This article was first written on the Chair of Peter 2007. The author thought the topic was worth repeating again this year.

The Feast of the Chair of Peter is a celebration that recalls the founding of the See of Antioch by Saint Peter. The feast however is celebrated in Rome on February 22. The roots of the commemoration are in the second century. One of the reasons I would like to have attention drawn to this day is not simply to remember Peter and his sedia, but rather realizes that the Sedia Petrus is rooted in the office of the Roman Pontiff.
Benedict XVI is the Bishop of Rome. Sometimes we think in the Church that the seat of Peter is an actual physical chair used by the Apostle. Well this is somewhat true. At the Altar of the Chair at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, there is an actual “cathedra” which is traditionally reported to be the chair of Saint Peter. Most appropriately however in addition to the tradition of the reverence associated with this chair, is the actual respect and obedience accorded to Peter’s successors.
Additionally as an extension of this dignity accorded to the Bishop of Rome, there is a “cathedra” associated with each bishop’s cathedral as well. Perhaps it is a good time to remember that the bishops throughout the world are successors to the Apostles and are uniquely united with the “Chair” of the Bishop of Rome. As members of the Body of Christ, united in sacraments, we too are de facto united with the Bishop of Rome.
Frequently, we think of the Pope as a distant person, unattached to our local Church activities. This is far from true. Every day during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest celebrants pray for Benedict XVI, our Pope, as well as Michael (in the Diocese of Wilmington), our Bishop…
This daily recollection of our apostolic ancestry as Catholics to the Bishop of Rome uniquely identifies our tradition of Petrine authority. Sometimes as American Catholics, our sense of democracy does not always sit well with our sense of being Catholic. As part of our political system, we do not have a particular “monarch” in which we promise allegiance. However, as Catholics we are obligated in a particular manner to afford allegiance to Peter’s Successor.
There are issues in the popular political and social spectrum as well, which at times make issues unclear for us as Catholics. The solution is simply and always…looks to Peter for the proper moral direction and guidance. In union with the bishops throughout the world, Benedict XVI represents Jesus Christ and His Ministry on earth…the Church.
We as Catholics should not fail to continue to pray for the man that occupies the Chair of Peter. It is through his ministry we are all called to freedom from sin and called to conversion.
“Oh, God, who, together with the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, didst bestow on blessed Peter Thy Apostle the pontificate of binding and loosing, grant that by the aid of his intercession we may be released from the yoke of our sins.” 

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author that writes on Catholic topics. His daily articles can be read at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com

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