Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catholic Interpretation of Scripture (Hermeneutics / Exegesis): Resource List


Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
: hermeneutics

    Study of the general principles of biblical interpretation. Its primary purpose is to discover the truths and values of the Bible, which is seen as a receptacle of divine revelation. Four major types of hermeneutics have emerged: literal (asserting that the text is to be interpreted according to the "plain meaning"), moral (seeking to establish the principles from which ethical lessons may be drawn), allegorical (interpreting narratives as having a level of reference beyond the explicit), and anagogical or mystical (seeking to explain biblical events as they relate to the life to come). More recently the word has come to refer to all "deep" reading of literary and philosophical texts.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: exegesis

    Scholarly interpretation of religious texts, using linguistic, historical, and other methods. In Judaism and Christianity, it has been used extensively in the study of the Bible. Textual criticism tries to establish the accuracy of biblical texts. Philological criticism deals with grammar, vocabulary, and style in pursuit of faithful translation. Literary criticism classifies texts according to style and attempts to establish authorship, date, and audience. Tradition criticism seeks the sources of biblical materials and traces their development. Redaction criticism examines the way pieces of the tradition have been assembled into a literary composition by editors. Form criticism studies the way narratives are shaped by the cultures that produce them. Historical criticism looks at a text's historical context.

Hermeneutics: Understanding Revelation (Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl)

The Limits of Scripture Interpretation (Jimmy Akin, This Rock, January 2001)

The Divine Authority of Scripture vs. the "Hermeneutic of Suspicion" (James Hitchcock)

Are Catholics into the Bible? (David MacDonald)

How Does the Individual Catholic Approach and Interpret Holy Scripture? (Dave Armstrong)

In-Depth Catholic Studies

Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: Pope Benedict XVI: 1988)

Benedict's Hermeneutic of Continuity (Dr. Jeff Mirus)

Catholic Scripture Interpretation: Resting on Fundamentals, Resisting Fundamentalism (Eric Sammons)

Interpreting the Holy Bible, Eric Sammons

The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Biblical Exegesis"

The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Hermeneutics"

The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (Pontifical Bible Commission, 1994)

Principles of Catholic Interpretation in the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1993)
(Peter S. Williamson)

Catholic Church Documents Related to Biblical Studies (compiled by Felix Just, S.J.)

Electronic New Testament Educational Resources (Felix Just, S.J.)

St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (Scott Hahn)

Catholic Biblical Study: A Bibliography (Scott & Kimberly Hahn)

Dr. Scott Hahn's Academic Publications

The Bible and the Church: Both or Neither (Scott Hahn)

The Church and the Bible: Resources (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology)

The Word of God: Resources (St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology)

A Catholic Guide to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Many Worlds of Scripture With Faith, Reason and Praxis (Dr. John Gresham)

Catholic Bible Study Links (Dr. John Gresham)

Historical-Critical Scripture Studies and the Catholic Faith (Michael Waldstein)

Neo-Patristic Exegesis: Its Approach and Method (Msgr. John F. McCarthy)

Catholicism and the Bible: An Inerview with Albert Vanhoye, by Peter Williamson (First Things, June/July 1997)

The Catholic Understanding of the Bible, John A. Hardon, S. J.


Opening Up the Scriptures: Joseph Ratzinger and the Foundations of Biblical Interpretation (2008)

Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible As the First Christians Did (Mark P. Shea, 1999)

Catholic Bible Dictionary (Scott Hahn, 2009)

The Catholic Church and the Bible (Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas, 1996)

You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible (Peter Kreeft, 2005)

Inside the Bible: An Introduction to Each Book of the Bible (Kenneth Baker, 1998)

Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch, 2001 -)

The Navarre Bible (1999 - )

501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority? (Dave Armstrong, 2009)

Good Protestant Resources

Resource Pages for Biblical Studies (Torrey Seland)

Materials from Dr. Mark Goodacre

Biblical Studies on the Web

Biblical Interpretation (Hermeneutics) [Links]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reformed Fundamentalist Views of Scripture Alone Reflected by Luther and Calvin

John Calvin

The Protestant Revolution, er (sorry; let me be PC: "Reformation") started from Luther adopting a viewpoint of irrational, anti-traditional dissent against received tradition (in large part, not totally, as I have carefully noted). Luther had, alas, departed from at least 50 Catholic teachings and longtime practices by 1520, even before he was excommunicated.
One would think that such massive, radical departure from received Catholic precedent and tradition would have a solid rationale (to put it mildly), but it is really as simple as Luther claiming that he is right, because God told him so, and is with him in a special way, and Catholic tradition (i.e., where he dissents from it) is wrong. The Bible is plain, according to Luther's take. Other Protestants who disagree with him (Zwingli, Anabaptists et al) are wrong and are going to hell because they don't see what Luther plainly sees (and Luther favored the killing of Anabaptists, too). I've documented the facts of these matters a hundred times in papers listed on my Luther web page and need not do so presently.

The same thing applies, of course, to John Calvin as well, and to either if another Protestant self-proclaimed, self-anointed leader disagreed with them (including with each other). How does one decide who is right, and what is true doctrine? By consistent Protestant rules of authority, there is no way to decide. The individual simply chooses one over the other. This is the central dilemma and difficulty of Protestant dogma or orthodoxy. No one has ever solved it, and no one has ever given me a cogent reply to this challenge in my 18 years of being a Catholic apologist. Anyone can search my 2600 papers on this site to try to find any such answer. If you find it, please let me know!

I want to reiterate the basic dilemma that faces Protestants who wish to adopt sola Scriptura in any form: whether the shallow extreme Bible Only view that eschews all non-biblical elements altogether, or the sophisticated, nuanced version adhered to by Reformed scholars and defenders such as Keith Mathison. All alike have a fundamental problem (only to different degrees): how to resolve the differences of opinion that arise precisely because the binding authority of an infallible Church is no longer present to check departures from "orthodoxy"; however defined.

I wonder: who gave Luther the authority to proclaim his dogmas when they contradicted existing Catholic dogmas? It's an excellent question. What would Luther himself say about that? Well, he says exactly what folks today say: he appeals to God. He's God's man; God's man of the hour; God's pseudo-prophet or oracle. It's the oldest trick in the book, for who can disagree with God??!! In just his reply to Henry VIII in 1522, seething with rage, fresh from his excommunication, he made the following astonishing claims:
For I am certain that it is from heaven that I have my teachings; . . .

For my teaching is in no particular contradictory, nor can be contradictory, because it is Christ's.

I do not ask them to believe me; but to believe the clear word of God.

But I against the sayings of the Fathers, of men, of angels, of devils place not ancient usage, not multitudes of men, but the word of the one Eternal Majesty, the Gospel, which they are forced to approve, . . .
Catholics who dared disagree with Prophet Luther, Oracle of God, would, of course, end up in hell:
They will have a double affliction, the torment of their present hatred, and that which it is earning for them,--the eternal torment of Gehenna.
Luther responded the same way to Erasmus, the greatest scholar of the 16th century, when he dared to disagree on the matter of free will (a thing that even Philip Melanchthon: Luther's best friend and successor, believed):
Assuredly, any Jew or Heathen, who had no knowledge at all of Christ, would find it easy enough to draw out such a pattern of faith as yours. . . . Your whole air is Lucian, . . .

. . . your words sound as though, like Epicurus, you accounted the word of God and a future state to be mere fables . . .

Erasmus of Rotterdam is the vilest miscreant that ever disgraced the earth . . . He is a very Caiaphas.

Erasmus was poisoned at Rome and at Venice with epicurean doctrines. He extols the Arians more highly than the Papists . . . he died like an epicurean, without any one comfort of God.

I hold Erasmus of Rotterdam to be Christ's most bitter enemy. . . . He wrote a book against me, called Hyperaspistes, wherein he proposed to defend his work on free-will, against which I wrote my De servo Arbitrio, which has never yet been confuted, nor will it ever be by Erasmus, for I am certain that what I wrote on the matter is the unchangeable truth of God.

Erasmus is the enemy to true religion, the open adversary of Christ, the complete and faithful picture and image of Epicurus and of Lucian.

Erasmus is bad through and through, as is evident in all his books . . . To him, 'Father, Son and Holy Ghost' is a ridiculous thing. . . .

I wonder that a man can fall so far from the knowledge of God as Erasmus has fallen. He is as certain that there is no God and no eternal life, as I am certain that I see.

He has injured the Gospel as much as he has advanced the science of grammar. He has been a shameless fellow. Zwingli was led astray by him . . . He died without the cross and without light. . . .
Fellow Protestant "reformer" Zwingli and other non-Lutheran Protestant leaders fared no better than poor Erasmus. In his work, Brief Confession Concerning the Holy Sacrament, written in September 1544, Luther calls Zwingli, Karlstadt, Oecolampadius, and Caspar Schwenkfeld (on whose name Luther does a play on words throughout his tract, making it mean “Stinkfield”) -– and by implication those who believe as they do -- “fanatics and enemies of the sacrament” (Luther's Works, 39, 287), men who are guilty of “blasphemies and deceitful heresy” (39, 288), “loathsome fanatics” (39, 291), “murderers of souls” (39, 296), who “possess a bedeviled, thoroughly bedeviled, hyper-bedeviled heart and lying tongue” (39, 296), and who “have incurred their penalty and are committing ‘sin which is mortal’,” (39, 296), “blasphemers and enemies of Christ” (39, 302), and “God’s and our condemned enemies” (39, 316). He described Zwingli as a “full-blown heathen” (39, 290), and wrote: “I am certain that Zwingli, as his last book testifies, died in a great many sins and in blasphemy of God” (39, 302-303)

With Calvin it was exactly the same. Though not as "vociferous" as Luther, and less obviously brazen, he, too, thought his authority came straight from God (so that no man could disagree with him), and his own (subjective) conscience. For example:
Though denounced as a deserter of the Church, and threatened, I was in no respect deterred, or induced to proceed less firmly and boldly in opposing those who, in the character of pastors, wasted thy Church with a more than impious tyranny. My conscience told me how strong the zeal was with which I burned for the unity of thy Church, provided thy truth were made the bond of concord. As the commotions which followed were not excited by me, so there is no ground for imputing them to me.

(A Reformation Debate: Sadoleto's Letter to the Genevans and Calvin's Reply, edited by John C. Olin, New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1966, 86)
The dirty, rotten, wascally "papists" who disagreed with Calvin did so because they were evil demons, led by Satan:
We indeed, Sadoleto, deny not that those over which you preside are Churches of Christ, but we maintain that the Roman Pontiff, with his whole herd of pseudo-bishops, who have seized upon the pastor's office, are ravening wolves, whose only study has hitherto been to scatter and trample upon the kingdom of Christ, filling it with ruin and devastation.

(Olin, ibid., 75)
Even when he disagrees with Luther, he can't show respect for the Founder of Protestantism. He is too consistently Protestant to do that:
. . . if Luther has so great a lust of victory, he will never be able to join along with us in a sincere agreement respecting the pure truth of God. For he has sinned against it not only from vainglory and abusive language, but also from ignorance and the grossest extravagance. For what absurdities he pawned upon us in the beginning, when he said the bread is the very body! And if now he imagines that the body of Christ is enveloped by the bread, I judge that he is chargeable with a very foul error. What can I say of the partisans of that cause? Do they not romance more wildly than Marcion respecting the body of Christ? . . .

(Letter to Martin Bucer, January 12, 1538; in John Dillenberger, editor, John Calvin: Selections From His Writings, Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co. [Anchor Books], 1971, 47)

In their madness they even drew idolatry after them. For what else is the adorable sacrament of Luther but an idol set up in the temple of God?

(Letter to Martin Bucer, June 1549; in Jules Bonnet, editor, John Calvin: Selected Works of John Calvin: Tracts and Letters: Letters, Part 2, 1545-1553, volume 5 of 7; translated by David Constable; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983; reproduction of Letters of John Calvin, volume II [Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1858], p. 234)
This is the fruit of the Protestant rule of faith (sola Scriptura), with its corresponding private judgment and individualistic supreme right of conscience. There is no way to resolve it. There ain't no way out of it. It's catch-22. It comes with the territory. One has to either accept the notion of an authoritative Church that can issue binding, infallible decrees, or one becomes their own pope. The bald appeal to Scripture is only as good as the interpretation of Scripture, and as we all know, folks (even good "Bible-based" Protestants) differ about that. It is either the pope in Rome or 600 million Protestant popes + the one in Rome. This state of affairs flows from the system itself: from its internal principles. It is unbridled individualistic subjectivism and lack of solid thinking.

Why should Luther and Calvin's authority be respected above the claimed authority of others? Because they were good writers and speakers? Because they were so good at insulting Catholics and the Catholic Church and could rile up the crowds and create resentment and hostility? Because anything (no matter how absurd or self-contradictory or anti-traditional, or impious) was better than Catholicism? Because they constantly appealed to "plain" Scripture? Because they were good at excoriating true Catholic corruptions in practice, and the hypocrisy of individual lackluster Catholics (a thing that Erasmus did just as well) and were experts at throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Because now they've been known for 500 years (in fact, Calvin's 500th birthday is this year) and have earned "authority" by being old and familiar?

None of that is biblical or in accord with how the Church fathers viewed things. For the apostles and fathers it was apostolic succession and historic continuity and infallible Church decrees determined in ecumenical councils, confirmed by popes. That was (and is, in Catholicism) how authority and true apostolic doctrine was conferred and passed on, not because someone had a big mouth or an elegant, prolific pen, and was good at insults and propaganda, and whipping a crowd and a populace into a frenzy, and so gained a following, or because the present-day legatees of these same self-appointed supposed saviors of Christianity and the gospel never sufficiently think through the implications of their own stated position, and so end up with a mess of unworkable contradictory propositions, leading to many hundreds of denominations that contradict each other all over the place.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Choice Tidbits From Luther's Blast Against Henry VIII (1522): Luther's Delusions of Grandeur and Self-Importance


Martin Luther in 1520

Recently I discovered an entire online translation of Martin Luther's tract, Against Henry [VIII], King of England (15 July 1522), translated by E. S. Buchanan, and published in New York by Charles A. Swift in 1928. It is hosted on the Project Canterbury Anglican website. This is great news, since it is a fun, interesting piece (from the few quotes I had seen from it), and the standard 55-volume set of Luther's Works in English didn't see fit (for some inexplicable reason) to include it.

I believe it is included in the scheduled ten-volume addition of all sorts of writings of Luther, previously unavailable in English. Better late than never . . . I've known for years that there were a lot of untranslated Luther writings in German. Some folks who fancy themselves Luther experts / apologists didn't know that, according to recent silly (and highly amusing) pronouncements, but now they do (or soon will), with the announcement of the expansion. Here, then, are many fascinating, typically extreme and outrageous Luther utterances, from this work (but by all means read the whole thing, too, at the link above, to grasp the entire context):

* * * * *

Luther as Quasi-Prophet / God's Unique Oracle and Man of the Hour, Etc.

For I have been given unto them by my Lord Christ as a sign that whether they spare me, or kill me, their infuriated conscience will have no grace, no peace, no solace.

* * *

For merely by my books in a short while (Christ helping me) I will bring it to pass that the Bohemians will be set free from their reproach, and that the Papists alone in the earth will have an abominable name, nay, will become a curse and an anathema. Not that I approve of all that the Bohemians do. I know nothing of their affairs and am told that there are sects among them; but I will bring it about that the Papists compared with them will be a world-wide disgust and nausea, since they themselves are nothing else but sects, the Franciscans alone having about six sects.

(Introductory Epistle)

* * *

If I have trampled down for Christ's sake the idol of the Roman abomination after it had stood itself in the place of God and had made itself the ruler of Kings and of the whole world, who is this Henry, this new Thomist, this disciple of the idle monsters, that I should treat with respect his poisonous blasphemies? Let him be the Defender of the Church, but let him know that the Church which he boasts of and upholds, is the Church of the scarlet woman, drunk with the wine of her fornications. Both that Church and him, whom I consider its defender, I will attack with the same fierceness and, with Christ as my Leader, I will demolish them both. For I am certain that it is from heaven that I have my teachings; for they have triumphed against him [the devil] who in his little finger has more power and craftiness than have all Popes and Kings and Doctors put together. They will therefore accomplish nothing, who boast of their Bulls condemning me, with names and titles attached, and make much capital of their books attacking me, written by royal authors.

My teachings will stand, and the Pope will fall, although he should be supported by all the gates of hell and the powers of the air and the earth and the sea.

* * *

Ye will have Luther as a she-bear in your way and as a lioness in your path. He will attack you on all sides, and will give you no rest until he has broken in pieces your iron necks and brazen foreheads, either for your salvation or for your destruction.

* * *

For my teaching is in no particular contradictory, nor can be contradictory, because it is Christ's.

* * *

And why does Christ Himself (Matt. XXIII) attack the Scribes and Pharisees with such vehemence and call them hypocrites, blind, fools, full of uncleanness, hypocrisy and murder? And Paul, how often he speaks with vehemence against the concision (as he calls them), and the false prophets, who adulterate and corrupt the word of God, calling them dogs, deceitful workers, apostles of Satan, children of the devil, full of guile and malice, deceivers, grandiloquent, frequenters of houses and leaders astray of women? And will the flippant Thomist accuse them as he accuses me of hatred and pride?

* * *

I do not ask them to believe me; but to believe the clear word of God.

* * *

It is not I that know but Christ alone knows, etc.

* * *

But I against the sayings of the Fathers, of men, of angels, of devils place not ancient usage, not multitudes of men, but the word of the one Eternal Majesty, the Gospel, which they are forced to approve, . . . Here I stand, here I sit, here I remain, here I glory, here I triumph, here I laugh at the Papists, Thomists, Henrys, Sophists and all the gates of hell, nay, at the sayings of men, however saintly, and at their fallacious customs.

The Unconquerable Luther and the Cowardly Catholic Wimps Deathly Afraid of Him

And yet this effeminate and cowardly crew dare to hope for a triumph, and a covering up of their shameful cowardice, by my flight into Bohemia, to which they give world-wide celebrity, while they themselves because of their mental unpreparedness and timidity do not dare to come out into the open against Luther by his lone half.

What do you think these feeble Bulls would avail them if they were compelled to stand themselves against the adversary of their Caesar, and against his powerful opponents? We should see them fleeing in all directions, these wretched creatures, who now whimper to one another in their holes like mice: Luther is planning flight!

(Introductory Epistle)

Catholics Who Hate Luther Will End Up in Hell

I await them therefore here, and am ready to meet their impotent rage. I will irritate and torment them as long as I live; and if they kill me, I will torment them many times more . . . They will have a double affliction, the torment of their present hatred, and that which it is earning for them,--the eternal torment of Gehenna.

* * *

So I shall not only make a flight into Bohemia, but I shall dwell there, even if this fury of the strange woman should burn me. But her hatred I shall at the same time both kindle and conquer in Christ. No more shall she prosper. Christ has so resolved. Amen.

(Introductory Epistle)

Anti-Papacy Motifs

For that senseless, ignorant and monstrous body of the Papacy,--after it perceives itself overcome by learning and truth, and sees the whole unclean, crowd of its dunces unable to stand against Luther alone,--torments itself and consumes itself with this one longing that I should flee into Bohemia. For so at last they may console themselves by abusing me as an alien, and representing themselves as terrible giants, who (thanks to their ignorance and evil conscience) none dare contend with.

* * *

The consummation of the abominable Papacy is at hand; from its fate it has no escape, and (as Daniel says) it is coming to its end and no man will help it. Thus we; are both of us boiling over, they with extreme madness, I with supreme contempt; but my courage in Christ will conquer their latest fury that is already waning.

(Introductory Epistle)

* * *

And so they have made the rock of the unconquerable faith to be the Papacy and the Pope, who have not only been overcome by disgusting errors and sins, but are being overwhelmed and absorbed by daily abominations.

* * *

Indeed I treated that crow at first very humbly and reverently, and was especially insistent that the Papacy was not a negligible thing; for I did not know then that it diametrically opposed all Scripture. I was content to expound the Scriptures only, and in the meantime to hold that the Papacy was in its character such as are the kingdoms and dominions of men. But they, hardened by long use of their tyranny and elated by the success up till now of their fraud (as Daniel calls it), despised my modesty and reverence and presumed to set up their idol in the place of God and intrude it into the very heart of the Scriptures. Then Christ gave me a spirit that despised both the fraud and the fury of the Papists, and brought it to pass that the more I saw into the Scriptures the more certainly I found this abomination had been foisted therein, . . .

* * *

And so, compelled by truth, I am driven to retract certain things that I have written, wherever I have written good things concerning the Papacy and concerning the things that are taught without Scripture warrant. Now at last I revoke these things, and am unfeignedly sorry that I ever wrote one syllable concerning the good of the Papacy, and of its rule. And I beg my readers diligently and wisely to beware of those errors of mine.

* * *

More truly I speak of the Papacy: The Papacy is the most pestilent abomination of Satan, its leader, that there ever was, or will be, under heaven.

* * *

In truth, while I live I will be the enemy of the Papacy; if I am burned, I will be twice its enemy.

* * *

This rather is the meaning of conflicting dogmas, when at one and the same time you teach contradictory things, at the same time defending and maintaining both of them, and refusing to revoke, or condemn, either one of them. This is the way the insane Papists act when (in Matt. XVI) they make the Rock both Christ and the Pope, when Christ is holy and the Pope impious, and when holiness has as much in common with impiety as light with darkness, and Christ with Belial. For the Papacy only stands (or rather falls) by its inconsistent, contradictory and lying dogmas, which teach, assert and maintain both of these conflicting teachings at the same time.

* * *

I believe the papacy to be anti-Christ's Kingdom, which even Job (III, 6) commands should be cursed by those who were ready to raise up Leviathan.

* * *

For this papal kingdom, engendered by lies, can do nothing else, in keeping with its character, except deceive, pretend, mock and trample upon the golden grain, and then glory in all these things and boast of them as triumphs.

"Papist Monsters"

Although my soul burns to see Bohemia, and the religion so hated by our papist monsters, . . .

* * *

I do not fear the shame of the name Bohemian, which is glorious in the sight of God; but Christ has placed me here that I may torment the papist monsters, while they find nothing in me of which they can make public use in vomiting forth their unbelievable animosity. Christ wishes them to be tormented by their own hatred, and destroyed by their own malice.

(Introductory Epistle)

* * *

But I, who hitherto have been somewhat lenient toward the papist monsters, in the hope of their coming to their senses, now when I see of what kind of nature they are, given over to a reprobate mind and deplorably wilful, going to their own place with Pharoah their leader, I am resolved to use towards them no more modesty, no more pity. (Nor will I any longer permit my friends to bridle their pens, but will quietly despise them if they should do so.) If I have to treat with them, I will do it with all the violence that I can in order properly to irritate and anger them, the stupid blocks, the silly asses, the fatted swine, since they deserve no other consideration than to be brought to their punishment.

* * *

And what shall I say to these sacrilegious monsters, who show by such arguments how that they have written thus out of impotent hatred, so that nothing more foolish and senseless can be imagined?

"Papist Abomination"

With such blindness and madness has our Lord Jesus Christ stricken the whole kingdom of the papist abomination, . . .

* * *

It is only the Papists and Thomists, this worst of new abominations, who have taken on the brazen manner of the strumpet, so that they confess that thus and thus the sacred Scriptures state, and yet they will not allow men thus to think. Not even Satan himself so openly blasphemes and gives the lie to what is right, even in the very face of the Divine Majesty.

* * *

. . . this Babylon, this abomination worthy of these last days.

Catholic "Murderers and Antichrists"

For the Bohemians had a most just reason for deserting those murderers and anti-christs after they, who were themselves sevenfold heretics, had burned that innocent man, John Huss, and had sacrilegiously condemned the two kinds in the Sacrament as instituted by Christ. This is why this nation is hated by the Papists, who never acknowledge the cruel murder done by the scarlet woman, . . .

(Introductory Epistle)

* * *

For what Henry calls the Church we call the scarlet woman. For although the Church cannot do without rites and ceremonies, it does not make laws and ensnare men's souls with them. They do this, who boast the name of Church, those swine and asses, those followers of Henry, those Papists and Sophists, who are deceivers of their fellow men and Anti-Christs.

Catholic Church is "Satan's Sect"

My second crime is that I have covered with my abuse the Pope and the Church, that is, have abused Satan's procurer and procuress and his sect, of which King Henry has lately been declared the Defender,--with indulgences!

* * *

. . . tares sown by Satan, by means of the brains of his Roman idol, in the Lord's field. . . . A lie is worshipped in place of the truth, an idol instead of God, and an abomination in lieu of holiness.

* * *

. . . establishing in its [Scripture's] place the reign of a doctrine that is written out of the Roman heart, a heart possessed by that most wicked Satan.

* * *

As they were carrying on their abominations the Lord drew me in my rashness into the middle of the crowds, and in the matter of lying indulgences enabled me to extort certain passages of Scripture from Satan, as one might wrench the club from the hand of Hercules, and to restore the Scripture interpretation to its rightful meaning.

* * *

This Church is not Christ's Church; . . .

* * *

Plainly he is a chosen vessel of Satan, and a most worthy Defender of the papal Church.

* * *

Wherefore we see by this that all Bishops, all Councils, all Schools, who teach anything else in the Church besides the word of the only God, are wolves, ministers of Satan, and false prophets.

* * *

The Church of the Papists places its unity in the unity of its outward idol the Pope, while inwardly it is broken up by a vast confusion of errors in order to fulfill all the will of Satan.

Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon / Scarlet Woman

. . . I became convinced by the clear and pure Scriptures that the Pope, the Cardinals, the Bishops, the Priests, the Monks, the Monasteries, the Masses and the whole of that organization, with their dogmas and rituals, was nothing else than mere shews, idols, gew-gaws, lies, and that abomination standing in the holy place, showing itself as though it were the true bishops and the real church, while all the time it was that same scarlet woman, who sits on the many-headed beast and makes the kings of the earth drunk with the cup of her fornications and abominations.

* * *

. . . our Papist neighbours and friends have repeated vainly, to wit, The Mass is a work and a sacrifice; for the daily usage of many has it so; So the Church (that is, the harlot of Babylon) thinks; It must be so; Our Teachers have taught us so; The Fathers have said so.

* * *

. . . to the Church (that is, to the Romish harlot, who is neither Church nor Christian except in name) . . .

Lying, Idolatrous Catholics Hate Holy Scripture

When therefore the sacred Scripture says nothing at all concerning these things, the mad Papists, the masters of lies and framers of idols, have started a business, worthy of themselves, which is to twist the whole of Scripture and deprave it into poisons and lies, so that those passages which taught us concerning faith had to have a Papacy created to interpret them; those which taught humility had to have set up beside them the pomp of tyranny, until they have succeeded with their unlimited lying in throwing everything into confusion, in abolishing the whole Scripture . . .

* * *

They demand that we believe the worm-eaten product of their brain, old wives' tales; and they despise the word of God.

* * *

But all this is done by that restless Satan in order that he may, by his wicked Henrys and sacrilegious Thomists, turn us away from the Scriptures, and fix our faith on the lies of men. For there is no longer any need of sacred Scripture, if it is sufficient for us to be supported by some new sayings of men found outside of the Scriptures.

Catholics Condemned the Gospel (?)

. . . their sacrilege in condemning the Gospel; . . .

(Introductory Epistle)

Catholics Are Pelagian and Believe in Salvation by Works (?)

This sacrilegious people have all one obsession; they wish to justify themselves in God's presence by works, and not by faith alone. Whence it is necessary that Christ be denied and faith made of none effect, while lucre is increased, and the wealth of the whole world absorbed for their Masses and their Vigils. For thus do the perverse followers of the abomination pervert everything; the works, which they ought to use toward men, they offer to God; the faith, by which alone God is served, they offer to men.

Dubious and Ridiculous Assertions About the Church Fathers

But when they come to apply their teaching, they do nothing except viciously beg the question. And so when I exclaim: The Gospel, the Gospel, Christ, Christ; they reply, The Fathers, the Fathers, use, use, statute, statute!
When I say, the Fathers, use, statute have often erred; we must have a stronger and surer authority--Christ cannot err; then they are like the mute fishes, and become as the Scripture saith, like deaf adders that shut their ears lest they hear the voice of the charmer. Or they reply thus to me, in words which they always have on the tip of their tongue: Ambrose saith so; art thou wiser than Ambrose? Do you alone know? And this is all they have to say. As though the question was between Ambrose's teaching and mine; or as though I could not answer: You misunderstand and misinterpret Ambrose. What is gained, I ask, by disputing with those who are blind and bad-tempered and utterly senseless?
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In vain, I say, I have kept on singing to these deaf adders, who endlessly repeat and gabble their silly talk: Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome says so and so! Therefore Luther is a heretic, for the sayings of Augustine and Ambrose are articles of faith. Yet those holy men wished nothing less than this sacrilegious worship given to them by Henry and his fellow dunces, by whom their sayings are equated with articles of faith, desiring as they did all their sayings to be free, and placed at the disposal, or rejection, of every believer. Nay, the swinish Thomists themselves are forced to admit that holy men have often erred, and therefore the use of their words for establishing the faith, and burdening the conscience, cannot be of sufficient authority even by the judgment of common sense.
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Furthermore the glorious Lord King, after his manner, lies quite arrantly when he makes Jerome a defender of the papacy; for that writer does not call his own Roman church the mother-church of the world, but inveighs more bitterly than all others against her monarchical ambition.
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The word of God is above all. The divine Majesty makes me care not at all though a thousand Augustines, a thousand Cyprians, or a thousand of Henry's Churches should stand against me. God cannot err, or be deceived. Augustine and Cyprian and all the elect could err, and have erred.
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Briefly, even if Augustine should have asserted in round words that any one in the Church has the right to make laws, who is Augustine? Who compels us to believe him? By what authority is his word an article of faith? I confess that his saying has come to my notice; but it is not safe enough, nor firm enough. The right of making a law must be proved by a saying of God, not by a saying of man.
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For I do not ask what Ambrose, Augustine, or the Councils, and use of the centuries say; nor was there any need for King Henry to teach me these things; for I knew them so well that I once before even attacked them,

A Bit of Projection?

He does not come forth to battle with a royal mind, or with any drop of royal blood, but with a slavish and impudent and strumpet-like insolence and silliness, proving nothing by argument but only by cursings. And what is more disgraceful in a man, and especially in a man in the highest position, than openly and deliberately to be, so that you can recognize him as a Sophist, a creature of ignorance and virulence?

Thomist "Sophists" and "Hogs"

. . . it is agreed that the Thomists are such a stupid and clearly lazy kind of Sophists, . . .

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Do what ye can, ye Thomist swine.

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Let the reader then see from this one argument how asinine is the ignorance of the Thomists, and how mentally puerile is their insolence, which does not allow them to understand their own words. And yet they dare to write a Defence of the Sacraments, and to boast of their fine bombast, which is the proof of their incredible lack of knowledge. For I think this book of the King's was written for this reason, that the world might never believe I had falsely accused the Sophists of folly and ignorance, especially the hogs that are among them (I mean the Thomists).

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. . . sordid fellow-Thomists . . .

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. . . he has chosen to act the Thomist hypocrite and masquerader . . .

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. . . Aristotle, who is the God of the Thomists . . .

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. . . these lethargic Thomists . . .

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. . . this senseless Thomist crew . . .

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. . . in his Thomist folly . . .

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. . . a senseless Thomist . . .

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. . . this Thomist straw and stubble, . . . this demented Thomist . . .

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. . . Thomists and Papists and their impure, foul, filthy, wicked and sacrilegious associates . . .

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. . . these blots and corruptions of men, these Thomists and Henrys . . .

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. . . I should be arguing to no purpose with such stupid and dull block-heads. How much less would they understand me if I argued this matter according to the divine Scriptures?

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. . . as befits a Thomist, he omits the Scriptures . . .

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. . . the Thomist scum . . .

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As I said before, nothing under the sun is born more thick and stupid than the Thomists, these monstrous creatures.

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. . . in the dignified manner of the Thomists, whose custom is to pass over the rule for understanding Scripture (which is to take notice of the consequences, circumstances and objections), and to pick up and twist some word, and then assert anything you have a mind to.

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. . . there is no judgment, no discernment, no diligence in the whole Thomist body; but all things are said and transacted and done with incredible rashness and presumption and arrogance, so that they can kill with tediousness both readers and listeners.

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. . . nevertheless the worthiness of this reasoning is beyond all price, and could dwell and flourish in Thomist and asinine brains and nowhere else.

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. . . We have therefore this article, although never with much concern exacted by me before, now greatly confirmed by the assertions of the Papists themselves,--that is by their lies and stupidity and blasphemies,--so that now we are very sure that it is the merest figment that which these impious and blind Thomists babble concerning this transubstantiation,

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. . . the dullness of the Thomists . . .

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. . . The Thomist asses have nothing they can bring forward but the number of men and the antiquity of the use, and then they say to one who brings forward Scripture, Are you the wisest of all?

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. . . mere Thomist wickedness, forcing all words to mean all things . . .

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But it is not to be wondered that the Thomist asses are so ridiculous; for God has willed that they should show no sign of sanity, or even of right thinking.

Luther Consigns Henry VIII to Hell

The offering of the viper keeps the inborn qualities of its nature, and imitates the example of its parents. For even against Paul, when he had taught that all the sons of Adam were justified without works, his enemies made the same accusation, as he writes in Romans (Chapter III): Some say we teach, Let us do evil that good may come. But what is the judgment upon them? Their damnation (he says) is just.
And what can I pronounce against my King, concerning his lie, except the same judgment of damnation?
St. Paul Was Self-Contradictory?

If this is to conflict in dogmas, as the Thomist King declares, if a man should think otherwise, when he knows the truth and revokes his error, than he thought before, I ask which of our wisest and most holy men was ever consistent? We shall damn the whole epistles of Paul because after his conversion he calls dung what before, when he was in Judaism, he had considered to be gain.

Violent Rhetoric

What are we to do now? except to let even fools see that our Thomist Henrys, in their notorious ignorance, have turned our faith into a subject of ridicule; and have strengthened the wickedness of the world; deserving therefore to have their tongue and hands cut off, so that they might never either speak or write again.

Goofy, Universally Rejected, Anti-Petrine Interpretation of Matthew 16

Therefore we will cleave to the Defender of our Church who says (Matt. XVI): I will build My Church,--and build it not on the length of time, nor on the multitude of men, nor on It must be so, nor on the use and sayings of the saints, not even on John the Baptist, nor on Elijah, nor on Jeremiah, nor on any of the prophets;--but upon that only and solid rock, upon Christ, the Son of God.

Extreme Bible-Only Position

. . . Scripture requires that we believe nothing except Scripture.

Extreme Private Judgment Position

To know and judge concerning doctrine belongs to all men, even to individual Christians; and in such a way belongs that, Let him be anathema who shall injure this right, even in the least particular. . . . And here Christ has established not only the right, but the commandment to judge, so that this sole authority can be sufficient against the opinions of all the Fathers, of all the Councils, and of all the Schools,. . .

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We have it established then beyond all controversy that the right of discerning and judging doctrines, or of approving teachers, is within our power, and not in the power of Councils, or Bishops, or Fathers, or Doctors. But it does not follow from this that at the same time we have the right to make laws; for this belongs to God alone. Our duty is to recognize His law (and His word), to approve it, judge and separate it from all other laws; but in no wise to make laws or make commands.

"Sacrilegious and Abominable Councils"

You now see of what spirit were those sacrilegious and abominable Councils, which against so many clear fulminations of Scripture, and such uncontrovertible opinions, have dared to arrogate to themselves as Bishops the right of judging and discerning, and, above all, of commanding and constructing. Without doubt from Satan came those thoughts, whereby he has inundated the world with the workings of error, and has set up an abomination in the sacred place;. . .

Luther Even Goes After the Council of Nicaea (!!!)

For in the Council of Nicaea itself, the best of all the Councils, even then they were beginning to make laws and claim that right for themselves. And from that time till the present, it has been in force, so that nothing is more worthy to be received, nor can anything be more firmly proved on the theory of numbers and duration than this usurpation. So much so that there is no one today who does not think it to be wholesome, right, and divine. Nevertheless you see how this thing is sacrilege and impiety against the clear and invincible Scriptures of God.

Wherefore if such error, and such sacrilege, for such length of time has reigned among such great numbers of men who were either consenting, or seduced, or approving, and has reigned against the truth of God, I wish here, once for all, that, as regards the Sophists and Papists, their chief argument from duration and numbers should be trampled in the dust, and their mouths stopped, that they may see why God wills that we should believe in no creature whatever, however continuous, or numerous, or stupendous it may be, but only in His infallible word.

"Sacrilegious and Abominable Mass"

Having triumphed over the Mass, I think we have triumphed over the whole papacy. For upon the Mass as upon a rock is built the whole papacy with its monasteries, its bishoprics, its colleges, its altars, its ministers, its doctrines, and leans on it with its whole weight. And all these things must fall with the sacrilegious and abominable Mass.

How Does the Individual Catholic Approach and Interpret Holy Scripture?

[ source ]

A question was asked, in response to my paper, Biblical Evidence For Apostolic Tradition (Including Oral Tradition) (related to the final section: "AUTHORITATIVE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE / SCRIPTURE IS NOT COMPLETELY SELF-INTERPRETING"):
How, then, is the Catholic to interpret Scripture, the basic rules of hermeneutics; exegesis, along with what the Church teaches? I'm still a bit in the dark on this.
Excellent question. Basically, first of all, the Catholic needs to learn good basic skills of Bible interpretation. I would recommend a book such as Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible As the First Christians Did, by Mark Shea.

Once that is understood, so elementary errors in exegesis and hermeneutics are not committed, a reader so informed is able to learn on his own, pretty much, from Scripture. But the Catholic always has a boundary, beyond which he cannot go: Catholic dogma. The Catholic exegete should always seek to conform his opinion with that of the Church. So it isn't so much that the Church is saying
A) "You can't interpret Scripture on your own"
(as Protestant critics often caricature our approach) as it is saying, rather:
B) "don't become so independent that you interpret in a way that is contrary to Church dogma."
Some Protestant critics think this stricture implies that Catholic exegetes aren't "free." But that is silly, since all Protestant traditions have doctrines, too, which are non-negotiable. A professor at a Calvinist seminary, for example, couldn't interpret Scripture in an Arminian, non-Calvinist fashion, or he would be out of a job. So every conscious Christian interpreter comes to the text with prior biases or beliefs, and believes that Scripture teaches those things. Why should Catholics be singled out? It's a double-standard argument.

For further related reading:

"Me, My Bible, and the Holy Spirit" (The Relationship of the Church to the Judgment of Individuals in the Matter of Authoritative Biblical Interpretation. Does the Church Require a Particular Meaning for Each Passage?)


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Antidote to John Calvin's Institutes (IV,6:8-14) [Papal Primacy and Succession / Paul and Peter / Why Rome? / St. Peter in Rome]

See the introduction and links to all installments at the top of my John Calvin, Calvinism, and General Protestantism web page; also the online version of the Institutes. Calvin's words will be in blue throughout. All biblical citations (in my portions) will be from RSV unless otherwise noted.

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Book IV



8. Even allowing Peter’s superiority in some respect, this is no proof of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. Other arguments answered.

But were I to concede to them what they ask with regard to Peter—viz. that he was the chief of the apostles, and surpassed the others in dignity—there is no ground for making a universal rule out of a special example, or wresting a single fact into a perpetual enactment, seeing that the two things are widely different.

That doesn't follow. If there is something in the Bible that is clearly intended as a model, then it is indeed perpetual. Apostolic succession is observed in the Bible. That has to do with apostles and the bishops as their successors. This was the consensus of the fathers as well. Therefore, if Peter is shown to be the leader of the apostles, and preeminent, then it is perfectly plausible and to be expected that that office would continue, just as the office of bishop was to continue. On the other hand it is silly to see some form of ecclesiology in the Bible and conclude that it was only for the first generation of Christians, or the first century (apostolic era) or some other arbitrary length of time. What sense does that make? Any sort of organization has a structure of authority.

One was chief among the apostles, just because they were few in number. If one man presided over twelve, will it follow that one ought to preside over a hundred thousand?

It does if said person is indicated in many ways in the Bible as having a sublime authority, and it follows in the sense of models and their successors later in history. It follows when Jesus built His Church on Peter himself (not just his faith). I could just as easily flip Calvin's argument and say that if twelve need a leader, how much more would a hundred thousand need a leader? All human groups have need of that.

That twelve had one among them to direct all is nothing strange. Nature admits, the human mind requires, that in every meeting, though all are equal in power, there should be one as a kind of moderator to whom the others should look up. There is no senate without a consul, no bench of judges without a president or chancellor, no college without a provost, no company without a master. Thus there would be no absurdity were we to confess that the apostles had conferred such a primacy on Peter.

Exactly. But some human groups also have leaders who are heads in the sense that they have more power and authority than anyone else. The President of the United States is such a person. He has the power of veto and proclamation, and use of the "bully pulpit" (as Teddy Roosevelt called it) to influence millions of people more than others are able to, because of the prominence of his position.

But an arrangement which is effectual among a few must not be forthwith transferred to the whole world, which no one man is able to govern.

This isn't logical. Why is it implausible to Calvin to have one worldwide leader? Obviously the one man can't do everything (like Moses in the OT getting the advice from his father-in-law Jethro to divide his responsibilities lest he become exhausted). But he has the aid of bishops overseeing local areas. The Catholic Church follows that model. One man is still needed for unity's sake. Nothing shows that more than the history and current state of Protestantism.

But (say they) it is observed that not less in nature as a whole, than in each of its parts, there is one supreme head. Proof of this it pleases them to derive from cranes and bees, which always place themselves under the guidance of one, not of several. I admit the examples which they produce; but do bees flock together from all parts of the world to choose one queen? Each queen is contented with her own hive.

Well, then the queen bee would be more analogous to a bishop.

So among cranes, each flock has its own king. What can they prove from this, except that each church ought to have its bishop?

The ultimate and conclusive prooftexts of the papacy come from the Bible, not analogies to cranes and bees.

They refer us to the examples of states, quoting from Homer, Οὐκ ἀγαθον πολυκοιρανιη, “a many-headed rule is not good;” and other "passages to the same effect from heathen writers in commendation of monarchy. The answer is easy. Monarchy is not lauded by Homer’s Ulysses, or by others, as if one individual ought to govern the whole world; but they mean to intimate that one kingdom does not admit of two kings, and that empire, as one expresses it (Lucan. Lib. 1), cannot bear a partner.

In the end, we must go by the Bible, but not it alone; the Bible as it has been interpreted by the fathers, and other eminent churchmen through the centuries.

9. Distinction between civil and ecclesiastical government. Christ alone the Head of the Church. Argument that there is still a ministerial head answered.

Be it, however, as they will have it (though the thing is most absurd; be it),

It's not absurd at all. It is the biblical model all down the line: popes, bishops, councils, priests, apostolic succession, authoritative Church and tradition (a magisterium), etc. Calvin's ecclesiology is what is absurd, because it ditches every one of these elements that had always been held by the Catholic Church all along.

that it were good and useful for the whole world to be under one monarchy, I will not, therefore, admit that the same thing should take effect in the government of the Church. Her only Head is Christ, under whose government we are all united to each other, according to that order and form of policy which he himself has prescribed. Wherefore they offer an egregious insult to Christ, when under this pretext they would have one man to preside over the whole Church, seeing the Church can never be without a head, “even Christ, from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body” (Eph. 4:15, 16).

This is what I call "super-pious rhetoric." The problem is that it has no practical application at all. Of course, Christ is the Head. But Calvin knows, and everyone knows, that there is also human governance in the Church. The question then becomes not whether humans do this, but how they should do it; what is the structure?

See how all men, without exception, are placed in the body, while the honour and name of Head is left to Christ alone. See how to each member is assigned a certain measure, a finite and limited function, while both the perfection of grace and the supreme power of government reside only in Christ.

More of the same truisms that no one disputes in the slightest; but they do not rule out human Church offices.

I am not unaware of the cavilling objection which they are wont to urge—viz. that Christ is properly called the only Head, because he alone reigns by his own authority and in his own name; but that there is nothing in this to prevent what they call another ministerial head from being under him, and acting as his substitute. But this cavil cannot avail them, until they previously show that this office was ordained by Christ.

. . . which has been done in past installments. It's been shown, for example, that Christ built His Church on Peter, not his confession. The latter position (Calvin's) is now rejected by most reputable Protestant commentators, including Calvinists. Calvin was wrong. Thus, he didn't see this clear indication of the papacy.

For the apostle teaches, that the whole subministration is diffused through the members, while the power flows from one celestial Head; or, if they will have it more plainly, since Scripture testifies that Christ is Head, and claims this honour for himself alone, it ought not to be transferred to any other than him whom Christ himself has made his vicegerent. But not only is there no passage to this effect, but it can be amply refuted by many passages.

Matthew 16:19 is exactly the passage Calvin is looking for. "Viceregent" is precisely one title that has been applied to the papacy by Protestant commentators, to show what "keys to the kingdom of heaven" meant. So Calvin has backed into the truth here, if only he could see it in the Bible.

10. Paul, in giving a representation of the Church, makes no mention of this ministerial head.

Paul sometimes depicts a living image of the Church, but makes no mention of a single head. On the contrary, we may infer from his description, that it is foreign to the institution of Christ.

It appears that he does not explicitly discuss it, but he does implicitly, or by deduction and implication. For example, we see his response regarding the Jewish high priest:
Acts 23:4-5 [4] Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest?" [5] And Paul said, "I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, `You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"
Thus, Paul retains the notion of a leader. Presumably, then, he would agree that there was also a Christian leader within the ranks of the Church. We also see how he acted in deference to Peter, in consulting with him alone when he began his apostolate, and how he singles Peter out by name, from the other apostles:
1 Corinthians 9:5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

1 Corinthians 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Galatians 1:18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days.
Even Paul's rebuke of Peter contains strong indications that he was the leader, because when there is a problem, it is good to nip it in the bud by going right to the top of the chain of command. Peter wasn't the only one who acted insincerely and hypocritically:

Galatians 2:13 And with him the rest of the Jews acted insincerely, so that even Barnabas was carried away by their insincerity.
Yet when Paul rebuked the behavior, he went straight to Peter (Gal 2:11,14). This proves that Peter was the leader. He was expected to set a better example. The rebuke itself doesn't disprove that he was a leader; it only proves that he was a hypocrite in that instance, like we all are at times.

Christ, by his ascension, took away his visible presence from us, and yet he ascended that he might fill all things: now, therefore, he is present in the Church, and always will be. When Paul would show the mode in which he exhibits himself, he calls our attention to the ministerial offices which he employs: “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ;” “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” Why does he not say, that one presided over all to act as his substitute?

Good question. I don't know. But I know that the things I mentioned above are also relevant as to Paul's opinion. And I know that many doctrines are in a relatively primitive state of development in the New Testament (even the Trinity itself: where its various aspects that were dogmatically adopted by the Church in the first seven centuries, are far more developed later on). I also know that the same sort of argument about not mentioning certain things and concluding that, therefore, they play no role, can be turned back on Calvin. For example, in the very passage Calvin cites, talking about Church offices (Ephesians 4:11-15), another thing isn't mentioned, either, that Calvin thinks does reign supreme, in terms of the rule of faith: Holy Scripture. I wrote in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (p. 16):
Note that in Ephesians 4:11-15 the Christian believer is "equipped," "built up," brought into "unity and mature manhood," "knowledge" of Jesus, "the fullness of Christ," and even preserved from doctrinal confusion by means of the teaching function of the Church. This is a far stronger statement of the "perfecting" of the saints than 2 Timothy 3:16-17, yet it doesn't even mention Scripture.
In other words, if there is no pope as authority because he isn't mentioned in this passage, there also is no Scripture as the only final infallible authority, because it isn't mentioned here. The authority, as described in this passage, resides in the Church alone. Calvin's argument proves too much. The fact remains that the Bible doesn't always mention everything that could be mentioned, in every passage. Systematic theology must draw from the entire body of Holy Scripture. And this is what Catholics do when they see many biblical evidences for the papacy.

The passage particularly required this, and it ought not on any account to have been omitted if it had been true.

Then Scripture can't be the ultimate authority, either, since it, too, isn't mentioned in the same passage, which is rather wide-ranging. If Calvin doesn't want that conclusion, that follows from his own internal logic, then he should also discard the argument about silence here disproving the existence of a papacy.

Christ, he says, is present with us. How? By the ministry of men whom he appointed over the government of the Church. Why not rather by a ministerial head whom he appointed his substitute? He speaks of unity, but it is in God and in the faith of Christ. He attributes nothing to men but a common ministry, and a special mode to each. Why, when thus commending unity, does he not, after saying, “one body, one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:4), immediately add, one Supreme Pontiff to keep the Church in unity?

Probably because he didn't have to, since Matthew 16:19 was in everyone's Bible, and it was crystal clear and understood by all. Peter was the rock. Paul calls Peter Cephas because that was the Aramaic word for "Rock." Every time he uses that name, he is recalling the commission of Jesus in Matthew 16:19.

Nothing could have been said more aptly if the case had really been so. Let that passage be diligently pondered, and there will be no doubt that Paul there meant to give a complete representation of that sacred and ecclesiastical government to which posterity have given the name of hierarchy.

The fact that Scripture was not mentioned shows that Paul was not giving an absolutely complete picture of Christian authority.

Not only does he not place a monarchy among ministers, but even intimates that there is none. There can also be no doubt, that he meant to express the mode of connection by which believers unite with Christ the Head. There he not only makes no mention of a ministerial head, but attributes a particular operation to each of the members, according to the measure of grace distributed to each. Nor is there any ground for subtle philosophical comparisons between the celestial and the earthly hierarchy. For it is not safe to be wise above measure with regard to the former, and in constituting the latter, the only type which it behoves us to follow is that which our Lord himself has delineated in his own word.

And He gave primacy to Peter, in the many passages that have been examined previously.

11. Even though Peter were ministerial head, it does not follow that the Pope is so also. Argument founded on Paul’s having lived and died at Rome.

I will now make them another concession, which they will never obtain from men of sound mind—viz. that the primacy of the Church was fixed in Peter, with the view of remaining for ever by perpetual succession. Still how will they prove that his See was so fixed at Rome, that whosoever becomes Bishop of that city is to preside over the whole world? By what authority do they annex this dignity to a particular place, when it was given without any mention of place?

By the fact that St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred there. By the fact of God's Providence in going right to the heart of the Roman Empire and "Christianizing" it. For the world to be evangelized, Rome had to be converted first. That's why the two great apostles ended their lives there.

Peter, they say, lived and died at Rome. What did Christ himself do? Did he not discharge his episcopate while he lived, and complete the office of the priesthood by dying at Jerusalem? The Prince of pastors, the chief Shepherd, the Head of the Church, could not procure honour for a place, and Peter, so far his inferior, could!

Jesus' mission was to the Jews first (several scriptural indications). The apostles were to spread it to the Gentiles. That easily accounts for the difference.

Is not this worse than childish trifling?

Not at all. It makes perfect sense.

Christ conferred the honour of primacy on Peter. Peter had his See at Rome, therefore he fixed the seat of the primacy there. In this way the Israelites of old must have placed the seat of the primacy in the wilderness, where Moses, the chief teacher and prince of prophets, discharged his ministry and died.

No, because Moses was to take the Hebrews to the Promised Land. He didn't get there, due to his disobedience, but that was the destination. Once there, the center of religious activity and administration was to be Jerusalem. That was the Old Covenant. Once the New Covenant and the gospel arrived, it was to spread to the Gentiles. Therefore, to best do that, the Church had to be centered in Gentile territories, and Rome: where the Empire was based, and where persecution was the greatest, was the obvious choice.

12. On the hypothesis of the Papists, the primacy belongs to the Church of Antioch.

Let us see, however, how admirably they reason.

And let's also see how fallaciously and "sub-biblically" Calvin often reasons . . .

Peter, they say, had the first place among the apostles; therefore, the church in which he sat ought to have the privilege. But where did he first sit? At Antioch, they say. Therefore, the church of Antioch justly claims the primacy. They acknowledge that she was once the first, but that Peter, by removing from it, transferred the honour which he had brought with him to Rome. For there is extant, under the name of Pope Marcellus, a letter to the presbyters of Antioch, in which he says, “The See of Peter, at the outset, was with you, and was afterwards, by the order of the Lord, translated hither.” Thus the church of Antioch, which was once the first, yielded to the See of Rome. But by what oracle did that good man learn that the Lord had so ordered? For if the question is to be determined in regular form, they must say whether they hold the privilege to be personal, or real, or mixed. One of the three it must be. If they say personal, then it has nothing to do with place; if real, then when once given to a place it is not lost by the death or departure of the person. It remains that they must hold it to be mixed; then the mere consideration of place is not sufficient unless the person also correspond. Let them choose which they will, I will forthwith infer, and easily prove, that Rome has no ground to arrogate the primacy.

I appeal back to previous statements. Whatever the particulars, God's providence decreed that Peter and Paul were both martyred in Rome. That was not just a coincidence. In both Catholic and Calvinist theology, ultimately nothing really is. It all has a purpose. So it is surprising that Calvin sees no significance in this fact of the two most prominent Christian apostles, dying in the same place, in Europe; in the seat of the Roman Empire. True, it is not a "biblical " argument; it is an argument from plausibility and common sense, regarding God's plan in evangelizing Europe: which would be (institutionally speaking) the center of Christianity henceforth.

13. Absurdity of the Popish hypothesis.

However, be it so. Let the primacy have been (as they vainly allege) transferred from Antioch to Rome. Why did not Antioch retain the second place? For if Rome has the first, simply because Peter had his See there at the end of his life, to which place should the second be given sooner than to that where he first had his See? How comes it, then, that Alexandria takes precedence of Antioch? How can the church of a disciple be superior to the See of Peter? If honour is due to a church according to the dignity of its founder, what shall we say of other churches? Paul names three individuals who seemed to be pillars—viz. James, Peter, and John (Gal. 2:9). If, in honour of Peter, the first place is given to the Roman See, do not the churches of Ephesus and Jerusalem, where John and James were fixed, deserve the second and third places? But in ancient times Jerusalem held the last place among the Patriarchates, and Ephesus was not able to secure even the lowest corner. Other churches too have passed away, churches which Paul founded, and over which the apostles presided. The See of Mark, who was only one of the disciples, has obtained honour. Let them either confess that that arrangement was preposterous, or let them concede that it is not always true that each church is entitled to the degree of honour which its founder possessed.

Non-Roman Sees are essentially equal. The Holy See in Rome was preeminent. It is irrelevant to wrangle over these other Sees, to see which should have more prominence. That is a problem for the Orthodox, not Catholics.

14. Peter was not the Bishop of Rome.

But I do not see that any credit is due to their allegation of Peter’s occupation of the Roman See. Certainly it is, that the statement of Eusebius, that he presided over it for twenty-five years, is easily refuted. For it appears from the first and second chapters of Galatians, that he was at Jerusalem about twenty years after the death of Christ, and afterwards came to Antioch. How long he remained here is uncertain; Gregory counts seven, and Eusebius twenty-five years. But from our Saviour’s death to the end of Nero’s reign (under which they state that he was put to death), will be found only thirty-seven years. For our Lord suffered in the eighteenth year of the reign of Tiberius. If you cut off the twenty years, during which, as Paul testifies, Peter dwelt at Jerusalem, there will remain at most seventeen years; and these must be divided between his two episcopates. If he dwelt long at Antioch, his See at Rome must have been of short duration. This we may demonstrate still more clearly. Paul wrote to the Romans while he was on his journey to Jerusalem, where he was apprehended and conveyed to Rome (Rom. 15:15, 16). It is therefore probable that this letter was written four years before his arrival at Rome. Still there is no mention of Peter, as there certainly would have been if he had been ruling that church. Nay, in the end of the Epistle, where he enumerates a long list of individuals whom he orders to be saluted, and in which it may be supposed he includes all who were known to him, he says nothing at all of Peter. To men of sound judgment, there is no need here of a long and subtle demonstration; the nature of the case itself, and the whole subject of the Epistle, proclaim that he ought not to have passed over Peter if he had been at Rome.

There is biblical proof for Peter being in Rome (Calvin seems to equivocate and is a bit unclear what he actually thinks regarding this matter). The Catholic Answers tract, Was Peter in Rome? states:
“The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God’s election, sends you her greeting, and so does my son, Mark” (1 Pet. 5:13, Knox). Babylon is a code-word for Rome. It is used that way multiple times in works like the Sibylline Oracles (5:159f), the Apocalypse of Baruch (2:1), and 4 Esdras (3:1). Eusebius Pamphilius, in The Chronicle, composed about A.D. 303, noted that “It is said that Peter’s first epistle, in which he makes mention of Mark, was composed at Rome itself; and that he himself indicates this, referring to the city figuratively as Babylon.”

Consider now the other New Testament citations: “Another angel, a second, followed, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of her impure passion’” (Rev. 14:8). “The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath” (Rev. 16:19). “[A]nd on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations’” (Rev. 17:5). “And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great’” (Rev. 18:2). “[T]hey will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, ‘Alas! alas! thou great city, thou mighty city, Babylon! In one hour has thy judgment come’” (Rev. 18:10). “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence” (Rev. 18:21).

These references can’t be to the one-time capital of the Babylonian empire. That Babylon had been reduced to an inconsequential village by the march of years, military defeat, and political subjugation; it was no longer a “great city.” It played no important part in the recent history of the ancient world. From the New Testament perspective, the only candidates for the “great city” mentioned in Revelation are Rome and Jerusalem.

. . . The authorities knew that Peter was a leader of the Church, and the Church, under Roman law, was considered organized atheism. (The worship of any gods other than the Roman was considered atheism.) Peter would do himself, not to mention those with him, no service by advertising his presence in the capital—after all, mail service from Rome was then even worse than it is today, and letters were routinely read by Roman officials. Peter was a wanted man, as were all Christian leaders. Why encourage a manhunt? We also know that the apostles sometimes referred to cities under symbolic names (cf. Rev. 11:8).
Even the thoroughly Protestant Bible Knowledge Commentary (p. 857) thinks the "Babylon = Rome" explanation for 1 Peter 5:13 quite plausible. Bible scholar Reinhard Feldmeier takes the same position (The First Letter of Peter, Baylor University Press, 2008, pp. 41-42). A. T. Robertson, in Word Pictures in the New Testament (introduction for 1st Peter) agrees:
So we can think of Rome as the place of writing and that Peter uses "Babylon" to hide his actual location from Nero.
Many other Protestant commentators could be brought forth in favor of this opinion. It's not just a Catholic argument. It is a legitimate exegetical opinion, regardless of affiliation. See also:

Was Peter the First Bishop of Rome?, Oswald Sobrino

The Bishop of Rome is Peter's Successor, Pope John Paul II, General Audience, 27 January 1993

Peter's Roman Residency (Catholic Answers)

St. Peter in Rome (Radio Replies)

Was St. Peter Ever in Rome? Refuting a Persistent Protestant Prejudice
, Phil Porvaznik