Chair of Saint Peter: Where Peter is, there is the Church

Constitutive dimension of the Catholic faith is profound fidelity to the Pope

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, where Peter is, there is the Church: In the liturgical feast of the Chair of Saint Peter we share this interesting reflection by Rodrigo Guerra, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, on fidelity to the Pope.


Today is the liturgical feast of the “Chair of Saint Peter”. Uncomfortable party for those who spread suspicions against Pope Francis. Indeed, since the origins of the Catholic Church, there have been people and groups that have questioned the authority of the Successor of Peter.

Very frequently the objections that are presented are of the type: “How is it possible that ‘this’ is the Vicar of Christ?” “How is it possible that he teaches this if his predecessor said that?” Seemingly innocuous, these questions call into question not only the Pope, but Jesus himself, who affirms: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of the abyss will not overcome it” (Mt 15:18). Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, where Peter is, there is the Church.

Today, a false affection for Tradition is often invoked to criticize Pope Francis on all kinds of issues. This affection is precisely false, it is “pseudo-traditionalism” since it forgets that a constitutive dimension of the Catholic faith is profound fidelity to the Pope – whoever he may be -. A quick way to deconstruct the pseudo-orthodoxy and pseudo-tradition of the detractors of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is to remind them of a short text written by someone hardly suspected of being “progressive” or “liberal”:

When you love the Pope, you do not stop to discuss what he advises or demands, to seek how far the rigorous duty of obedience goes and to mark the limit of this obligation. When you love the Pope, you do not object that he has not spoken clearly enough, as if he were obliged to repeat directly, in the ear of each one, his will clearly explained so many times, not only by word of mouth, but by letters and other public documents.  His orders are not questioned, under the easy pretext of those who do not want to obey, that they do not emanate directly from him, but from those around him.  The field where he can and must exercise his will is not limited; the authority of other people, no matter how learned they may be, who differ in opinion with the Pope, is not opposed to the authority of the Pope. (Saint Pius)

In this brief quote, there is not all the Theology about Peter’s ministry. However, there are some authoritative statements that can do good to my heart and my head when the temptation of self-referential surprises me and makes me think that I am smarter than the Holy Spirit himself. Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam! (All with Peter to Jesus through Mary). Amen.