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St. Peter's Chair at Rome ^ | NA | Rev. Alban Butler

Posted on 02/22/2005 7:54:27 AM PST by Salvation

Feast: January 22
[See Phaebeus, de Cathedra in qua St. Petrus Rome sedit, & de antiquitate et praestantia solemnitatis Cathedrae Romanae. Romae 1666, 8vo., also Chatelain, Notes on the Martyrology, p. 326]

St Peter having triumphed over the devil in the East, pursued him to Rome in the person of Simon Magus. He who had formerly trembled at the voice of a poor maid now feared not the very throne of idolatry and superstition. The capital of the empire of the world, and the centre of impiety, called for the zeal of the prince of the apostles. God had established the Roman empire, and extended its dominion beyond that of any former monarchy, for the more easy propagation of his gospel. Its metropolis was of the greatest importance for this enterprise. St. Peter took that province upon himself; and repairing to Rome, there preached the faith and established his episcopal chair, whose <successors> the bishops of Rome have been accounted in all ages. That St. Peter founded that church by his <preaching> is expressly asserted by Caius,[1] a priest of Rome under Pope Zephyrinus; who relates also that his body was then on the Vatican Hill, and that of his fellow-labourer St. Paul on the Ostian Road. That he and St. Paul planted the faith at Rome, and were both crowned with martyrdom at the same time, is affirmed by Dionysius,[2] Bishop of Corinth, in the second age. St. Irenaeus,[3] who lived in the same age, calls the church at Rome "the greatest and most ancient church, founded by the two glorious apostles, Peter and Paul." Eusebius, in several places,[4] mentions St. Peter's being at Rome, and the several important translations of this apostle in that city. Not to mention Origen,[5] Hegesippus,[6] Arnobius,[7] St. Ambrose,[8] St. Austin,[9] St. Jerome,[10] St. Optatus,[11] Orosius,[12] and others on the same subject.[13] St. Cyprian[14] calls Rome the <chair> of St. Peter (as Theodoret[15] calls it his <throne>), which the general councils and ecclesiastical writers, through every age and on every occasion, repeat. That St. Peter at least preached in Rome, founded that church, and died there by martyrdom under Nero are facts the most incontestable by the testimony of all writers of different countries who lived near that time; persons of unquestionable veracity, and who could not but be informed of the truth in a point so interesting, and of its own nature so public and notorious, as to leave them no possibility of a mistake. This is also attested by monuments of every kind; also by the prerogatives, rights, and privileges which that church enjoyed from those early ages in consequence of this title.

It was an ancient custom, as Cardinal Baronius[16] and Thomassin[17] show by many examples, observed by churches to keep an annual festival of the consecration of their bishops. The feast of the chair of St. Peter is found in ancient Martyrologies, as in one under the name of St. Jerome, at Esternach, copied in the time of St. Willibrord, in 720. Christians justly celebrate the founding of this mother-church, the centre of catholic communion, in thanksgiving to God for his mercies on his church, and to implore his future blessings.

Christ has taught us, in the divine model of prayer which he has delivered to us, that we are bound to recommend to him, before all other things, the exaltation of his own honour and glory, and to beg that the kingdom of his holy grace and love be planted in all hearts. If we love God above all things, and with our whole hearts, or have any true charity for our neighbour, this will be the centre of all our desires, that God be loved and served by all his creatures, and that he be glorified, in the most perfect manner, in our own souls. By placing this at the head of our requests, we shall most strongly engage God to crown all our just and holy desires. As one of his greatest mercies to his church, we most earnestly beseech him to raise up in it zealous pastors, eminently replenished with his Spirit, with which he animated his apostles.


1 Apud Eus. lib. ii. c. 24, alias 25.

2 Apud Eus. lib. ii. c. 24, alias 25.

3 Lib. iii. c. 3.

4 Lib. ii. c. 13 and 15 &c.

5 Apud Eus. lib. iii. c. I.

6 Lib. de Excid. Hier. c. 1 and 3.

7 Lib. iii.

10 Lib. xvii ad. Marcell.

8 Ser. de Basilicis.

9 Lib. de Haeres. c. I, &c.

11 Adv. Parm.

12 Lib. vii. c. I

13 The general opinion with Eusebius, St. Jerome, and the Roman calendar fixes the first arrival of St. Peter at Rome in the second year of Claudius. If this date be true, the apostle returned into the East soon after; for he was imprisoned in Judea by Agrippa in the year of Christ 43. Lactantius does not mention this first coming of St. Peter to Rome, but only the second, saying that he came to Rome in the reign of Nero, who put him and St. Paul to death. Lib. de Mort. Persec. n. 2.

14 Ep. 55, ad Cornell pap. 16 Notae in Martyr.

15 Lib. ii. C. 17.

17 Tr. des Fetes, lib. ii. c. 10.

(Taken from Vol. IV of "The Lives or the Fathers, Martyrs and Other Principal Saints" by the Rev. Alban Butler.)

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For continuing discussion.

February 22 is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle

1 posted on 02/22/2005 7:54:33 AM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation
Apologetics 101 -- Great article -- Everyone needs to read this!!

Peter the Rock

One of the points I try to emphasize when giving a seminar is that you can begin to be an effective apologist right away; you don’t have to wait until you become a theological whiz. Just work with what you know, even if it’s only one fact.

I illustrate this from my own experience, and you can use this technique the next time you have verses thrown at you by an anti-Catholic.

Some years ago, before I took a real interest in reading the Bible, I tried to avoid missionaries who came to the door. I had been burned too often. Why open the door, or why prolong the conversation (if they caught me outside the house), when I had nothing to say?

Sure, I had a Bible. I used it perhaps the way you use yours today: to catch dust that otherwise would gather on the top shelf of the bookcase. It was one of those "family" Bibles, crammed with beautiful color plates and so heavy that my son didn’t outweigh it until he turned five.

As I said, I had a Bible, but I didn’t turn to it much; so I had little to say about the Bible when missionaries cornered me. I didn’t know to which verses I should refer when explaining the Catholic position.

For a layman, I suppose I was reasonably well informed about my faith—at least I never doubted it or ceased to practice it—but my own reading had not equipped me for verbal duels.

Then, one day, I came across a nugget of information that sent a shock wave through the next missionary who rang the bell and that proved to me that becoming skilled in apologetics isn’t really all that difficult. Here’s what happened.

When I answered the door, the lone missionary introduced himself as a Seventh-Day Adventist. He asked if he could "share" with me some insights from the Bible. I told him to go ahead.

He flipped from one page to another, quoting this verse and that, trying to demonstrate the errors of the Church of Rome and the manifest truth of his own denomination’s position.


Not much to say

Some of the verses I had encountered before. I wasn’t entirely illiterate with respect to the Bible, but many verses were new to me. Whether familiar or not, the verses elicited no response from me, because I didn’t know enough about the Bible to respond effectively.

Finally the missionary got to Matthew 16:18: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church."

"Hold it right there!" I said. "I know that verse. That’s where Jesus appointed Simon the earthly head of the Church. That’s where he appointed him the first pope." I paused and smiled broadly, knowing what the missionary would say in response.

I knew he usually didn’t get any defense of the Catholic position at all as he went door to door, but sometimes a Catholic would speak up as I had. He had a reply, and I knew what it would be, and I was ready for it.

"I understand your thinking," he said, "but you Catholics misunderstand this verse because you don’t know any Greek. That’s the trouble with your Church and with your scholars. You people don’t know the language in which the New Testament was written. To understand Matthew 16:18, we have to get behind the English to the Greek."

"Is that so?" I said, leading him on. I pretended to be ignorant of the trap being laid for me.

"Yes," he said. "In Greek, the word for rock is petra, which means a large, massive stone. The word used for Simon’s new name is different; it’s Petros, which means a little stone, a pebble."

In reality, what the missionary was telling me at this point was false. As Greek scholars—even non-Catholic ones—admit, the words petros and petra were synonyms in first century Greek. They meant "small stone" and "large rock" in some ancient Greek poetry, centuries before the time of Christ, but that distinction had disappeared from the language by the time Matthew’s Gospel was rendered in Greek. The difference in meaning can only be found in Attic Greek, but the New Testament was written in Koine Greek—an entirely different dialect. In Koine Greek, both petros and petra simply meant "rock." If Jesus had wanted to call Simon a small stone, the Greek lithos would have been used. The missionary’s argument didn’t work and showed a faulty knowledge of Greek. (For an Evangelical Protestant Greek scholar’s admission of this, see D. A. Carson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984], Frank E. Gaebelein, ed., 8:368).

"You Catholics," the missionary continued, "because you don’t know Greek, imagine that Jesus was equating Simon and the rock. Actually, of course, it was just the opposite. He was contrasting them. On the one side, the rock on which the Church would be built, Jesus himself; on the other, this mere pebble. Jesus was really saying that he himself would be the foundation, and he was emphasizing that Simon wasn’t remotely qualified to be it."

"Case closed," he thought.

It was the missionary’s turn to pause and smile broadly. He had followed the training he had been given. He had been told that a rare Catholic might have heard of Matthew 16:18 and might argue that it proved the establishment of the papacy. He knew what he was supposed to say to prove otherwise, and he had said it.

"Well," I replied, beginning to use that nugget of information I had come across, "I agree with you that we must get behind the English to the Greek." He smiled some more and nodded. "But I’m sure you’ll agree with me that we must get behind the Greek to the Aramaic."

"The what?" he asked.

"The Aramaic," I said. "As you know, Aramaic was the language Jesus and the apostles and all the Jews in Palestine spoke. It was the common language of the place."

"I thought Greek was."

"No," I answered. "Many, if not most of them, knew Greek, of course, because Greek was the lingua franca of the Mediterranean world. It was the language of culture and commerce; and most of the books of the New Testament were written in it, because they were written not just for Christians in Palestine but also for Christians in places such as Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, places where Aramaic wasn’t the spoken language.

"I say most of the New Testament was written in Greek, but not all. Many hold that Matthew was written in Aramaic—we know this from records kept by Eusebius of Caesarea—but it was translated into Greek early on, perhaps by Matthew himself. In any case the Aramaic original is lost (as are all the originals of the New Testament books), so all we have today is the Greek."

I stopped for a moment and looked at the missionary. He seemed a bit uncomfortable, perhaps doubting that I was a Catholic because I seemed to know what I was talking about. I continued.


Aramaic in the New Testament

"We know that Jesus spoke Aramaic because some of his words are preserved for us in the Gospels. Look at Matthew 27:46, where he says from the cross, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That isn’t Greek; it’s Aramaic, and it means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

"What’s more," I said, "in Paul’s epistles—four times in Galatians and four times in 1 Corinthians—we have the Aramaic form of Simon’s new name preserved for us. In our English Bibles it comes out as Cephas. That isn’t Greek. That’s a transliteration of the Aramaic word Kepha (rendered as Kephas in its Hellenistic form).

"And what does Kepha mean? It means a rock, the same as petra. (It doesn’t mean a little stone or a pebble. What Jesus said to Simon in Matthew 16:18 was this: ‘You are Kepha, and on this kepha I will build my Church.’

"When you understand what the Aramaic says, you see that Jesus was equating Simon and the rock; he wasn’t contrasting them. We see this vividly in some modern English translations, which render the verse this way: ‘You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church.’ In French one word, pierre, has always been used both for Simon’s new name and for the rock."

For a few moments the missionary seemed stumped. It was obvious he had never heard such a rejoinder. His brow was knit in thought as he tried to come up with a counter. Then it occurred to him.

"Wait a second," he said. "If kepha means the same as petra, why don’t we read in the Greek, ‘You are Petra, and on this petra I will build my Church’? Why, for Simon’s new name, does Matthew use a Greek word, Petros, which means something quite different from petra?"

"Because he had no choice," I said. "Greek and Aramaic have different grammatical structures. In Aramaic you can use kepha in both places in Matthew 16:18. In Greek you encounter a problem arising from the fact that nouns take differing gender endings.

"You have masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns. The Greek word petra is feminine. You can use it in the second half of Matthew 16:18 without any trouble. But you can’t use it as Simon’s new name, because you can’t give a man a feminine name—at least back then you couldn’t. You have to change the ending of the noun to make it masculine. When you do that, you get Petros, which was an already-existing word meaning rock.

"I admit that’s an imperfect rendering of the Aramaic; you lose part of the play on words. In English, where we have ‘Peter’ and ‘rock,’ you lose all of it. But that’s the best you can do in Greek."

Beyond the grammatical evidence, the structure of the narrative does not allow for a downplaying of Peter’s role in the Church. Look at the way Matthew 16:15-19 is structured. After Peter gives a confession about the identity of Jesus, the Lord does the same in return for Peter. Jesus does not say, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are an insignificant pebble and on this rock I will build my Church. . . . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Jesus is giving Peter a three-fold blessing, including the gift of the keys to the kingdom, not undermining his authority. To say that Jesus is downplaying Peter flies in the face of the context. Jesus is installing Peter as a form of chief steward or prime minister under the King of Kings by giving him the keys to the kingdom. As can be seen in Isaiah 22:22, kings in the Old Testament appointed a chief steward to serve under them in a position of great authority to rule over the inhabitants of the kingdom. Jesus quotes almost verbatum from this passage in Isaiah, and so it is clear what he has in mind. He is raising Peter up as a father figure to the household of faith (Is. 22:21), to lead them and guide the flock (John 21:15-17). This authority of the prime minister under the king was passed on from one man to another down through the ages by the giving of the keys, which were worn on the shoulder as a sign of authority. Likewise, the authority of Peter has been passed down for 2000 years by means of the papacy.


My turn to pause

I stopped and smiled. The missionary smiled back uncomfortably, but said nothing. We exchanged smiles for about thirty seconds. Then he looked at his watch, noticed how time had flown, and excused himself. I never saw him again.

So what came of this encounter? Two things—one for me, one for him.

I began to develop a sense of confidence. I began to see that I could defend my faith if I engaged in a little homework. The more homework, the better the defense.

I realized that any literate Catholic—including you—could do the same. You don’t have to suspect your faith might be untrue when you can’t come up with an answer to a pointed question.

Once you develop a sense of confidence, you can say to yourself, "I may not know the answer to that, but I know I could find the answer if I hit the books. The answer is there, if only I spend the time to look for it."

And what about the missionary? Did he go away with anything? I think so. I think he went away with a doubt regarding his understanding (or lack of understanding) of Catholics and the Catholic faith. I hope his doubt has since matured into a sense that maybe, just maybe, Catholics have something to say on behalf of their religion and that he should look more carefully into the Faith he once so confidently opposed.

—Karl Keating

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004



Interested in reading more about Peter and the Papacy? Check out these wonderful titles from the Church History and Church Fathers section of our online Catalogue (links open in a new window):


Peter and the Papacy

2 posted on 02/22/2005 7:57:17 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
ancient statue of St Peter enthroned, at the Vatican. It is customary to kiss the foot of the statue and the right foot of St Peter is worn away from centuries of kisses, as you can see in this picture.
3 posted on 02/22/2005 8:26:21 AM PST by sassbox
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To: Salvation

Bump! This is quite informative.

4 posted on 02/22/2005 8:44:38 AM PST by FourtySeven (47)
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To: sassbox

Thanks for that picture!

5 posted on 02/22/2005 8:56:21 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: FourtySeven

I lovoed it too!

6 posted on 02/22/2005 8:56:38 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

As I point out to folks evangelical protestants should not be afraid or embarrassed to see Peter as the "rock" mentioned in Matthew 16:18. It is quite in keeping with the idea of the apostles and prophets as the foundations of the church, Jesus Christ being "the chief cornerstone." (cf. Eph. 2:20; Rev. 21:14) After all, the error is not with those who read the word of God and seek to understand by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The embarrassment should be with those who over the centuries have embellished the place of Peter in the church without biblical warrant. They ought to be embarrassed who have added human traditions to the clear word of God and created from Peter and his "succsssors" a continuum of demigods unrecognizable to Christ's true disciples.

7 posted on 02/22/2005 9:20:59 AM PST by topcat54
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To: Salvation

Ya gotta love someone whose idea of evangelizing is attacking someone's faith. It ain't easy, but ya gotta.

8 posted on 02/22/2005 11:34:09 AM PST by dangus
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To: topcat54

Yeah Where did we ever get those wacky embellishments from.

Oh, that's right. Right here:

"That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Catholicism. Home of the true "bible Christians."

9 posted on 02/22/2005 11:39:32 AM PST by dangus
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To: topcat54

Yeah Where did we ever get those wacky embellishments from.

Oh, that's right. Right here:

"That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Catholicism. Home of the true "bible Christians."

10 posted on 02/22/2005 11:41:03 AM PST by dangus
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To: dangus
Oh, that's right. Right here:

You mean to say you see apostolic succession, papal infallility, and a host of other noxious dogmas in that one simple statement? Hardly.

11 posted on 02/22/2005 1:18:31 PM PST by topcat54
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To: topcat54

Papal infallibility, absolutely!

What part of "Whatever you declare bound on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; whetever you declare loosed on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven" don't you understand?

As for apostolic succession, the role of a Regent is to remain in office until the King returns. It doesn't do much good to appoint a regent when the King will be gone for thousands of years, but the Regent will also be gone in a few short years. Power to confer a successor regent until the return of the King is part of what being a regent is.

How useless a regent would be if, once he were killed, there would be no one to rule the Kingdom? And why bother reporting that the office of regent was established, if it were quickly to be disbanded? Indeed, we do see that when the apostles lost one of their members, they did choose a successor. If anything, we need a Regent 2,000 years later far more desperately than the early Christian communities did. Thank God we have one!

12 posted on 02/22/2005 1:54:55 PM PST by dangus
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To: dangus

**Catholicism. Home of the true "bible Christians."**


13 posted on 02/22/2005 2:32:19 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: dangus
An excellent sermon on this subject:

Tuesday February 22, 2005   Chair of Saint Peter

Reading (1 Peter 5:1-4)  Gospel (St. Matthew 16:13-19)

 Today as we celebrate the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, it is really not a matter of a physical chair but rather it is the recognition of the authority and the power that Jesus has given to Saint Peter as the head of the Church. You recall that whenever a rabbi would sit down that meant the teaching he was about to impart was with authority. If he was standing up, that meant it was just his own opinion and nobody needed to listen to him. That is why in the Gospels over and over again we are told that Jesus sat down and began to teach. It does not seem to make any sense to us why the evangelists would tell us that He was sitting down, except for the fact that implies to us that what He was about to say was with authority.

 Now the authority of Saint Peter we recognize very clearly in what Our Lord says to him, that it is upon Peter that Jesus is going to build His Church. He gives to him the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the keys being the symbol of the prime minister, of the authority of one who has complete authority to run the kingdom of God on this earth; and then tells Peter the extent of the authority that is given to him: Whatever you hold bound on earth will be held bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. In other words, God is going to make Himself obedient to this man, which is an absolutely astounding point, except for the fact that God is also going to give to Peter His Holy Spirit so that Peter will not be able to lead the Church into error. Therefore, of course, God Who is perfect and cannot err and cannot lead into error is not going to be held bound to something which is not true. So in this case we have the guarantee of the truth that is going to come forth from the formal teachings of the Holy Father. What a great blessing that is for all of us, that we can have an objective source we can look to, that we can know we are on the right track. As long as we are in union with the See of Peter, then we know we are in good order.

But we also need to recognize what Peter understood, that this authority was given to him by Christ as authority to serve, not as power to keep people under thumb. It is not something which is given as a personal thing to be able to say, “Here, you have all kinds of power and you can lord it over the people,” but rather, “I’m giving you this authority in order to serve the people.” And that is precisely what Saint Peter is telling us in the first reading, that those who share in the shepherding task have to give – to serve – the people willfully, and that they are not to be doing this for any kind of profit, they are not to be doing it for any kind of power trip, but rather they are to do it to serve so that the reward they will receive will come from the Shepherd Who came to serve and not to be served. He is the example that all of the shepherds are to follow.

This certainly is true for all of those who share in the shepherding task within the Church. It is also true for all those to whom God entrusts the souls of His little lambs, for every parent. As parents, you are given immense authority by God. It is not power to lord over the children; it is authority to serve the children. And that authority is given not only to serve them in the sense of taking care of their needs, but to discipline them and to do whatever is necessary for the good of the child, not for one’s own pride or power trip or anything else.  

So the same principle is maintained from the highest office in the Church down to what one might consider even the more menial things in life – it matters not – all are given the authority to serve, which is why one of the Holy Father’s titles is Servus Servorum Dei (that is, the “Servant of the Servants of God”) because he is the one who is the highest; he is the one, as Jesus Himself tells us in the Gospel, who must serve the rest. All of us are servants of God, and the Holy Father is the Servant of the Servants of God. He is given this immense authority to the obedience of God Himself so that he can serve the needs of the people of the Church, and that as a good and true shepherd he will lead us to our One True Shepherd and bring us to the eternity which is promised to us if we are obedient, if we follow our Good Shepherd. And we will have union with Him, then, forever.

 *  This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.

14 posted on 02/22/2005 3:10:04 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
American Cathlic's Saint of the Day


February 22, 2005
Chair of Peter the Apostle

This feast commemorates Christ’s choosing Peter to sit in his place as the servant-authority of the whole Church (see June 29).

After the “lost weekend” of pain, doubt and self-torment, Peter hears the Good News. Angels at the tomb say to Magdalene, “The Lord has risen! Go, tell his disciples and Peter.” John relates that when he and Peter ran to the tomb, the younger outraced the older, then waited for him. Peter entered, saw the wrappings on the ground, the headpiece rolled up in a place by itself. John saw and believed. But he adds a reminder: “..[T]hey did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead” (John 20:9). They went home. There the slowly exploding, impossible idea became reality. Jesus appeared to them as they waited fearfully behind locked doors. “Peace be with you,” he said (John 20:21b), and they rejoiced.

The Pentecost event completed Peter’s experience of the risen Christ. “...[T]hey were all filled with the holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4a) and began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them.

Only then can Peter fulfill the task Jesus had given him: “... [O]nce you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). He at once becomes the spokesman for the Twelve about their experience of the Holy Spirit—before the civil authorities who wished to quash their preaching, before the council of Jerusalem, for the community in the problem of Ananias and Sapphira. He is the first to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. The healing power of Jesus in him is well attested: the raising of Tabitha from the dead, the cure of the crippled beggar. People carry the sick into the streets so that when Peter passed his shadow might fall on them.

Even a saint experiences difficulty in Christian living. When Peter stopped eating with Gentile converts because he did not want to wound the sensibilities of Jewish Christians, Paul says, “...I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.... [T]hey were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel...” (Galatians 2:11b, 14a).

At the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus says to Peter, “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18). What Jesus said indicated the sort of death by which Peter was to glorify God. On Vatican Hill, in Rome, during the reign of Nero, Peter did glorify his Lord with a martyr’s death, probably in the company of many Christians.


Like the committee chair, this chair refers to the occupant, not the furniture. Its first occupant stumbled a bit, denying Jesus three times and hesitating to welcome gentiles into the new Church. Some of its later occupants have also stumbled a bit, sometimes even failed scandalously. As individuals, we may sometimes think a particular pope has let us down. Still, the office endures as a sign of the long tradition we cherish and as a focus for the universal Church.


Peter described our Christian calling in the opening of his First Letter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...” (1 Peter 1:3a).

15 posted on 02/22/2005 3:15:02 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: dangus
Papal infallibility, absolutely!

What part of "Whatever you declare bound on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; whetever you declare loosed on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven" don't you understand?

How odd that the infallible pope never infallibly declared this reading of Matthew 16, but rather left it to a sectarian council 1800 years later to legitimize the idea.

"Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself, or desires to be called, Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others." - Gregory I

16 posted on 02/22/2005 3:28:27 PM PST by topcat54
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To: Coleus
"That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


17 posted on 02/22/2005 3:30:05 PM PST by Clemenza (Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms: The Other Holy Trinity)
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To: topcat54

Typical backwards thinking. Liberals in the RCC and agnostics are always trying to claim that the Church never infallibly said this or that until such-and-such a time; one cuold hardly fault a Protestant for failing to understand the way that doctrinal assertion works.

The assertion of papal infallibility in Vatican I was not the invention of new papal powers. The church's position had always been (and still is) that all papal decrees must be obeyed by the faithful. That is the TEMPORAL power of the Pope as prince of the Church. Just as citizens must obey the law, even when it is imprudent, Catholics must accept the authority of the Pope.

There were, however, certain instances when history demonstrated that the Pope had imprudently excercised his temporal power. What Vatican I contained, therefore, was not an expansion of Papal power (or a limiting of it), but rather an explanation of when a Papal decision stems from his temporal power as prince of the Church, or from his eternal authority as successor to St. Peter. He must be obeyed, in either event; the distinction is whether theologians and bishops can faithfully suggest alternative policy.

18 posted on 02/22/2005 4:29:44 PM PST by dangus
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To: topcat54

Oh, and, um, don't think I didn't notice that you shifted from refuting the claim on its own merits to making historical assertions against it. As a sola-scriptura kinda guy, that's a no-no. If you were correct - and you're not - all you would prove is that the Church had been remiss in failing to make a valid argument in a timely manner.

19 posted on 02/22/2005 4:35:03 PM PST by dangus
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To: dangus
Here's a simple explanation from another thread:

February 22, 2005

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

The feast of the Chair of St. Peter honors the unity of the Church and recognizes apostolic succession.

In pagan Rome, today would have been Ancestors’ Day when people remembered their parents and others who had died. The Christians in Rome began to mark this day in memory of St. Peter, their “founding father” and the first Bishop of Rome.

Why the Chair of St. Peter? Teachers and judges traditionally exercised their office seated. Thus, Peter’s chair became a symbol of authority.

The Jewish religious leaders said that, in an unbroken line going back to Moses, they received divine revelation and the authority to interpret it. The Chair of Moses is an image of this teaching authority. It became customary in some synagogues to have an actual chair symbolizing this.

* * *

The Chair of Peter is a theological expression of the teaching authority of the Pope. The Latin word for “chair is “cathedra”. Thus, when the Pope exercises his full teaching authority, he is said to speak “ex cathedra” (“from the chair”.)

* * *

The same Latin word is the root of cathedral. A church is so named because it is the bishop’s church, and a bishop is the chief teacher in his diocese.

20 posted on 02/22/2005 5:13:28 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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