Thursday, September 23, 2010
St. Linus, Pope and Martyr
On the traditional calendar, today is the feast of St. Linus, Pope and Martyr (d. ca. 76). He is considered to be the first Bishop of Rome after Peter by the Apostolic Constitutions and early fathers such as Irenaeus, Jerome and John Chrysostom and the historian, Eusebius. Others contest this saying that Clement was the first to follow the Apostle. Historically speaking, this is a fascinating question. The witnesses here in support of Linus carry weight.
There is little or no difficulty with Apostolic Succession. This is understood in my tradition and confession as succession of the "apostolic doctrine," which I wholeheartedly support. Still, it is not possible to have succession in teaching without succession in office and succession of holy men called to fill the office. Therefore, the burden of proof, in my mind, lies more with those who have rejected the vast majority of Christianity on this particular teaching and practice. In my tradition it is rationalized away, like so many other things, as adiaphora or de-constructed. We ought not just hear the Gospel but also have those men who are sent to preach to us. There is clear Scriptural example.
Gregem tuum, Pastor aetérne, placátus inténde . . .
"Look forgivingly on Thy flock, Eternal Shepherd, and keep it in Thy constant protection . . ." (Collect of Si díligis me . . .)