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Tessy Mathew wrote:

Hi guys,

Can you please explain:

  • Who a Christian is?
  • Why did Jesus Christ established the Church on St. Peter?, and
  • Why is St. Peter so important?


  { Who is a Christian, why did Jesus Christ established the Church on Peter, and why is he critical? }

Mike replied:

Hi Tessy,

Thanks for the questions.

You said:

  • Who a Christian is?

A Christian is one who:

  • Has been validly baptized into the Body of Christ. Period.

All Christians should obviously practice their faith. If one doesn't even believe something as personal as one's own faith, why should anyone believe anything that person says in other areas?

  • If one calls oneself a Christian, yet attacks or denies Christ, why should anyone believe that person on any issues?
  • In the same way, if one calls oneself a Roman Catholic, yet attacks the Pope and/or is a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings they like, no one should believe that person on any other issues.

    It is my personal belief that people like these are either uncatechized in Christian Teachings or are using their faith for secular gain or fame.

    If they are using their faith for the second reason, what they say on other issues obviously should not be taken seriously.

    • Why?

    Because their standard of right and wrong, good and evil, will change based on convenience and not be based on the faith they subscribe to.

All Christians should:

  • Obey the Commandments of the Lord as they know them; we all have the natural law in us.
  • Strive to serve God in this life so [he/she] will be happy with Him in the next life,
  • Strive to develop their prayer life and develop a growth in holiness, and
  • Continually study and learn more about the Christian Faith, especially the early Church and the secular roots of their current faith.

You said:

  • Why did Jesus Christ established the Church on St. Peter?

I don't obviously claim to have the mind of God Himself, but if I were to take a stab, I would say Our Lord established the Church on St. Peter and his successors so mankind, throughout the centuries, would have a sure physical norm to go to. A sure "physical, visible person of Faith" they could turn to on issues of faith and morals at times of confusion.

All Catholics should understand that in areas that fall outside issues of faith and morals, the Pope is not perfect.

  • Why?

Because he is a man like us in all things including sin. The Pope has to go to Confession too!

When Jesus established the Church on St. Peter, He blessed him and his successors in a special way, so that despite the human frailties of St. Peter and his successors, on issues of faith and morals, Our Lord promised to protect him and his successors from teaching error. Read Matthew 16:13-20 and 1 Timothy 3:15, but I want to carry your question a little further.

Since Jesus is God Himself, and God can decide to save mankind however He wishes:

  • Why did Jesus decide to ascend into Heaven?
  • Why didn't He just stay on earth from {33 A.D. to the present} and be the all powerful
    God-Man on earth directing His people to His One Church until the end of time?

If He had done that, there would be no Protestant denominations today! If there was confusion over what to believe, people would just go to Our Lord, still on earth and ask Him.

He could have continued His saving mission as such, but instead Jesus-God, Himself, decided to send the Holy Spirit to [the Apostles — His appointed men], as well as to their [successors/men] to direct the Christian faithful or Christifideles and safeguard all of Our Lord's Teachings.

  • What's my point?

Christians who don't respect the Teachings of Roman Catholic bishops who teach in union with the Holy See, don't respect Jesus' decision to delegate His Divine Authority to the men He chose, and they don't respect the Holy Spirit's choice in a successor to St. Peter.

You said:

  • Why is St. Peter so important?

Because Jesus thought so! We read in Matthew 16:13-20 which was foretold in Isaiah 22:15-25.

13 And Jesus came into the quarters of Cæsarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? 14 But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? 16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answering said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in Heaven. 18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I Will Build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven. 20 Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

Matthew 16:13-20

Because so many Christian congregations redefined what it meant to be a Christian — meaning what you had to believe to be a Christian, the Church had to use a unique name that would mean and represent the totality of the Christian faith: Catholic — a word which means a faith according to its totality. This is what St. Pacian of Barcelona said in 375 A.D.:

On the origin of the word Catholic

"But, under the Apostles, you will say, "no one was called a Catholic".
Grant this to have been the fact; or suppose it to have been so.

  • When heresies, after the Apostles days, arose, and, under divers names, strove to tear and scatter piecemeal the dove of God, and His queen, did not the apostolic people require a peculiar name whereby to distinguish the unity of the people that had not been corrupted, for fear lest the error of a few might tear limb by limb the unstained virgin of God?
  • Was it not beseeming that the principal head should be designated by a suitable title?

Suppose I entered, this very day, into a populous city, and found there Marcionites, Apollinarists, Cataphrygians, Novatians, and others of the same sort, all calling themselves Christians.

  • By what name should I be able to recognize the congregation of my own people, were it not from its being called Catholic?

Come, tell me, you who bestowed so many names on the other peoples!

  • Why have so many cities, so many nations, each their own description?
  • The very man who calls in question the name Catholic, will he be ignorant of the cause of his own name, if I shall inquire its origin?
  • Whence was it delivered to me?

Assuredly, that which has stood during so many ages was not borrowed from man.

This name Catholic sounds not of Marcion, nor of Apelles, nor of Montanus, nor does it take heretics as its authors. . . . . Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. That names me, this describes me; by this I am approved; by that designated. And if at last we must give an account of the word Catholic, and express it, from the Greek, by a Latin interpretation, Catholic is "everywhere one", or, as the more learned think, obedience in all the commandments of God. . . . Therefore he who is a Catholic, the same is obedient to what is right. He who is obedient, the same is a Christian, and thus the Catholic is a Christian.

Wherefore when our people are named Catholic, they are separated by this appellation from the [other] heretical names.

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (c.310-375 A.D.), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life.

Hope this answers your questions,


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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.