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The Origins of the Papacy -- Peter do you Love Me?

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio - Free Lenten Resources!The Origins of the Papacy

"Peter, Do You Love Me?"

by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

 

Origins of the Papacy, Pope John Paul II, Catholic Church, Vatican, Rome, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, The Holy See

The origins of the Papacy can be found in the dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter in John 21, a gospel traditionally read during Eastertide.  The pope, the successor of Peter, has a role that has not to do with privilege but with sacrifice.

 

On many occasions I’ve heard non-Catholics object to the papacy.  Often, they say something like this: “I just can’t believe that one man on earth, the Pope, is holier than everyone else.”  So who ever said that being sinless is either a prerequisite or a consequence of being named Pope?

 

For the Pope, the bishop of Rome, is the successor of Peter, who spent the last years of his life leading the Christians of the eternal city.  And here is an interesting fact.  None of the four canonical gospels (not to mention Acts and Galatians) try to hide the fact that Peter sinned often and sinned big.  By the way, if the “patriarchal, controlling” leaders of the early Catholic Church altered the story about Jesus as the DaVinci Code suggests, don’t you think they would have “fixed” these embarrassing stories?

 

Yet while all agree Peter was weak and imperfect, they all also agree that he was given a unique responsibility.   Only he got a name-change from Jesus himself (from Simon to “Peter” meaning rock).  Only he was told by Christ on Holy Thursday night “I have prayed for you that your faith never fail and when you’ve repented, go and strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22: 31-32).  And when Jesus, after the resurrection, cooked a fish breakfast for the apostles (John 21), it was only to Peter that Jesus put the question “do you love me?”

 

Origins of the Papacy, Good Shepherd, Catholic Church, Holy See, Pope, Vatican, Rome, Marcellino D'Ambroiso, PhD

But why did Jesus ask him the same question three times?  Perhaps Peter needed to atone for his three-fold denial of Christ by a three-fold profession of love.  Perhaps, given Peter’s track record of getting it wrong, the Lord really wanted to be sure he got his point across.  Here’s the point–

 

“Peter, your way of expressing penance for your sin and love for me will be to feed my sheep.  Remember, they are not your sheep, but mine.  Take care of them for me.  Do for them what I did for them.  Don’t just feed them.  Protect them.  Lay down your life for them if necessary.”

 

Peter’s role as a Shepherd is, in a way, unique because it is universal.  Despite his human frailty, he is given care of all the Churches.  And, if we take Lk 22:31-32 seriously, he is called to be the shepherd of all the shepherds.  That’s a big responsibility.  In fact, it is a crushing burden which he could never fulfill on his own power.  That’s why we pray for the Pope (meaning “Papa” or father) in every Catholic Eucharist across the globe – He needs the grace of the Holy Spirit to fulfill his role.  The bit about Peter stretching out his hands with others leading him where he does not want to go – it does not just refer to his crucifixion under Nero, but to the daily laying his life down for his flock, the “white martyrdom” that we can saw so clearly in the weary but relentless witness of John Paul II.

 

Origins of the Papacy, Catholic Church, Peter, St. Peter, Rome, Holy See, Pope

In another way, though, Peter’s role of a Shepherd is not unique.  It is exemplary for all of us sheep who are called to become ourselves shepherds and leaders, despite our own frailty and sinfulness.  Some are called to be bishops, successors of the apostles, entrusted with pastoral care of a portion of Christ’s flock.  Some are called to be priests and deacons, who assist a bishop in his apostolic mission.  Some are called to be catechists, youth ministers and teachers, who also play a role in the feeding of the sheep.

 

And most of us are called to be parents, shepherds of what the Second Vatican Council calls “the domestic church.”  Parents, say St. Thomas Aquinas and John Paul II, have a pastoral role much like that of a parish priest.  In fact John Paul II, in his letter Familiaris Consortio, says that the Catholic parent exercises “a true ministry of the Church.”

 

Origins of the Papacy Holy Spirit, Good Shepherd, ROme, THe Vatican, Holy See, Rome, Pope, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambroiso

On whatever level, the call to feed and care for the sheep is a call to sacrifice, not privilege.  It has its moments of exaltation and profound satisfaction, but it has its moments of agony as well.  But if we’ve learned anything from the passion, it’s that suffering is the true and necessary test of love, as well as love’s most authentic and powerful expression.   So let us not be afraid to be shepherds.  The Good Shepherd will empower us with His Spirit.  And let’s pray with gratitude and compassion for those who shepherd us.

 

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This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor  for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Cycle C and is reprinted here with permission.

 

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Keeping Your Kids Catholic

by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Keeping Your Kids Catholic, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Catholic Church, Rome, ParentingTalk One: The Family as the Domestic Church

The second Vatican Council echoing the Early Church Fathers, teaches that the family is the domestic church. If we understand what the church really is, the implications are enormous! This talk lays out the vision of what the Catholic Family is called to be in a way both challenging and inspiring.

 

Talk Two: The Art of Parenting: It's All About Balance!

So practically, how do we make it happen? How do we raise kids who are truly Catholic, with a commitment to holiness and mission? This talk abound with nitty-gritty suggestions on how to strike the balance between formal religious education in the home, and teaching by example, between affection and discipline, the role of parents and the help of other adults. You’ll walk away with clear strategies that you can implement in your own family life.

 


 

PPeter, the Pope and Infallibilityeter, the Pope and Infallibilty   

There are always questions raised by Catholics and Non- Catholics about the Papacy and its institution. Peter, the Pope and Infallibility by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio will help answer many of the questions that people may ask during this time of mourning. This CD is 45 minutes in length and was actually given during Dr. D’Ambrosio's  pilgrimage to Rome.

 


 

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 The Handbook for Catholic Moms Drawing from the deep tradition of the Catholic faith, Lisa Hendey coaches Catholic moms in how to care for themselves—heart, mind, body, and soul—so that they can better love and care for their families, their neighbors, and their Church.
With warmth and wisdom, Hendey creates an environment where Catholic moms can reflect peacefully upon often-competitive topics like parenting style, types of schooling, and working outside the home. By sharing her own story, Hendey inspires readers to better balance their own needs with the demands of family life and faith commitment.

 


 

BioLean® of the BioLean® Weight Management System - free-shipping

 BioLean of the Bio-Lean weight management & fat-loss system Ephedra-free BioLean®, of the BioLean® Weight Management System, is an excellent natural choice to help jump-start your healthy lifestyle.  The great thing about BioLean® is that is can help reduce body fat even while promoting the development of lean muscle mass --the only path to long-term, healthy weight loss. 

 


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 The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions- DVD Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part meditation on the four moral virtues - fortitude, prudence, justice and temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. This program lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints.


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