Pope says Peter and successors guard communion with Christ
St Peter and his legitimate successors are meant to be the loving guardians of a universal, faithful communion with Christ, Benedict XVI said yesterday during his general audience.
Catholic News Service reports that the Pope prayed that "the primacy of Peter, entrusted to weak human beings, may always be exercised" in fidelity to Christ's original intentions.
The Pope, who was continuing a series of talks on St Peter, made the remarks outside the prepared text he read to more than 40,000 people in St Peter's Square.
St Peter and his successors "must be the caretaker of communion with Christ" and also guide people toward universal communion, he said.
But steering the people toward full communion requires the same loving care of Christ "so that the net does not break" and "the great universal communion" is supported "because only together can we be with Christ who is the lord of all of us."
In his written catechesis, the Pope explained the many ways Jesus considered St Peter as head of, or first among, the apostles.
After St Peter proclaimed his faith in Jesus as being "the Messiah, the Son of the living God," Jesus made St Peter the rock upon which he would build his church, the Pope said.
Jesus also conferred on St Peter special authority over the church when he said, "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."
The terms "bound" and "loose" were juridical terms at the time, and the Pope said they indicated that St Peter was allowed to "establish or prohibit that which he deems necessary for the life of the church," which is and always will be "the church of Christ, not of Peter." Having the keys to heaven, he added, indicates St Peter was allowed to open or close the kingdom to whomever "seemed right to him."
St Peter's responsibility and that of his successors is to guarantee communion with Christ, "with the charity of Christ," and to help guide the church to live out this same charity every day, the pope said.
Pope says Peter and his successors guard communion with Christ (Catholic News Service 7/6/06)
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8 Jun 2006