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Thursday, February 22, 2001

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1 Peter 5:1-4
Psalm 23
Matthew 16:13-19

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the pope in god's plan

"I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven." —Matthew 16:19

St. Peter was chosen by Jesus to lead the apostles. The Pope is the successor of St. Peter in his ministry of leading the apostles' successors, the bishops. In this way, the Pope leads the Church. Because he has a ministry of leadership and authority, the Pope can preserve, strengthen, and restore the unity of the Church, for unity is based on authoritative leadership.

Many Christian groups have tried to live the Christian life without accepting the Pope's chair of authority and unity. This has resulted in over 25,000 Christian denominations and in our culture of death. However, the Catholics of the world haven't done much better because many of them accept the Pope's authority in theory while ignoring or opposing it in practice.

Catholics, repent of not trying to know what the Pope teaches; repent of pride and disobedience to the Pope. Refusal to submit to the Pope's authority renders the Church disunited and weak. This lets the devil "get away with murder" by killing babies in the womb, breaking up families, breaking hearts, breaking down faith, and damning souls. Disobedience to the Pope's authority has set the stage for inexpressible death, injustice, sin, and destruction. Submit to the authority of the chair of Peter.

Prayer:  Father, teach me to love the Church (Eph 5:25) and to submit to the Pope's authority.

Promise:  "When the chief Shepherd appears you will win for yourselves the unfading crown of glory." —1 Pt 5:4

Praise:  St. Peter humbly obeyed a heavenly vision to preach to the Gentiles even when he couldn't fully understand (see Acts 11:9ff; 11:28). Because of Peter's quick obedience, the first Gentiles received the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:44).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, August 9, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 18, 2000