Absentis: St Peter, the Disputed Site of His Burial Place and the Apostolic Succession
This was not an easy book to write because, for many people, it may contradict their long-held beliefs. Intense feelings are invoked in almost all discussions of biblical interpretation. Catholics will probably accuse the author of trying to take Rome out of Roman Catholicism. In a more simplistic sense it might be likened to spitefully informing a minor that there is no Santa Claus. Worse, it is purports to suggest that over a billion people are wrong in their beliefs and the author is right. Perhaps, it might be argued, it would be better if the subject matter, which may be harmless tradition and an edifying myth, is best left undisturbed. After all, it is always possible we are missing one vital piece of information that would prove the Catholic Church was correct all along in believing that St Peter was martyred in Rome. However, the facts would seem to suggest strongly otherwise. Then there is the matter of the belief in a continuing apostolic succession which is exceptionally difficult to prove (unless the unsatisfactory defense is tradition and blind faith). Thus the battleground of this contentious enquiry rests mainly on tradition and faith versus (only partially verifiable) facts. So, in the end, it is doubtful the enquiry will change many minds. But, if it states its case, pro and con, honestly enough to let people judge for themselves, then that is probably sufficient.
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accept Alexandria Antioch antipope apostle Peter apostles apostolic succession appointed archaeologists Asia Minor Avignon Babylon believe Benedict Bible bishop of Rome bones of St burial Byzantine canon cardinals Catholic Encyclopedia Christ Christendom church Fathers Church of Rome claim Clement Corinth Council of Chalcedon Council of Constantinople Council of Nicaea Crusades death doctrine early Christian early church Eastern Church Eastern Orthodox Church Ecumenical Council epistles Eusebius evidence excommunicated faith Gentiles Greek heresy Holy Spirit Irenaeus James Jerusalem Jesus Jewish Jews Judea later Latin Church leader Linus martyrdom martyred Nicene ossuary papacy papal patriarch Paul’s persecution Peter and Paul Peter in Rome Peter was buried Peter’s Basilica Peterson pontiff Pope John Pope John XII Pope Leo pope’s priests primacy Protestants relics religion Roman Church Roman Empire Roman pope Rome’s sacked Saint Peter’s Basilica Schism Second Council successor suggest Testament theologians theology tradition Vatican Council visited Rome Western writing