thcc I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Far beneath the dome ami bathed in its light, the high altar rises; and under it the Fisherman of Galilee lies buried in the earth the Fisherman to whom, Saint Matthew's Gospel says, those words were spoken.
The nineteenth centuty cast the shadow of doubt upon the faith of centuries which had prayed and chanted on this spot a good thou- sand years before Bramante, Michaelangelo and Bernini began to buili!. Some said that Peter was not buried here> and also that Paul did not rest under the stones of the Basilica on the Ostian Way* In- dcetl, had either of them ever come to Rome? Nor (it was thought) could any such spying have ever crossed the lips of Jesus*
Science it entitled to evcty doubt, but it has also the duty of render- ing the most scrupulously accurate verdict to which it can possibly arrive* Faith may well be, in its deepest depths, impervious to at- tack; but knowledge nevertheless buttresses it with testimony. And today the inscription there in the light of the dome and the tomb in the darkness of the earth are given a new significance by the affirma- tion of science that a genuine Gospel saying is here placed above the rme grave of Peter. Mere on Vatican Hill, in the soil of a pagan burial ground on which the ancient Petrine Basilica was erected about 350, rests the disciple who, like Paul, died a martyr's death during the reign of Nero (between 64 and 67). Both were legislators of the Christian community, which had taken form long before its establish- ment in the metropolis*
Theac fact* constitute the firm points of vantage from which we shall glance at the eirly history of the Papacy, The toots of this most long-lived of tree* rise from out of God's earth far into the spaces of the antique world and dig deep into the soil of centuries,
The Roman Empire of Augustus* time strcdied in a northerly direction from Spain to the baJ of &ttdand, a^