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Friday, February 22, 2002

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Chair of Peter

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

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christ's way to unity and victory

"To the elders among you I, a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and sharer in the glory that is to be revealed, make this appeal." —1 Peter 5:1

Today we celebrate the unity which comes from submitting to the authority of the Church through the Pope. Because of their submission to the Pope, Catholics can overcome their personal limitations and cultural blindspots. They can avoid the powerlessness and devastating defeat which accompanies extreme individualism and independence.

In war, a common strategy, which has often been used by Satan, is: "Divide and conquer." In some of the most critical matters, division and an ensuing defeat can be prevented only by submission to the Pope. Look at the more than 25,000 Christian denominations which do not submit to the authority of the Pope. They have been divided time after time and defeated.

Even within the Catholic Church, we have serious divisions. These seriously impede the Lord's work through the Church and cause the Church to be defeated in many areas. If Catholics were Catholic in spirit and not only in name, they would be united in essentials and victorious in the most important aspects of life. One way to determine whether you are Catholic in spirit is to look at areas in which you are united with the Church only because of your submission to the Pope's authority and not because of your personal convictions. Where have you gone against your conscience because you assumed it was not formed properly, as it was not in accord with the teaching of the Church as expressed by the Pope? Submission to the Church's authority is the only way to great unity for human beings with our wounded, fallen nature.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for the Church which keeps Satan from exploiting my human weaknesses to cause disunity and defeat.

Promise:  "He guides me in right paths for His name's sake." —Ps 23:3

Praise:  "The Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter's message" (Acts 10:44).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001