Benedict XVI, Angelus, Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter
Sunday, 19 February 2012:
"The «chair» (in Latin: cattedra) is the seat reserved to the bishop. From this term comes the name «cathedral», given to the church in which, precisely, the bishop presides at the liturgy and teaches the people. The Chair of St Peter, represented in the apse of the Vatican Basilica is a monumental sculpture by Bernini. It is a symbol of the special mission of Peter and his Successors to tend Christ’s flock, keeping it united in faith and in charity. At the beginning of the second century St Ignatius of Antioch attributed a special primacy to the Church which is in Rome, greeting her in his Letter to the Romans as the one which «presides in charity». It is because the Apostles Peter and Paul, together with many other martyrs, poured out their blood in this City, that this special task of service depends on the Community of Rome and on its Bishop. Let us, thus, return to the witness of blood and of charity. The Chair of Peter is therefore the sign of authority, but of Christ’s authority, based on faith and on love".