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Saint Peters Chair at Antioch From Gueranger

Saint Peters Chair at Antioch From Gueranger

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Published by David Bawden
The authority of the Bishops flow from the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.
The authority of the Bishops flow from the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.

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Published by: David Bawden on Feb 28, 2010
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Saint Peters Chair at Antiochfrom Gueranger
Our Saviour said to Peter: ‘To thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’(Matthew 16:19) that is to say, of the Church. He said to him on another occasion: ‘Feed Mylambs, feed My sheep.’ (John 21: 15, 17) So that Peter is prince; for, in the language of thesacred Scriptures, keys denote princely power: he is also pastor, and universal pastor; for thewhole flock is comprised under the two terms, lambs and sheep. And yet there are other pastorsin every portion of the Christian world. The bishops, whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rulethe Church of God, (Acts 20:28) govern in His name, their respective dioceses, and are alsopastors. How comes it that the keys, which were given to Peter, are found in other hands thanhis? The Catholic Church explains the difficulty to us by her tradition. She says to us, byTertullian: ‘Christ gave the keys to Peter, and through him to the Church.’ (Scorpiac., Chapter10) By St. Optatus of Milevis: ‘For the sake of unity, Peter was made the first among all theapostles, and he alone received the keys, that he might give them to the rest.’ (ContraParmenianum, Book 7) By St. Gregory of Nyssa: ‘It is through Peter that Christ gave to bishopsthe keys of their heavenly prerogative.’ (Opp. Tome 3) By St. Leo the Great: ‘If our Lord willedthat there should be something common to Peter and the rest of the princes of His Church, it wasonly on this condition, that whatsoever He gave to the rest, He gave it to them through Peter.’(On the Anniversary of the Assumption, Sermon 4)Yes, the episcopate is most sacred, for it comes from the hands of Jesus Christ throughPeter and his successors. Such is the unanimous teaching of Catholic tradition, which is inkeeping with the language used by the Roman pontiffs, from the earliest ages, who have alwaysspoken of the dignity of bishops as consisting in their being ‘called to a share of their ownsolicitude.’ Hence St. Cyprian does not hesitate to say that ‘our Saviour, wishing to establish theEpiscopal dignity and constitute His Church, says to Peter: “To thee will I give the keys of thekingdom of heaven”, and here we have both the institution of bishops, and the constitution of theChurch.’ (Epistle 33) This same doctrine is clearly stated in a letter written to Pope St.Symmachus by St. Cesarius of Arles, who lived in the fifth century: ‘The episcopate flows fromthe blessed apostle Peter; and consequently, it belongs to your holiness to prescribe to the severalChurches the rules which they are to follow.’ (Ibid. 10) This fundamental principle, which St.Leo the Great has so ably and eloquently developed (as we have seen on the Feast of the Chair atRome, January 18), this principle, which is taught us by universal tradition, is laid down with allpossible precision in the magnificent letters, still extant, of Pope St. Innocent I, who preceded St.Leo by several years. Thus he writes to the Council of Carthage, that ‘the episcopate, with all itsauthority, emanates from the apostolic see’; (Ibid. 29) to the Council of Milevis, that ‘bishopsmust look upon Peter as the source whence both their name and their dignity are derived’; (Ibid.30) to St. Vitricius, bishop of Rouen, that ‘the apostolate and the episcopate both owe their originto Peter.’ (Ibid. 2)Controversy is not our object. All we aim at by giving these quotations from the fatherson the prerogatives of Peter’s chair, is to excite the faithful to be devoted to it and venerate it.
 
2This we have endeavored to do, by showing them that this chair is the source of all spiritualauthority, which, in its several degrees, rules and sanctifies them. All spiritual authority comesfrom Peer; all comes from the bishop of Rome, in whom Peter will continue to govern theChurch to the end of time. Jesus Christ is the founder of the episcopate; it is the Holy GhostWho establishes bishops to rule the Church; but he mission and institution, which assign thepastor his flock, and the flock its pastor, these are given by Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghostthrough the ministry of Peter and his successors.How sacred, how divine, is this authority of the keys, which is first given by heaven itself to the Roman Pontiff; then is delegated by him to the prelates of the Church; and thus guides andblesses the whole Christian world! The apostolic see has varied its mode of transmitting suchauthority according to the circumstances of the several ages; but the one source of the wholepower was always the same, the chair of Peter. We have already seen how, at thecommencement, there were three chairs, Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch; and all three weresources of the canonical institution of the bishops of their respective provinces; but these were allthree chairs of Peter, for they were founded by him that they might preside over theirpatriarchates, as St. Leo, (Epistle 104) Ad Anatolium) St. Gelasius, (Concil. Romanum. Labb.Tom 4) and St. Gregory the Great, (Epistle Ad Eulogium) expressly teach. But of these threechairs, the Pontiff of Rome had his authority and his institution from heaven; whereas the twoother patriarchs could not exercise their rights, until they were recognized and confirmed by himwho was Peter’s successor, as Vicar of Christ. Later on, two other sees were added to these firstthree: but it was only by the consent of the Roman Pontiff that Constantinople and Jerusalemobtained such an honor. Let us notice, too, the difference there is between the accidental honorsconferred on four of these Churches, and the divine prerogative of the Church of Rome. ByGod’s permission, the sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, were defiledby heresy; they became chairs of pestilence; (Psalm 1;1) and having corrupted the faith theyreceived from Rome, they could not transmit to others the mission they themselves had forfeited.Sad indeed was the ruin of such pillars as these! Peter’s hand had placed them in the Church.They had merited the love and veneration of men; but they fell; and their fall gave one moreproof of the solidity of that edifice, which Christ Himself had built on Peter. The unity of theChurch was made more visible. Obliged by the treachery of her own favored children to deprivethem of the privileges they had received from her, Rome was, more evidently than ever, the solesource of pastoral power.We, then, both priests and people, have a right to know whence our pastors have receivedtheir power. From whose hand have they received the keys? If their mission come from theapostolic see, let us honor and obey them, for they are sent to us by Jesus Christ, Who hasinvested them, through Peter, with His own authority. If they claim our obedience withouthaving been sent by the bishop of Rome, we must refuse to receive them, for they are notacknowledged by Christ as His ministers. The holy anointing may have conferred on them thesacred character of the episcopate; it matters not; they must be as aliens to us, for they have notbeen sent, they are not pastors.Thus it is that the divine Founder of the Church, Who willed that she should be a cityseated on a mountain, (Matthew 5:14) gave her visibility; it was an essential requisite; for sinceall were called to enter her pale, all must be able to see her. But He was not satisfied with this.He moreover willed that the spiritual power exercised by her pastors should come from a visiblesource, so that the faithful might have a sure means of verifying the claims of those who were toguide them in His Name. Our Lord (we say it reverently) owed this to us; for, on the last day, He
 
3will not receive us as His children, unless we shall have been members of His Church, and havelived in union with Him by the ministry of pastors lawfully constituted. Honor then, andsubmission to Jesus in His vicar! Honor and submission to the vicar of Christ in the pastors hesends.Dom Gueranger wrote fifteen volumes, The Liturgical Year, in the middle of thenineteenth century. This was to bring the beauties of the holy liturgy of the WesternRite to the faithful, so that they might profit spiritually by appreciating the liturgy.Since we pray as we believe, often the liturgy expresses the doctrines of our faith, andthe instructions will be doctrinal.
Additional Comments
Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum repeated what we have read above: “But the Episcopalorder is rightly judged to be in communion with Peter, as Christ commanded, if it be subject toand obeys Peter; otherwise it necessarily becomes a lawless and disorderly crowd.” He alsofeared that the enemies of the Church would attempt to destroy the Papacy. Although this isimpossible, in reading Sacred Scripture we find that there will come an unprecedented crisis,when the Papacy will be usurped by Antichrist, and the holy Sacrifice of the Mass will ceaseentirely upon earth.The Jewish sacrifices ceased to be fruitful when the temple curtain was reant at the timeJesus died on the Cross. The High Priests continued to offer these sacrifices in vain for about 35years, until the Temple was destroyed. St. Stephen the first martyr, was stoned because he toldthe Jews their sacrifices were not pleasing to God. The Novus Ordo Church is offering vainsacrifices to God in the former Catholic Church and not many recognize this. Pope Leounwittingly prophesied that the Novus Ordo Apostates would be called the People of God in hisprayer to Saint MichaelIn his prayer to Saint Michael, Pope Leo XIII wrote: “In the Holy Place itself, where hasbeen set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, theyhave raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when thePastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered.” This echoes Sacred Scripture: “And mysheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd and they became the prey of all the beastsof the field, and were scattered. My sheep have wandered in every mountain, and in every highhill: and my flocks were scattered upon the face of the earth, and there was none that soughtthem, there was none, I say, that sought them.” (Ezechial 34:5-6) And in Zacharias (13:7):“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lordof hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: And I will turn my hand to thelittle ones.”Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, end the Great Apostasyhttp://www.vaticaninexile.com/Doctrine/Papacy/index.html

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