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Reflections: Vatican View (St. Peter)

Papal Tiara & Keys

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The Church Rests on St. Peter

The Martyrdom of St. Peter

St. Peter, the First Pope

 

Category
Quotation

The Church Rests on St. Peter

Also See: St. Peter (Topic Page)

"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter said in reply, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt. 16:13-19)

"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He then said to him a second time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' (Jesus) said to him, 'Feed my sheep.'" (Jn. 21:15-17)

"[On] this See of Peter...rests the entire structure of our most holy religion." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)

"Away with jealousy of the Roman preeminence, away with ambition!…I follow no one as chief save Christ but I am joined in communion with your blessedness, that is, with the See of Peter. Upon that rock I know the Church is built." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"The eternal shepherd and guardian of our souls, in order to render permanent the saving work of redemption, determined to build a church in which, as in the house of the living God, all the faithful should be linked by the bond of one faith and charity. Therefore, before he was glorified, he besought his Father, not for the apostles only, but also for those who were to believe in him through their word, that they all might be one as the Son himself and the Father are one. So then, just as he sent apostles, whom he chose out of the world, even as he had been sent by the Father, in like manner it was his will that in his church there should be shepherds and teachers until the end of time. In order, then, that the episcopal office should be one and undivided and that, by the union of the clergy, the whole multitude of believers should be held together in the unity of faith and communion, he set blessed Peter over the rest of the apostles and instituted in him the permanent principle of both unities and their visible foundation. Upon the strength of this foundation was to be built the eternal temple, and the church whose topmost part reaches heaven was to rise upon the firmness of this foundation." (First Vatican Council)

"Jesus was one day, previous to his Passion, in the country of Cesarea Philippi; his Apostles were standing around him, and he began questioning them about what they thought of him. One of them, Simon the son of John or Jonas, and brother to Andrew, answered in the name of all, and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God! Jesus expressed his pleasure at receiving Simon's testimony, which was not the result of any human knowledge, but the expression of a divine revelation there and then granted to him; and he immediately told this Apostle that from that time forward he was to be, not Simon but Peter (which means rock). Christ has been spoken of by the prophets under the name of a Rock, or a Stone; by thus solemnly conferring upon his disciple a title so characteristically that of the Messias, Jesus would give us to understand that Simon was to have something in common with himself which the other Apostles were not to have. After saying to him: 'Thou art Peter' (that is, thou art the rock), he added: 'And upon this rock I will build my Church.' Let us weigh the force of these words of the Son of God: I will build my Church. He has, then, a project in view - he intends to build a Church. It is not now that he will build it, but at some future period; but one thing we already know as a certainty - is that this Church will be built on Peter. Peter will be its foundation; and whosoever is not on that foundation will not belong to the Church. Let us again give ear to the text: And the gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church. In scriptural language gates signify powers: the Church of Christ, therefore, is to be proof against all the efforts of hell. And why? Because the foundation which Jesus is to give to it shall be one that no power can shake. The Son of God continues: And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. In the language of the Jews, keys signify the power of governing; and in the Gospel Parables the kingdom of heaven is the Church built by Christ. By saying to Peter (which is henceforth to be Simon's name), I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus implied this: 'I will make thee the King of my Church, of which thou art to be the foundation!' Nothing could be clearer." (Gueranger)

"Certainly Christ is a King for ever; and though invisible, He continues unto the end of time to govern and guard His Church from Heaven. But since He willed that His kingdom should be visible He was obliged, when He ascended into Heaven, to designate a vice-regent on earth. 'Should anyone say that Christ is the one head and the one shepherd, the one spouse of the one Church, he does not give an adequate reply. It is clear, indeed, that Christ is the author of grace in the Sacraments of the Church; it is Christ Himself who baptizes; it is He who forgives sins; it is He who is the true priest who hath offered Himself upon the altar of the cross, and it is by His power that His body is daily consecrated upon the altar; and still, because He was not to be visibly present to all the faithful, He made choice of ministers through whom the aforesaid Sacraments should be dispensed to the faithful as said above' (cap. 74). 'For the same reason, therefore, because He was about to withdraw His visible presence from the Church, it was necessary that He should appoint someone in His place, to have the charge of the Universal Church. Hence before His Ascension He said to Peter: 'Feed my sheep' ' (St. Thomas, Contra Gentiles, lib. iv., cap. 76). Jesus Christ, therefore, appointed Peter to be that head of the Church; and He also determined that the authority instituted in perpetuity for the salvation of all should be inherited by His successors, in whom the same permanent authority of Peter himself should continue. And so He made that remarkable promise to Peter and to no one else: 'Thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church' (Matt. xvi., 18)... From this text it is clear that by the will and command of God the Church rests upon St. Peter, just as a building rests on its foundation. Now the proper nature of a foundation is to be a principle of cohesion for the various parts of the building. It must be the necessary condition of stability and strength. Remove it and the whole building falls. It is consequently the office of St. Peter to support the Church, and to guard it in all its strength and indestructible unity. How could he fulfill this office without the power of commanding, forbidding, and judging, which is properly called jurisdiction? It is only by this power of jurisdiction that nations and commonwealths are held together. A primacy of honor and the shadowy right of giving advice and admonition, which is called direction, could never secure to any society of men unity or strength." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Also See: St. Peter, the First Pope | Necessity of a Teaching Authority | The Papacy is Indestructible / Perpetual | Papal Primacy / Supremacy | History | No Authority Not Emanating From the Holy See / Christ | Preservation of Truth / Unity | The Visible Church | Vatican Facts

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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The Martyrdom of St. Peter

Also See: St. Peter (Topic Page)

[Jesus said:] "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.' He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, 'Follow me.'" (Jn. 21:18-19)

"That is, [he, Peter] shall be crucified. And to come to this end, Another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not (Jn. 21:18). First He said what would come to pass, secondly, how it would come to pass. For it was not when crucified, but when about to be crucified, that he was led where he would not. He wished to be released from the body, and be with Christ; but, if it were possible, he wished to attain to eternal life without the pains of death; to which he went against his will, but conquered by the force of his will, and triumphing over the human feeling, so natural a one, that even old age could not deprive Peter of it. But whatever be the pain of death, it ought to be conquered by the strength of love for Him, Who being our life, voluntarily also underwent death for us. For if there is no pain in death, or very little, the glory of martyrdom would not be great." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"When Peter the apostle was being led to the cross, filled with great joy he exclaimed: I am not worthy to be so fixed upon the cross as was my Lord, who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, whereas he formed me out of the slime of the earth; even so should my cross point my head downwards to the earth. Therefore did they reverse the cross, and crucify his feet upwards and his hands downwards. Whilst Peter was hanging on the cross, a crowd gathered around him, cursing Caesar and making much wailing before the cross. Peter exhorted them from the cross, saying: 'Weep not, but rejoice with me, because this day I go to prepare a place for you.' And when he had said this, he added: 'I give thanks to thee, O good Shepherd, because the sheep that thou didst confide to me suffer together with me: Lo! Now I beseech thee that they may be participators with me also in thy grace for ever.'" (Antiphon)

"The moment for entering into this same glory [of martyrdom] came at last for Peter himself. 'When thou shalt be old,' his Master had mysteriously said to him, 'thou shalt stretch forth thy hands and another shall gird thee, and lead thee wither thou wouldst not.' So Peter was to attain an advanced age; like his Master, he must stretch forth his arms upon a cross; he must know captivity and the weight of chains with which a foreigner's hand will load him; he must be subjected to death, in its violent form, from which nature recoils, and drink the chalice from which even his divine Master himself prayed to be spared. But, like his Master also, he will arise strong in the divine aid and will press forward to the cross... On the day fixed by God's decree, pagan power gave orders for the apostle's arrest. Details are wanting as to the judicial procedure which followed, but the constant tradition of the Roman Church is that he was incarcerated in the Mamertine prison. By this name is known the dungeon constructed at the foot of the Capitoline hill by Ancus Martius, and afterwards completed by Servius Tullius, whence it is also called Carcer Tullianus. Two outer staircases, called 'the steps of sights,' let to this frightful den. An upper dungeon gave immediate entrance to that which was to receive the prisoner and never to deliver him up alive, unless he were destined to a public execution. To be put into this horrible place, he had to be let down by cords, through an opening above, and by the same was he finally drawn up again, whether dead or alive. The vaulting of this lower dungeon was high, and its darkness was utter and horrible, so that it was an easy task to guard a captive detained there, especially if he were laden with chains. On the twenty-ninth of June, in the year sixty-seven, Peter was at length drawn up to be led to death. According to Roman law, he must first be subjected to the scourge, the usual prelude to capital punishment. An escort of soldiers conducted the apostle to his place of martyrdom, outside the city walls, as the laws required. Peter was marched to execution, followed by a large number of the faithful, drawn by affection along his path, and for his sake defying every peril... There is something supremely grand in the taking possession of these places by the Vicar of the Man-God. The apostle, having reached the spot and come up to the instrument of death, implored of his executioners to set him thereon, not in the usual way, but head downwards, in order, said he, that the servant be not seen in the position once taken by the Master. His request was granted; and Christian tradition, in all ages, renders testimony to this act which adds further evidence to the deep humility of so great an apostle. Peter, with outstretched arms, prayed for the city, prayed for the whole world, while his blood flowed down upon that Roman soil, the conquest of which he had just achieved. At this moment Rome became for ever the new Jerusalem. When the apostle had gone through the whole round of his sufferings, he expired; but he was to live again in each one of his successors to the end of time." (Liturgical Year)

Also See: History | St. Peter, the First Pope | Rome / Italy / The Vatican | The Papacy is Indestructible / Perpetual | The Church Rests on St. Peter | Vatican Facts | Saints Section

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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St. Peter, the First Pope

Also See: St. Peter (Topic Page)

"Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, 'You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas' (which is translated Peter)." (Jn. 1:42)

"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter said in reply, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt. 16:13-19)

"Because [Peter] alone of all of them professed (Christ) he was placed above all." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"Where Peter is, there is the Church." ("Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia") (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.) [Latin / English] 

"[H]e who is with Peter, is with Jesus." (Gueranger)

"Peter, the leader of the choir, the mouth of all the apostles, the head of that tribe, the ruler of the whole world, the foundation, of the Church, the ardent lover of Christ." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Whatsoever on earth he may with fetters bind shall in heaven be all tightly bound; and what, on earth, by his free will, he may loose, shall be loosed in heaven. At the end of the world, judge he be of all the universe." (Poem, Liturgical Year)

"[L]et it not be said, or thought, that this ministry of Peter finishes with his life on earth. That which is given as the support of a Church which is to last for ever, can never be taken away. Peter will live in his successors; Peter will speak, in his Chair, to the end of time." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Just as the Lord enjoined the care of His whole flock, that is the Church, on blessed Peter, so Peter rightfully commands those shepherds of the Church who succeed him to guard the flock of God which has been committed to each one with careful governance." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Contemplate God the Word, the Stone divinely cut in gold, upon which being firmly fixed I cannot be shaken. (Deum Verbum intuemini auro divinitus sculptam petram in qua stabilitus non concutior)" (Inscription, Ancient Statue of St. Peter) [Latin / English]

"He who denied and loved, died in perfect love for Him, for Whom he had promised to die with wrong haste. It was necessary that Christ should first die for Peter's salvation, and then Peter die for Christ's Gospel." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is to Peter himself that He says: 'You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.' Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church, no death is there, but life eternal." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, circa 385 A.D.)

"The dinner being ended, He commits to Peter the superintendence over the sheep of the world, not to the others: So when they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, Do love you Me more than these do?" (St. Theophylact)

CONDEMNED Error of John Hus: "Peter neither was nor is the head of the Holy Catholic Church." (This error was condemned by the Council of Constance)

"Grand indeed is the work assigned to Peter. Though fellow-laborers have been joined to him in this divine enterprise, yet does he preside over them all as their undisputed head, as master of the ship where Jesus commands in person, and directs all the operations to be done for the world's salvation." (Liturgical Year)

"This confession of Peter (Mt. 16:16) met a worthy reward, for that he had seen the Son of God in the man. Whence it follows, Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonas, and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

"When the Lord inquires concerning the opinion of the multitudes, all the disciples answer; but when all the disciples are asked, Peter as the mouth and head of the Apostles answers for all, as it follows, Simon Peter answered and said, you are Christ, the Son of the living God. (Mt. 16:16)" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Then He speaks of another honor of Peter, when He adds, 'And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven' (Mt. 16:18) ; as much as to say, As the Father has given you to know Me, I also will give something to you, namely, the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"[Peter] is blessed, because to have looked and to have seen beyond human sight is matter of praise, not beholding that which is of flesh and blood, but seeing the Son of God by the revelation of the heavenly Father; and he was held worthy to be the first to acknowledge the divinity which was in Christ. (Mt. 16:16)" (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

"How sweet the voice of Jesus, to Simon the prince, when of the priesthood he said: 'Behold, I appoint thee over all my house, and to thee I commit my heavenly treasure, they keys likewise of the high places and of the abyss. What thou dost bind, that do I bind also; what thou dost loose, that do I loose together with thee; if thou pray for sinners, thou shalt be heard." (Prayer of the Night Office)

"O foundation of the Church blessed in calling him by this new name, O rock worthy to be built upon, which will dissolve the laws of hell, the gates of Tartarus, and all the bonds of death! O blessed doorkeeper of heaven, to whose judgment the keys of access to eternity are committed, whose earthly sentence is binding authority in heaven." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

"It is evident to all who know the gospel that the charge of the whole Church was committed to St. Peter, the Apostle and Prince of all the Apostles, by the word of the Lord... Behold! he hath received the keys of the heavenly kingdom - the power of binding and loosing is conferred upon him: the care of the whole government of the Church is confided to him" (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Peter is made the foundation, because he says: Thou art Christ, the Son of the Living God; and hears in reply that he is a rock. But although a rock, he is not such a rock as Christ; for Christ is truly an immovable rock, but Peter, only by virtue of that rock. For Jesus bestows His dignities on others; he is a priest, and He makes priests; a rock, and He makes a rock; what belongs to Himself, He bestows on His servants." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"For, in fact, the Church is not merely an edifice, the duration of which is eternal: she is moreover a family, a sheepfold; and therefore our Lord, wishing to leave to his work a triple guarantee when quitting this world, exacted of the chosen one, to whom he would confide all, a triple affirmation of love before investing him with this sublime office, saying: 'Feed my sheep' (Jn. xxi.)." (Liturgical Year)

"['He says to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things you know that I love you. Jesus says to him, Feed my sheep.' (Jn. 21:17)] A third time He asks the same question, and gives the same command; to show of what importance He esteems the superintendence of His own sheep, and how He regards it as the greatest proof of love to Him." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"For as with a zeal beyond the others he had confessed the King of heaven, [Peter] is deservedly entrusted more than the others with the keys of the heavenly kingdom, that it might be clear to all, that without that confession and faith none ought to enter the kingdom of heaven. By the keys of the kingdom He means discernment and power; power, by which he binds and looses; discernment, by which he separates the worthy from the unworthy." (Bl. Rabanus Maurus)

"But in this bestowing of a new name [on Simon, i.e. Peter, 'Rock'] is a happy foundation of the Church, and a rock worthy of that building, which should break up the laws of hell, burst the gates of Tartarus, and all the shackles of death. And to show the firmness of this Church thus built upon a rock, He adds, And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

"['He says to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Love you me? And he said to him, Lord, you know all things you know that I love you. Jesus says to him, Feed my sheep.' (Jn. 21:17)] He was grieved because he was asked so often by Him Who knew what He asked, and gave the answer. He replies therefore from his inmost heart; you know that I love You." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"No one can doubt, nay, it is known to all the ages, that holy and blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation-stone of the Catholic Church, received from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, the keys of the kingdom, and that the power of binding and loosing sins was given to him; and that he continues to live and exercise judgement even to this day in the person of his successors." (Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.)

"While our Lord was being condemned to death, [Peter] feared, and denied Him. But by His resurrection Christ implanted love in his heart, and drove away fear. Peter denied, because he feared to die: but when our Lord was risen from the dead, and by His death destroyed death, what should he fear? He says to Him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love You. On this confession of his love, our Lord commends His sheep to him: He says to him, Feed My lambs, as if there were no way of Peter's showing his love for Him, but by being a faithful shepherd, under the chief Shepherd." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"What had the Son of God in view when he promised the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter alone? Biblical usage and the unanimous teaching of the Fathers clearly show that supreme authority is designated in the passage by the word keys. Nor is it lawful to interpret in a different sense what was given to Peter alone, and what was given to the other Apostles conjointly with him. If the power of binding, loosening, and feeding confers upon each and every one of the Bishops the successors of the Apostles a real authority to rule the people committed to him, certainly the same power must have the same effect in his case to whom the duty of feeding the lambs and sheep has been assigned by God." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"Should anyone object that the Church is content with one Head and one Spouse, Jesus Christ, and requires no other, the answer is obvious. For as we deem Christ not only the author of all the Sacraments, but also their invisible minister - He it is who baptizes, He it is who absolves, although men are appointed by Him the eternal ministers of the Sacraments - so has He placed over His Church, which He governs by His invisible Spirit, a man to be His vicar and the minister of His power. A visible Church requires a visible head; therefore the Savior appointed Peter head and pastor of all the faithful, when He committed to his care the feeding of all His sheep, in such ample terms that He willed the very same power of ruling and governing the entire Church to descend to Peter's successors." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Simon, My follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for Me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which My teaching flows, you are the chief of My disciples. Through you I will give drink to all peoples. Yours is that life-giving sweetness which I dispense. I have chosen you to be, as it were, the first-born in My institution, and so that, as the heir, you may be executor of my treasures. I have given you the keys of my kingdom. Behold, I have given you authority over all my treasures!" (St. Ephraim, 4th century A.D.)

"Sainted keeper of the keys of heaven! Raise us up by thy prayers, and lead us to the portals of the heavenly court. As thou didst wash away thy sin by penance and many tears; so we beseech thee, pray that our sins may be removed by reason of our life-long weeping. As thou wast loosened from thy chains by the Angel; so do thou set us free, tied as we are by the fetters of sin. O Rock immovable, and unshakable Pillar of the Church! Give us strength and courage, that no error may ever subvert our faith. Protect Rome, the city thou didst of old consecrate by thy blood; and grant thine assistance to all nations that confide in thee. Protect the countries of thy devout clients; shield them against contagion, and suffer not dissensions to sow discord among them. Destroy the plots laid for us by the old enemy; and restrain his ruthless wrath, lest he madly exult in our destruction. Supply us with strength when we are dying, against his fierce attacks, that so we may conquer in the last combat. Amen." (Hymn)

"This return Christ makes to the Apostle for the testimony which Peter had spoken concerning Him, 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God' (Mt. 16:16). The Lord said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jonas. Why? Because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father. That which flesh and blood could not reveal, was revealed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. By his confession then he obtains a title, which should signify that he had received a revelation from the Holy Spirit, whose son he shall also be called; for Bar-Jonas in our tongue signifies the son of a dove. Others take it in the simple sense, that Peter is the son of John, according to that question in another place, Simon, son of John, do you love me? affirming that it is an error of the copyists in writing here Bar-Jonas for Bar-joannas, dropping one syllable. Now Joanna is interpreted 'The grace of God.' But either name has its mystical interpretation; the dove signifies the Holy Spirit; and the grace of God signifies the spiritual gift." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Our Lord having made Peter declare his love, informs him of his future martyrdom; an intimation to us how we should love: 'Verily, verily, I say to you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked where you would.' He reminds him of his former life, because, whereas in worldly matters a young man has powers, an old man none; in spiritual things, on the contrary, virtue is brighter, manliness stronger, in old age; age is no hindrance to grace. Peter had all along desired to share Christ's dangers; so Christ tells him, Be of good cheer; I will fulfill your desire in such a way, that what you has not suffered when young, you shall suffer when old: But when you are old. Whence it appears, that he was then neither a young nor an old man, but in the prime of life." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"That which most of all attracts the Divine love is care and love for our neighbor. Our Lord passing by the rest, addresses this command to Peter: he being the chief of the Apostles, the mouth of the disciples, and head of the college. Our Lord remembers no more his sin in denying Him, or brings that as a charge against him, but commits to him at once the superintendence over his brethren. If you love Me, have rule over your brethren, show forth that love which you have evidenced throughout, and that life which you said you would lay down for Me, lay down for the sheep. He says to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? He says to Him, Yea, Lord; you know that I love You. Well does He say to Peter, Love you Me, and Peter answer, Amo Te, and our Lord replies again, Feed My lambs. Whereby, it appears that amor and dilectio are the same thing: especially as our Lord the third time He speaks does not say, Diligis Me, but Amas Me. He says to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? A third time our Lord asks Peter whether he loves Him. Three confessions are made to answer to the three denials; that the tongue might show as much love as it had fear, and life gained draw out the voice as much as death threatened." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"The dispensation of Truth therefore abides, and the blessed Peter persevering in the strength of the Rock, which he has received, has not abandoned the helm of the Church, which he undertook. For he was ordained before the rest in such a way that from his being called the Rock, from his being pronounced the Foundation, from his being constituted the Doorkeeper of the kingdom of heaven, from his being set as the Umpire to bind and to loose, whose judgments shall retain their validity in heaven, from all these mystical titles we might know the nature of his association with Christ. And still today he more fully and effectually performs what is entrusted to him, and carries out every part of his duty and charge in Him and with Him, through Whom he has been glorified. And so if anything is rightly done and rightly decreed by us, if anything is won from the mercy of God by our daily supplications, it is of his work and merits whose power lives and whose authority prevails in his See. For this, dearly-beloved, was gained by that confession, which, inspired in the Apostle's heart by God the Father, transcended all the uncertainty of human opinions, and was endued with the firmness of a rock, which no assaults could shake. For throughout the Church Peter daily says, 'Thou an the Christ, the Son of the living God,' and every tongue which confesses the Lord, accepts the instruction his voice conveys. This Faith conquers the devil, and breaks the bonds of his prisoners. It uproots us from this earth and plants us in heaven, and the gates of Hades cannot prevail against it. For with such solidity is it endued by God that the depravity of heretics cannot mar it nor the unbelief of the heathen overcome it." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"And since all Christians must be closely united in the communion of one immutable faith, Christ the Lord, in virtue of His prayers, obtained for Peter that in the fulfillment of his office he should never fall away from the faith. 'But I have asked for thee that thy faith fail not' (Luke xxii., 32), and He furthermore commanded him to impart light and strength to his brethren as often as the need should arise: 'Confirm thy brethren' (Ibid.). He willed then that he whom He had designated as the foundation of the Church should be the defense of its faith. 'Could not Christ who confided to him the Kingdom by His own authority have strengthened the faith of one whom He designated a rock to show the foundation of the Church?' (S. Ambrosius, De Fide, lib. iv., n. 56). For this reason Jesus Christ willed that Peter should participate in certain names, signs of great things which properly belong to Himself alone: in order that identity of titles should show identity of power. So He who is Himself 'the chief cornerstone in whom all the building being framed together, groweth up in a holy temple in the Lord' (Eph. ii., 21), placed Peter as it were a stone to support the Church. 'When he heard 'thou art a rock,' he was ennobled by the announcement. Although he is a rock, not as Christ is a rock, but as Peter is a rock. For Christ is by His very being an immovable rock; Peter only through this rock. Christ imparts His gifts, and is not exhausted...He is a priest, and makes priests. He is a rock, and constitutes a rock' (Hom. de Poenitentia, n. 4 in Appendice opp. S. Basilii). He who is the King of His Church, 'Who hath the key of David, who openeth and no man shutteth, who shutteth and no man openeth (Apoc. iii., 7), having delivered the keys to Peter declared him Prince of the Christian commonwealth. So, too, He, the Great Shepherd, who calls Himself 'the Good Shepherd,' constituted Peter the pastor of His lambs and sheep. 'Feed My lambs, feed My Sheep.' Wherefore Chrysostom says: 'He was preeminent among the Apostles: He was the mouthpiece of the Apostles and the head of the Apostolic College...at the same time showing him that henceforth he ought to have confidence, and as it were blotting out his denial, He commits to him the government of his brethren...He saith to him: 'If thou lovest Me, be over my brethren.' Finally He who confirms in 'every good work and word' (2 Thess. ii., 16) commands Peter 'to confirm his brethren.' Rightly, therefore, does St. Leo the Great say: 'From the whole world Peter alone is chosen to take the lead in calling all nations, to be the head of all the Apostles and of all the Fathers of the Church. So that, although in the people of God there are many priests and many pastors Peter should by right rule all of those over whom Christ Himself is the chief ruler' (Sermo iv., cap. 2). And so St. Gregory the Great, writing to the Emperor Maurice Augustus, says: 'It is evident to all who know the gospel that the charge of the whole Church was committed to St. Peter, the Apostle and Prince of all the Apostles, by the word of the Lord...Behold! he hath received the keys of the heavenly kingdom - the power of binding and loosing is conferred upon him: the care of the whole government of the Church is confided to him' (Epist. lib. v., Epist. xx)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896) 

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