Pope Benedict XVI

As we are entering into that wonderful, apocalyptic time where we wander around explaining to people that the Mass was not abrogated and expounding on Quo Primum, let me take this moment to wish all readers a Blessed Feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome. This feast was removed from the 1962 calendar— one of the first casualties of the modernist ascendancy— and the date of the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Antioch became our only celebration of the chair-iness of Peter wheresoever he sat down.

From Dom Gueranger, writing before the suppression of the Feast:

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The Archangel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Annunciation, that the Son Who was to be born of Her should be a King, and that of His Kingdom there should be no end. Hence, when the Magi were led from the East to the Crib of Jesus, they proclaimed in Jerusalem that they came to seek a King. But his new Empire needed a capital; and whereas the King, Who was to fix His throne in it, was, according to the eternal decrees, to re-ascend into Heaven, it was necessary that the visible character of His Royalty should be left here on earth, and this even to the end of the world. He that should be invested with this visible character of Christ our King would be the Vicar of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ chose Simon for this sublime dignity of being His Vicar. He changed his name into one which signifies the Rock, that is “Peter”; and in giving him this new name, He tells us that the whole Church throughout the world is to rest upon this man as upon a Rock which nothing shall ever move (Matt. 16: 18). But this promise of Our Lord included another; namely, that as Peter was to close his earthly career by the cross, He would give him Successors in whom Peter and his authority should live to the end of time.

But again, there must be some mark or sign of this succession, to designate to the world who the Pontiff is on whom, to the end of the world, the Church is to be built. There are so many Bishops in the Church; in which one of them is Peter continued? This Prince of the Apostles founded and governed several Churches; but only one of these was watered with his blood, and that one was Rome; only one of these is enriched with his Tomb, and that one is Rome; the Bishop of Rome, therefore, is the Successor of Peter, and consequently the Vicar of Christ. It is of the Bishop of Rome alone that it is said: Upon thee will I build My Church; and again: To thee will I give the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 16: 19); and again: I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; do thou confirm thy brethren (Luke 22: 32); and again: Feed my lambs; feed my sheep (John 21: 15, 17).

Protestantism saw the force of this argument, and therefore strove to throw doubts on St. Peter’s having lived and died in Rome.   They who labored to establish doubts of this kind rightly hoped that, if they could gain their point, they would destroy the authority of the Roman Pontiff, and even the very notion of a Head of the Church. But History has refuted this puerile objection, and now all learned Protestants agree with Catholics in admitting a fact which is one of the most incontestable, even on the ground of human authority.

It was in order to nullify, by the authority of the Liturgy, this strange pretension of Protestants, that Pope Paul IV, in 1558, restored the ancient Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome, and fixed it on the 18th of January. For many centuries the Church had not solemnized the mystery of the Pontificate of the Prince of the Apostles on any distinct feast, but had made the single Feast of February 22nd serve for both the Chair at Antioch and the Chair at Rome. From that time forward, the 22nd of February has been kept for the Chair at Antioch, which was the first occupied by the Apostle.