“Out of the whole world one man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God’s people many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing of his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.
[Jesus] continues: “And I say to you.” In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your preeminence. “You are Peter”: though I am the inviolable rock, “the cornerstone that makes both one,” the Foundation apart from which no one can lay other, yet you are also a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.
“And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” On this strong Foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple.” The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.
Blessed Peter is therefore told: “To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth is also bound in heaven. Whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.”
The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church.”
Pope St. Leo, the Great
Sermo 4 de natalis ipsius
Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.