Tag Archives: Simon bar Jonah

Our Lord did not call Simon, “the Rock”, for nothing

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

The student of the history of the Catholic Church cannot ignore the fact of its longevity. It is the only visible institution in the history of mankind to outlast every government and temporal power, and every other kind of institution — using the term properly — of mankind. Countless Empires, Kingdoms, Duchies, Principalities, Unions and Nations have come and gone, but the Catholic Church remains.

This truth is found also in regard to the Apostolic See: the institution of the Papacy.

A fisherman — we do not even know if he was literate — from Galilee one day drops his nets and follows Jesus’ call to be a fisher of men. He tramps around the dusty byways of Galilee for 3 years hearing Him preach and seeing Him work astounding miracles. And one day, after giving the right answer to a single question, he received in return, the promise of the an amazing office, and had his name changed, from Simon bar Jonah, to Cephas, the Rock — which is rendered in Latin, as “Peter”.

The meaning of this name has been variously explained by theologians and ecclesiastical writers for 2000 years, but, here I want to consider the effect of that name in history.

Because, if you read the history of the Church, you see that that Name also has a meaning: the Rock, against which every power which takes up its hand, has been broken and destroyed from history.

This fisherman, after many labors and wanderings, came to Rome, and probably was seen fishing along the Tiber, where the fish are wont to be seen, down near where the Via Conciliazione leads today. He preached Jesus and with another man, called Saul of Tarsus, but who changed his name to Paul, they founded the Catholic Church at Rome.

There was Nero, who put Saint Peter to death. But Nero was almost immediately murdered by his supporters.

There were 9 more persecutions in the Roman Empire, and every one failed to exterminate the Church at Rome. Each of the Emperors involved, was quickly removed from power by his enemies.

When the Roman Empire fell, the Church of Rome and its Pope remained. The entire inheritance, cultural and physical of the eternal city fell into the hands of the Church, in a historic irony the importance of which is not ignored by all historians of Rome. Even the chief title of the religious leader, the Bridge-builder, in Latin, Pontifex, was inherited by the successors of that Galilean fisherman.

The Lombards sought to subject the Pop to their authority in the 6th Century, but the Kingdom of the Lombards has passed into history. The Greek Emperors tried in the 7th and 8th centuries, and their Empire has long ago fallen. The German Emperors were rather unique in this that they often came to the help of the Apostolic See, when it was tossed hither and thither by the rival clans of Roman Nobility, all of which have passed into history.

In the Middle Ages, a King of France at the beginning of the fourteenth century, sent his thugs to beat the pope to death. And not only did he die shortly afterwards, his dynasty is extinct, and his Kingdom is no more.

In more recent centuries, the Kingdom of Piedmont — which renamed itself the Kingdom of Italy — attempted to exterminate the Papacy, but it too is no more. The very enemy of the Apostolic See, after little more than 70 years, was conquered by all the forces of the West, in the Second World War and the Dynasty which governed it remains still, in its male heirs, exiled from the Italian peninsula.

From this we can see, that the Apostolic See, the Office of Peter, is the Rock of history. It is a Rock like a shoal in the sea, where, if any man dare to chart a course against it, he is smashed and defeated.

For these reasons, we can be sure that we shall soon see the power of that gift which Our Lord gave to that Fisherman from Galilee. Those who attacked him over His book on Celibacy, will shortly see their entire project smashed.

It cannot be otherwise, because he alone is the True Peter, the true Rock of the Ages.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image if a photograph of Saint Peter’s Basilica, built over the spot where the Fisherman from Galilee was buried in 69 A. D.. It was taken by Br. Bugnolo.

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Christ regards Benedict alone, as His Vicar on Earth

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

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In controversies, we often forget the higher principles and end up disputing only in regard to the minutiae. This is dangerous, because the chief motives, especially in controversies in the Church, should depend upon Eternal and Divine principles.

For this reason, it is important for us to remember that Christ Jesus founded the Catholic Church and is the Author and Grantor of all ecclesiastical offices: offices, which are of supernatural origin and to which He has affixed a gift of grace (munus) which cannot be alienated except by explicit renunciation.

We know this by Divine Revelation. For when He asked Simon bar Johan what men thought of Himself, Peter responded:  Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

To which Our Lord, Messiah and Redeemer responded:  Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: 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 upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. (Gospel of Saint Matthew, Chapter 16)

We often fail to recognize, that by a Divine Promise God, who cannot be bound and obligated to man, has nevertheless bound and obligated Himself to man in what He has promised.  In regard to the Petrine Office (munus petrinum), Christ has actually bound HIMSELF to the official acts of the Roman Pontiff and to the words thereof. He has thus WILLED as GOD not to act, if the Roman Pontiff does not allow Him to act, and to act when the Roman Pontiff allows Him to act.

While this binding of God to Peter is not universal, it nevertheless does regards Papal Acts, where the man who is Pope acts as pope.  It also regards the man who is pope, inasmuch as he is a man, in the matter of accepting and renouncing the Papal Office (munus petrinum). For when a man accepts his election or acclamation as Pope, Christ bestows on the man the office and gift of grace (munus) which he gave Saint Peter to be passed on to the Bishops of Rome until the end of time.  The Church in Her wisdom has signified this office and gift of grace with the only Latin word which means both office and gift, “munus”.

No other Latin word having such a meaning, Pope John Paul II, as legislator of the New Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1983, added munus to Canon 322 §2, as the fundamental condition to spark, as it were, the recognition of a papal resignation.

While men can ignore that word in canon 332 §2, Christ cannot.

This is no exaggeration, no mere human opinion. Because since it is of Divine Faith that Christ promised to bind and loose according to the word of His Vicar. His vicar in adding that word to the canon regarding papal resignation, did bind Christ Himself not to withdraw the office and gift of grace (munus), if the munus were NOT renounced.

The Sacred Hierarchy, and especially the College of Cardinals, need to recognize this fundamental theological truth of Christology and Ecclesiology, and return to a correct recognition of the facts of the case.  They must ignore what men say about what happened on February 11, 2013 on the basis of what a pool reporter, with little knowledge of Latin thought Benedict signified. They must ignore what all who think what that act signified. They must attend solely to Canon 332 §2 according to what that canon says in its Latin official text. They must read it in accord with canon 17 and the text Non solum propter.

They must recognize, that when the Vicar of Christ does not renounce the office and gift of grace which Christ gave to him alone, Christ cannot transfer it to another, even if the whole Church wants Him to transfer it. He cannot act, until His Vicar acts. And even if His vicar is confused due to old age, He cannot act.

Thus, it’s indubitably true that Pope Benedict XVI is still the Pope, and that Christ Himself regards Benedict alone as His Vicar on Earth. God Himself can do no other. He cannot break His promise to Peter.