Built to Last
A Retreat Guide on St. Peter and the Papacy

The various Christian denominations have a lot in common, but unfortunately, we also have our differences. One major difference between Catholic and non-Catholic Christians has to do with our understanding of how Jesus wants his Church to be structured. Is the Church just a spiritual association of people who believe in Jesus? Or is it an actual, visible society, meant from the very beginning to have a hierarchical structure, with legitimate authority and common forms of worship?

As Catholics, we believe that Jesus actually gave the Church just such a visible nature. We believe that he desires to continue working in the world through this visible society, which has been referred to throughout its history as the People of God, the Mystical Body of Christ, and the universal sacrament of salvation. And if that’s how God has chosen to interact with the world, he must have his reasons. A visible Church, with common forms of worship and a human structure through which the Holy Spirit continues Christ’s work on earth must have some benefits for us who are members of that Church.

Otherwise, why would God have chosen to do things this way? One key ingredient in God’s design for the Church is the papacy. By reflecting on the role of the papacy as God envisions it, we will discover some of those great benefits, and that’s what this Retreat Guide, Built to Last: A Retreat Guide on St. Peter and the Papacy, will try to do.

  • In the first meditation, we will reflect on the biblical and historical roots of the papacy.
  • In the second meditation, we will look at the spiritual experience of St. Peter himself, to help us understand how Jesus views the papacy.
  • And in the conference, we will look at papal infallibility, the Catholic magisterium, and the freedom they give us.

Let’s begin by turning our attention to God, who is always paying loving attention to us. Let’s ask him to bless this time we will spend with him, and to grant us the grace to be faithful sons and daughters of his Catholic Church.

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Introduction
First Meditation
Second Meditation
Conference