"I tell you: you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church.... I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Mt 16:18-19). In themselves, the three metaphors that Jesus uses are crystal clear: Peter will be the rocky foundation on which he will build the edifice of the Church; he will have the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to open or close it to people as he sees fit; lastly, he will be able to bind or to loose, in the sense of establishing or prohibiting whatever he deems necessary for the life of the Church. It is always Christ's Church, not Peter's. Thus, vivid images portray what the subsequent reflection will describe by the term: "primacy of jurisdiction".
This pre-eminent position that Jesus wanted to bestow upon Peter is also encountered after the Resurrection: Jesus charges the women to announce it especially to Peter (cf. Mk 16:7)... Moreover, the fact that several of the key texts that refer to Peter can be traced back to the context of the Last Supper, during which Christ conferred upon Peter the ministry of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 31ff.), shows that the ministry entrusted to Peter was one of the constitutive elements of the Church, which was born from the commemoration of the Pasch celebrated in the Eucharist.
This contextualization... also points to the ultimate meaning of this Primacy: Peter must be the custodian of communion with Christ for all time. He must guide people to communion with Christ; he must ensure that the net does not break, and consequently that universal communion endures. Only together can we be with Christ, who is Lord of all. Thus, Peter is responsible for guaranteeing communion with Christ with the love of Christ, guiding people to fulfill this love in everyday life.
Pope Benedict XVI
Foto by Peter Birnbaum