Petrine Covenant

I mistakenly placed this question on about page 17 of a related thread and so it was largely overlooked, but I would like to know specifically the Catholic answer to this.

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

To me the exchange between Jesus Christ and Peter is very similar in style to a covenant. Would it be wrong to describe this passage in Matthew 16 as the Petrine Covenant?

I see what you mean, but I don’t think “covenant” is the correct word for it. Covenants begin with a ritual, such as an animal sacrifice or the Last Supper. That is accompanied by an oath. Obligations for each of the participants are enumerated as are the blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. They are also accompanied by a sign.

There are certainly blessings listed, but there is no ritual and there are no stated obligations for Peter to fulfill. They are all on God’s side. You might say it is that he is to be the leader of the church, but there are no curses listed in the case that Peter disobeys. It might be possible to consider “the keys” as the sign, but that would be stretching it. Generally a sign is a sacrament, circumcision, the Eucharist or some other observable item.

It is very similar to the covenant given to Phineas.

***And the LORD said to Moses, “Phin’ehas the son of Elea’zar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, `Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace; and it shall be to him, and to his descendants after him, the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the people of Israel.’” *(Numbers 25:10-13)

The people of Israel had begun to worship Baal and began to marry foreign women. God commanded Moses to hang the prominent men of Isreal but Phineas pierced a Jewish man and his Midianite wife with a single thrust of the spear thereby making atonement. The result was God’s perpetual covenant of peace and priesthood.

I think this corresponds well with the dialog between Peter and Jesus. The curses are laid out in the various parables about the kingdom. - the servant who gets drunk and beats his fellow servants and the master comes home at an unexpected hour - and similar.

I have never really thought of Jesus’ dialog with Peter as covenant but it makes sense to me.


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