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



The newest Retreat Guide from RC Spirituality, Built to Last: A Retreat Guide on St Peter and the Papacy, is now available at

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.
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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at

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  • marybernadette

    ‘So needed today, especially with so much ‘confusion’ about the ‘Authority of the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church.’ (sadly, even within the Church).’ Thank you Father John.’

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