What did St Patrick really believe?
For Transcript of Part 1 click here
Romanism was not known in Ireland at the time of Patrick. Rome can hardly with justification make a claim on Patrick when history teaches us that Romanism itself was not established in Ireland to many years after Patrick lived. In fact the Papacy was only developing on the continent of Europe at the time of Patrick and not fully developed there until c.a. 600 AD.
Biblical Christianity had come to Britain with the serving soldiers of the invading Roman armies. The Roman armies left in 410 AD. Romanism only came to Britain with Augustine arrival at Canterbury in 597 AD, at least 100 yrs. after Patrick’s death. The story is told of Augustine’s attempt at bringing the Celtic Church under his and Rome’s control. The Celtic representatives had previously decided that whether Augustine rose up from his seat when meeting them would indicate whether they were meeting as equals or not. Needless to say he did not rise to meet the Celtic representatives so they wanted nothing to do with him.
Romanism only came to Ireland around 1100 AD when Pope Adrian give Ireland as a dowry to the then English King to subdue and bring under the control of Rome.
Patrick never claimed Papal authority. In his confession which exists to this day we have in some detail the circumstances under which he came to Ireland. There is not a word said about either Rome or the Pope. An omission which would be simply inconceivable if he had been an emissary of the pope. With the success that he enjoyed surely Rome would have taken credit if she had sent him. Many letters of Pope Leo I from 440-461 are extant yet say nothing about Ireland and Patrick. He himself never appeals to any papal commission when his authority was challenged.
He was ‘Presbyterian’ in Church order. Patrick ordained bishops in every Church he founded. Some say it was 365 churches, others that it was 700 churches he founded. Whatever the total it is undenialable that for every church Patrick founded he ordained bishops. This Presbyterianism not Prelacy or Popery.
No mention of the other tenets of Romanism. In Patrick's writings there is no mention whatsoever of auricular confession, purgatory, the honour of Mary, the mass or any anointing of the dead or any other distinctive Roman Catholic doctrine.
He never was primate of Ireland. It is well known that neither in Patrick’s day or for hundreds of years afterwards was there any such person as either an archbishop or bishop of Armagh. Even Episcopalian writers acknowledge this.
One thing we can be absolutely sure about regarding Patrick - He was no Romanist!
To be continued