According to Catholic Church was Peter being able to at least for a few steps walk on water attributed to him as his first miracle? Or is it understood that it was Jesus using the power given him by the Father that made Peter able to take those steps and this was a miracle performed especially for Peter by the Lord?

The scriptures do list many healing miracles and so forth by Peter later in his ministry but is there any church opinion on his walk on water being one of his miracles?

  • "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."
    – Andrew
    Aug 12, 2016 at 1:11
  • Related. . christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/26720/…
    – Kris
    Aug 12, 2016 at 2:27
  • I think this question has merit, and is distinguishable from the prior question to which @Kris points. The previous question asks whether Peter walked on water on his own. That prior question is labeled as opinion-based. This question specifically asks "according to the Catholic Church" in its body, and hence it is more objective. I will edit the question to ask "according to the Catholic Church" in the title question itself.
    – ltcomdata
    Aug 13, 2016 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


According to the Catholic Church, no saint ever performs a miracle him- or herself. All miracles ever, past, present, and future, are performed by God, as the Master of His creation. In Catholic theology, saints are powerful intercessors before the throne of God conveying our prayers and supplications to Him, much like Abraham pleaded for God to spare Sodom from (deserved) destruction.

And what about those people who seem to perform miracles while alive --- and hence, by definition, not yet considered saints proper? Catholic theology would say that even in this case God is really performing the miracle (through a special indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the intermediary person), and that for some reason --- the growth of the Church, the shining of God's Glory, a sign of God's favor towards a particular teaching preached by the intermediary, the display of faith by one of His followers --- God has chosen to act through said person.

It is surprising that the Author of the universe should choose to act through mere humans --- or mere matter, for that matter. But this is the way God has revealed Himself to be and to act in the Bible.

As to your question. First of all, I should mention that I don't believe that the Catholic Church has decidedly taught whether his walking on water can be a miracle attributed to Peter specifically or not. Therefore the question is one which allows speculation and argument, with evidence proposed on all sides.

My own personal interpretation of the passage in Matthew 14 --- which interpretation I think I can defend --- is that Jesus Christ chose to reward the faith that Peter displayed on Jesus's powers when he said that Jesus could make him walk on water; the way Jesus rewarded this faith was by actually allowing Peter to walk on water --- and thus showed Peter and the other Apostles that Jesus was indeed a being whom the natural world obeyed (i.e. God).

So, the miracle of Peter walking on water gets firmly attributed to Jesus first and foremost. But how much of it can be attributed to Peter's intersession? It is, after all, Peter who asked for the miracle from God. Had Peter not asked, would Jesus have granted it? Insofar as the asking was what provided he opportunity for Jesus to act, I suppose you could say that it would not have happened without his intercession.

And yet, I do not get a sense from this passage that it was specifically the fact that it was Peter that asked that made Jesus respond with the miracle. The rest of the Gospels are full of occasions where petitioners (many of whom are not Peter) asking Jesus for miracles with great faith on His power to grant them. If one of these people had shown the faith that Peter showed when he asked for the miracle, I get the impression that Jesus would also have granted the miracle --- to reward the faith implicit in the request. In fact, when Peter's faith in Jesus' word to 'come' fails him, he starts to sink. Thus, the miracle seems to be strongly linked to the faith of Peter's belief that Jesus can deliver, more so than to his personal request, or any particular gift imparted to him by the Holy Spirit. Given these considerations, I am more inclined to give the credit of the miracle to Jesus than to the request by (specifically) Peter.

This does not deny that Peter walking on water was a powerful work. But I think this one should be attributed to Jesus instead of Peter. After all, the healing of the woman with the flow of blood in Luke 8 is not a miracle attributed to her, but to Jesus alone! On the other hand, the healing of the lame man on Acts 3:6 would definitely be a miracle attributed to Peter. What is the difference? There seems to be a greater amount of agency by Peter in Acts 3 than in Matthew 14. In Acts 3 Peter attempts to heal the lame man himself, using the power of God (which power God does give in this instance). In Matthew 14 it is Jesus who acts to bring about the miraculous, not Peter.

  • So you're saying that Peter walking on water would no more be attributed a miracle to him than would be the woman with the flow of blood who in faith touched Jesus outer garment and was cured To be clear I am aware that no human can perform a miracle without God intervening however Peter and others did perform powerful work with the help of the Holy Spirit. But according to the Catholic Church this walking on water by Peter was not a powerful work?
    – Kris
    Aug 13, 2016 at 18:50
  • 1
    @Kris, yes Peter walking on water was a powerful work. Bu I think this one should be attributed to Jesus instead of Peter. After all, the healing of the woman with the flow of blood is not a miracle attributed to her! On the other hand, the healing of the lame man on Acts 3:6 would definitely be a miracle attributed to Peter. What is the difference? There seems to be a greater amount of agency by Peter in Acts 3 than in Matthew 14.
    – ltcomdata
    Aug 14, 2016 at 2:47
  • I tend to agree with your last comment some or all of that might be a good addition to your already thoughtful answer.
    – Kris
    Aug 14, 2016 at 3:01
  • @Kris: I modified my answer to incorporated the comment.
    – ltcomdata
    Aug 14, 2016 at 3:17
  • I like this answer thanks for the thought and effort
    – Kris
    Aug 14, 2016 at 3:21

At first glance your question seemed easy to answer, but after thinking about it for a while, I believe the answer is not quite as simple as I thought it to be. Forgive me if the answer seems lengthy and where I stray.

This is the passage in question.

“But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:24-31‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Peter asked Christ to prove that it was indeed He that was walking on the sea, not some spirit as the disciples had feared. He knew that Christ had power over even the winds and the sea. [Mathew 8:27]

And now to stray a bit...

Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬ says,

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Christ said these to his disciples when they asked why they were not able to cast out the devil that disturbed the child of a certain man.

Looking also at the reply Jesus gave to Peter when he cried out, in Matthew 14:31, he said

“O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”

What is a miracle?

Simply put,

miracles are wonders performed by supernatural power as signs of some special mission or gift and explicitly ascribed to God.

Christ for one, never made claim of having power of his own, for every time he wrought wonders, He was doing the will of His father in Heaven.

We could see from these passages (and many more), that Christ shows us that He (and any one who performs miracles in the name of God) does so through faith in God.

Now to answer your question, the stance of the Catholic Church is that all miracles by whomever they are wrought are ascribed to God. Read here.

  • Welcome! Sadly, the only part of this answer that actually addresses the question is the last paragraph, and doesn't provide much explanation. This is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum, so answers need to focus on the question asked, not merely related subjects. I'd also be good to incorporate the relevant parts of the linked article into this answer so that it can stand on its own. I hope you'll take the tour and check out some of the other questions and answers we have here! Aug 13, 2016 at 21:52

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