GOSPEL Matt. 16:13-19
At that time, Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: “Whom do men say that the Son of man is?” But they said: “Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Jesus saith to them:”But whom do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus answering said to him: “Blessed art thou, Simon BarJona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”
First things first. Notice how Jesus insists on an answer, and Peter, having made use of his intellect to discern the reality in front of him, gives an answer. It is interesting that given Peter was “Illiterate and ignorant” (Acts 4:13), notice what doesn’t happen: Jesus does NOT instruct him to go get the opinion of more “learned men”… not the Sadducees, nor Pharisees, nor high priests, nor the Sanhedrin.
“Who do YOU say that I am?”
Reminds me of our old friend, canon 748.1:
Can. 748 §1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they have come to know.
Can I get an Amen?
So Peter in Matt 16 is now destined to receive the keys, and the power to bind and loose, which necessarily comes with the following protections: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32) This is why true popes CANNOT propose error as truth, cannot promulgate heresy in the Magisterium, cannot lead the faithful astray with lie after pernicious lie. If a true pope were able to do any of those things, it would make Our Lord a liar in Luke 22:32. Pick a side.
Furthermore, we can deduce the reality of Supernatural divine protection even without the Scripture. If Our Lord was going to leave His Church in the hands of mere men, of course it would need to be He Himself backstopping their dimmed rational intellects and concupiscence, through the negative protection of the Holy Ghost. He could not possibly bind Himself to Peter without this guarantee. Does it really seem like the deployment of that mechanism is happening right now?
If not, why not?
May each one of us, even dimwitted laymen like myself, take heart in being questioned directly by Our Lord to search for truth, by scrutinizing the evidence. Canon 748.1 reminds us that it is not a mere suggestion, but rather a moral duty, for ALL PERSONS. If it appears impossible that Bergoglio is true pope of the Catholic Church, Vicar of Christ on earth, then you are duty-bound to research how his usurpation could have come about. Formal pronouncements from those with proper authority will come later. But first, the truth must out, as it always does.
“These moderns, forever prattling about culture and civilization, are undermining the Church’s doctrine, laws, and practices. They are not concerned very much about culture and civilization. By using such high-sounding words they think they can conceal the wickedness of their schemes. All of you know their purpose, subterfuges, and methods. On Our part We have denounced and condemned their scheming. They are proposing a universal apostasy even worse than the one that threatened the age of Charles [Borromeo]. It is worse, We say, because it stealthily creeps into the very veins of the Church, hides there, and cunningly pushes erroneous principles to their ultimate conclusions.”
Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Editae Saepe, nn. 17-18, 1910