BUILT ON SOLID ROCK
When Napoleon Bonaparte shouted to the bishop who had notified him of the excommunication: "I will destroy your church", the bishop's answer was: "with due respect, this will never happen. May I remind your Majesty that not even we bishops and priests, with all our shortcomings and sins, have succeeded in destroying the Church in these past eighteen centuries".
The bishop was right. If the Church were only a human institution, she would have been wiped out already many centuries earlier not only by the persecutions, but especially by the sins, mistakes and mismanagements of her leaders. In spite of all these weaknesses, the Church has managed to outlive the numerous heresies which were often initiated by very bright but proud scholars or members of the clergy. She has, likewise, outlived numberless defections and devastating moral scandals. But every time, a mysterious hand has been keeping the Church afloat. Thanks to this mysterious hand, the Church managed to heal her wounds, renew herself and emerge from these crises even more vigorous than before. This has been the fulfillment of Jesus' promise "you are Peter, the rock. Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of hell shall never prevail against it" (Mt 16,18).
The survival and perennial resourcefulness of the Church is even more amazing when we consider that she has been entrusted to visible leadership of simple and frail people like Peter. Eventually, through God's empowering grace, the frail Peter became strong enough to suffer martyrdom for Christ.
Among Peter's successors, the Popes, many have been great Saints, while a good number of others behaved more like princes of this world than as vicars of Christ.
The Church has always been made up of Saints and sinners... and yet, after two thousand years of existence, today she is more alive than ever, for she is built on the solid rock of Peter's faith and God's grace.
The Church built by Jesus Christ upon Peter, the ROCK will endure until the end of time. Thanks to the presence and the power of the God-Man who is the master of the sea and who can calm even the most violent storms.