"I, Boniface, bishop by the grace of God,
promise to you, the blessed, Peter, chief of the apostles, and to thy
vicar, the blessed Pope Gregory, and to his successors, by the Father and
the Son and the Holy Ghost, the indivisible Trinity, and by this thy most
holy body, that, God helping me, I will maintain all the belief and the
purity of the holy Catholic faith, and I will remain steadfast in the
unity of this faith in which the whole salvation of Christians lies, as is
established without doubt. I will in no wise oppose the unity of the one
universal Church, no matter who may seek to persuade me. But as I have
said, I will maintain my faith and purity and union with thee and the
benefits of thy Church, to whom God has given the power to loose and to
bind, and with thy vicar and his successors, in all things. And if it
comes to my knowledge that priests have turned from the ancient practices
of the holy fathers, I will have no intercourse nor connection with
them; but rather, if I can restrain them, I will. If I cannot, I will at
once faithfully make known the whole matter to my apostolic lord." - St.
Boniface (Apostle to Germany, 8th century)
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto
me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen." - Matthew 28:18-20
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his
disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said,
Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias,
or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And
Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for
flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in
heaven. And I say also unto thee, 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. Then charged he his disciples that they
should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ." - Matthew 16:13-20
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into
all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear,
[that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify
me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you." - John
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of
Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou
knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him
again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto
him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my
sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me?
Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And
he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.
Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." - John 21:15-17
"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound
in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven." - Matthew 18:18
Catechism of the Catholic Church says on the "Papacy:"
869. "The Church is apostolic. She is built
on a lasting foundation: 'the twelve apostles of the Lamb' [Rev 21:14.]. She is
indestructible (cf. Mt ). She is
upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other
apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of
881. "The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the 'rock' of his
Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the
whole flock. [Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17 .] 'The office of binding and
loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles
united to its head.' [LG 22 # 2.] This pastoral office of Peter and the other
apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the
bishops under the primacy of the Pope."
882. "The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, 'is the perpetual and visible source and
foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the
faithful.' [LG 23.] 'For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of
Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal
power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.'
[LG 22; cf. CD 2,9.]"
895. "'The power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is
proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled
by the supreme authority of the Church.' [LG 27.] But the bishops should not be
thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority over the
whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends that of
the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the whole
Church under the guidance of the Pope."
"This, most blessed Pope, is the faith that
we have been taught in the Catholic Church. If anything therein has been
incorrectly or carelessly expressed, we beg that it may be set aright by you
who hold the faith and see of Peter. If however this, our profession, be
approved by the judgment of your apostleship, whoever may blame me, will prove
that he himself is ignorant, or malicious, or even not a Catholic but a
heretic." - St.
"Hence He said to Peter before His
Ascension, 'Feed my sheep' (John xxi, 1) and before His Passion, 'Thou in thy
turn confirm thy brethren' (Luke xxii, 32); and to him alone He made the
promise, 'To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven' (Matt. xvi,
19). Nor can it be said that although He gave this dignity to Peter, it does
not pass from Peter to others. For Christ instituted His Church to last to the
end of the world, according to the text: 'He shall sit upon the throne of David
and in his kingdom, to confirm and strengthen it in justice and judgement from
henceforth, now, and for ever' (Isai. ix, 7). Therefore, in constituting His
ministers for the time, He intended their power to pass to posterity for the
benefit of His Church to the end of the world, as He Himself says: 'Lo, I am
with you to the end of the world' (Matt. xxviii, 20). Hereby is cast out the
presumptuous error of some, who endeavour to withdraw themselves from obedience
and subjection to Peter, not recognising his successor, the Roman Pontiff, for
the pastor of the UniversalChurch." - St. Thomas Aquinas ("Summa Contra
Gentiles" 13th century A.D.)
Throughout the Acts of the Apostles, St. Peter is clearly the leader of the
Christian community (Acts ,
5:1-10). And again, he is listed first among the Apostles in the New
Testament (Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-14). Before St.
Peter was crucified, he appointed St. Linus as his successor. Why should this
practice not be carried on to the present day? There is an unbroken line of
Popes from St. Peter down to the present-day Pope. The Papacy is the oldest
institution in the Western World. How could it have survived 2000 years without
the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
St. Hegessipus in the 2nd century of the Church had already compiled
a list of the popes, listing the current one at the time (Pope Anacletus) as
the eleventh successor to St. Peter.
FOR THE POPE
Let us pray for our Sovereign Pontiff Benedict
XVI. The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the
earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies. Amen.