• Sarah Raad


“God continues to use the frailest of natural means to accomplish His supernatural purposes.” (Scott Hahn in his book, “Consuming the Word”).

Chair of Saint Peter (Cathedra Petri) (Bernini)

A lot of non-Catholic Christians have a very serious problem with the Pope, with the existence of the Holy Father and the problem that they have stems from the existence of the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome, or the Chair of Saint Peter as it is called…

The Greek word “katherdra” and the Latin word “cathedra” mean “seat”. Thus, the word “cathedral” comes from the Greek or Latin word “cathedra”, which means seat. Therefore a “cathedral” is the church in which the “seat” or “chair” of the bishop is housed. In other words, a cathedral is a church which contains the chair of the bishop.

When the Pope sits in “cathedra” – in the “Chair of Saint Peter” – AND speaks on matters of faith and morals, the Pope’s teaching is infallible. Now this is a contentious issue because it is largely misunderstood by non-Catholic Christians! You see, we hear this word “infallible” and it defies logic. But the important thing to remember is that the Pope is not infallible every time he speaks. In fact, it is very rare indeed for the Pope to speak in cathedra on matters of faith and morals. For example, if the Holy Father is giving his opinion about something or speaking about something that is not a matter of faith and morals – he is not infallible…

And yet, still, there is something very strange about this – and the more I think about it, the clearer the reason for this strangeness becomes.

Scott Hahn in his book, “Consuming the Word”, says it quite clearly… “God continues to use the frailest of natural means to accomplish His supernatural purposes.”

And this is why, he used a simple fisherman, an illiterate, uneducated man who ran away from the Cross because he was afraid. And upon that foundation, God built His Church…

And He did it because though He was weak, Saint Peter had FAITH…

“…He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’” (Matthew 16:13-19).

And so, when I wonder why Christ chose Peter or – for that matter – why He chose Francis right now. And I realise, that it is not my place to determine these things, but it is my place to pray about it. Because this Pope – like his predecessors – is a rock, and when we apply pressure to rocks they can only change in one of two ways… They can shatter and turn into dust, or they can harden and turn into diamonds.

And my prayer is that the Holy Father - and all of his successors - harden into a diamond – for that is a fitting cornerstone, a fitting rock upon which is built our Holy Church…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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