WDTPRS 22 Feb: Cathedra of Peter (2002MR)

Today is a fine opportunity to reflect of the will of the Savior that the Church He founded should have as a necessary element the Petrine Ministry.

Also, I wish all those who belong to the Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter a fine feast day.


Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
ut nullis nos permittas perturbationibus concuti,
quos in apostolicae confessionis petra solidasti.

There is nothing especially difficult about the grammar and vocabulary of this prayer, though it is theologically profound. NB: the solidasti is really solidavisti, a “syncopated” form.

I’m sure some of you can come up with your smooth but accurate versions.


Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine,
preces et hostias benignus admitte,
ut, beato Petro pastore,
ad aeternam perveniat hereditatem,
quo docente fidei tenet integritatem.

This is harder than the Collect. From the point of view of vocabulary, trying to get the right sense of admitto helps to establish the “mood” of the prayer. Admitto carries the weight of “suffering” or “allowing” something to enter into one’s presence. “Admit” is more eloquent than just “receive”. Admitto immediately lends a sense of God’s highness and our needy lowliness, waiting upon God’s good pleasure. Grammatically, you have to get that quo docente right, or nothing else works. I think the trick here is to avoid taking quo docente as an ablative absolute (which is what beato Petro pastore clearly is) and instead see it as an ablative of “agent”.


O Lord, we beseech Thee,
kindly suffer to receive the prayers and sacrificial offerings of Thy Church,
so that, blessed Peter being Her shepherd,
and, by whom as he is teaching holds fast to the integritry of the Faith,
She may attain to the eternal inheritance.


Deus, qui nos,
beati Petri apostoli festivitatem celebrantes,
Christi Corporis et Sanguinis communione vegetasti,
praesta, quaesumus,
ut hoc redemptionis commercium
sit sacramentum nobis unitatis et pacis.

Commercium is a loaded word. It means “exchange”. It has a theological, not a mercantile sense, of course. Bread and wine were chosen by God, from all gifts He gave us, to be transformed into His Body and Blood.


O God, who with the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ,
has nourished us celebrating the feast of the blessed Apostle Peter,
grant, we beseech Thee,
that this sacred exchange of redemption
be for us a sacramental sign of unity and peace.

We chose from among those gifts of bread and wine, those concrete gifts which we offered at this particular Mass. They were a symbol of something from to be offered ourselves, to be returned to the one who gave them. God accepted them, and transformed them through His Spirit into the Body and Blood of Christ. Then gave them back to us, so that we, through them might be transformed more and more into what they are. This is an amazing interchange of gifts, God always having logical priority over the giving and the given. Thus, in the process, we are united to God and each other in a marvelous sacred “exchange”.

As a bonus… here are a few photos of St. Peter’s shot some years ago on this Feast of the Cathedra of St. Peter.

It is pretty dark in the Basilica, so steady is the name of the game. Here is a shot through the columns over the main altar toward the apse, where you can see the candles arrayed around the magnificent bronze by Bernini.

A closer view.

The bronze Cathedra is decorated with lighted candles only once a year, today.

The black bronze statue of St. Peter attributed to the marvelous Arnulfo di Cambio was always dressed up in his cope and tiara, with a ring on his finger and pectoral Cross on two days, 29 June and today. Then the modernists in the Fabrica started fooling around. Too triumphalistic. They started cutting out elements. But all of them were back the day I shot these except for the griccia alb, which I can live without I guess. I don’t know if it is back this year or not.

And ….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, WDTPRS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. For comparison with Fr. Z’s, slavishly renderings, the ICEL 2011 English translations:

    Grant, we pray, almighty God,
    that no tempests may disturb us,
    for you have set us fast
    on the rock of the Apostle Peter’s confession of faith.

    Prayer over the Offerings
    Accept with favor, O Lord, we pray,
    the prayers and offerings of your Church,
    that, with Saint Peter as her shepherd,
    she may come to an eternal inheritance,
    for it is through his teaching
    that she holds the faith in its integrity.

    Prayer after Communion
    O God, who at our celebration
    of the feast day of the blessed Apostle Peter
    have nourished us by communion in the Body and Blood of Christ,
    grant, we pray, that this redeeming exchange
    may be for us a Sacrament of unity and peace.

  2. Henry: Lest we forget.


  3. IoannesPetrus says:

    Father, with that reaction (which is both justifiable and agreeable!), I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to share this: an English translation of the Pontifical Hymn and March.

    Is this the first singable one or has anyone found what I never did?

  4. Filipino Catholic says:

    Found this little gem about the Arnolfo di Cambio statue of St. Peter on a different blog: “In my opinion, St. Peter, a simple fisherman, looks a little out of place and somewhat uncomfortable wearing all that fancy regalia.” Triumphalistic perhaps? All that regalia could also be read as Peter’s eternal reward — after all Christ did promise the Apostles that they would sit on twelve thrones in the kingdom of heaven. (Who occupies the 12th, Paul or Matthias?)

    Admittedly though it is a rather imposing look, and should hopefully remind onlookers to pray for his present successor. If the papacy can be a burdensome cross to the incumbent at times (Gregory the Great comes to mind), the least we the laity can do is offer up our intentions for His Holiness, “that his faith may not fail.”

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    As a footnote, I found Anton de Waal’s “Chair of Peter” article in the old Catholic Encyclopedia very interesting.

    As a possibly hare-brained question, did anyone ever assert the Primacy of Antioch on the basis of St. Peter having established it first, or was there always a general agreement with the sense expressed by St. Gregory the Great to St. Eulogius of Alexandria with the words, “Ipse enim sublimavit sedem, in quâ etiam quiescere et præsertim vitam finire dignatus est” [De Waal: “He lifted it to the highest dignity in the place [Rome] where he deigned to fix his residence and end his life.”] ?

  6. Filipino Catholic says:

    @VSL Among the five great patriarchates of the early church (Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria), Antioch never really had a quarrel with Rome on the question of primacy. If I remember rightly, their Patriarch (Maximus II) was present at the Council of Chalcedon, where the famous words concerning Peter and Leo were spoken, and Maximus raised no objections regarding those words.

    I’ve only seen the Antioch argument used by some Orthodox as counter-argument to the apostolic succession in Rome.

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Filipino Catholic,


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