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Christian world. The Bishops, whom the Holy Ghost hath placed to rule the Church of God,1 govern, in his name, their respective Dioceses, and are also Pastors. How comes it, that the Keys, which were given to Peter, are found in other hands than his?— The Catholic Church explains the difficulty to us by her Tradition. She says to us, by Tertullian: "Christ 'gave the Keys to Peter, and through him to the "Church." By St. Optatus of Milevum: "For the "sake of unity, Peter was made the first among all "the Apostles, and he alone received the Keys, that "he might give them to the rest."3 By St. Gregory of Nyssa: "It was through Peter that Christ gave "to Bishops the Keys of their heavenly prerogative."4 By St. Leo the Great: "If our Lord willed that "there should be something in common to Peter and "the rest of the Princes of his Church, it was only on "this condition,-that whatsoever he gave to the rest, 'he gave it to them through Peter."5

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Yes, the Episcopate is most sacred, for it comes from the hands of Jesus Christ through Peter and his successors. Such is the unanimous teaching of Catholic Tradition, which is in keeping with the language used by the Roman Pontiffs, from the earliest Ages, who have always spoken of the dignity of Bishops as consisting in their being " called to a share of their own solicitude." Hence St. Cyprian does not hesitate to say, that " our Saviour, wishing "to establish the Episcopal dignity and constitute "his Church, says to Peter: To thee will I give the Keys of the Kingdom of heaven; and here we have, both the institution of Bishops, and the con"stitution of the Church."6 This same doctrine is clearly stated in a Letter written to Pope St. Symmachus by St. Cesarius of Arles, (who lived in the

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1 Acts, xx. 28.

2 Scorpiac. Cap. x.

3 Contra Parmenianum, Lib. vii.

4 Opp., tom. iii.

5 In anniv. assumpt. Serm. iv. Epist. xxxiii.

5th century): "The Episcopate flows from the blessed "Apostle Peter; and consequently, it belongs to Your "Holiness to prescribe to the several Churches the "rules which they are to follow." This fundamental principle, which St. Leo the Great has so ably and eloquently developed, (as we have seen on the Feast of the Chair at Rome, January 18th,)-this principle, which is taught us by universal Tradition, is laid down with all possible precision in the magnificent Letters, still extant, of Pope St. Innocent the First, who preceded St. Leo by several years. Thus, he writes to the Council of Carthage, "that the Episco"pate, with all its authority, emanates from the "Apostolic See;" to the Council of Milevum, "that Bishops must look upon Peter as the source whence "both their name and their dignity are derived;"3 to St. Victricius, Bishop of Rouen, "that the Aposto"late and the Episcopate both owe their origin to "Peter."4

Controversy is not our object. All we aim at by giving these quotations from the Fathers on the prerogatives of Peter's Chair, is to excite the Faithful to be devoted to it and venerate it. This we have endeavoured to do, by showing them, that this Chair is the source of the spiritual authority, which, in its several degrees, rules and sanctifies them. Yes, all spiritual authority comes from Peter; all comes from the Bishop of Rome, in whom Peter will continue to govern the Church to the end of time. Jesus Christ is the founder of the Episcopate; it is the Holy Ghost who establishes Bishops to rule the Church ;but the mission, the institution, which assigns the Pastor his Flock, and the Flock its Pastor, these are given by Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost through the ministry of Peter and his Successors..

1 Epist. x.

2 Idem. xxix.

3 Idem. XXX.

4 Idem. ii.

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How sacred, how divine, is this authority of the Keys, which is first given by heaven itself to the Roman Pontiff; then is delegated by him to the Prelates of the Church; and thus guides and blesses the whole Christian world! The Apostolic See has varied its mode of transmitting such an authority according to the circumstances of the several Ages; but the one source of the whole Power was always the same, the Chair of Peter. We have already seen how, at the commencement, there were three Chairs: Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch; and all three were sources of the canonical institution of the Bishops of their respective provinces; but they were all three Chairs of Peter, for they were founded by him that they might preside over their Patriarchates, as St. Leo,1 St. Gelasius,2 and St. Gregory the Great,3 expressly teach. But, of these three Chairs, the Pontiff of Rome had his authority and his institution from heaven; whereas, the two other Patriarchs could not exercise their rights, until they were recognised and confirmed by him who was Peter's successor, as Vicar of Christ. Later on, two other Sees were added to these first three: but it was only by the consent of the Roman Pontiff that Constantinople and Jerusalem obtained such an honour. Let us notice, too, the difference there is between the accidental honours conferred on four of these Churches, and the divine prerogative of the Church of Rome. By God's permission, the Sees of Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, were defiled by heresy; they became Chairs of pestilence; and, having corrupted the faith they received from Rome, they could not transmit to others the mission they themselves had forfeited. Sad indeed was the ruin of such pillars as these! Peter's hand had

1 Epist. civ. Ad. Anatolium.

2 Concil. Romanum. Labb. tom. iv.



Epist. ad Eulogium. 4 Ps. i. 1.

2 F

placed them in the Church. They had merited the love and veneration of men ; but they fell; and their fall gave one more proof of the solidity of that edifice, which Christ himself had built on Peter. The unity of the Church was made more visible. Obliged by the treachery of her own favoured children to deprive them of the privileges they had received from her, Rome was, more evidently than ever, the sole source of pastoral Power.

We, then, both priests and people, have a right to know whence our Pastors have received their Power. From whose hand have they received the Keys? If their mission come from the Apostolic See, let us honour and obey them, for they are sent to us by Jesus Christ, who has invested them, through Peter, with his own authority. If they claim our obedience without having been sent by the Bishop of Rome, we must refuse to receive them, for they are not acknowledged by Christ as his Ministers. The holy anointing may have conferred on them the sacred character of the Episcopate ;-it matters not; they must be as aliens to us, for they have not been sent,— they are not Pastors.

Thus it is, that the Divine Founder of the Church, who willed that she should be a City seated on a mountain,1 gave her Visibility; it was an essential requisite; for since all were called to enter her pale, all must be able to see her. But he was not satisfied with this. He moreover willed, that the spiritual power exercised by her Pastors should come from a visible source; so that the Faithful might have a sure means of verifying the claims of those who were to guide them in His name. Our Lord, we say it reverently, owed this to us; for, on the Last Day, he will not receive us as his Children, unless we shall have been members of his Church, and have lived in

1 St. Matth. v. 15.

union with him by the ministry of Pastors lawfully constituted. Honour, then, and submission to Jesus

in his Vicar! honour and submission to the Vicar of Christ in the Pastors he sends !

As a tribute of our devotion to the Prince of the Apostles, let us recite, in his honour, the following Hymn, composed by St. Peter Damian.


O Prince of the Apostolic Senate Herald of our Lord! First Pastor of the Faithful! watch over the Flock in

trusted to thee.

Lead us through verdant pastures, feeding us with the nourishment of the Word; and lead us, thus fed, into the heavenly fold, whither thou hast already gone.

To thee, Peter, have been delivered the Keys of heaven's gate; and all things, both in heaven and on earth, acknowledge thy authority.

"Tis thou that choosest the city where is to be established the Rock of the true faith, the foundation of the building, on which the Catholic Church stands immoveable.

Thy shadow, as thou passest by, heals the sick; and Tabitha, that made garments for the poor, was raised to life at thy bidding.

Bound with two chains, thou wast set free by an

Senatus apostolici
Princeps et præco Domini :
Pastor prime fidelium,
Custodi gregem creditum.

Per pascua virentia,
Nos verbi fruge recrea :
Refectas oves prævius
Caulis infer coelestibus.

Supernæ Claves januæ
Tibi, Petre, sunt traditæ :
Tuisque patent legibus
Terrena cum cœlestibus.

Tu Petram veræ fidei,
Tu basim ædificii
Fundas, in qua Catholica
Fixa surgit Ecclesia.

Umbra tua, dum graderis, Fit medicina languidis ; Textrinis usa vestium Sprevit Tabitha feretrum.

Catena vinctum gemina Virtus solvit angelica ;

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