This year, however, I am spending the feast of the apostle of the Faith and the first Vicar of Christ on a river, where I saw many fishing boats. Yet St. Peter was a fisherman, and Christ made him a fisher of men, and on him built His Church. He gave him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven and the power to confirm in the Faith his brethren, the Bishops: so, he was given the fullness of Faith and infallibility, since in order to be always able to confirm others in the Faith, his Faith must never diminish, nor be deflected.
Such is Peter: infallible teacher, with full power: Shepherd of Shepherds: Primate in Honour and Jurisdiction: Supreme Head, universal Father of souls and of people. And such is the Pope.
The Pope is Peter: when the Pope speaks, Peter speaks; when Peter speaks, Christ speaks; to love the Pope is to love Peter and to love Christ: in Peter the Pope is honored, and Christ is honored.
What a great consolation is this feast of St. Peter today for our souls, this dear feast of the Pope! Everywhere today people are praying for the Pope, exalting him, and looking with the most tender love towards Rome and the Pope, ‘the sweet Christ on earth’.
Here I am on the river Paranaˆ, thinking about the brothers and sons I left last night, at the distant border of Argentina with Paraguay. I think of the others in the Chaco: of those I will see again this evening at Rosario; of our people in the Pampas at Quenca, at Mar del Plata and in other parts of this Republic: I think of others in Uruguay, in Brazil, in Albania, in Rhodes, in England and in Poland, as well as all of you who are in Italy. Today, all of you with me, distant but not divided, dispersed yet all united in a common Faith and the same love of most affectionate sons, today let us console one another together, let us pray together for the Pope, let us celebrate Jesus Christ and Peter in our Pope.
Oh! the great joys of the Faith! How the Faith and love for the Pope make us feel, especially on this feast, that the Roman Catholic Church is really the Mystical Body of Christ, and that all take unity and growth , vigour and love from Christ and from our most Holy Father, the Pope!
When we feel and, I should say, touch the truth of the expressions of Paul, which is this: how the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, is one and that all the members of this body, though many, are a single body; so too for the Pope, its visible sweet Christ on earth, the Church feels and is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic: the same everywhere, in every region, inseparably united through the Pope to Christ, its Head.
A marvellous, vital and organic unity of the Holy Church! Through Baptism and through the Pope, we form but a single body, given life by one and the same Holy Spirit: a single fold under the guidance of a single shepherd, the Pope.
The feast of St. Peter is the feast of the Pope, and, for this reason, has become a feast for Catholics. It is precisely our Patronal Feast, O sons of Divine Providence. It is the feast of the Congregation which has for its special goal to consecrate all its love and all its strength to unite the Christian people of the lowest classes and the children of the people, by the sweetest and closest bonds of heart and mind, to Blessed Peter and to his successor, the Pope. We hope, with God’s help, to give Christ back to the people and the people to the Vicar of Christ.
The Pope is the living synthesis of the whole of Christianity; he is the head and the heart of the Church; he is the light of indefectible truth; he is the perennial flame which burns and shines on the holy mountain. Where Peter is, there is the Church; where the Church is, there is Christ; where Christ is, there is the way, the truth and the life!
Our hearts must beat, and we must make thousands and millions of hearts beat, around the heart of the Pope: and, especially, we must bring to him the little ones and the humble working classes who have been so ensnared. We must bring to the Pope the poor, the afflicted, the rejected who are dearest to Christ and who are the real treasures of the Church of Jesus Christ.
From the lips of the Pope the people will hear, not words stirring up class hatred, destruction or extermination, but the words of eternal life, of justice and of Charity: words of peace, goodness and harmony, inviting us to love one another, to shake hands, to walk together towards a better Christian and civil future. The Pope is the Father of the rich, as well as of the poor; for him there no nobles or commoners, but only children: from the Pope comes the Faith, the light and the meekness of the Lord, who brings balm to hearts, and comfort and consolation to the people. "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it".
In the Pope we recognize, not only the Vicar of Christ, not only the infallible Head of the Church, inspired and led by the Holy Spirit, not only the foundation of our religion, but also the unshakeable rock of human society.
From a letter of 29/6/1937,