History and Development of the Papacy
It took centuries to develop the supremacy of the bishop of Rome over the entire Catholic Church, an institution also known as "the papacy," “In the first few hundred years of the church, the term "pope," which means “father,” was used for any important and respected bishop, and the bishop of Rome was one of several important bishops in Christendom.” Rome had always been respected for its relationship with Peter and Paul and its position as the church in the Empire's capital, especially after Christianity was legalized under Emperor Constantine. The doctrine of the supremacy of the pope finally reached its pinnacle in the late 13th century, when Pope Boniface VIII claimed full religious and secular authority over every individual. Most of the claims for the authority of the pope have rested on one basic argument: The bishop of Rome is the successor of St. Peter; and Jesus gave St. Peter authority over the entire church. First, the primary theological reason for the ultimate primacy of Rome is the city's association with Peter. According to tradition, it is said that Peter visited Rome during his lifetime and was martyred there. Second, in Matthew 16, Jesus asks his disciples who they think He is. Peter answers, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus replies: "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Peter’s original name was Simon. Jesus gave him another name, Cephas, which is an Aramaic word meaning “rock”. Aramaic is the language that Jesus spoke, so the Catholic Church interprets Jesus to be teaching that Peter is the foundation (rock), of the Church...
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