scripture need not be understood at all times.

Chapter 12

Objections to the claim that general councils may err:

(1) If a general council erred, the whole church would be exposed to the danger of heresy and error, because there would not then be found anyone who could defend the faith against the general council.

(2) The whole church would be led into the most severe temptation.

(3) A general council should be received like holy gospel, as Gregory attests.

(4) What a general council does is done by the universal church (Gregory, Gelasius). Consequently a general council can not err.

Objections to the claim that there may be things in the Bible that at some times need not be understood:

(1) Things would have been put in the divine law uselessly, since the divine law was only given for the salvation of the chosen --- "Why does it take up parchment?"

(2) It was necessary that the greater persons of the old testament believe explicitly, not just implicitly, the mystery of the trinity and the incarnation. At least some must believe explicitly the primary sense of anything in the scriptures.

Chapter 13

Answer to objections against the fallibility of councils:

(1) If a council errs, it will still be possible to be saved through true and catholic faith. Christians would still have the scriptures to correct the general council's error. If a council defined that something be held as a necessity of faith which in fact it was not necessary to believe, other christians could clearly show by the scriptures that the thing so defined did not pertain to the faith.

Does the fallibility of councils leave the Church in danger? Danger may be "threatening", and the Church should expect that, or it may be "overwhelming" (involvens, presternens): the whole Church will never be overwhelmed, nor will any elect individual be finally overwhelmed, but Christ has otherwise given no assurance. If a council errs, some individuals may be overwhelmed, but there will always be some able to oppose the error.

(2) The Church will never succumb to temptation, but there is no guarantee that it will never be tempted.

(3) If a council is held rightly and does not err, it should be received like the gospels, but not otherwise. (And never exactly as the gospels are received.)

(4) A council should be convened so that it represents the whole Church, and its definitions publicised throughout the Church, but if it errs its definition should not be deemed to be the act of the whole Church, and some Christians will oppose it.

But does it not bind, even if erroneous? No, not unless its definition has been publicized throughout the Church and not rejected.

Chapter 14

*May there be some Bible passages that cannot be understood?

Answer to objections to the claim that it may sometimes not be possible to understand some passages in the Bible:

(1) A passage is not useless if an understanding of its primary sense is sometimes necessary for salvation, even if not at all times. Objection: At any given time, it must be necessary for at least some people.

Answer: A passage is not useless if at some time a true understanding will be necessary for some people. Some things said to Mary and the Apostles were not understood by them at the time, when they constituted the whole Church, and nothing was lacking to them that was necessary for salvation.

Objection renewed, answer repeated.

(2) An explicit understanding of some things (incarnation, trinity) was necessary to some Old Testament people, but not of all things.

Chapter 15

*Can interpretation ever need a new revelation?

It would seem not:

(1) God could reveal a true understanding of such things if they had not been written earlier, as much as later: so the earlier revelation would be pointless.

(2) Indeed it would be dangerous, since those trying to understand them could easily fall into error.

Chapter 16

It can be proved that there are many ambiguous, enigmatic, mystical, Bible passages, e.g. in Apocalypse and Daniel, the true and primary meaning of which cannot be gathered by unaided human understanding. Many things were revealed to prophets that the prophets did not understand. Many passages have several Catholic senses suggested by saintly interpreters: we cannot know which is correct. Some passages have been explained by later passages, but there are many, some even more obscure, that have not yet been explained.

Chapter 17

Texts in support of the argument of Chapter 16.

Chapter 18

Answer to arguments of Chapter 15.

(1) Enigmatic texts are not useless, because they provide spiritual reflection. Gregory's exposition of Job is useful, even though we cannot know which (if any) of the senses Gregory and others suggest was the text's primary sense.

Objections: (a) Expositors are guided by the Holy Spirit.

(b) There may be many primary senses.

Answers: (a) Orthodox expositors may be guided in some way by the Holy Spirit, but their expositions are still invented by human wit and are not as authoritative as the Scriptures --- as they would be if they expressed the primary meaning with certainty. Ten or twenty lecturers might expound the text in different ways, each being guided in some sense by the Holy Spirit, but their expositions would not be authoritative, and would not certainly be the primary sense.

(b) The primary sense of statements Scripture ascribes to God is whatever God principally intended to reveal, the primary sense of statements attributed to human beings is whatever the speaker intended to say.

Chapter 19

More objections:

(c) Gregory sometimes claims that Job meant the words as Gregory expounds them, i.e. that he knows the primary sense.

(d) According to your theory, no one should quote Bible texts the primary sense of which cannot be known in support of doctrine. But the Fathers often did so, e.g. Augustine's use of "compel them to enter", and Innocent's use of Jeremiah.


(c) "Job meant" means "Job could have meant".

(d) Even when a text should not be quoted to prove a doctrine, it can be used to persuade or illustrate.

A mystical sense cannot be used in proof unless it can be found in substance elsewhere in the Bible as a primary sense, and those who try to prove things from mystical senses alone are rash and foolish. Many attempts to predict the future are rash, near to heresy. Apocalypse 22:18: "If anyone adds to these words, God will add plagues to that person". Objection: "Adds" here means add something contrary, not things that cannot be clearly found in other places in the Bible. Answer: "Add" has various senses, in some of which interpretation is legitimate. But to assert pertinaciously that something (even something true) is the primary meaning of Scripture when it is not, is heresy --- even if the thing affirmed is true, the affirmation that it is the primary sense is false.

Chapter 20

Answer to objection (2) of Chapter 15: Even texts that can be understood without new revelation are often obscure, and these may lead some people into error. Similarly texts that cannot be understood without new revelation are a danger to the proud and foolish, but useful to those who read humbly not to extract the primary meaning but to explore mystical senses.

Chapter 21

*Should other writings besides the Bible and councils be rejected?

Affirmative arguments given by holders of Opinion (1):

(1) No one is bound to believe any writing that can be false.

(2) Augustine: "I do not think something to be true because they have thought it so".

(3) Augustine: "Do not be submissive to my writings as to canonical scriptures".

(4) Jerome: "We accept the New and Old Testament . . ".

(5) 3rd Council of Carthage: "Nothing besides the canonical scriptures to be read in church under the name of divine scriptures".

Chapter 22

Objections against the rejection of all other writings: This opinion implies absurdities: no living person could be accepted as a witness; one should not believe any history, one should doubt the existence of historical persons and doubt any miracle one has not seen oneself, and never trust ancient books and documents.

Chapter 23

Replies to affirmative arguments of chapter 21:

(1) There are many writings, even of heretics, in which no falsehood can be found. If the point is that we should not believe a writer who is capable of making false assertions, some distinctions are necessary. A presumption of truth may be of two kinds, indefeasible or defeasible --- it may, or may not, rule out listening to any argument to the contrary. For the Bible there is a presumption of truth that rules out argument to the contrary, but not for other writings. We should presume (but without excluding argument to the contrary) in favour of some men with respect to matters of fact within their knowledge (or known from other men worthy of belief). Of credit-worthy witnesses it is wrong to believe without reason that they lie on a matter of fact within their knowledge.

With respect to matters of scientific theory, some writers (fathers, "authors", councils) should be attended to carefully; it would be rash not to read their works; if any part of their teaching seems false it should be expounded piously if it can be, and even if it cannot they should not be censured immediately as heretics.

(Some say that if a decree, constitution or definition is false, and intended to compel and constrain others to defend a false assertion, the author should be regarded immediately as a heretic.)

If such writers are shown to be in error on one point, on other points there should still be a presumption (without excluding contrary argument) in their favour.

Objection: Infallible certainty cannot be had from human testimony, so it is not necessary to believe human testimony. Answer: It is often necessary to believe fallible human testimony, with that belief which admits proof to the contrary. (If it is confirmed by miracle,we should be certain of its infallibility.)

Chapter 24

Replies to remaining affirmative arguments of Chapter 21:

(2)Augustine means that nothing contary to scripture should be admitted, but many other writings should be read in such a way that in matters of fact they should be believed unless the contrary can be proved by someone more believable, but in other matters what they say should not be regarded as true so certainly that no contrary proof can be admitted. However, there should be a presumption in favour of doctors approved by the Church until the contrary is established.

(3) Augustine's writings are not as authoritative as the Bible. Still, no one should reject his views without being certain that Augustine was mistaken.

(4) Nothing except the Old and New Testaments should be believed as Scripture, but other writings should be believed and not rejected in many matters.

(5) The Council of Carthage forbids other writings to be read "under the name of the divine scriptures", but it is consistent with this that other writings have some authority.

Chapter 25

*Reply by opinion (4) to the reasons given by opinion (2) in Chapter 2 for believing the writings of apostles, popes and approved doctors
*Canons of the Apostles

Opinion (4) agrees that sure belief should be given to the Canons of the Apostles, even though they are not included in the Bible. An individual author of some part of the Bible need not be believed in his other writings, and individual apostles could err (as Peter did), but either (a) the Apostles as a body were then the Church, and Christ's promise that the whole Church will not err (Matthew 28:20, "I am with you to the end of the age") guaranteed that they did not err in adopting the Canons of the Apostles, or else (b) these Canons were approved by the whole Church, which was small at the time.

*Papal decrees

To the arguments of Opinion (2), Gratian's reply: trust should be offered to those [decrees] "in which nothing is found which is contrary to the decrees of the fathers who have gone before us or to gospel precepts." Popes Nicholas and Agatho mean decrees that conform to the truth.

What if a decree is contrary to faith and morals? Those who do not know this ought to make a presumption in favour of it, yet not in such a way that they can not, and in a particular case are not bound to, admit proof to the contrary. If some offer proof others are bound to listen. (The same does not apply to Scripture, since Catholics should believe that Scripture cannot err; but they should believe that the pope can err.)

*Doctors approved by the Church

We should presume in favour of the sayings of doctors approved by the church if it is not clearly established that they conflict with the truth. Their works should be accepted, but not so as to exclude proof to the contrary. They differ from one another, so sometimes one of them must be wrong. None of them should be censured as a heretic, because it should be presumed of each that he has sought the truth with as much care as he could even if he has not always found it.

Chapter 26

*Reply by opinion (4) to the reasons given by opinion (3) for believing even non-approved doctors, when they agree

(1) Not to believe doctors who mutually condemn each other and are not approved by the church is not wicked. (Then is there no difference between approved and non-approved doctors? Yes --- approved doctors are seldom wrong and seldom disagree, and someone who rejects them is probably pertinacious in error.)

(2) Scripture should be taught principally by doctors approved by the church and by those who are lovers of truth, not of their own opinions or the opinions of their order or friends, who seek only the truth and not glory, and try to base themselves on the Bible, authorities and good argument, prepared to retract their own opinions if they find they are wrong (from others, including even their students). Anyone who trys to compel others to adhere to a non-approved doctor who is sometimes wrong is a heresiarch.

(3) In matters of scientific theory no one is bound to believe a multitude of the wise not approved by the church until he knows that their assertion is in accord with the truth. However, it is permitted to make a presumption in their favour that their assertion should not be condemned or denied unless it has been shown to conflict with truth.

(4) Jerome is not referring to non-approved doctors who find fault with and condemn each other, because it is not appropriate regularly to have recourse to them. (On occasion it may be an obligation to give a hearing to people not approved as doctors by the Church.)

(5) In matters of fact those worthy of trust should be believed, except by those who know that they are wrong. In matters of theoretical knowledge, law or skill it is not necessary to believe the testimony of those worthy of trust. Even the most expert err in matters of this kind.

(6) Experts can err, because they do not have experience or skill in many matters in their field.

* Book 4

Chapter 1

* Did christ in fact make peter head of the church?
* Opinion (1): He did not

Arguments quoted from Marsilius:

(1) Luke 22:19 "Do this in memory of me" was not addressed to Peter more than to the other Apostles, so in respect of essential priestly power they were equal.

(2) Similarly, in conferring the power of the keys Christ addressed all the Apostles equally.

(3) Galatians 2:6-9: "Those who seemed to be something contributed nothing to me". Paul therefore did not receive his office from Peter, and neither did the other Apostles. A gloss from Augustine says that the other Apostles were not inferior to Peter. A gloss from Ambrose says that Paul was not sent by any man. Another gloss from Augustine says that Paul was in a way superior to Peter.

(4) Galatians 1:11-12: "The gospel proclaimed by me is not according to man; for I did not receive it or learn it from a man." A gloss from Augustine says that Christ alone sent Paul to preach the Gospel, and similarly the other Apostles: Peter did not have from Christ the authority to send the Apostles out to preach.

(5) In the Bible Peter does not assume authority over the other Apostles, e.g. authority to decide doubtful points --- in Acts 15 the Apostles and elders decided, and the letter giving the decision was in their names; Peter did not decide alone.

(6) Various Bible texts (Acts 8:14, Gal. 2:2, Gal. 2:11) illustrate the equality of Peter with the others. Matthew 23:8: "You are not to be called rabbi, for you have one master", Christ, "and you are all brothers."

(7) Augustine: Authority to preach was given all the disciples at Pentecost.

(8) Just as Peter became bishop at Antioch by choice of the multitude, without needing confirmation by the other Apostles, so others became bishops in other places by election without needing Peter's approval. This was so until Constantine, who gave the bishop of Rome a certain preeminence.

(9) Galatians 2:9: the right hand of fellowship implies equality. Jerome: all bishops, "whether at Rome or" elsewhere, are "of the same priesthood and merit".

(10) Peter was "chief" of the Apostles in an improper sense, not because of some power over the Apostles given directly to him by Christ, but perhaps because he was the oldest, or the first to confess that Christ was the true son of God, or more fervent and constant in faith, or because he kept close company with Christ and was called more often into private discussions.

(11) Matthew 23:8, "But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one master and you are all brothers".

Chapter 2

Additional arguments (not from Marsilius):

(1) Eusebius implies that Peter was inferior to James, the Lord's brother.

(2) Eusebius implies that Paul, as well as Peter, was bishop of Rome.

(3) Anacletus and Cyprian suggest that the rest of the apostles were equal to Peter in honour and power.

Chapter 3

* Opinion (2) Christ made Peter head, superior to the other apostles

*First Argument for opinion 2, from John 21:15-17

Christ said separately to Peter, "Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs", not distinguishing some sheep and others, so Peter was appointed shepherd even of the Apostles. Chrysostom: Peter was the foremost, spokesman and head.

*Objections to argument 1 (quoted from Marsilius)

Objection 1:

Gloss: to feed sheep is to strengthen, give earthly assistance, to set an example, to resist opponents, to correct sinners. From this text nothing follows except that Christ made him shepherd --- it does not follow that Peter was given authority over the other Apostles, or that the others were not also made shepherds.

The catholic church sings without distinction of all its apostles: "through your blessed apostles to guard it with constant protection so that it might be governed by those same rulers whom you gave it to rule as shepherds, vicars of your work". Notice the plurals.

Why did Christ say this to Peter separately? He spoke to Peter "in the person of" (i.e. as representing) the others. Mark 13:37: "What I say to one of you I say to all." He addressed his words particularly to Peter because he was the oldest or for various other possible reasons.

Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and teach all nations", was said to all without distinction, and he did not say to Peter, "Go thou and send the others".

Matthew 23:8, "You are not to be called rabbi" -- over one another -- "for you have one teacher and you are all brothers."

Objection 2:

"Feed my sheep" entrusted to Peter the special care of the Jewish people.

Thus Paul says (Galatians 2:7), "When they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been entrusted to me as the gospel for the circumcised had been entrusted to Peter", etc. A gloss from Augustine says, Christ gave Paul the task of ministering to the gentiles as he had given to Peter the task of ministering to the Jews. Yet this dispensation was distributed to them in such a way that Peter would also preach to the gentiles, if there was reason, and Paul to the Jews." Since he did not get it from any other text, Paul must have interpreted "Feed my sheep" as commissioning Peter to evangelise the Jewish people especially --- if the commission had been universal, Paul could not have claimed an independent commission to preach to the gentiles.

Answer to Chrysostom: the opinion that Peter was head is not in the Bible explicitly or by implication, indeed (as Marsilius' arguments show) it contradicts the Bible, and is therefore of no authority.

Chapter 4

*Answer to objection 1 (chapters 4-7)

The main point of the objection is that "Feed my sheep" was addressed to Peter as representing all the Apostles. But ---

"Feed my sheep" was addressed to Peter individually:

(1) Opinion 1 grants that "feed my sheep" appointed Peter to some office: but words appointing someone to an office are said to him in his own person, not in the person of others.

(2) "In the person of" which others? Not of all Christians, since some are sheep, not shepherds. If of all the Apostles, then this would have given the Apostles authority over the other presbyters (elders, priests), which opinion 1 denies. Not all who were then present, because then a few Apostles would have been given authority over the others.

(3) What is said to one is not directed to others. But Christ spoke to Peter alone.

(The rule "what is said to one is not directed to others" does not always hold. What is said to one, is extended to others if (a) they are of the same condition, (b) there is the same reason for speaking to one as to others, and (c) it is as useful that it be said to the others as to the one, and (d) where it need not be said to the others by name. But in this case it was not (c) useful that there be many heads of the universal church. The words addressed to Peter by name were not extended to others. Further, what is granted to one as a privilege is not granted to another, even of the same condition and merit, unless this is said explicitly; but Peter was made shepherd as a privilege.)

The above arguments show that the traditional interpretation of the saints, that Peter alone was made chief shepherd, is correct. The following texts show that this was their interpretation:

(1) St. Maximus, sermon "Gloriosissimos".

(2) Gregory upon John 21:1.

(3) Leo, sermon "Post beatam et gloriosam".

(4) Ambrose, sermon read on the Festival of Saint Peter in Chains.

(5) Gregory, dist. 50, c. 53.

(6) Ambrose, dist. 50, c. 54.

(7) Bernard, sermon "On the seven loaves".

(8) Paschasius, Extra, De electione c. Significasti.

(9) Innocent III, Extra, De maioritate et obedientia, c. Solitae.

Chapter 5

Other points made by objection 1:

"What I say to one of you I say to all" applies only when there is the same reason for saying something to one and to others, which is not true when it is said to one that he should rule.

It does follow that Christ put Peter in authority over the other Apostles, because by those words Christ did not make anyone shepherd but Peter and did not distinguish between the sheep who were the other Apostles and Christ's other sheep: Peter was therefore set over the other Apostles. It is true that by other earlier words of Christ the other Apostles had been made shepherds. By the later words said separately to Peter, "Feed my sheep", the other Apostles were subjected to Peter but kept the authority as shepherds already given them by Christ.

Chapter 6

Reply to the argument from the Preface: Christ did not make Peter supreme shepherd so as to revoke (or empower Peter to revoke, without just cause) powers Christ had already given the others when he made them shepherds, and did not rule out further interventions by himself.

Also, since God is said to do many things that he does through others, the Preface does not prove that God did not make the others shepherds through Peter, still less that he did not make them shepherds under the supreme shepherd. Reply to argument from Matthew 28:19: It is true that the authority to teach was given to all the Apostles directly, but it does not follow that they were not inferior to Peter. His superiority is shown from other words, "Feed my sheep". These words mean, "Send at least those others whom Christ did not send specifically". "Go therefore and teach all nations" did not indicate equality of authority, but enjoined a duty of teaching that does not require equality of authority among the teachers.

Replies to argument from Matthew 23:8: Perhaps this was said before he made Peter head. Or perhaps Christ only meant that God and Christ, and no other, should be considered principally to be father, rabbi and master.

Chapter 7

More on "do not be called rabbi":

Matthew 5:24, "Do not swear at all": but in some cases it is permissible to swear. Similarly with rabbi, master and father.

But Christ did not mean to exclude all superiority, since he was addressing not only the apostles but all his disciples, even the crowds, and there would have been no shepherd --- which holders of opinion 1 deny. And the Apostles could not later have appointed a superior, whereas holders of Opinion 1 say that the Apostles appointed Peter their superior. Indeed, it would follow that no christians could choose any superior, since Christ was addressing not only the Apostles but also other disciples, present and future

Objection: Perhaps Christ enjoined equality for the time, but did not prohibit them from establishing a superior later, for some good reason. Reply: Then much more is it the case that he did not impose that law on himself, but could later appoint one Apostle over the others. Matthew 23:8, "Do not be called Rabbi" does not prove that Christ did not later appoint Peter head.

The Apostles used to regard themselves as masters, fathers and rabbis. 1 Tim. 2:7, 2 Tim. 1:11, 1 Tim. 1:2, 1 Tim. 5:1, 1 John 2:1, 28, Christ therefore did not enjoin complete equality on the apostles for future times.

Christ said those words of Mat. 23:8-10 because of the Pharisees and Scribes, who were ambitious for dignities and honours, to warn his disciples against ambition and empty glory, by forbidding or advising them (except in a case of necessity) not to desire any kind of rulership or to be called by names implying superiority.

Chapter 8

*Answer to objection 2

Even if "feed my sheep" meant that Peter was entrusted with care of the Jewish people, it would still imply that he was shepherd of the Apostles, since they were Jews.

Objection: Although the Apostles were not excepted from the flock in this text, they were (by implication) in other texts, e.g. when he said things that gave them all the same power (Matthew 18:18, "Whatsoever you shall bind"; cf. John 20:21, Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15), since "the special derogates from the general".

Answer: Christ never gave the Apostles a general power equal to Peter's. "Feed" (used in speaking to Peter) is a more general term than "teach", "baptize", etc.

Renewed objection: The Apostles were also made shepherds.

Answer: Christ appointed other shepherds through Peter.

Chapter 9

Answer to texts used to support objection 2: Paul did not learn the Gospel from Peter and was sent to preach by Christ directly (and not through Peter). Nevertheless, Christ made Peter, and not any of the other Apostles, shepherd of the whole Church. Although Peter was more intent on preaching to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles, both had power to preach to both Jews and Gentiles. Yet even in preaching Paul was in some way subject to Peter (e.g. if he had behaved badly). Paul's idea that Peter was sent mainly to the Jews was not based on an interpretation of "feed my sheep", but from some source other than the Bible, e.g. his knowledge of Peter's normal practice.

Chapter 10

*Return to objection 1

Meaning of "feed": Since "feed" can mean feed with words and examples, or with physical support, etc., "feed my sheep" gave Peter no authority.

Answer: A general grant of power should be understood generally, so that all things having the same rationale are granted that are not explicitly prohibited, unless it is likely that the granter did not intend to grant some of those things. By "feed" Christ granted Peter some power over his sheep, since the sheep have as much need for someone to have power over them as they have for good advice or good example.

Chapter 11

*Another objection (4)

An indefinite statement is not equivalent to universal; it may be verified even of a singular. "Feed my sheep" is indefinite, applying perhaps only to some sheep, perhaps not including the Apostles Answer: A grant of power stated indefinitely should (for the sake of certainty) be understood generally, so that no one is exempt unless he can prove it.

Chapter 12

*Second Argument for opinion 2, from Matthew16:18-19

"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." By these words Christ seems to say explicitly that Peter would be the head and foundation of the Church, especially after Christ was dead.

*Marsilius' objections to argument 2

(1) Christ was the only head and foundation of the Church, even in the absence of Christ. Cf. the interlinear gloss:"'you are Peter', that is, a rock through me, so that I retain for myself the dignity of foundation."

(2) Augustine Retractions: Somewhere he said that the church was built on Peter as on a rock. Later he usually expounded the statement to mean that "rock" referred to Christ, and so Peter was a figure of the Church built on this rock. "For it was not said to him, 'You are a rock' but 'You are Peter'."

(3) The Church could not have Peter as foundation because he was able to err and sin. Christ alone was that foundation, because he cannot go astray. Paul: 1 Cor. 3:11, "And no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ."

(4) In Matthew 16:18-19 Christ did not give Peter the power of the keys, since he said "I will give" (future), not "I give". He gave the keys to all the Apostles equally in John 20:22-3, "Receive the holy spirit. If you forgive the sins of any", etc. Even if Peter received the keys by those words, that only means that Peter was the first in time to be appointed shepherd. If Christ then handed the keys to him singly, it was to indicate the unity of the church in faith, or perhaps to honour him because Peter was the first to confess steadfastly and clearly that Christ was the son of God. This does not prove that he was superior to the rest in dignity or authority, even if many of the glossators seem to say this, getting it from themselves and not from the Bible.

(5) Christ answered in the negative the question whether any Apostle was superior to the others in in Matthew 20:25-7 and Luke 22:25-7, and in Matthew 23:8. Christ said "But do not be called Rabbi", i.e. in relation to one another, "for you have one master and you are all brothers", that is equals. We should believe Christ, not the gloss, whoever the glossator was. The text of scripture is so clear that it does not need a gloss. The glossators themselves say the opposite when expounding Galatians 2.

Chapter 13

*Reply to objections (chapters 13-20)

It is temerity and presumption to reject the ancient interpretation of "You are Peter" etc. Even if these words do not by themselves prove conclusively that Peter was superior to the other apostles, still, together with other Bible texts and the expositions and assertions of approved writers these words do prove that Christ promised Peter primacy. It would be rash not to follow the interpretations of the Bible given by men who have been approved and who have learnt it from their predecessors, and especially from the Apostles.

Chapter 14

We should believe ancient approved interpreters:

Men worthy of trust in the highest degree should be believed if they assert something as being known by them directly, or learnt from men they were bound to believe. This is true in matters of fact, because otherwise we would be regarding these people as liars. It is also true in the interpretation of texts (normally a matter of inference), if they claim to have learnt the interpretation from people who were sure to have known the meaning of the text. But many men worthy of trust, who were disciples of the apostles or were instructed by disciples of the apostles, have asserted that "You are Peter" etc., means that Christ gave Peter primacy. It is not credible that they lived with blessed Peter and the other apostles and their disciples without learning from them the true meaning, especially since Christians needed to know who they were or were not bound to obey.

Chapter 15

Testimony of Anacletus, quoted Gratian, dist. 22, c. Sacrosancta. Anacletus had lived with the apostle Peter. It seems unlikely that he did not know how Peter understood the words, or that he would knowingly lie. We do not find in any history or chronicle that any apostle or disciple of the apostles censured Anacletus about the above assertion, yet at that time many of them were vigilant correctors of errors, and their deeds and writings have come down to us.

Chapter 16

Testimony of Marcellus, 24, q. 1, c. Rogamus, and Cyprian, 24, q. 1, c. Loquitur. Marcellus and Cyprian were close to the time of the apostles or their disciples and could know how the apostles and their disciples understood Christ's words.

Chapter 17

Some say that Peter had two powers: The first, the power of order, was promised to Peter by the words, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever you bind", etc. The second, power of administration, was promised by the words, "On this rock I will build my church." It is the second power that makes a man pope. Peter received the first when the other apostles did, when Christ said to them, "Receive the holy spirit", etc. (John 20:21-3). He received the second power later, when Christ said to him, "Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17).

Chapter 18

Answer to the arguments of chapter 12:

To say that Christ is the only foundation conflicts with the Bible, Revelations 21:14, "The wall of the city has twelve foundations ... the names of the apostles." It conflicts with statements of the fathers that blessed Peter was the foundation of the Church (texts of Augustine, Jerome, Leo, Maximus, Gregory, Eusebius and Nicholas).

Chapter 19

Answer to supporting arguments:

(1) Christ is the primary foundation without which the Church could not have been constructed, the Apostles, especially Peter, were secondary foundations.

(2) Augustine does not reject his earlier interpretation: both are true. A material building can be founded on several rocks, one placed upon another.

(3) The principal foundation could not sin or err, but the secondary foundation could have erred and sinned, though in actually founding the Church Peter could not have erred.

The text "no one can lay any foundation other . . ." refers to the principal foundation of the church. And some point out that scripture's way is often to deny something to those to whom it is not principally appropriate, even if it is secondarily appropriate.

(4) It is true that "I will build my Church" did not put Peter in authority; that was done later, not by "Receive the holy spirit", addressed to all the Apostles (see above), but by "feed my sheep", addressed to Peter. "I will build my Church" promised Peter universal primacy, because he said "my Church" indefinitely, not distinguishing between one particular church and another.

When it is said that even if these words conferred some power on Peter it was not the primacy, the answer is that if the words conferred power it must have been over everyone in the Church, since Christ made no exemptions. Christ wanted not only "to indicate the unity of the church in faith" [above], but also the unity of the head who was to be set in authority over the universal church. Christ wished not just to honour Peter but to make him head. The glossators did not get this "from themselves" but from the Bible understood as the Apostles understood it. This understanding came down to those glossators from the Apostles themselves through a series of commentators and catholic writers succeeding one another and asserting it.

Chapter 20

(5) One reply is that "You are not to be called rabbi" was a command for the time before Peter was made head. Another possible reply is that the words were not meant to exclude all superiority, but arrogance. Cf. Ecclesiasticus 32:1, "Have they made you a ruler? Do not exalt yourself. Be among them as one of them" --- this does not exclude rulership. See also Ecclesiasticus 3:20, "The greater you are the more you must humble yourself in everything." Luke 22:26-7, "The greatest of you must become like the lesser, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." But Christ was their superior.

"And you are all brothers": even among brothers one may be promoted over another.

It is true that we should believe Christ, not the gloss, but from writers who were instructed by the Apostles, or lived at a time near theirs, we often learn the true meaning of Christ's words. Whenever the words can be ambiguous, it is rash to prefer a new interpretation to theirs.

It is not true that the words are too clear to need a gloss: many of Christ's words which seem quite clear can be ambiguous. These words are ambiguous, since those who hold the above opinion understand the words differently from many other learned men.

It is not true that many glossators elsewhere say the opposite: if they are understood correctly the glossators nowhere say the opposite.

Chapter 21

*Third argument for Opinion 2, from Luke 22:32

Christ said particularly to him, "But I have prayed for you, Peter, that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Gloss: "'Strengthen your brothers', since I have appointed you chief of the apostles . . . Peter obtained the chief priesthood of the world".

*Marsilius' objections to argument 3

"Strengthen your brothers" does not imply primacy; all the Apostles were to do it.

Reply: Some concede that "strengthen thy brothers" does not imply primacy. If the saints expound those words in connection with the primacy it should be held that that is their true meaning, but not the literal but the mystical meaning, the truth of which can be shown from other words of Christ understood literally.

Chapter 22

*Fourth argument for Opinion 2: Constant belief from ancient times

What has been believed from the Apostle's time to the present by prelates, doctors and people in continuous succession should be held by all Catholics; cf. Augustine, c. Palam. But all have believed that Peter was superior to the other Apostles. Witness Anacletus, who could not have been ignorant of the truth, and Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, and Eusebius, who was steeped in the traditions of thouse who were educated by the Apostles, also Jerome, Augustine, Marcellus, Cyprian. They must have known what the Apostles thought about something so necessary to the Church, and it must be presumed that they did not knowingly teach falsehood. It must therefore be held that the doctrine came to them from the Apostles through tradition, custom and writings that may not have survived. In all this time no Catholics have contradicted it, so it must be held firmly. Objection: the Greeks do not believe it. Answer: Not since the schism, but Eusebius, who was expert in the writings of the Greek doctors, did. Objection: perhaps some Catholics disbelieved it. Answer: It would not have been enough for some to hold the contrary in their hearts, they would have had to contradict the rest publicly, when faith is endangered. Since none did, the doctrine must be ascribed to the whole Church, which cannot err even for a time.

Chapter 23

*Fifth argument for Opinion 2: Christ would not have left the Church headless

Christ did not fail the Church in anything necessary. But a head is necessary. Therefore, as he was about to withdraw bodily from the church, Christ established a head to govern in the best way of ruling, viz. so that one person rules all the others, which is like royal government, which is the best according to the philosophers, and like paternal government, which is natural.

Even according to the opponents, Christ made the Apostles heads of the other faithful. If he did not then appoint a head of the Apostles, absurdities would follow: (a) Christ would have left the college of apostles without a head; (b) he would not have given the Church the best constitution; and (c) he would have taught the church that it should not be under one prelate or one college, because Christ did not place the apostles in authority over the other faithful as a college but as individual persons (the apostles had to be scattered throughout the whole world to rule the faithful, not gathered together, and therefore they did not rule as a college).

Chapter 24

*Objections to argument 5

(1) Unless one excels the rest it is not appropriate for one to rule all the others. But Peter did not excel all the others in merits and wisdom, for he seems to have been inferior to Paul in wisdom and to John in merits. The community of the faithful would not have been best ordered, therefore, if Peter had been appointed by Christ as head of the rest of the apostles and all the faithful.

(2) Although royal government is in itself the best, in many cases it is expedient that several should rule aristocratically. Christ did not give the Church one head, therefore, but gave the Church the power of establishing for itself one head or many according to circumstances.

*Replies to objections

(1) Master Although one man should not rule his equals for the whole of his life, yet monarchy is useful if it can be presumed that --- out of humility or obedience or love of the republic or the common advantage --- the equals would willingly obey one man, even though he is inferior to them in merits and wisdom. Knowing Christ's decree the apostles were very ready out of humility and obedience to obey Peter for the whole of his life. Peter surpassed in merit and wisdom all except the Apostles, and therefore it was reasonable that they ought to be his subjects.

(2) By putting one in charge, Christ taught the Church that, if possible without detriment to the common good, one should be head and ruler of all. Christ, who certainly knew who would be more suitable for ruling, set Peter in authority; this was better than election by the Church, which could have known Peter's greater suitability only by guessing. Thus Christ indicated that he did not bind his Church to monarchy in such a way that it could not, in a case of manifest necessity or advantage, elect no one (as when the Roman see has been left vacant for many years) or many men. When the necessity or advantage comes to an end, they are bound to return to monarchy. And therefore by setting Peter in authority over everyone Christ bequeathed to his church the best constitution.

Chapter 25

*Replies to the arguments of chapters 1 and 2 for Opinion (1)

(1) With respect to the power of making the body of Christ all the Apostles were equal, and now every priest is in this power the pope's equal (though for a reason the pope can forbid priests the exercise of this power).

(2) In penitential jurisdiction the Apostles were Peter's equals, but in other matters his inferiors. Christ did not say to Peter at that time, "I send you and you send the others", because at that time he did not make him prelate of the others. But afterwards when he said, "Feed my sheep", he did give him the power of sending others who had not been particularly sent by Christ.

(3) Paul meant that in respect of his teaching he was not inferior to Peter, but it is consistent with this that in other matters he was. Preachers sent by the current pope's predecessor are subject to the current pope.

Augustine meant that Paul was not sent to preach by Peter, but in other respects Peter and the other Apostles added something to Paul, e.g. by giving him the right hand of fellowship (Gal. 2:9).

The gloss by Ambrose means that Paul was not sent by Ananias or any other man. This (and the text from Augustine) refers to Paul's first mission. It cannot be shown from these words that Paul was superior in authority to Peter, even if he says that Paul had been worthier, so it can not be shown that he was not inferior in authority. Paul was equal to Peter in some respects, but not in authority. People said to be equal may not be equal in all respects.

(4) Christ alone who sent Paul, but it does not follow that he was not subject to Peter.

(5) The Apostles did many things not found in the Bible. Although it cannot be demonstrated from the Bible that Peter used his authority over the other Apostles, it should not be asserted for this reason that that he did not use it. From the fact that he sometimes preserved equality with others it cannot be inferred that he never used his authority. However, many people hold that he could or should have deferred to the whole college of the faithful on matters of faith, since on such matters the highest prelate is inferior to the whole church and even to a general council.

Chapter 26

Some people think that Peter did exercise his authority. According to Clement, who knew what Peter did, he established primates, archbishops and bishops in different cities, the primates being successors to the Apostles: in establishing them Peter exercised authority over the other Apostles.

*************fix headings in t31d4****************

[According to Mz and Fr this chapter is incomplete; Pz has a longer text and no warning of incompleteness. However the tract is somewhat incomplete: only the first five of the eleven arguments of Chapter 1 have been answered (chapters 26 continues the answer to 5), and none of the arguments of chapter 2. Unfulfilled: "We will be able to investigate later, however, whether he assumed to himself the authority to determine doubtful questions about the gospel or whether in this matter he wanted to defer to James and the whole college of which he was part."]

[The grand plan of 3.1 Dial. might have been this: book 1 sketches five opinions, given arguments in their favour, but no replies to these arguments. Book 2 takes up the fifth opinion, and discusses the first of its elements, the claim that Christ made Peter the monarchical head of the Church. This discussion continues through books 3 and 4. In books not extant there might have been a discussion of the other elements of opinion 5, and then at the end an answer to the arguments of book 1 chs. 1-4 in favour of opinion 1.

If Ockham ever intended to pursue every branch of this inquiry, we might have expected further argument on whether Christ's appointment of Peter as head and ruler means that Christ appointed the pope as head and ruler. This would complete discussion of the first point of opinion (5), but others would remain: e.g. whether the pope's headship implies fullness of power in the sense that opinion (5) attributes it to him. However, it is possible that the discussion of opinions (1) - (4) has already dealt with those points.]