We shall break off at this point, for the chief goal of our considerations has been attained. We have seen that the New Testament as a whole strikingly demonstrates the primacy of Peter; we have seen that the formative development of tradition and of the Church supposed the continuation of Peter’s authority in Rome as an intrinsic condition. The Roman primacy is not an invention of the popes, but an essential element of ecclesial unity that goes back to the Lord and was developed faithfully in the nascent Church.
How would you respond? Where would you go for resources? How would you argue your case?
The writings of Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, are a rich storehouse of the most modern, up-to-date expressions of Roman Catholic theology and, since he has been for so long the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome (aka, the modern embodiment of the Inquisition), he is, by nature, an apologist: inwardly, and outwardly (but maybe, in a sense, more inwardly than outwardly). Therefore, his writings are significantly “easier” to interact with–they are laid out in such a fashion as to actually make a point and seek to do so with logical arguments. He is careful with his words–one debater can recognize another, and Ratzinger has debated. Maybe not so much publicly as in the halls of the Vatican as the chief “enforcer” of theology for Rome. Oh what I could do with a ton of time to dig through his writings! Well, enough for now….