28 June – Vigil of Sts. Peter and Paul: Firm upon the Rock of Apostolic Faith

During this Fortnight For Freedom we observe (not celebrate!) the Vigil of the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Vigils in the liturgical calendar are not just reminders that tomorrow is a feast.  They are also reminders to prepare for the feast!  We do penance.  We especially do penance because of the horrid recent SCOTUS decisions which undermine religious liberty.

In the Extraordinary Form here is the Collect:

Præsta, quaesumus, omnípotens Deus: ut nullis nos permíttas perturbatiónibus cóncuti; quos in apostólicæ confessiónis petra solidásti.

Which is:

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that we, whom You have made firm upon the rock of apostolic faith, may not be shaken by any distresses.

We stand upon the Rock who is Peter…. or… we… DON’T.

In the meantime, I love the Introit (John 21:18-19):

The Lord said to Peter, When you were young you girded yourself and walked where you would. But when you are old you will stretch forth your hands, and another will gird you, and lead you where you would not.Now this He said to signify by what manner of death he should glorify

Amen. And Amen.

Remember that tomorrow you can gain an indulgence (pretty easy to do in this Year of Mercy, anyway).

N.17—The faithful who use with devotion an object of piety (crucifix, cross, rosary, scapular or medal) properly blessed by any priest, can acquire a partial indulgence.

But if this object of piety is blessed by the Supreme Pontiff or any bishop, the faithful who use it devoutly can also acquire a plenary indulgence on the feast of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, provided they also make a profession of faith using any legitimate formula.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    “In the meantime, I love the Introit (John 21:18-19)” – “Amen. And Amen.” And very apt to hear, after the words of the Pope Emeritus which you have kindly quoted in a recent post!

  2. jltuttle says:

    I have a serious question. This isn’t a rant. The Rock of Peter is foundational, because “upon this rock I will build my church.” Christ is the wise builder who when “the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.” Now, when a rock shifts, sways, and rolls, at what point do we say that the rock is not fit for a foundation. that it could not be the rock upon which Christ built his Church because a church upon this rock could fall down, but with Christ’s church, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Surely there must be a point at which reason prevails upon us? I’m not saying that point is now; I just want to know how to tell. It’s important for my and my family’s salvation. I guess when Enoch starts preaching we’ll know for sure?

  3. WVC says:


    I’m sure there are others here who can state this better, and I will give way to their comments. However, for my part, I would say that the rock is not so much the man as the office. There can be and certainly have been fools, knaves, and downright asses sitting in Peter’s Chair; however, it is the office that is important. David was no less the King of Israel after Bathsheba as he was before, and the office of the papacy is no less or more the foundational rock of Christ’s Church whatever the antics might be of the incumbent.

    The gates of Hell will not prevail, and if the storm rages wildly around this Rock, it may be that Christ wants to test our faith in His promise and goodness and power. Just because He appears to be asleep does not mean He is not in control.

    It’s a small but I feel important distinction to make. I do not reverence Jorge Bergoglio, certainly not after his many public and very foolish antics and writings. However, I still reverence the his office, pray for him as the incumbent every day, and would kiss the ring on his hand if we were to meet. Now, my prayers for him may be that he either have a Paul-like conversion, be struck mute, or be (in whatever way God deems appropriate) forced to leave his office, but I pray for him earnestly and daily.

  4. Pingback: Firm upon the Rock of the Apostolic Faith |

  5. jltuttle says:


    That is a fine point, thank you. But, does that mean that the office cannot ever be held illegitimately? Is Christ’s promise only that there will be a Petrine office, and so long as the office exists–no matter who fills it–the Church is safe?

    That sounds unreasonable to me.

  6. WVC says:


    One can hold an office legitimately and still be a fool (consider the many bad Kings of Israel/Judah who were all legitimate Kings). Christ’s promise is that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church, the Church He built on the rock of the Petrine office. So long as Christ exists and is all powerful, the Church will be safe.

    Take, on the one hand, the many, many, many, (sadly) many historical examples of fools who have legitimately held the Office of Christ’s Vicar. You’ve had scoundrels, wimps, lustful wretches, political toadies, men who have personally held heretical or at least non-orthodox beliefs, and even very holy men who were utterly and absolutely incompetent (c.f. St. Peter of Murrone, someone who, ironically enough, the current pope has compared himself to). Yet despite all these fallen men’s best efforts, Catholic doctrine was not compromised, the Deposit of the Faith was handed on, the Church continued to administer the Grace filled sacraments of Christ, and souls were still saved. That is no small wonder.

    Now, on the other hand, that doesn’t mean bad popes don’t do real damage. Some popes may have caused scandal, scandal bad enough to give some souls an excuse for not converting to the Catholic faith. Some popes may have put policies or organizations in process that weakened the Church’s influence in the world, and some may have even done or endorsed things that weakened the actual spiritual riches of the Church (we’re not naming names, but you don’t have to look too far back in history to find examples). The actions of we fallen men with our free wills have consequences.

    Christ guaranteed that the Church would never fall to the Gates of Hell, but He did not guarantee that the Church would be strong and healthy in every country at all times (I wouldn’t bet any money on the future of the Church in America, at least not for the next couple of hundred years). He did not guarantee that she would always be at the zenith of her spiritual powers. He did not guarantee she would be free from suffering, from torments, from confusion, or from trials.

    Take comfort in the Promise, and rather than be disheartened by the battle raging around us know that you too have been allowed a role in the fight. We know our fortress cannot ever fully fall. We know the ultimate victory is ours. However, we do have our small sphere of influence for which we are responsible, and we must endeavor to do our best to advance our cause within that sphere. When we each stand before the Judge, our opinion of the pope will NOT be the first thing on the docket. Our personal faith, our actions, those we served, our families, our friends, our coworkers, our own personal enemies . . . etc. Those, I suspect, will be given far more weight in the grand scheme of things.

  7. jltuttle says:


    I agree with everything you just said. This is the key: “Yet despite all these fallen men’s best efforts, Catholic doctrine was not compromised, the Deposit of the Faith was handed on, the Church continued to administer the Grace filled sacraments of Christ, and souls were still saved. That is no small wonder.” That will be the sign of whether the Petrine office is held by a man to whom we should listen, or who we should ignore: A pope, or an antipope. If the Pope does real damage to the deposit of the faith, meaning that he uses his office to compel heretical views, do I go along because the Pope said so? Is that trusting in our Lord’s promise? And if my bishop decides to go along as well, do I? Fr. Z says, “We stand upon the Rock who is Peter…. or… we… DON’T.” Well, what if this Peter is a heretic and he compels heresy? Do I stand on that rock? Or do I simple not prepare for such a contingency because our Lord promised that the Gates of Hell will not prevail? It doesn’t seem that His promise forecloses that contingency, so shouldn’t I prepare for it?

  8. mo7 says:

    Question: I own a rosary blessed by a Cardinal. I made a point to use it on the feast day. [Thank you for the instruction :) ]. If I have fulfilled all the conditions for a plenary indulgence can I offer it up for someone else or offer it to Our Lady to use as she wishes? Bear with me because I am still learning traditional practice…

  9. WVC says:


    I wouldn’t spend too much effort preparing for such an event. It’s truly one of those cases applicable to Christ’s words about worrying not adding a moment to our life. There’s naught we can do about it, it’s God’s promise, and we trust that God will keep it. Perhaps in gory fashion, like the prevention of Arius being made a cardinal, or perhaps in some other, gentler way – who knows? I trust that God will abide by his Word.

    Even if you did want to prepare for such a contingency (and I’m a methodical planner at heart), there’s no historical precedent from which to draw lessons learned, and there are far too many uncontrollable variables to try to account for. Where would the various cardinals and bishops fall? Local priests and parishes? What would be crux of the issue? Something small but significant, like one letter in a Greek word, or something showy but not necessarily dogmatically vital?

    Such speculation seems to me to have crossed the threshold from useful to wasteful.

    Sorry I don’t have much else to offer. However, it’s not an issue I think anyone should be losing sleep over (unless the person reading this is a pope, in which case it actually IS vitally important to one’s own salvation).

  10. jltuttle says:


    I suppose you’re right. Thanks for all your thoughtful responses. I do appreciate your time and effort.

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