Benedict XVI’s Angelus for the Feast of the Cathedra

Today during the Sunday Angelus, a Sunday which is also the Feast of the Cathedral of Peter, the Holy Father made pointed comments relevant, I believe, to the debate going on about the eventual reconciliation of the SSPX and whether there can be differences within the Church.

This Sunday there also falls the Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter, an important liturgical recurrence which highlights the ministry of the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles.  The Cathedra of Peter symbolizes the authority of the Bishop of Rome, called to perform a distinguishing service with respect to whole People of God

Immediately after the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Church of Rome was recognized to have the primatial role in the whole Catholic community, a role already attested in the second century by St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ai Romani, Pref.: Funk, I, 252) and by Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Contro le eresie III, 3, 2-3). 

This unique and specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome was reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council:  [I am adding the Latin and giving a standard English translation of the Council citation] [Inde etiam in ecclesiastica communione legitime adsunt Ecclesiae particulares, propriis traditionibus fruentes, integro manente primatu Petri Cathedrae, quae universo caritatis coetui praesidet (Cf. S. IGNATIUS M., Ad Rom, Praef.: ed. FUNK, I, 252.), legitimas varietates tuetur et simul invigilat ut particularia, nedum unitati noceant, ei potius inserviant.]

"Moreover, within the Church particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (Cfr. S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., Praef.: Ed. Funk, I, p. 252.) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it." 

Dear brothers and sisters, this feast offers me the occasion to ask you to assist me ["accompagnarmi"] with your prayers, so that I can accomplish faithfully the profound responsibility Divine Providence has entrusted me as the Successor of the Apostle Peter.


The Pope said that, because he is Peter, he lifted the excommunications of the SSPX bishops in the service of the unity of the Church.

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  1. Tom says:

    Pray for the pope

  2. Jim says:

    The Holy Father has my prayers each and every day. May the Lord strengthen him and give him wisdom in his ministry as successor of Peter. May the Lord also create clean hearts in his adversaries, particularly those within the Church.

  3. Neil says:

    Your readers may be interested to know that at the Brompton Oratory in London, Fr. Julian Large organised a group of orthodox young Catholics to pray for three hours before the Blessed Sacrament for the Pope’s intentions this week. [I take it to mean that that is for the Pope, and not just for the Pope’s intentions, which are designated each month.] He also preached a barnstorming sermon at High Mass today in which he applauded the Pope’s decision to lift the excommunications of the SSPX bishops, and condemned the “so-called Catholics”, “dissenters” and “disobedient” who united with the enemies of the church in the secular media to distort the truth and undermine the Papacy.

    The Oratory is, regrettably, not typical, but it is the second largest Catholic Church in London and I hope anyone disappointed in their own parish’s response to attacks on Pope Benedict will realise things have not been the same everywhere.

  4. mpm says:

    I also pray for the Pope, Benedict XVI and any successor of Peter, every
    day. I did so especially today, because of the significance of this Feast
    at this time.

    I read in my old Missal that today’s feast was instituted in Rome in AD 354,
    which I think was the year of St. Augustine’s birth, and precedes
    Pope St. Leo I by 100 years! Pretty impressive.

    For those in the know, was a Commemoration of this Feast at today’s TLM Mass
    suppressed for seasonal reasons?

  5. mrsmontoya says:

    Could you suggest specific prayers?

  6. Dan says:

    Let us please pray for the speedy regularisation of the FSSPX.

    Many souls are recieving invalid absolutions and having invalid marriages witnessed because the Society does not have jurisdiction set up for them as of yet.

  7. Mary says:

    Dan, at our FSSP Mass we did have commemorations of Ss. Peter and Paul. If this didn’t happen elsewhere perhaps twas because the feast is a patronal one for the Fraternity of St Peter.

  8. Peg says:

    Fr. Large, has a “large” faithful heart. God bless him. Let us join him in prayer for our poor, attacked Holy Father.

  9. Matt says:


    I would be willing to bet that ALL of the previous sacrements will be fully recognized by the church when the Society is fully recognized.

    I can NOT reconcile that a civil marraige performed by a JP is fully recognized by the Church but a marraige by a SSPX priest is invalid. If you hold this view then the smoke of satan really has permeated the church. [You go off the rails if you think you can make this judgment.]

  10. Tim Ferguson says:

    Matt, it’s a dangerous thing to set yourself over and above as a judge of the Church. Simply because you cannot reconcile that an exchange of consent by a man and a woman not bound to observe canonical form (e.g., two Protestants marrying before a JP) is a perfectly valid and binding marriage, raised by Christ to sacramental dignity by the common baptism of the ministers of that sacrament (the bride and groom) – while the marriage of two Catholics, bound by law to observe canonical form, who chose not to observe canonical form but instead get married by a priest lacking jurisdiction to witness that marriage does not mean that the smoke of Satan has permeated the Church.

    Unless, of course, you’ve received divine revelation that somehow mitigates that whole binding and losing thing Our Lord said to Peter.

    By all means, we pray on this day in particular, for Our Peter and the unity he symbolizes – and pray that that unity may be full and complete. But let’s work to make that unity full and complete ourselves, and pray that our hearts and minds be conformed to the Church – not that the Church conform itself to our notions and desires.

  11. Fr. Steve says:

    I’m not a cannon lawyer, but if I’m not mistaken the marriage problem can easily be fixed by a radical sanation, a “healing at the root” (Cannons 1161-1165), wherein the local ordinary (without having either party renew their consent) can convalidate those marriages once the canonical impediments are removed. Furthermore, all they need to do is go to confession again to fix the problem of invalid confessions, unless the Holy See acknowledges their validity by reason of a state of necessity, as in the case of a Cathoic in a foreign country in the middle east where there is no Catholic Church in which to recieve the Sacraments; he can recieve them at an Orthodox Church not in union with Rome. Like I said I am not a cannon lawyer, so take this with a grain of salt.

  12. Reginald Pole says:

    Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

  13. Mario says:

    Viva la Papa! I was present at the Angelus when he said this. Mary, Co-redemptrix, pray for Benedict!

  14. Aquino says:

    Although the LMS Ordo indicated a commemoration (and one of St Paul) was to be made yesterday, there was no commemoration at the TLM I attended. I assumed, therefore, that the rubrics had changed for 1962. The faIthful priest who offered the Mass would certainly know and abide by any rubrics in force.

  15. sacerdos in germania says:

    Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday with the commemoration of the feast of the Chair of Peter(orationes SS. Petri et Pauli).

  16. Neil says:

    Yes, Father.
    The three hours adoration was for the Pope, as opposed to the Pope’s intentions.

  17. mpm says:

    Comment by Fr. Steve — 22 February 2009 @ 11:14 pm

    Fr. Steve,

    I’m not a canon lawyer either, but I think your comments are correct. I’m
    mostly thinking (unitas statim!) that “regularization” will bring much more
    peace to everyone, not to mention allowing those attached to the SSPX to be
    “salt and light and leaven” to a greater extent.

  18. Irish says:

    SSPX and invalid sacraments: I know we’ve covered this before, but are these invalid or illicit? Seems to me that they are illicit, but still valid. In an emergency, a layman can baptize a newborn baby in danger of death.
    FWIW, Here’s how the difference was explained to me several years ago:
    Let’s say I have the recipe for Jack Daniels Whiskey. I get all the right ingredients in all the right proportions and I make it in my bath tub. The finished product looks and tastes just like Jack Daniels. That makes it valid whiskey, but definitely illicit.

  19. Jordanes says:

    Irish asked: SSPX and invalid sacraments: I know we’ve covered this before, but are these invalid or illicit?

    Their sacraments are valid but illicit, except for Confession and Matrimony, which are invalid and illicit unless it is a case of common error or a genuine emergency, in which cases the Church supplies sacramental validity (ecclesia supplet).

  20. Dan says:


    What is “common error”, in reference to the two invalid sacraments of the FSSPX?

    I am unfamiliar with this element of canon law.

  21. Jordanes says:

    Well, I’m not a canonist and I don’t play on one t.v.s either, but “common error” means a mistaken belief that is commonly held. It’s kind of like being invincibly ignorant. If the community honestly believed the priest could validly absolve (that is, if the penitent shared the community’s erroneous belief), then the Church would supply faculties.

  22. Mike B. says:

    We must indeed pray for our Pope, our Peter. The wolves are gathering….


  23. irishgirl says:

    I pray for the Holy Father in my daily Rosary, and offer my Communion for him when I go to the TLM on Sunday.

    We have to stand with Peter!

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