My words will be in blue, and "Tom's" in red. As far as this topic goes, the one thing I wish "Tom" would have taken from this was this line from the original post:
"Still, I've seen some have difficulty understanding how the Real Presence relates to the idea of transubstantiation. One thing to note is that the Eastern Catholic Churches (and Eastern Orthodox) don't use the term "transubstantiation", but do believe in the Real Presence the same way as Latin Catholics do. Transubstantiation is a term which attempts to define how the Eucharistic species becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and, Divinity of our Lord. One seems to think just because the term was coined in the 13th century, the teaching of the Real Presence did not exist before then. It most certainly did, as we can see the evidence from Apostolic times. That's why I think it'd be better if we refer to what transubstantiation points to, that is, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist."Look for the following discussion to appear in article format over on Catholic365 sometime in the near future:
|St. Thomas Aquinas Confounding Averroes- Giovanni di Paolo|
Perhaps we should simply acknowledge that when Christ does not explain the fine details of something to us in the Scripture, then it is not for us to know those fine details. Even your quotation from the Didache fails to mention transubstantiation.
Tom, of course the Didache fails to mention transubstantiation... the term wasn't first used until the 12th century! You seem to have missed my point earlier in the article:
"Still, I've seen some have difficulty understanding how the Real Presence relates to the idea of transubstantiation. One thing to note is that the Eastern Catholic Churches (and Eastern Orthodox) don't use the term "transubstantiation", but do believe in the Real Presence the same way as Latin Catholics do. Transubstantiation is a term which attempts to define how the Eucharistic species becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and, Divinity of our Lord."
Consubstantiation does not fit that definition of the Real Presence, as we can see throughout the writings of the early Church Fathers, who all talk specifically about transubstantiation without calling it such. My arguments here in no way can be construed as being a proof-text of "a spiritual but real presence". Receptionism, advocated by Calvin, is something completely different from either consubstantiation, and certainly transubstantiation. I'm not sure where you fall on the faith spectrum, but perhaps knowing so would make it a bit easier to understand your beliefs on the Eucharist.
I also find it a bit ironic how you claim that since something was not expounded upon by Christ in the Gospels, that we should leave it alone. First, that's ridiculous on it's face as St. Paul clarifies things that Christ said several times in Scripture. Second, this view can only be valid if one holds that Scripture is the sole rule of authority, and that the Tradition handed down from apostolic times, and the teaching authority of the Church have no weight. I can turn your statement right back on you and ask why bother understanding the Trinity? That word never appears in Scripture.
Or how about the fine details of Christology, in His human and divine natures? These were very important matters as many heresies denied the divinity (and humanity) of Christ. The term and notion of the Hypostatic Union didn't come onto the scene until the mid-5th century. All Christians today accept this teaching; should we reject it since it didn't appear in the Scriptures? Should we have never bothered to talk about it, despite that the various heresies that led to the formulation of the Hypostatic Union were leading souls astray from Christ, by calling His divinity into question?
Or how about the word homooúsios? This technical term didn't appear until the Arian heresy in the 4th century. It's another Christological term that is now a fundamental understanding of Christ's divinity across all denominations of Christianity. Christ was being called the first and greatest of God's creatures, but not God. Not one-in-being with God. Should we have never discussed such a dangerous attack on Christianity simply because it was never addressed in the Bible?
I could go on and on with more terms that appeared later. God gave us an intellect. We can certainly use our reason in tandem with our faith to explain things, especially if these things are Traditions passed down from the time of the Apostles who did not rely on the Bible alone. It's been said that "faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves."
What I have actually said is that any teaching or doctrine in the church should be traced back to Christ and His apostles. Thus, the Lord's Supper, the Trinity, grace alone, faith alone, and credobaptism are all traced back to Christ and the apostles.
After all, Christ authorized the church to teach everything He had commanded them to teach. So it is reasonable to require the church to show that Christ commanded a doctrine to be taught before the church teaches it. And Paul told the Thessalonians to hold fast to traditions they had learned orally or in written form "from us," that is from the apostles. Again, it is reasonable to require the church to show it received a tradition from the apostles before the church teaches it.
Why would you find such a requirement unreasonable? If the church is infallible, then it will have no trouble whatsoever providing convincing evidence for the doctrines it teaches.
Nick wrote, "First, that's ridiculous on it's face as St. Paul clarifies things that Christ said several times in Scripture."
But when Paul did such things, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit so that what he preached and wrote was the word of God. Besides he clarified without adding to or changing anything.
Nick wrote, "Second, this view can only be valid if one holds that Scripture is the sole rule of authority, and that the Tradition handed down from apostolic times, and the teaching authority of the Church have no weight."
One can also hold that view if he believes the Scripture is the highest rule of authority. It is just that according to Christ and Paul, if you cannot trace a teaching to them or the other apostles, then your teaching has no more authority than the opinion of any other man.
Nick wrote, "I can turn your statemnt right back on you and ask why bother understanding the Trinity? That word never appears in Scripture."
The reason you cannot turn my statement back on me is that the doctrine of the Trinity is taught in Scripture, even though the term is not used. The problem with transubstantiation is that it is not taught in the Scripture.
Tom, you said that "any teaching or doctrine in the church should be traced back to Christ and His apostles. Thus, the Lord's Supper, the Trinity, grace alone, faith alone, and credobaptism are all traced back to Christ and the apostles."
We are in agreement here, all teachings must be traced back to Christ or be Apostolic in nature. Although, I do not subscribe to faith alone (that's for another day), and I'll refer to the "lord's Supper" as you call it as the "Eucharist", as a "thanksgiving" as the earliest of Christians, including St. Paul, referred to it. He does not see it as merely a "supper" or "meal" as many non-Catholic Christians do today. See how he admonishes those bringing their own food to the Holy Sacrifice:
"Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11: 20-25).I also completely agree that "it is reasonable to require the church to show it received a tradition from the apostles before the church teaches it." I find no such requirement unreasonable, Christ is our Lord, so of course the Church that He founded proclaims His doctrines and teachings! The Church indeed is infallible, and assuredly has no trouble providing convincing evidence for the doctrines it teaches. However, we have to be aware that some may ignore such evidence, and then these "ignorant and unstable twist [the Scriptures] to their own destruction..." (2 Pt. 3:16).
You said, "But when Paul did such things, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit so that what he preached and wrote was the word of God. Besides he clarified without adding to or changing anything." I agree with you Tom, but remember, you only mentioned Christ in your first post, not any of the other New Testament writers.
As for your comment on Scripture being the "highest rule of authority", I of course believe that Scripture is equal to that of the Tradition you mentioned earlier regarding St. Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. And in addition to that, the Church's authority in the Magisterium is on equal footing in interpreting said Scripture and Tradition, making a perfect three-legged stool for Catholic Christians to rest on. I think it'd be really helpful to know which denomination of Christianity you belong to. If you are equating the teachings handed down by the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that was founded by Christ (and guided by the Consoler, the Holy Spirit, as promised by Christ Himself) to the opinion of mere men, then we are a world apart. The Holy Spirit remains with the Church, making it infallible, and certainly putting it higher than any teachings mere men can make, such as when the Anglican bishops decided it was OK for some couples to use contraception in the early 20th century.
I can certainly turn your statement on the Trinity around on you, let's look at the last sentence in your previous post, and I'll replace one word which will be bolded:
"the doctrine of transubstantiation is taught in Scripture, even though the term is not used."
You've proved my point for me, and let's take the Trinity as an example. Christ says that "He who has seen me as seen that Father". John says in the beginning of His Gospel that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." So here we see the clear basis for the Trinity, without it being called as such. We see that God the Father and Christ are one. But this doesn't expound on the Trinity as completely as we see in later centuries. Why do you think there were so many Christological heresies? The Trinity, as a word, a term, had to be formulated. Definitions had to be made, as many people claimed that Christ was not God, that the Holy Spirit was not God, that Christ was two persons, that Christ was not human, etc. etc. The Trinity was indeed taught in the Gospels, but a term had to be formulated and a definition needed to be made, just as we see with transubstantiation.
|The Last Supper- Francisco Ribalta|
Therefore, we see the early Church Fathers try to come up with a way to formulate a term for what has happened. Look at what St. Justin Martyr says in his First Apology, who makes it obvious that what is being eaten is not bread of any sort:
"Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus".Keep in mind that Justin martyr had direct contact with the disciples of St. John the Apostle, such as St. Ignatius of Antioch who was one of John's disciples. This is a second generation disciple of the author of the Gospels! Do we really expect for him to have gotten this teaching on the Real Presence wrong?! Already the foundation has been laid for a formulation of the term "transubstantiation", just as the foundation was laid for the formulation of the term "Holy Trinity" in other writings by such a first or second-generation disciple.
Let's look at what St. Cyril of Jerusalem says in the year 350 regarding the substance of what was once bread completely changing during the Sacrifice of the Mass, adding to our "convincing evidence":
"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith".Cyril, in his Mystagogic Catechesis later uses the word metaballo, which is Greek for "change" or "transform" when speaking of the "substantial change" in the elements of bread and wine during the Mass. When explaining the epiclesis, he writes "When we have sanctified ourselves through these spiritual hymns, we beg God, the Lover of mankind, to send the Holy Spirit upon what has been sent forth, so that he may make the bread the Body of Chris and the wine the Blood of Christ; for whatever the Holy Spirit touches is sanctified and changed [Greek: metabebletai]".
And let's look at St. Ambrose of Milan in 397, who also gets technical with his terminology, well before the 11th century, with bolding for emphasis:
|St. Ambrose Stopping Theodosius- Camillo Procaccini|
"Perhaps you will say, "I see something else, how is it that you assert that I receive the Body of Christ?" ... Let us prove that this is not what nature made, but what the blessing consecrated, and the power of blessing is greater than that of nature, because by blessing nature itself is changed. ... For that sacrament which you receive is made what it is by the word of Christ. But if the word of Elijah had such power as to bring down fire from heaven, shall not the word of Christ have power to change the nature of the elements? ... Why do you seek the order of nature in the Body of Christ, seeing that the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a Virgin, not according to nature? It is the true Flesh of Christ which was crucified and buried, this is then truly the Sacrament of His Body. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaims: "This Is My Body." before the blessing of the heavenly words another nature is spoken of, after the consecration the Body is signified. He Himself speaks of His Blood. Before the consecration it has another name, after it is called Blood."Then we have St. Gregory of Nyssa who wrote this very technical formulation around the year 381 in his work The Great Catechism:
"...as the Word Himself said, 'This is my Body'...He shares himself with every believer through that Flesh whose material being comes from bread and wine... in order to bring it about that, by communion with the Immortal, man may share in incorruption. He gives these things through the power of the blessing by which he transelements [Greek- metastoikeiosas] the nature of the visible things.""Transelements", he says. Does this ring a bell? Does one really think that such a thought process came out of a vacuum and not from the traditions of the Apostles and the clear teaching of Christ? Let's see just what this Greek word really means, as we find in James T. O'Connor's book on the Eucharist "The Hidden Manna":
"The Word's assimilation of the Eucharistic elements to himself- an assimilation by which his Body and Blood- is described by the forceful Greek word 'metastoikeiosas', transelementation. It actually means a restructuring of the elements, since the Greek 'stoikeia' means 'fundamental elements or principles'."And then we see words like "transforming" used by St. John Chrysostym and "transposing" by St. Cyril of Alexandria to describe the change happening in the Eucharist. Again, the belief in the Real Presence, specifically formulated as transubstantiation, didn't come out of nowhere. It has its roots right out of the Bible and in apostolic Tradition... just as the Trinity does.
Nicholas wrote, "The Church indeed is infallible, and assuredly has no trouble providing convincing evidence for the doctrines it teaches."
Actually, the church is fallible. The reason it has so much trouble providing convincing evidence for the doctrines it teaches is that there is no such evidence. Transubstantiation is a good example here.
Christ said, "This is My body.... This cup is the New Testament in My blood." He did not say the bread and the wine change. He did not divide bread and wine into accidence [sic] and substance. All He said was, "This is My body... This cup is the New Testament in My blood." The Lord did not teach transubstantiation. Nor is transubstantiation necessary as the only way in which Christ's words here could be true. So in transubstantiation we have a doctrine that cannot be traced back to Christ nor to His apostles. Therefore, it should not be taught in the church.
Of course, there is the concept of apostolic succession which will supposedly give certain people in the church hierarchy apostolic authority. But those who see themselves as being in apostolic succession cannot claim it for themselves. They can only claim it based on the words of Christ and of His apostles. Where in the New Testament is apostolic succession? Certainly, the apostles chose and ordained men to follow them in ministry. But did they choose and ordain them into the apostolic office? That is never found in the Scripture. In fact, if we go by the definition of an apostle found in Acts 1 or in II Corinthians 12: 12, then no one after Paul is apostolic.
Now, the church is apostolic when it follows the teachings of the apostles as stated in the New Testament. But there is no apostolic office today.
Nicholas wrote, "Let's think about this reasonably."
By all means, yes, let's think about this reasonably.
Nick wrote, "Christ's clear words in the Gospels are "This IS My Body"! He didn't say "this is My body and bread together". He didn't say "this is My body spiritually present with this bread. And He certainly didn't say "This is a SYMBOL of My body."
The Lord also did not say, "The substances of this bread and wine are being changed into the substances of My body and blood, while the accidences [sic] remain that of bread and wine." Christ did not teach transubstantiation, nor did Paul.
Nick wrote, "No, he clearly and emphatically made it known that what He was holding was His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The early Christians, Apostles included must have thought, "well, He said that what He was holding was His Body. It looks like bread, and it looks like wine... but it can't be, because Christ is God and He cannot deceive us. But if this is true, how is it possible? How does what was once called bread come to be called Christ's Body? What is this process that takes place to effect this change?"
Sorry, Nick, but I do not feel qualified to read the minds of the apostles and church fathers. I have no idea of what they were thinking. I doubt that you do either. What you are providing here is speculation, not evidence.
|Christ Handing the Keys to Saint Peter- Jacob Herreyns the Elder|
Tom, you’ve made an assertion that the Church is fallible, but have nothing to back it up except the fallible teachings of men; teaching which only arose in the past 450 years or so. Catholics (and the Orthodox as well) can back up their claim that the Church’s authority is infallible from Scripture, specifically in Matthew 28: 18-20, Matthew 16:18, and Acts 15:28, just to name a few passages, but I won’t delve too deeply into these presently as we have not yet finished our conversation on transubstantiation and the Real Presence.
Therefore, since Jesus is “with [us] all days”, we can count on the Church giving us plenty of evidence for its doctrines, since they ultimately come from God. What do you call the sources I just quoted for you, as you’ve basically ignored them, giving no reason why this isn’t considered “convincing evidence”. I think we need to define terms here. You say, “the church is fallible.” What is “the church”, Tom? Are we defining it the same? The way I define it, is that “the church” is the same Church founded by Jesus Christ; it is the visible institution which he built upon the rock, St. Peter, and as St. Ignatius of Antioch called it, this Bride of Christ is called the Catholic Church. How do you define it Tom, because it appears that we are talking about two different things. Furthermore, I must ask again: what is your religion? You have me at a disadvantage. You know I am Catholic, therefore you have an idea of what my beliefs are. It would be very helpful in this discussion if we were on an equal playing field and I knew what your denomination of Christianity was as well. I can’t even tell what you believe on the Real Presence. You talk of consubstantiation and receptionism, but you haven’t told me what YOU believe. Do you believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist, Tom? In what way?
Now Tom, you said, “He did not say the bread and the wine change. He did not divide bread and wine into accidents and substance.” I don’t know how much clearer Christ can get. “THIS IS MY BODY.” How is a change not happening, if before the Last Supper, what was on the table was bread, and later, Christ said it was His Body? I don’t know what you’re talking about, but bread is a substance. Human flesh is a substance. “Accidents” is a word defined as the appearance of something. So of course Christ didn’t divide anything. These are words describing things in the real world, and I don’t know what point you’re trying to get across. Christ never uttered those two words. So what? He never said He was the Incarnation either, and that word is a pretty accurate descriptor of our Lord. In any case, I’ve already shown how transubstantiation (that is, the Real Presence) can be traced back to the Apostles, and was taught by Christ by His very, clear words. But here’s one more source anyways showing the clear teaching of the Apostles, coming from St. Justin Martyr around the year 150, emphases mine:
"This food we call the Eucharist… For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also have we been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the Flesh and Blood of that incarnate Jesus."
Where did St. Justin get this teaching from? Thin air? No. The answer would be from the Apostles. The bread becomes something. It ceases to be called bread; it ceases to BE bread, as Christ said “this is My Body”. Likewise, St. Justin calls it what it is, “The Flesh and Blood of [the] incarnate Jesus.” Therefore, such a teaching certainly should be taught in the Church.
Now again, I don’t want to go too far off topic here; we’re still discussing the Eucharist, and I would love to discuss apostolic succession at another point. For the time being, I leave you with this bit of clarification on your following comment: “Certainly, the apostles chose and ordained men to follow them in ministry. But did they choose and ordain them into the apostolic office? That is never found in the Scripture.”
I think you are confusing terms and definitions here. The bishops and the presbyters (priests, as they’re called today) are successors to the Apostles. Here’s how another Catholic theologian [Jimmy Akin] answers your question:
“Does this mean that the bishops are all really apostles, with a different name? Are they successors in that sense? No. They are the successors of the apostles in the sense that the apostles were originally the highest office in the Church and, when they passed from the scene, they left the bishops in charge. The bishops thus succeeded the apostles by becoming the highest leaders in the Church, but not by becoming apostles.”
The Church itself admits as such in its own documents, this coming from the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium back in 1964:
"The parallel between Peter and the rest of the Apostles on the one hand, and between the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops on the other hand, does not imply the transmission of the Apostles’ extraordinary power to their successors; nor does it imply, as is obvious, equality between the head of the College and its members, but only a proportionality between the first relationship (Peter-Apostles) and the second (Pope-bishops).”
Furthermore, the Catholic Church also states in its Catechism (CCC):
“In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted: to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection and so the foundation stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ promised to remain with them always. The divine mission entrusted by Jesus to them "will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is the lasting source of all life for the Church.” (CCC 860)
|Christ Washing Disciples Feet- Giovanni Agostino da Lodi|
So, stating that the bishops are the successors of the apostles “does not imply the transmission of the apostles’ extraordinary power to their successors,” the bishops. They are their successors in a different sense. St. Irenaeus of Lyons makes that distinction very clear in the year 189 in his “Against Heresies”, one that still holds true today in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, emphases mine:
"It is possible, then, for everyone in every Church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the Apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the Apostles, and their successors to our own times: men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about. For if the Apostles had known hidden mysteries which they taught to the elite secretly and apart from the rest, they would have handed them down especially to those very ones to whom they were committing the self-same Churches. For surely they wished all those and their successors to be perfect and without reproach, to whom they handed down their authority.
"[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession of the Apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth."
And St. Ignatius of Antioch comments even earlier, in the year 110:
"Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the Apostles... Be subject to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was subject to the Father, and the Apostles were subject to Christ and to the Father; so that there may be unity in both body and in spirit." (Letter to the Magnesians 6:1; 13:1-2)
"...do nothing without the bishop, and that you be subject also to the presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ our hope… In like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters as the council of God and college of Apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a Church." (Letter to the Trallians 2:2; 3:1)
“You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8:1-2)
Does your church have bishop, the presbytery, or deacons, Tom? Because St. Ignatius tells us institutions that don’t have them are not called a Church. Thankfully for me, my Church does have these things. St. Irenaeus and St. Ignatius both interacted and talked and listened to the preaching of men who personally knew the Apostles. Could they really have gotten things so mucked up in less than a 100 years of Christianity’s founding? Now, you’re original assertion of “there is no apostolic office today” is correct; however, it can plainly be seen that this new office of the bishops and presbyterate are the successors to the Apostles, and hold just as much authority as the Apostles did, even though they differ in certain ways. This is the permanent aspect of the Apostles’ office.
Finally, to your last point on you feeling “unqualified to read the minds of the apostles and church fathers”, I admit that I don’t know exactly what I was thinking. Perhaps it would’ve been better if I had said “The early Christians, Apostles included, may have thought…” But what I posted is a logical conclusion.
1. Christ said what he was holding in His Hands “is My Body”.
2. He did not say “this is bread”, although it looked like bread.
3. Christ cannot lie; He is the Truth.
4. Therefore, something must have changed in the substance of what He was holding in His hands.
As I said, I’ve posted enough evidence in my post from the other day. I don’t have just an idea of what the Church Fathers were thinking about the Eucharist. I KNOW what they were thinking, as we can see by my quotations from St. Gregory of Nyssa and the others. I will leave you with this quote by St. Hilary of Poitiers, who wrote this in the mid-4th century:
“About the truth of his Flesh and Blood there is left no room for doubt. For by the Lord’s own word and by our faith [we know] that it is truly flesh and truly blood. And when we have received and drunk these realities it comes about that we are in Christ and Christ in us. Is this not the truth? Le it happen that those who deny that Christ is God deny this also.”
You believe that Christ could turn water into wine and change the physical properties of water to become solid so he could walk on it, even though it remained in what appeared to be a liquid state… right? Then why is it such a leap of faith, and such a difficult exercise, to take Christ at His word in the Eucharist. He simply says, take and eat for THIS IS MY BODY.”
|St. Gregory of Nyssa|
Okay, I get it. The pope is not Peter. The bishops are not apostles. The pope and the bishops do not possess apostolic authority or power. Therefore, Scripture is the highest authority in faith and morals for it alone was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The magisterium and sacred tradition are fallible. The church itself is fallible even when it teaches concerning faith and morals.
Tom, you "get" parts of the picture, but not the complete picture.
"The pope is not Peter." If you mean the current pope, living today in the year 2016, then yes, you are correct.
"The bishops are not apostles." Correct again.
"The pope and the bishops do not possess apostolic authority or power. Therefore, Scripture is the highest authority in faith and morals..." Incorrect.
Again, you've ignored what I posted, and make an assertion without backing it up. As the Apostles successors, the bishops do indeed have apostolic authority, and the power to "bind and loose", again, as clearly seen in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. But regrettably, you won't recognize any authority outside of Scripture. You said "it alone was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit." Yea, you could make the argument that this was the only thing written by the Holy Spirit's inspiration, but then, we see that the Holy Spirit speaks through the successors of the Apostles through the promulgation of teaching through the Magisterium. The notion is quite Scriptural, as long as one does not overlook it:
"...I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever... the Spirit of truth, I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 16, 17- 24-26)
Tom, I can honestly say I would be scared to have your beliefs if I was living in the late first century. There was no Bible compiled at this time... not even all the New Testament books had yet been written! What authority what I have followed then? Especially if I was illiterate, as most people were in those days? This is why it is so important that we are united with the early Church on this issue; that we recognize the authority of Scripture, Tradition (capital T, from the Apostles), and the Magisterium. The Church is not fallible in her teachings regarding faith and morals, because Christ told us so. We've now steered far off course. There is still yet much to discuss regarding the Eucharist...