Papacy

The Origins of the Papacy

Photography © by Andy Coan

The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter in John 21, a gospel traditionally read during Eastertide.   The question,”Peter, do you love me?” is followed by the command  “Feed my sheep.”  The pope, shepherd and successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice. […]

Our Responsibility as the Flock

Detail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

Today we celebrate the feast of the Chair of St. Peter. The Gospel for the feast is Matthew’s account of the events at Caesarea Philippi, where Peter receives the mission from Jesus to lead His Church. This year, we happened to hear Mark’s account of the incident just yesterday, on the Thursday of the 6th Week of Ordinary Time. It […]

Pope St. Martin, Martyr for the Truth

Today is the feast of Pope St. Martin I, the last Pope to be venerated as a martyr in the Catholic Church. If you don’t know the story of Pope Martin I, you’re probably not alone. And if you’re assuming right now that he was killed during a persecution by a pagan Roman emperor or by invading barbarians, you’re probably […]

Peter, the Rock

"Get Behind Me Satan" by Ilya Repin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

No sooner does Jesus praise Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi and dub him “the Rock” than he rebukes him as the devil or Satan.  Peter had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah.  But his idea of what it meant to be the Christ left no room for suffering, sacrifice or the way of the cross as the cost of discipleship. […]

Peter, the Pope and the Keys

When we think about the Pope, we often think of the Vatican.  But the roots of the Papacy are in the Old Testament as well as in the Gospel story of Jesus changing Simon’s name to Peter and giving him the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Reflection on the Mass readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year […]

When the Lord asks, “Do you love me?”

Photography © by Andy Coan

On many occasions I’ve heard non-Catholics object to the papacy.  Often, they say something like this: “I just can’t believe that one man on earth, the Pope, is holier than everyone else.”  So who ever said that being sinless is either a prerequisite or a consequence of being named Pope? For the Pope, the bishop of Rome, is the successor […]

The Way of the Cross and the Road to Salvation

Photography © by Andy Coan

Truth in advertising — after all the glowing reports of the benefits of a product, potential side effects need to be mentioned. Informed consent — before surgery, patients have to be told of all the things that could possibly go wrong. That way, they have the chance to opt out before it’s too late. As soon had the truth came out at […]

The Biblical Roots of the Papacy

Photography © by Andy Coan

“More Catholic than the Pope?” There is nothing more quintessentially Catholic than the Papacy. When we think “Catholic,” we think Rome, the Vatican, the dome of St. Peters. But the roots of the papacy actually go back to Jerusalem and the messiah-kings who ruled there. Like most heads of state, David and his descendants, the anointed kings of Judah, realized […]

Daily Catholic Quote from St. Ireneaus

“Having founded and built the Church, the blessed apostles entrusted the episcopal office to Linus, who is mentioned by Paul in the Epistles to Timothy; Linus was succeeded by Anacletus; after him, in the third place from the apostles, the bishopric fell to Clement, who had seen the blessed apostles and conversed with them, and still had their preaching ringing […]

Broken Arrow and the Chalice of Dreams

“I’m sorry, this Church is Lutheran,” said the little lady who was busy organizing books in each pew, “there are only two Catholic Churches in Copenhagen and the nearest is 3 blocks away.” “Okay, thanks,” I responded, “I traveled in from the States and I was looking for Mass.  This looks so Catholic, sorry,” I uttered in the doorway assuming […]