St Francis Q&A

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI is coming!

Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Deacon Mike will lead tonight’s service. All are invited!!
As you probably are aware, Pope Benedict XVI is coming to Washington! Our Archdiocese is overjoyed that the Holy Father has chosen our city and New York as the two places he will visit from April 15-20. To view information about the Pope’s visit, please click on the title of this post.

Archbishop Wuerl is providing an abundance of excellent information about the papacy, specifically its theology. He has categorized this into three areas of catechesis – “The Ministry of the Pope”, “The Present Pontiff,” and “The Pope as Bishop.” The resources for this information rely upon Scripture, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, Canon Law and secondary sources.

I will be posting the catechesis periodically until the Holy Father’s visit. Here are some excerpts from “The Ministry of the Pope” (to view the full text, click on the title of this post, then “parish/school resources”, then "resources" and scroll down to "core theology on the papacy").

1. What are some of the scriptural references to St. Peter and his ministry?
Some of the scriptural references to St. Peter and his ministry include:

Matthew 16:16-19
Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. 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."…

4. Why do we call the Pope the Vicar of Christ?
Jesus gave an office uniquely to St. Peter, the first of the Apostles, to be transmitted to the Successors of St. Peter. A vicar is someone who stands in the place of another. Peter was chosen by the Lord himself to be his vicar. He was not elected by the other Apostles to preside over the Church. Jesus Christ specifically prayed for Peter.

5. What do we mean by the term “the power of the keys”?
The Lord gave an office uniquely to St. Peter. The “power of the keys” entrusted to him represents this authority. By virtue of his office the Pope possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

6. Why do we call the Pope the Servant of the Servants of God?
The Pope is the head of the College of Bishops. He serves those who serve. When Christ bestowed special gifts on Peter, these were not to be considered or used as special privileges for his own benefit; rather, these special gifts were a means of serving others. The Pope’s life is spent in imitation of Jesus who came to serve and not to be served.

7. Why do we call the Pope the Holy Father?
Catholics (and even non-Catholics) refer to the Pope as “Holy Father” or “his Holiness” because these terms reminds us that the Pope is the universal pastor of the Church, into which Christ wants to gather all the children of God into one (cf. John 11:52). The Pope’s office has an objective sanctity about it, flowing from its divine institution.


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