The Papacy

"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 16:13-14

"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

What the 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 16:18). 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 bishops."

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. Jerome (4th century A.D.)

"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 Universal Church." - 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 1:15, 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.

--- Chris   


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.




Reference Materials

Biblical quotations on this web site are either from the King James Version or the Douay-Rheims Version of the Bible.

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