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The Chair of St. Peter

What is St. Peter's Chair that we recognize and observe as today's feast? A "chair" in the ancient near east was quite like what a "chair" is today: a seat of authority. Thus, we are recognizing the authority that a person has when we refer to his "chair" in this way.

Therefore, the "chair of St. Peter" means that authority of St. Peter. I have said more than once that (in my opinion) when Rome gave the American Ordinariate the title of "the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter" that it was not an accident. We in America tend to have a problem with authority (which means, generally, a rejection of outside authority for the sake of one's own authority).

The authority of "St. Peter" means the authority of the line of Popes from Peter in the first century to today. It does not assume that the Pope will be infallible in all he does, nor that he would never make a bad choice. It does, however, assume that Jesus was correct in giving the keys to Peter and to his successors. He knew what He was doing in giving authority to the Roman Pontiff, and He also knew that none of their mistakes can stop Christ from ministering to us.

Thus, as we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter today, we in Ordinariate parishes should spend some extra time praying today for the Pope. Like him or not, he is the Pope (until God says otherwise), and we are to recognize his authority. As long as he commands us in accord with the established dogmas of the Church, then we are to honor him with obedience. If he were to command us contrary to the faith, then out of submission to Christ, and love of our neighbor (including the Pope), we are to refuse obedience to sin, and pray for his soul.

Thus wherever you are at, and whatever opinion you hold in regard to Pope Francis, as soon as you finish reading this, stop for a moment and pray for the Holy Father; pray for his faithfulness, pray for his commitment to lead us in all holiness, pray that he would reject worldliness and help us in our journey to Heaven. But most of all, pray that he would use his authority correctly.


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