Pope reflects on the Chair of St Peter

 The Feast of the Chair of St Peter, which falls today, provided the theme for Benedict XVI's catechesis during the general audience, held this morning in the Paul VI Hall. The Pope said: "This is the feast, with which we give thanks to God for the mission entrusted to the Apostle Peter and his Successors. The 'cathedra' is literally the seat of the bishop. ... It is the symbol of his authority and, particularly, of his 'Magisterium,' in other words of the evangelical teaching that he, as successor to the Apostles, is called to protect and transmit to the Christian community." The Holy Father then recalled that the first "seat" of the Church was the Cenacle, saying "it is probable that a special place was reserved for Simon Peter in that room, where Mary Mother of Jesus also prayed together with the disciples. Subsequently, Peter's seat became Antioch." From there, Providence led him to Rome "where he crowned with martyrdom his journey in the service of the Gospel. For this reason the see of Rome, which obtained the greatest honour, also received the obligation entrusted by Christ to Peter to be at the service of all particular Churches, for the edification and unity of the entire People of God." "To celebrate the 'Chair' of Peter means, then, giving it a strong spiritual significance, and recognizing therein a privileged sign of the love of God, the good and eternal Shepherd Who wishes to unite the whole of His Church and lead her along the way of salvation. ... As the Father of the Church St Jerome writes: 'I follow no leader save Christ, so I consult the Chair of Peter, for this I know is the rock upon which the Church is built'." Benedict XVI concluded his catechesis with an invitation to pray, "especially for the ministry with which God has entrusted me. ... Call upon the Holy Spirit to support with His light and strength my daily service to the whole Church." The audience in the Paul VI Hall was preceded by a meeting in St Peter's Basilica between the Pope and pilgrims and students from the Italian schools of St Francis in the city of Lodi, and Mary Immaculate in Rome. The Holy Father told them that "today's feast, inviting us to look to the Chair of St. Peter, encourages us to nourish the individual and community life of faith, founded upon the testimony of Peter and of the other Apostles." Source: VIS

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