Well! Every November we are privileged to celebrate the birthday of the "mother church" of Christianity, St. John Lateran in Rome. Shortly after the end of the 3rd Century, persecution against the Church ended, and the first Christian Emperor, Constantine, gave a palace called the "Laterani" to the Catholic Church. Then the emperor built a basilica on the palace grounds for the Church, which was dedicated in the year 324 by Pope Sylvester. Except for a period in the 14th century, all of the popes have lived at the Lateran.
The Lateran Basilica is our perpetual reminder of our religious freedom from persecution. Its symbolism was also destined to function as a universal sign of our unity. It became a "sign" of our unity as Catholic Christians, as One Body of Christ. It became the home of the "Bishop of Rome," the Pope, who in his very Office is himself the Visible Sign of our unity in the Catholic Church. This unity of worldwide Catholics stems from the fact that Jesus empowered Peter to be the "rock" upon which he would build his church. But more importantly, it was Peter alone who was given the "keys" of the kingdom of heaven, which everyone knows means authority; "the power to rule," the power to bind and loose (Matt 16:19).
This same symbolism of unity was passed on to every bishop validly consecrated in the Catholic Church. Thus in every diocese the "cathedral" (cathedra, chair of the bishop) functions as the local or regional sign of this same worldwide unity.
Peter was entrusted with a unique position by Jesus - to become the "rock" upon which Jesus would build his Church. He was also given the promise that not even the gates of Hell would prevail against it. Additionally, his unique responsibility became that of protecting the faith against heresy, and strengthening his brothers in that faith. The "power of the keys" designates the authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. On this special feast day maybe we should ask ourselves the question, “Have I cooperated fully with Peter (every Roman Catholic successor pope) in response to Jesus' choice of leader for his Church?”
See also Articles #552 and #553 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church