It is the belief of the Roman Catholic Church that priests and the pope are a direct line of succession from Peter. It has been asserted he was the first pope on the basis of Matthew 16: 18. The doctrinal outcome was that Jesus said He would build the church on Peter.
However, non-Catholics do not understand that verse the same way. They believe that Jesus did not say He would build His church on the person of Peter but on his faith and confession.
After all, other scriptures insist that a person must have faith and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, died on the cross as payment for all people’s sinful nature, rose from the dead, and ascended to heaven as intercessor before the Heavenly Father.
It is important to verify opposite beliefs for the origin of the position held by the Pope. It is not important to use that information as reason to claim a pope should no longer exist in the church.
Someone must be the guiding head of this large body of members. Someone must organize and disseminate the details of the church’s doctrine. Someone must be the single representative of the church. Someone must be the go-to person for followers who seek guidance.
Challenge to doctrine is the undercurrent of this discussion about the pope. There is a large push within the church for it to follow changes by some Protestant Churches to alter theology. High on that list are recognition of homosexuals as valid married couples, women in the priesthood, and abortion.
No church should buckle under popular pressure to change its doctrine. If a member does not like the doctrine that person should go elsewhere. Why it is right for a minority to demand that doctrine be changed for their sake when hundreds of years the majority has faithfully followed the teachings of the church?
No church should buckle under political pressure to elect a pope that can split the difference and satisfy everyone. Abraham Lincoln has been credited with saying the wise words, “You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time.”
The election of the pope should not be a popularity contest. If this is a godly man to hold a godly position, then let godliness by the criteria and nothing else.