Composite Image of St. Peter:
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Most Protestants say that Peter was never appointed by Christ as the earthly head of the Church simply because the Church has no earthly head and was never meant to have one: Christ is the Church's only foundation or head.

Some even say that the papacy is a politically-derived institution from third-century conflicts, both secular and ecclesiastical, having no real connection with the New Testament: It was not established by Christ, even though the supposed "successors" to Peter [and their defenders] claim it was. At best the papacy is a trick of deception; at worst, the work of the devil. In any case, it is an institution designed to give the Catholic Church an authority it simply doesn't have.

They go on to argue that Peter was never in Rome and so could not have been the first pope, and that this puts the lie to his having "successors"; the unbroken line was broken before it began.
In this camp there are those who write screeds denying that Peter was even in Rome, such as the infamous anti-Catholic Boettner. Thus, Catholics have no basis to claim Divine origin for the papacy. Some others admit that Peter was indeed in Rome, but this was because he was "exiled" from Asia Minor [Turkey], either Antioch or Constantinople. Therefore Rome as the seat of the papacy is a chimera, a foolish fancy, as if any reason for Peter's leaving Asia Minor in of itself is germane to his primacy.

Of course all of these assertions very conveniently provide the rationale for Protestants to stay where they are, each individual his own pope in essence, very convenient, indeed! And they hope that we will not notice that they make these assertions with such certainty and vehemence as if to say [they cleverly avoid doing so because they dare not] that their claims are infallible, that is, cannot be in error. Apart from the obvious irony, how can they claim to be without error, and by what authority? And if they as individuals have this authority and the attribute of infallibility, why not also Peter and his successors? Why are the latter alone excluded? If the Holy Spirit is directly informing each person on truth, why so many voices of conflict? Is not God and Truth one? Naturally, if they counter "we" do not mean that we are infallible, then they are admitting they could be in error as to Peter and his primacy, etc. Now they cannot admit this because they would be undercutting their position, so they use red-herring issues or smokescreens [mentioned above] to avoid the conundrum. And thus dispense with having to respond why they as individuals are error-free on the papacy, but Peter as an individual was not, even though it was to him that Christ made promises and guarantees regarding authority, and not to them. They just cannot have it both ways. Down deep the more honest of them realize this even if they are unable to formally acknowledge it to themselves. To resolve the discomfort that always comes from intellectual disorder, they resort to focusing on the personal short-comings of individual Catholics [without regarding their own], dismissive, incoherent ramblings down side paths and even the ad hominem. Anything but face the Truth, truthfully. Those who do and have done so are no longer Protestant. They are Catholics.

The e-mail I receive from Protestant apologists is on the whole full of invective rather than sound argumentation. A characterization or emotional affectation is not an argument. Sometimes it becomes just plain absurd. One Protestant gentleman said to me that "the Catholic Church cannot be true because all Catholics are sinners." Well he is correct about the last half of that assertion. He had one premise and a conclusion. But logic dictates that one needs two premises, a major and a minor in ontological relation to one another before a correct conclusion can be ascertained. When I pointed out the absolute fact that all Protestants are sinners also [the just man falls seven times a day, etc.], he had no response. It was clear to me that he had actually overlooked this reality---he was not trying to be deceptive---but because he had been trained to give certain responses to Catholic teaching and points of moral theology, he was unable to to do anything but resort to muttering. A deeply instilled fear and or loathing of the Catholic Church cannot be overcome merely by pointing out his fallacy, as true as it was. Only prayer and patience and all the love I can muster will win him in the end. Another member of his local church affiliation had told me that one of their pastors delivers anti-Catholic sermons on many an occasion. In fact that person decided to leave and join another church group because of the atmosphere. So when the young man expressed his repulsion at sinning Catholics without being aware that his own fellowship was one with sinners, too, I had a good idea of the source. The second person, an older man, has asked me to pray for him, he knows I want him to be Catholic, but he is not ready and still so confused. It is hopeful that he has specifically asked me to remember him on the Rosary. When it is this difficult with one who bears no animus, it is little wonder there is so much to overcome with those who do. Of course if God ever grants me the grace to catch him in my net, to what port exactly shall I bring him so that he will not loose the first stirrings of true faith? In Maine we only have the Novus Ordo establishment with all its confusion as it has essentially seceded from the harbor of Tradition, from which even Peter and his successors may not depart without chastisement from Christ Who entrusted them with its safe-keeping.

All of the above references to individuals who claim to be Christian are only to those who are official [or otherwise known as] apologists for the Protestant cause. In my experience the vast majority of Protestants have no clue as the saying goes. Raised in families that have been Protestant for generations they are so immersed in the milieu they do not examine the inconsistencies of Protestantism [supra]; without the gift of faith and our patient overtures they simply do not and cannot know, at least as things are now in an age of indifferentism and "universal salvation" exacerbated by our democratic, Masonic culture of unbounded freedom [as defined and permitted by the elites] and naturalism that diminish at the very least the sense of the sacred. And given the state of the present hierarchy in the West--- judas-goats purporting to be shepherds bringing confusion and spiritual blindness because on the whole they have lost the faith themselves---we lay Catholics, who are striving to keep the faith and pass it on, have precious few actual Catholic parishes to bring any converts we may attract. This is by way of background even though it does not advance our purpose here.

Essentially the argument at hand consists of three parts:

1. The primacy of Peter, the "Rock": what did Christ mean when He gave Peter his new name?
2. The primacy of Peter in authority over the Church as the Vicar of Christ.
3. The primacy of Rome itself as seat of the Church.

Below are links to our presentation, point by point. Catholic Tradition is indebted to Wyn-Marie of Calgary who wrote asking for help in answering the critics of the Papacy. Wyn-Marie, this little sub-directory is for you with our gratitude for the request.


Before we begin our examination it is recommended that we refresh our memories.

1. A Brief Overview of the Life of Saint Peter, Apostle, Martyr and First Pope in Two Parts
2. The Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament, Douay-Rheims Bible


1. The Primacy of Peter, the "Rock"
a. Basic Explanation
b. Slightly More Scholarly Explanation [For Those So Inclined]
2. The Primacy of Peter as the Vicar of Christ, the First Pope: the Greek and the Aramaic for Large Rock
3. Evidence in the New Testament for Peter's Primacy
4. The Primacy of Rome as Seat of the Holy Catholic Church