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Particulars of Christianity:
301 Roman Catholicism

Roman Catholicism (Part 3)

Roman Catholicism (Part 1)
Roman Catholicism (Part 2)
Roman Catholicism (Part 3)
Roman Catholicism (Part 4)
Roman Catholicism (Part 5)
Roman Catholicism (Part 6)
Roman Catholicism (Part 7)
Roman Catholicism (Part 8)
Roman Catholicism (Part 9)
Roman Catholicism (Part 10)
Roman Catholicism (Part 11)
Roman Catholicism (Part 12)
Addendum: In Their Own Words

(Continued from previous section.)

Besides the passages, which we have already examined, the New Testament provides additional proof that Peter did not enjoy a place of primacy over the other Apostles. In Matthew 18, after the infamous Matthew 16:15-17 passage, we see that Jesus is asked directly as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Instead of affirming Peter's position of primacy, Jesus instead commands us to be as little children.

Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

If just previously Jesus had indicated in Matthew 16 that Peter was to be the head of the Church it is interesting to note that Matthew 18:1 may at least indicate that the Apostles were not clear on Jesus' instructions from that chapter. However, we must also note that Jesus bypasses the opportunity to clarify Peter's authority in the kingdom of heaven. The fact that He does not reiterate Peter's position of authority in response to this question in Matthew 18 more than begs the question as to whether or not He ever did grant Peter such a position as the RCC claims.

As similar question arises in Mark 10, where James and John approach Jesus about being placed in a position of authority just subordinate to Jesus' in the kingdom of God.

Mark 10:35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

Again, two things are demonstrated by this passage. First, apparently the disciples did not understand Peter's primacy in the Church. Second, in responding to James and John Jesus does not resist their request by speaking of Peter's supremacy. Additionally, in verse 40 Jesus affirms that there are two positions of authority under His own in the kingdom of heaven, and not the singular spot that the RCC reserves for Peter.

Also, we saw earlier that one of the central points to the RCC's interpretation of Matthew 16:15-17 comes by way of Jesus giving the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter in verse 19.

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (4074), and upon this rock (4073) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

The RCC claims that Jesus gave these keys only to Peter and that this verse indicates Peter's authority and place of sovereignty over the Church.

"The Pope - In the following verse (Matthew 16:19) He promises to bestow on Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The Pope - In all countries the key is the symbol of authority. Thus, Christ's words are a promise that He will confer on Peter supreme power to govern the Church. Peter is to be His vicegerent, to rule in His place. Further the character and extent of the power thus bestowed are indicated. It is a power to 'bind' and to 'loose' -- words which, as is shown below, denote the grant of legislative and judicial authority. And this power is granted in its fullest measure. Whatever Peter binds or looses on earth, his act will receive the Divine ratification." - Catholic Encyclopedia

Contrary to the Roman Catholic understanding the New Testament does not support the idea the Peter alone received authority from Christ over the Church, but instead grants this authority more broadly at least to all of the Apostles and perhaps even further to all of His disciples.

This power of binding and loosing, which the RCC identifies as denoting "the grant of legislative and judicial authority" "granted in its fullest measure" an act which when employed "will receive the Divine ratification" is elsewhere given by Jesus to all of His Apostles and NOT just Peter.

Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Notice first, that Jesus places judicial power in the Church and in the agreement of at least two of them and NOT solely in Peter. This is significant since Matthew 18 follows Matthew 16. If in Matthew 16 Jesus had placed sole authority for legislative and judicial authority in its fullest measure with divine ratification in the hands of Peter only, then Matthew 18 is confusing to say the least and contradictory at the worst. Instead, what is apparent is that Jesus is bestowing this authority of binding and loosing upon all of His Apostles at least and perhaps to a greater extent to all of the Church.

Furthermore, Jesus' statement to Peter in Matthew 16:19 is predictive. It is rendered in the future tense indicating that at some future point, rather than the present moment, Jesus was going to bestow upon Peter the keys and that authority. Since Matthew 16:19 is predictive of a future event, we can see that Matthew 18, which is inclusive of all the apostles not just Peter, is the fulfillment of the predictive promise in Matthew 16:19. Or, in other words, Jesus promise to give Peter the keys and authority in Matthew 16:19 is fulfilled when he grants this authority to all of the Apostles together in Matthew 18:15-20. Thus, the position of the RCC is again proved to not be rooted or founded upon the teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded and proclaimed by the Apostles from the earliest times.

Likewise, there are several more instances where Jesus' clearly grants authority to all of the Apostles at least, and NOT just to Peter. In Matthew 19, Jesus tells Peter that he and the other eleven Apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the tribes of Israel.

Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus' comments here again place Peter in a position of equality with the other disciples and NOT in a place of prominence over them. In verse 29, Jesus says clearly appoints all of them over the Kingdom of God, just as God had appointed Him. Again Peter is placed among the other disciples and not above them when authority in the kingdom of God is discussed.

And finally, just before He ascends into heaven Jesus also speaks of the authority that He has over heaven and earth.

Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Contrary to the Roman Catholic interpretation of John 21, wherein they claim that Jesus affirms Peter's primacy over the other disciples just before the ascension, Matthew 28 informs us that Jesus' instead commissioned all of the Apostles to proclaim His teachings in the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Again, it is significant that Peter is not singled out, but that all of the Apostles are given the same treatment by Jesus.

And not only do we see an absence of special treatment given to Peter in the New Testament as well as where Peter is merely treated with equal status to the other Apostles, but there are several passages in the New Testament which display Peter submitting to other Apostles.

In Acts 15, we see that a council is brought together at Jerusalem to decide on how much of the Mosaic Law Gentile converts were to adhere to.

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: 25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: 31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

There are several things to note about this council. First, Peter did not call for the council. Second, Peter is in attendance at the council. Third, Peter does speak at the council. Fourth, while Peter is present and does speak, it is not Peter who decides the matter. In fact, the record of Acts 15 is that all of the Apostles and elders came together to decide the matter. Additionally, James is shown to carry a great deal of the weight in the proceedings. After all it is after James gives his thoughts that the council makes a decision. And the council's decision follows James' recommendation completely.

In fact, Acts 15 records that after Peter, Paul, and the others spoke James stood up, addressed the council, proclaimed his judgment on the matter and then immediately afterwards the council takes action in complete accord with James' decision. It seems that if anyone is playing a papal role here it is James and not Peter. However, we need not go that far. All we need to note is that Acts 15 undermines the Roman Catholic claim of Peter's priority within the Church. At the best Peter is one of several people who have authority to decide important matters of faith. At the worst, Peter is subordinate to James.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul also presents Peter in a manner contradictory of Roman Catholic papal doctrines. In the beginning of the second chapter of this book, Paul does NOT ascribe to Peter a place of eminence within the Church, but instead mentions him alongside James and John as the pillars of the Church, even listing him second in the order after James.

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

Later in this same chapter, Paul describes an encounter in which Peter is clearly not treated with the papal authority that Roman Catholics insist he was granted.

Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

In this passage Paul describes that while Peter was visiting Antioch he was eating with the Gentile believers in accordance with the truth of the Gospel. However, after men arrived from James, Peter withdrew himself from the Gentile believers in order to please those who came from James. Paul's response is to rebuke Peter to his face before those gathered.

So, we see Peter acquiescing to those who came from James out of fear. And we see Paul rebuking Peter's hypocrisy and poor judgment. Clearly, Peter is not acting like or being treated like THE unequivocal supreme and authoritative leader of the Church, but simply one man among others in the Church leadership with no more God-given authority or wisdom than the other Apostles, including Paul.

We might also do well to consider that while the Roman Catholic pope presides over an almost exclusively Gentile body of believers, the New Testament records that Peter was called by God, not to the Gentiles, but especially to the Jews. In fact, Galatians 2:7-9 repeats this point at least three times.

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: ) 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

This passage informs us that the early Church leaders including James, Peter, and John all understood that God had given Paul a special ministry and calling to the Gentile believers, which they contrasted with their calling to the Jews. And yet the Roman Catholic popes, which view themselves as the successors of Peter, minister almost exclusively to Gentiles. In this respect the RCC seems to follow in the footsteps of Paul more than Peter. The relationship of Paul to the Church of Rome will be discussed further a little later on in this study.

While we are speaking of special appointments being given by God over the Church we do well to compare the lack of apparent clarity in Matthew 16:15-19, which Roman Catholics claim contains Peter's appointment with Jesus' calling of Paul in Acts 9.

Acts 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. 10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Notice the abundant clarity with which the New Testament describes Jesus' appointing Paul to the minister to the Gentiles (and the Jews, verse 15). Unlike, Peter's supposed appointment in Matthew 16:15-17, Paul's appoint is unmistakable leaving no doubt that God had called Paul unto this important task.

Also, we should note that though we have a great deal of Church writings from the first century, which provide to us insight of Apostolic teaching from the earliest times, we have very little writing from Peter. The bulk of the first century writing comes from the Scripture and Peter's only contribution is two small epistles. Several other authors contributed more than Peter including Paul, John, Luke, and Matthew. This disproportion indicates that God used Peter much less than these other early Church leaders in order to record Christian doctrine in writing. One would expect much more of a contribution from Peter if indeed he did occupy the position of the first pope as the RCC claims.

Likewise, we should also mention 2 Timothy 2, which some Roman Catholics have offered as evidence of papal succession.

2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Clearly, in this passage Paul is commissioning Timothy to pass the doctrine that Paul and other Church leaders had taught to other faithful men, who would in turn teach it to others. This then is evidence that the early Church understood the need for a succession of Church leaders who would faithfully pass on the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is not however evidence of papal succession. There are several reasons for this.

First of all the idea of a singular, authoritative Church leader is nowhere to be found in Paul's comments here. Second, the Apostle Peter, whom Roman Catholics claim was the first pope is also not mentioned in this passage. If papal succession is in view here then it is Paul and NOT Peter who is seen as passing on the mantle of authority to his disciple, Timothy. On the contrary, the idea of Peter passing on the mantle of his authority is nowhere found in Scripture.

Consider that the first chapter of his second epistle Peter expresses that he knew that his death was near.

2 Peter 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. 13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

Though Peter writes this epistle just before his death, knowing that he would soon pass he does not take the opportunity to inform his audience that his papal authority would pass to some other man and to name that man so that the Church would know who to follow as their new pope. If Peter was the pope, as Roman Catholics contend, and knew he was about to die, as 2 Peter 1 demonstrates, why does Peter not mention or introduce his papal successor. Such an introduction would have been of the utmost importance, and yet Peter mentions no such thing. The lack of attention paid to this topic by Peter in this epistle at the end of his life begs the question as to whether or not Peter did, in fact, occupy any papal office, as the RCC contends.

And finally, we must note that the New Testament record displays both Paul and Peter as living, ministering, and writing from the city of Rome. For one, we know that Paul wrote an epistle to the Christians there, in which no mention is made of Peter as either dwelling in that city or operating in a supreme office of Church authority from there. Also, Peter, in his first epistle, indicates that he is writing from Rome through use of the metaphorical reference to Rome as Babylon. Likewise, the book of Acts reports that Paul ultimately arrived in Rome.

Acts 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

However, we must also note that while Peter's presence in Rome must be acknowledged, it is Paul who is called by God to proclaim the gospel in Rome. We have no evidence of any similar appointment bid by the Lord to Peter.

Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

By this we see that although both Paul and Peter lived and taught in Rome no place of primacy is given to Peter's position in that city by the Scripture.

It is not necessary to go any further with our Scriptural investigation. From all of these passages we can clearly see that the position of the RCC is anything but explicitly given in the earliest teachings of Jesus Christ and His disciples. Instead, the Roman Catholic doctrine of the papal authority of Peter is sketchy at best from a Scriptural point of view and requires additional, non-Biblical support if it is to be substantiated as truly Christian teaching. We will now take a look at the writings of the 1st and 2nd century Church to see if they bear out the Roman Catholic position. For now, we must note that the Biblical record, which represents almost all of the 1st century Church writing (including Tradition) does not provide support for Roman Catholic doctrine, and in all reasonableness actually contradicts and prohibits the view of the RCC regarding Peter and papal authority.

Analysis of Evidence from the Writings of Sacred Tradition

Now, that we have examined the New Testament record and found little support for the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal authority we will turn our examination of the non-canonical Church writings of the 1st and 2nd century to see if they provide evidence in support of this doctrine. As we do we take note that our study of the New Testament has for the most part covered the 1st century Church record of the teachings of Christ. Though there are a few non-canonical documents of the 1st century, which the RCC considers to be a part of Tradition, these documents are insignificant in size by comparison to the size of the New Testament and its importance as the record of the earliest Christian teachings.

Nevertheless, we will examine these 1st century documents along with those of the 2nd century to see if the RCC's papal doctrine can be supported by them. Since, our examination of the Scriptural evidence was questionable at best regarding this Roman Catholic teaching and prohibitive at worst, it becomes absolutely crucial that these 1st and 2nd century Church writings clearly articulate the RCC's doctrine of the papacy. If they do not then it will be extremely difficult to justify the Roman Catholic claim that this teaching originated with Jesus Christ and His Apostles and we will have to search for other factors, which contributed to the development of this doctrine.

Keep in mind as we continue the substance and significance of the Roman Catholic position. The RCC claims to be the true church of Jesus Christ and the sole possessor of authentic Christian teaching. One of the fundamental and essential teachings of the RCC is that the Apostle Peter was placed by Jesus in a position of sole authority as the first pope.

Here again is the Catholic Encyclopedia quote expressing the crucial importance of this doctrine.

"The Pope - The position of St. Peter after the Ascension, as shown in the Acts of the Apostles, realizes to the full the great commission bestowed upon him. He is from the first the chief of the Apostolic band -- not primus inter pares, but the undisputed head of the Church (see CHURCH, THE, III). If then Christ, as we have seen, established His Church as a society subordinated to a single supreme head, it follows from the very nature of the case that this office is perpetual, and cannot have been a mere transitory feature of ecclesiastical life. For the Church must endure to the end the very same organization which Christ established. But in an organized society it is precisely the constitution which is the essential feature. A change in constitution transforms it into a society of a different kind. If then the Church should adopt a constitution other than Christ gave it, it would no longer be His handiwork. It would no longer be the Divine kingdom established by Him. As a society it would have passed through essential modifications, and thereby would have become a human, not a Divine institution. None who believe that Christ came on earth to found a Church, an organized society destined to endure for ever, can admit the possibility of a change in the organization given to it by its Founder. The same conclusion also follows from a consideration of the end which, by Christ's declaration, the supremacy of Peter was intended to effect. He was to give the Church strength to resist her foes, so that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. The contest with the powers of evil does not belong to the Apostolic age alone. It is a permanent feature of the Church's life. Hence, throughout the centuries the office of Peter must be realized in the Church, in order that she may prevail in her age-long struggle. Thus an analysis of Christ's words shows us that the perpetuity of the office of supreme head is to be reckoned among the truths revealed in Scripture. His promise to Peter conveyed not merely a personal prerogative, but established a permanent office in the Church. And in this sense, as will appear in the next section, His words were understood by Latin and Greek Fathers alike." - Catholic Encyclopedia

(Continued in next section.)