Homily on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter in Rome
Deus, qui beato Petro Apostolo tuo,
collatis clavibus regni cælestis,
ligandi atque solvendi pontificium tradidisti:
concede; ut, intercessionis ejus auxilio,
a peccatorum nostrorum nexibus liberemur.
Praised be Jesus Christ.
Today the Church in Rome celebrates the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, with which the authority that Our Lord conferred on the Prince of the Apostles finds in the Chair its symbol and ecclesial expression. We find traces of this celebration since the third century, but it was in 1588, at the time of the Lutheran heresy, that Paul IV established that the feast of the Chair qua primum Romæ sedit Petrus would take place on January 18, in response to the denial of the presence of the Apostle in the City of Rome. The other feast for the Chair of the first Diocese founded by St. Peter, Antioch, is celebrated by the universal Church on February 22.
Let me point out this important aspect: just as the human body develops antibodies when disease arises, so that it can be defeated when it is infected; so too the ecclesial body defends itself from the contagion of error when it occurs, affirming with greater incisiveness those aspects of dogma threatened by heresy. For this reason, with great wisdom, the Church proclaimed Truths of the Faith at certain times and not before, since those Truths were hitherto believed by the faithful in a less explicit and articulated form and it was not yet necessary to specify them. The sacred Canons of the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea respond to the Arian denial of the divine nature of Our Lord, and are echoed by the splendid compositions of the ancient liturgy; the denial of the sacrificial value of the Mass, transubstantiation, suffrages, and indulgences are answered by the sacred Canons of the Council of Trent, and along with them also the sublime texts of the Liturgy. Today’s feast responds to the anti-papal denial of the foundation of the Diocese of Rome by the Apostle Peter, a feast that was desired by Paul IV precisely in order to reiterate the historical truth contested by Protestants and to strengthen the doctrine that derives from it.
The heretics and their neo-modernist followers, who have infested the Church of Christ for the past sixty years, act in the opposite way. And where they do not brazenly deny the Catholic Magisterium, they attempt to weaken it by being silent about it, omitting it, and formulating it in such a way as to make it equivocal and therefore acceptable even by those who deny it. This is exactly how the heresiarchs of the past also acted; this is how the innovators acted at Vatican II; and this is how those who, in order not to be accused of formal heresy, seek to cancel those “immune defenses” with which the Church had endowed herself, so as to make the faith fall into error and infect those defenses with the plague of heresy. Almost everything that the Mystical Body had wisely developed over the centuries – and particularly during the second millennium of the Christian era – growing harmoniously like a child who becomes an adult and strengthens himself in body and spirit, has now been willfully obscured and censured, with the deceptive excuse of returning to the primordial simplicity of Christian antiquity, and with the unspeakable purpose of adulterating the Catholic Faith in order to please the enemies of the Church. If you take the Montinian Missal, you will not find explicit heresies in it; but if you compare it with the traditional Missal, you will find that the omission of so many prayers composed in defense of revealed Truth was more than enough to make the Reformed Mass acceptable even to Lutherans, as they themselves admitted after the promulgation of that fatal and equivocal rite. To confirm this, even the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome and Antioch have been combined into one, in the name of that cancel culture that the modernist sect adopted in the ecclesiastical sphere well before the woke Left appropriated it in the civil sphere.
Today we celebrate the glories of the Papacy, symbolized by the Cathedra Apostolica that the genius of Bernini artistically composed on the altar of the apse of the Vatican Basilica, which is dominated by the alabaster window depicting the Holy Spirit and guarded by four Doctors of the Church: Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose for the Latin Church, Saint Athanasius and Saint John Chrysostom for the Greek Church. In the original project, which has remained intact through the centuries, the Chair was located above an altar, which the devastating fury of the innovators did not spare, moving it between the apse and the baldacchino of the Confession. Yet it is precisely in the architectural unity of altar and chair – which today has been deliberately erased – that we find the foundation of the doctrine of the Primacy of Peter, which is founded on Christ, He who is the lapis angularis, just as the altar of sacrifice, which is also a symbol of Christ, is made of stone.
We celebrate the Papacy in a historical phase of grave crisis and apostasy, which has risen even to the level of the Throne on which Peter first sat. And while our hearts are broken in contemplating the ruins caused by the devastation of the innovators to the detriment of so many souls and the glory of the divine Majesty; while we implore from Heaven a light that will allow us to understand how to combine Our Lord’s promise Non prævalebunt with the steady stream of heresies and scandals spread by the one whom Providence has inflicted on us at the head of the ecclesial body as punishment for the sins committed by the Hierarchy in these decades; while we see the division between those who deluded themselves that they still had a Pope segregated in the Monastery and the schism in the Dioceses of Northern Europe with their wicked synodal journey strongly desired by Bergoglio, we remember the prophecy of Leo XIII of happy memory, who wanted to insert in the prayer of the Exorcism against Satan and the apostate angels those terrible words that at the time must have sounded almost scandalous, but that today we understand in their supernatural sense:
Ecclesiam, Agni immaculati sponsam, faverrimi hostes repleverunt amaritudinibus, inebriarunt absinthio; Ad omnia desiderabilia ejus impias miserunt manus. Ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est, ibi thronum posuerunt abominationis et impietatis suæ; ut percusso Pastor, et gregem disperse valeant.
Terrible enemies have filled the Church, bride of the immaculate Lamb, with bitterness, they have poisoned her with absinthe; they have laid their wicked hands on all desirable things. There where the See of Blessed Peter and the Chair of Truth was established to enlighten the nations, there they have placed the throne of their abomination and impiety, so that by striking the Shepherd they might also scatter the flock. These are not randomly written words: they were written after Leo XIII, at the end of Mass, had a vision in which the Lord granted Satan a period of time of about a hundred years to test the men of the Church. They echo the message of the Blessed Virgin at La Salette, fifty years earlier: “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist,” and precede by little more than a decade that third part of the Secret of Fatima in which, in all likelihood, Our Lady predicted the apostasy of the Hierarchy with the Second Vatican Council and the liturgical reform.
Every believer down the centuries has been able to look to Rome as a beacon of truth. No Pope, not even the most controversial popes in history like Alexander VI, ever dared to usurp his sacred Apostolic Authority in order to demolish the Church, adulterate her Magisterium, corrupt her Morality, and trivialize her Liturgy. In the midst of the most shocking storms, the Chair of Peter has remained unshaken and, despite persecution, it has never failed in the mandate conferred on it by Christ: Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep (Jn 21:15-19). Today, and for ten years now, feeding the lambs and sheep of the Lord’s flock is considered as a “solemn foolishness” by the one who now occupies the Throne of Peter, and the command that the Lord has given to the Apostles – 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 (Mt 28:19-20) – is seen as deplorable “proselytism,” as if the divine mission of the Holy Church were comparable to the heretical propaganda of sects. He said so on October 1, 2013; January 6, 2014; September 24, 2016; May 3, 2018; September 30, 2018; June 6, 2019; December 20, 2019; April 25, 2020, and again just a week ago on January 11, 2023. And here collapses the last, gasping vestige of what was Vatican II, which made “mission” [missionarietà] its watchword without understanding that in order to proclaim Christ to a paganized world it is necessary first of all to believe in the supernatural Truths that He taught the Apostles and that the Church has the duty to guard faithfully. Watering down Catholic doctrine, silencing it, and betraying it in order to please the mentality of the age is not the work of Faith, because this virtue is based on God who is the Supreme Truth; it is not a work of Hope, because one cannot hope for the salvation or help of a God whose revealing authority and saving love one rejects; it is not a work of Charity, because one cannot love Him whose very essence is denied.
What is the vulnus that has struck the ecclesial body, making possible this apostasy of the leaders of the Hierarchy, to the point of causing scandal not only in Catholics, but also in the people of the world? It is the abuse of authority. It is believing that the power connected with authority can be exercised for the very opposite purpose of that purpose which legitimizes authority itself. It is taking God’s place, usurping His supreme power to decide what is right and what is not, deciding what can still be said to people and what is to be considered old-fashioned or outdated in the name of progress and evolution. It is to use the power of the Holy Keys to loose what ought to be bound and bind what ought to be loosed. It is not to understand that authority belongs to God and to no one else, and that both the rulers of nations and the prelates of the Church are all hierarchically subjected to Christ the King and High Priest. In short, it is separating the Chair from the altar, the authority of the Vicar and the Regent from that of the One who makes that authority sacred, ratified from above, because He possesses its fullness and is its divine origin.
Among the titles of the Roman Pontiff, there recurs, along with Christi Vicarius, also that of Servus servorum Dei. If the first has been disdainfully rejected by Bergoglio, his choice to retain the second sounds like a provocation, as his words and his works demonstrate. The day will come when the prelates of the Church will be asked to clarify what intrigues and conspiracies may have led to the Throne one who acts as the servant of Satan’s servants, and why they have fearfully assisted his excesses or made themselves accomplices of this proud heretical tyrant. Let those tremble who know and yet are silent out of false sense of prudence: by their silence they do not protect the honor of the Holy Church, nor do they preserve the simple from scandal. On the contrary, they plunge the Bride of the Lamb into ignominy and humiliation, and drive the faithful away from the Ark of Salvation at the very moment of the Flood.
Let us pray that the Lord will deign to grant us a holy Pope and holy rulers. Let us implore Him to put an end to this long period of trial, thanks to which – like every event permitted by God – we are now understanding how fundamental it is instaurare omnia in Christo, to recapitulate everything in Christ; how hellish – literally – is the world that rejects the Lordship of Christ, and how much more infernal is a religion that strips itself with contempt of its royal garments – robes dyed with the Blood of the Lamb on the Cross – to become the servant of the powerful, of the New World Order, of the globalist sect. Tempora bona veniant. Pax Christi veniat. Regnum Christi veniat.
And so may it be.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
January 18, 2023
Cathedra sancti Petri Apostoli, qua primum Romae sedit