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Unity of Faith with Pope Francis & Canonical Recognition of the SSPX

SSPX - Rome - Unity

In this article published with permission of the SSPX’s General House in Menzingen, Fr Paul Robinson addresses the question of whether a Pope must have the faith of a traditionalist [Note this expression “the faith of a traditionalist”. This is - simply - the Catholic faith] for it to be right for the SSPX to receive canonical recognition from him.


[Comments by Non Possumus]

Introduction

In the debate as to whether the SSPX should accept a personal prelature from a Pope Francis pontificate, some have opined that the SSPX should not be considering whether canonical recognition is opportune or prudent. Rather, the real question to be asked is whether the SSPX and Pope Francis share the same goal and have the same faith. If not, then it is wrong in principle even to consider accepting canonical recognition. If so, then and only then could it be right in principle, allowing one to move to discern whether it is also prudent.

The implied position of those who express this opinion is that Pope Francis does not have the same faith or the same goal as the SSPX, and so it would be in principle wrong to accept canonical recognition under a Pope Francis pontificate. Not only that, it would be illogical, for “to establish legal unity without real unity would … be contradictory.”

This article will seek to show that it is not, in principle, wrong to accept canonical recognition from a Modernist Pope, and also attempt to determine a criterion by which one can determine the degree to which collaboration with a Modernist Pope is acceptable. This article will not consider whether it is prudent, in the current circumstances, for the SSPX to accept a personal prelature from Pope Francis.

SSPX History

The first fact to be noted about the position above is that it runs contrary to the spirit informing the entire history of the SSPX. Let us take a brief review of that history to see that such is the case.

It would not seem too difficult to establish that Pope Paul VI had strong Modernist tendencies. Yet the SSPX was canonically erected under the pontificate of Paul VI and was recognized as a pious union from 1970-75. Thus, at least in the mind of the Archbishop, it cannot be wrong, under all circumstances, to collaborate with a Modernist Pope to the extent of having a canonical structure under him. [Fr. Robinson does not take into account that in 1970, the year of the founding of the SSPX, the Church was just beginning to plunge into the darkness of the dreadful crisis inaugurated with the Second Vatican Council. As the changes took place, and as the process of self-demolition in the Church grew stronger and stronger, Monsignor Lefebvre was progressively hardening his position before the Rome occupied by the modernist heretics]

The events leading up to 1988 are perhaps even more instructive on this score. When one understands that Archbishop Lefebvre was waiting for signs that he should consecrate bishops and that after receiving two such signs, in the form of Modernist scandals on the part of Rome, he then went to Rome seeking canonical recognition, one should draw the general principle: Modernist scandals, of themselves, are not an obstacle to receiving canonical recognition at the hands of those who have perpetrated those scandals. [If Fr Robinson is right, Archbishop Lefebvre was wrong when he wrote this at the end of his life and as a conclusion on the subject of relations with Rome: “It is therefore a strict duty for all priests wishing to remain Catholic to separate themselves from this Conciliar Church, so long as she has not returned to the tradition of the Church Magisterium and of the Catholic Faith.” (Monsignor Lefebvre in “Spiritual Journey”, which is the last book of the Archbishop and therefore the manifestation of his final and definitive will). Notice, by the way, that the term “conciliar church” never appears in this text of the SSPX. The general chapter of 2006 was also wrong: “The contacts that the Society has from time to time with the Roman authorities has as its only goal to help them once again to take ownership of Tradition, which the Church cannot deny without losing its identity, and not the search for an advantage for itself, or to reach an impossible purely practical agreement“]

At the same time, the Archbishop withdrew his signature to the protocol that was to provide a canonical structure, because he lost trust in those with whom he was negotiating. [So, according to Fr Robinson, it was not for doctrinal reasons that Monsignor Lefebvre withdrew his signature] After the trying ordeal was over, he acknowledged that a greater traditionalism [Note the misleading phrase “greater traditionalism”. Should Francis be described as a “lesser traditionalist” and Pope Benedict XVI as “more traditional” than that?] on the part of the Romans—in their doctrine—would provide solid grounds for trust. [Then, according to this accordist priest, what is involved is “trust”, and not to defend doctrine, nor to fight for principles. It is a question of trust, not faith] Thus, for him, evaluating the faith of the Pope was grounds for evaluating the acceptance of canonical recognition—not as to whether it is possible, but rather whether it is prudent. If the Pope can be trusted to allow the SSPX to remain “as is” and exercise its ministry—the “experiment of Tradition”—with sufficient autonomy, then canonical recognition is a good for the Church and should be accepted. [Then - it is worth insisting on this point - these words of Monsignor Lefebvre are worth nothing: “It is therefore a strict duty for all priests wishing to remain Catholic to separate themselves from this Conciliar Church, so long as she has not returned to the tradition of the Church Magisterium and of the Catholic Faith. “]

This same line has been followed by the SSPX in its 21st century dealings with the Roman hierarchy. The SSPX has never gone to Rome, asking that the Pope and the hierarchy convert to traditionalism before the possibility of canonical recognition even be considered. [Then the declaration of the General Chapter of 2006 is inexplicable: “The contacts that the Society has from time to time with the Roman authorities has as its only goal to help them once again to take ownership of Tradition, which the Church cannot deny without losing its identity, and not the search for an advantage for itself, or to reach an impossible purely practical agreement”. A purely practical agreement is the one that takes place without a doctrinal agreement. Now, for Rome and the SSPX to agree on the doctrinal, there are two possibilities: either Rome must abandon modernism and liberalism, or the SSPX must become liberal and modernist. There is no possible middle ground. So?] It has never demanded a profession of faith by the Pope, a recantation of heresy, a syllabus of errors, or any such. To do so would imply that the SSPX was the superior and the Pope the inferior, that it was a question of the Pope receiving legal recognition from the SSPX rather than the other way around. In short, it would imply a schismatic spirit. [Again, this liberal and chastising priest claims to be right against Monsignor Lefebvre: “supposing that Rome calls for a renewed dialogue, then, I will put conditions. I shall not accept being in the position where I was put during the dialogue. No more. I will place the discussion at the doctrinal level: “Do you agree with the great encyclicals of all the popes who preceded you? Do you agree with Quanta Cura of Pius IX, Immortale Dei and Libertas of Leo XIII, Pascendi Gregis of Pius X, Quas Primas of Pius XI, Humani Generis of Pius XII? Are you in full communion with these Popes and their teachings? Do you still accept the entire Anti-Modernist Oath? Are you in favor of the social reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ? If you do not accept the doctrine of your predecessors, it is useless to talk! As long as you do not accept the correction of the Council, in consideration of the doctrine of these Popes, your predecessors, no dialogue is possible. It is useless.”]

The SSPX has rather only made demands that correspond to its proper position, especially the demand to be left “as is”. [An idea that was completely abandoned by Monsignor Lefebvre by withdrawing his signature of the 1988 protocol, but that is now being “exhumed and resuscitated” by the accordistas because it is very convenient to deceive or to appease the deluded in order to achieve a purely practical but traitorous agreement.] It attempted to lay down in the General Chapter of 2012 six conditions—none of which concerned the Pope’s faith—to make sure that it would remain intact and sufficiently autonomous under a hypothetical canonical recognition. [Because that general chapter was in 2012 and under the control of Bishop Fellay. “Curiously”, Fr Robinson “forgets” the 2006 chapter]

This is not to say that members of the SSPX, even very high up, have not been at times tempted [!!] to hold that the true spirit of the Archbishop and so of the SSPX demands that the Pope profess doctrinal traditionalism [i.e., the “whole Catholic Faith”] before there can be any practical recognition. That is, after all, the stance of that loose conglomeration of ex-SSPX priests that goes under the name of “The Resistance” and which has a former SSPX bishop as one of its members. [That is indeed our position, an honorable position!]

What is being affirmed here is that the “strict unity of faith before canonical recognition” position has never, at any time, been the official position of the SSPX, neither in the time of the Archbishop nor since his death. [Quote from the famous declaration of November 21, 1974: “We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.” Quote from the SSPX Superiors Letter of July 6, 1988: “We have never wished to belong to this system that calls itself the Conciliar Church. To be excommunicated by a decree of your eminence…would be the irrefutable proof that we do not. We ask for nothing better than to be declared ex communione…excluded from impious communion with infidels.”]

Collaboration Possible

In principle, then, it must be possible to collaborate in some way with a Modernist Pope. [To the Cardinal, he said: “Eminence, even if you give us everything – a bishop, some autonomy from the bishops, the 1962 liturgy, allow us to continue our seminaries – we cannot work together because we are going in different directions. You are working to dechristianize society and the Church, and we are working to Christianize them”(Quote from Monsignor Lefebvre in his biography written by Monsignor Tissier de Mallerais, page 548)] Let us just zoom out a bit from the SSPX-Rome talks, so as to understand a fact that is absolutely fundamental for this discussion: the SSPX has always collaborated to some degree with the post-Conciliar Popes. [In moral theology the principles on collaboration with evil are studied, and they clarify that that collaboration can be licit or illicit. Technically, there is talk of formal and material collaboration, direct and indirect, near and remote, etc. In this text of agreement, none of these distinctions are made] Three principles will help clarify that such is specifically the case with Pope Francis.

The first principle is that the SSPX accepts Pope Francis as being Pope. [What a silly redundancy] Archbishop Lefebvre, while showing a certain tolerance for individual sedevacantists, always refused sedevacantism at the level of his priestly fraternity. To this day, candidates to major orders in the SSPX must affirm before the Blessed Sacrament the night before their ordination that the Pope is the Pope. [Said in a less clumsy way: that such a man is the Pope]

The second principle is that Pope Francis is Pope of the Catholic Church. [What precision! As if there were Popes in other religions, as if there could be more than one Vicar of Christ …] What this means is that he holds the highest office in an institution established by Our Lord Jesus Christ. As such, he has not decided and cannot decide the finality of that institution. The Church is the Church regardless of his personal feeling about it. This is perhaps a rare instance when it would be proper for him to say, “Who am I to judge?”

This is to be kept in mind when we consider certain directions in which Pope Francis has apparently [notice the “apparently”] tried to steer the Church. He seems [again, “seems”] , for instance, to want the Church to be an agent of ecological ideology, in its modern anti-human form, as embodied by such persons as Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Ehrlich. Needless to say, it is not part of the Church’s mission to foster ‘sustainability goals’, especially when they involve drastic reductions of the world’s population. This is true regardless of whether Pope Francis believes or wants it to be part of the Church’s mission.

Thirdly and finally, the members of the SSPX as well as its faithful are already members of the real society of the Catholic Church over which Pope Francis is the visible head. In other words, they have a real unity with Pope Francis—not with Pope Francis in his ‘personal magisterium’, but with Pope Francis as Pope. [Another truism] They acknowledge him to be the governing head of the Church, they put his picture in their chapels [Servile gesture mandated by Bishop Fellay since only 5 years ago] , they mention him by name at Mass and Benediction. These acts are neither hypocritical posturings nor vain symbols; they indicate the real unity that exists between the SSPX and the Pope. They indicate that the SSPX is collaborating, at least to some degree, with Pope Francis for the interests of Holy Mother Church. [When the Cristeros spoke of “President Calles,” they collaborated - in this way - to a certain extent, very remotely and within the limits of what is allowed, with that tyrant. But the Cristeros nevertheless stopped fighting against him. On the contrary, the FSSPX members agree to submit to a liberal and modernist Pope]

Canonical Recognition not a Joining

The fact of SSPX’s already existing real unity with Pope Francis brings home a second key fact often missed by personal prelature refusalists: canonical recognition of the SSPX by Pope Francis is not about the SSPX joining something. It is rather about the SSPX being given legal standing in a body to which it is already really united. [Sophism : A Catholic citizen who has been imprisoned for fighting against his anti-Catholic government, is linked or attached to that power in various ways; But if he is liberated by the tyrant who governs, it is not lawful for him to terminate his resistance, or even to submit to the “orders” of the tyrant. The SSPX is part of the Church, so it is united in different ways or points of view to all the good and bad that belong to the Church. Converted into a personal prelature, it must obey in everything to a nefarious, liberal and modernist Pope. Then, transgressing the proper limits, when the Society is converted into a personal prelature, it will be united in a new illicit way to the devastating Francis and the rest of the conciliar clergy.]

Too often, refusalists frame the discussion of SSPX-Rome relations as if there is question of the SSPX getting membership in the ‘Church of Francis’, when in fact there is nothing for the SSPX to join to which it does not already belong. [What the Resistance affirms is this: it is not licit to subject the SSPX to the modernist authorities. The accordistas respond that it is lawful because it “repairs an injustice committed against the Society” and “opens doors” to their apostolate. “We must absolutely convince our faithful that it is no more than a maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger threatening our people. If we have struggled for twenty years to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order, now, to put ourselves in the hands of those professing these errors.” (Monsignor Lefebvre, Fideliter No. 70, July-August 1989)] The SSPX would be joining an organization only if:

the SSPX were currently schismatic and so outside the Church—something we vehemently deny the Roman authorities constituted a non-Catholic church in the strict organizational sense of the term—something we also deny.

Many of us in the SSPX have had conversations with Novus Ordo relatives or friends in which they, judging by superficial appearances, have accused us of being ‘outside the Church’ because our parishes are not approved by the diocese. And we have, no doubt, explained to them that the separation is only apparent since we fully accept [!!] the authority of the Pope and bishops. But just as the ‘separation’ from Church authorities caused by the lack of a canonical structure is only apparent, so too the ‘joining’ of something by accepting a canonical structure is only apparent. If the Pope gave the SSPX a personal prelature, it would appear to some that thereby the SSPX would enter into communion with the Church (‘full communion’ in their terminology!). In reality, nothing would have changed in the SSPX’s communion with the Church. [One more truism] That communion would have existed integrally both before and after the conferral of a canonical structure.

This point is an important one in light of those who hold that canonical recognition is wrong in any situation where the Pope does not have the same faith in the Catholic Church as traditionalists do, because traditionalists would then be seeking to unite their efforts with someone who does not share the same goal [With an enemy of the Church, rather] . The fact is that traditionalists must necessarily unite their efforts to some degree with Pope Francis, simply by acknowledging him as Pope and trying to promote the interests of the institution of which he is the visible head. Pope Francis’s Modernist faith cannot, then, be a complete obstacle to collaboration. [#1 “Modernist Faith”: Fr. Robinson recognizes that Francis is a heretic. #2 As for the modernist clergy, it must be borne in mind that it happens to them as with Caiaphas, who, without ceasing to be the true High Priest of God, was also a deicist. Caiaphas was - by his investiture - minister of God and - by his sin - minister of the devil. The same thing happens with the Modernist Hierarchy. She must be recognized as the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, but she must be disobeyed when she acts as an instrument of the devil (*)]

If we agree that a total unity of faith with the Sovereign Pontiff is not, of itself, necessary for collaboration, the question then becomes: is canonical recognition of the SSPX one of those areas wherein collaboration with a Modernist Pope is possible? Or does Modernism positively exclude such a possibility, since the collaboration is at the level of a canonical structure?

Levels of collaboration

If we were to attempt to lay down a general principle as to the circumstances when collaboration with a legitimate Pope of doubtful faith [Before he said “modernist” and now says “doubtful”] is good and when it is not, it would be this: collaboration with such a Pope is good when it is morally certain that he is working for the good of the Church and bad when it is morally certain that he is not. [False principle, because the liberal Popes, being ministers of God and of the devil, do both things]

This seems to be the principle under which the Archbishop was operating. In his anti-sedevacantist 1982 ordination sermon, he stated,

In spite of the wounds in the Church, in spite of the difficulties, the persecution we are enduring, even from those in authority in the Church, let us not abandon the Church, let us love the Holy Church our mother, let us serve her always—in spite of the authorities, if necessary … we want to support the Holy Roman Catholic Church.1

[But he who resists a hierarchy of liberal traitors, does not forsake the Church]

When he says “in spite of the authorities, if necessary”, he is implicitly saying “with the authorities, if possible”. Whatever comes, the SSPX must serve the Church, not churchmen as such. [“Let us add this, that the greatest service we can render to the Church and to the successor of Peter is to reject the reformed and liberal church.” (Bishop Lefebvre, “Open letter to confused Catholics”, Chapter XVIII)] When churchmen act against the Church—and clearly so—the SSPX must not cooperate. In the case of the consecrations of 1988, the SSPX must even go so far as to act in opposition to Church authority in order to serve the Church. When churchmen act for the good of the Church, on the other hand, then of course the SSPX must cooperate. To do the contrary would be to work against the Church. This is true whether or not the churchmen acting for the good of the Church are Modernists or not, whether their faith aligns exactly with that of Traditional Catholics or not. [But once the SSPX becomes a prelature, can anyone in their right mind assume that they will refuse to obey everything that is asked of them “against the Church” and, moreover, that they are going to dare to criticize what the modernist hierarchy does “against the Church”? Pure illusion. Does Monsieur Fellay’s present complicit silence, before any agreement, indicate anything? Are the cases of congregations that had such illusions and have been “aligned” by apostate Rome, are not they an eloquent testimony to what the Roman heretics will try to do with the SSPX?]

In regard to a personal prelature, Pope Francis’s personal magisterium, of itself, is not necessarily an obstacle to the SSPX using such a prelature for the good of the Church. The Pope does not have to be a staunch proponent of Pascendi for his hypothetical recognition of the SSPX to bear fruit. All he has to do is adhere to the terms of the prelature. [Pure illusions !]

Example to illustrate

To see why it would not be wrong to collaborate with a Modernist Pope if he was performing an act on behalf of the Church’s true interests, consider the following example. Suppose there was an organization called ‘The Society of Savers’ in France, under the former socialist regime of François Hollande. It is a group of women who try to save expectant mothers and their unborn children from abortion. The Society is already working in France doing positive things for the common good of the people. However, they would do even more good if they were registered as a corporation by the government, that is, if they had legal status in the country. Now, assuming that Hollande’s government is legitimate [But it is not. There is no socialist governments with “legitimacy of exercise”, being able to have “legitimacy of origin”] , Hollande has received his authority from God and has received it for the purpose of fostering the common good. If Hollande himself hears of the request of The Society of Savers, knows what they are about, and chooses to incorporate as a legal body the society of those excellent women, he will be fostering the common good in deed and, in this instance at least, the women will be collaborating with the government for the good of the country.

Should the women scruple at receiving such a legal recognition from such a government, saying to themselves, “Hollande does not have the same idea of the common good that we have, and so we cannot work with him for the common good?” Clearly not, because Hollande, in this instance, is objectively working for the common good. Moreover, Hollande holds an authority that does not end with him, but rather ultimately rests in God. And God has determined the purpose of all societies and has conferred power on heads of state for the furtherance of that purpose. When, then, the Society of Savers is collaborating with Hollande for the common good of France, it is ultimately collaborating with God. [#1 The first duty of a Catholic before an anti-Catholic government is to fight it. #2 Which does not mean that it is impossible to collaborate with the good that this anti-Catholic government sometimes does (an example: construction of public works, creation of hospitals). #3 But the case of the Society has no parity with that of the organization mentioned by the author, because the SSPX transformed into a prelature would be placed under the orders of a tyrant like Francis, and not simply “recognized by Francis as part of the Church Catholic “… with a supposed full freedom to fight the same devastating Francis. Please! A bit of realism!]

Of course, it would be important for the women to assure themselves that Hollande is not providing them with legal status as a trap by which he will later destroy them. But this question is one of prudence—a question outside of the discussion of this article—not one of principle. In principle, there is no problem with The Society of Savers, in this situation, accepting legal status from a socialist government.

This example is not meant to imply that the Church is equivalent to a civil government in every respect; it is rather only analogically similar. One major difference between the two, for instance, is that the Church can never fail as an institution. [Here Fr. Robinson omits various necessary distinctions] Our Lord has promised to be with it until the end of days, something He has not promised to any secular government. Thus, there could never be a situation when a Catholic would be justified in rejecting the governing authority of the Church, as such. [Then should the SSPX never cease to be subject to the liberal Hierarchy? It does not reject authority as such, but the “regular” subjection to heretics who usurp the Hierarchy]

On the other hand, Catholics have been entitled to reject the governing authority of civil governments in some cases. Pope St. Pius V, for instance, advised English Catholics not to recognize the authority of Queen Elizabeth I during her nefarious reign.

Such a scenario is not possible for the Church, given that She, in her visible structure and the carrying out of her end, cannot fail. [But the evident failure of the Popes from John XXIII to the present one, does not prevent the end of the Church, but rather obstructs it] Thus, there cannot be any expectation on the part of Catholics—at least those who believe in her indefectibility—that they need to discern when and where to write off the governing body of the Church. [According to this false principle, it would have to accept Vatican II and any teaching or decision that comes from the Hierarchy]

Application

We mentioned above that the Pope has no power to change the purpose of the Church; his office is not something of his own creation, but comes from Our Lord Jesus Christ. The office was designed by Him for the furtherance of the Church’s goal, which is the salvation of souls, the reason for which Jesus Christ founded her. As such, the Pope, by his very office, is an instrument of Jesus Christ and works for the end of Jesus Christ, whenever he is not abusing his office. [And when they seriously abuse their office by destroying the Church, as the Popes have done since John XXIII onwards, they become instruments of the devil and antichrists, such as Caiaphas] In fact, the Pope’s juridical acts have authority and force only insofar as they serve the interests of Jesus Christ.

Thus, when Pope Francis performs acts that serve the interests of the Church, the SSPX also serves the Church by collaborating with those acts. Surely, that is what is taking place when the SSPX gratefully accepts from the hands of Pope Francis ordinary jurisdiction for the performance of confessions and marriages. [“We must absolutely convince our faithful that it is no more than a maneuver, that it is dangerous to put oneself into the hands of Conciliar bishops and Modernist Rome. It is the greatest danger threatening our people. If we have struggled for twenty years to avoid the Conciliar errors, it was not in order, now, to put ourselves in the hands of those professing these errors.”(Monsignor Lefebvre, Fideliter No. 70, July-August 1989)]

The same general principle applies to the question of canonical recognition: if it serves the interests of the Church, the SSPX should collaborate; if it does not, the SSPX should not collaborate. For the Archbishop, the answer to this question was the same as the answer to the following: Will the SSPX be able to remain as it is and continue its work in freedom? Or will it be destroyed by a canonical recognition? [Only dishonesty, naivety or stupidity, can lead someone to claim that the SSPX may be subjected to a liberal and modernist Pope and remain anti-liberal and anti-modernist.]

Those who see that question as being solely “What is the faith of the Pope?” seem to mistake the Pope for the Church, falling into a certain species of papalotry. They would seem to think that the good of the Church can only be identified with the good of the Pope’s personal magisterium. When that magisterium is correct, then canonical recognition fosters the good of the Church. When that magisterium is false in some respects, then the good of the Church cannot be fostered by a canonical recognition. Either the Pope lines up perfectly with his office or God-fearing Catholics cannot collaborate with him. [As long as the popes remain liberal and modernist, it is not lawful to put oneself under their command an their anti-liberal and anti-modernist congregation.]

On the contrary, one can imagine many situations in which a canonical recognition of the SSPX would indeed foster the good of the Church, regardless of the personal faith of the Pope, and so should be accepted, if one truly wants to serve the Church. Whether such is the situation right now is not in the power of this article to judge. But that such a situation could exist should be evident to all. By the fact that it could exist, the position that the acceptance of a canonical recognition should be judged only on the basis of one’s unity with the Pope’s faith is found to be false.

Conclusion

Collaboration only when there is complete unity of faith with the Pope has never been the position of SSPX leadership, neither in the time of the Archbishop nor afterwards. [False, as noted] As such, there has always been, to some degree, collaboration between the SSPX and the Pope, and some measure of collaboration exists at this moment. [As explained, there are licit and illicit collaborations with the bad and evil] Generally speaking, collaboration must be refused when it is contrary to the Church’s interests and accepted when it is for the Church’s interests. Specifically, then, canonical recognition should be accepted if it is good for the Church and rejected if it is not, regardless of the Pope’s faith. [A canonical recognition, with the subjection to the liberal and modernist authorities that this necessarily implies is morally wrong.]

[(*) Answer to this possible objection: “At the time of the Passion of Christ, the true High Priest of God was Peter, not Caiaphas.” Answer: Our Lord first promises and then confers the primacy to St. Peter. He promised it before the Passion, but it was conferred after the resurrection. Quote from the Manual of Dogmatic Theology of Ludwig Ott: “Saint Peter was promised the primacy after he had solemnly confessed as Messiah the Messiahship of Christ.” The Lord said to him (Mt 16: 17-19): “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.” (…) The Lord granted Peter the primacy when, after the resurrection, he asked him three times if he loved him and asked him: “Feed my lambs, feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (Ioh 21, 15-17). “]