CCC 153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”.1 Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’”2
CCC 424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’3 On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.4
CCC 440 Jesus accepted Peter’s profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man.5 He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man “who came down from heaven”, and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”6 Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross.7 Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus’ messianic kingship to the People of God: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”8
CCC 442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”9 Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles. ..”10 “And in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’”11 From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will be the center of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church’s foundation.12
CCC 552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve;13 Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”14 Christ, the “living Stone”,15 thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.16
CCC 553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: “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.”17 The “power of the keys” designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: “Feed my sheep.”18 The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles19 and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.
CCC 586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church.20 He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s definitive dwelling-place among men.21 Therefore his being put to bodily death22 presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”23
CCC 849 The missionary mandate. “Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be ‘the universal sacrament of salvation,’ the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men”:24 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age.”25
CCC 881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.26 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.”27 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
CCC 1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “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.”28 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.”29
1 Mt 16:17; cf. Gal 1:15; Mt 11:25.
2 DV 5; cf. DS 377; 3010.
3 Mt 16:16.
4 Cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4 3: PL 54,150 – 152; 51,1: PL 54, 309B; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432.
5 Cf. Mt 16:16-23.
6 Jn 3:13; Mt 20:28; cf. Jn 6:62; Dan 7:13; Is 53:10-12.
7 Cf. Jn 19:19-22; Lk 23:39-43.
8 Acts 2:36.
9 Mt 16:16-17.
10 Gal 1:15-16.
11 Acts 9:20.
12 Cf. I Th 1:10; Jn 20:31; Mt 16:18.
13 Cf Mk 3:16; 9:2; Lk 24:34; I Cor 15:5.
14 Mt 16:18.
15 I Pt 2:4.
16 Cf. Lk 22:32.
17 Mt 16:19.
18 Jn 21:15-17; Cf. 10:11.
19 Cf. Mt 18:18.
20 Cf. Mt 8:4; 16:18; 17:24-27; Lk 17:14; Jn 4:22; 18:20.
21 Cf. Jn 2:21; Mt 12:6.
22 Cf. Jn 2:18-22.
23 Jn 4:21; cf. 4:23-24; Mt 27:5; Heb 9:11; Rev 21:22.
24 AG 1; cf. Mt 16:15.
25 Mt 28:19-20.
26 Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17.
27 LG 22 # 2.
28 Mt 16:19; cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20.
29 LG 22 # 2.