In the Catholic Encyclopaedia article Pope St.Clement 1, it is admitted by the Catholic Church that -
"Of the life and death of St.Clement nothing is known..."
Yet from the tone of the following citations, also in the Encyclopaedia, one could be forgiven for assuming quite the opposite.
From the article Apostolic Succession -
"As soon as the problem of St. Peter's coming to Rome passed from theologians writing pro domo suâ into the hands of unprejudiced historians, i.e. within the last half century, it received a solution which no scholar now dares to contradict; the researches of German professors like A. Harnack and Weizsaecker, of the Anglican Bishop Lightfoot, and those of archaeologists like De Rossi and Lanciani, of Duchesne and Barnes, have all come to the same conclusion: St. Peter did reside and die in Rome..."
"Earlier still is Clement of Rome writing to the Corinthians, probably in 96, certainly before the end of the first century. He cites Peter's and Paul's martyrdom as an example of the sad fruits of fanaticism and envy. They have suffered "amongst us" he says...The Gospel of St. John, written about the same time as the letter Clement to the Corinthians, also contains a clear allusion to the martyrdom by crucifixion of St. Peter, without, however, locating it..." (John 21:18, 19).
"St. Peter's successors carried on his office, the importance of which grew with the growth of the Church. In 97 serious dissensions troubled the Church of Corinth. The Roman Bishop, Clement, unbidden, wrote an authoritative letter to restore peace. St. John was still living at Ephesus, yet neither he nor his interfered with Corinth..."
From the article Pope -
"The first witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit..."
"The tone of authority which inspires the latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as "the first step towards papal domination" (Clement 1:70).
"Thus, at the very commencement of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit..."
"Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head."
The Catholic Church would have us believe that:
- Clement was the third? fourth? Pope to inherit a universal primacy as Bishop* of Rome;
- From his position of primacy in Rome, he wrote an authoritative letter to Corinth with instructions that they do certain things;
- Because of his primacy and the "tone of authority" of his instruction, the Corinthians acquiesced to his directions.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
So while they claim that the apostle John was still alive, the Roman Catholic authorities would have us believe that Clement, whom the Roman Catholic church claims is the third/fourth Pope after Peter, was asserting his universal authority over the church of Corinth from Rome.
Reflect a little on this...and smile if you must!
If Clement's letter is read fully, it will be seen that the Catholic Encyclopaedia deliberately distorts its intent by misquoting and interpolation.
Stay tuned for Clement's Letter III...