Roman Catholicism teaches that the Apostle Peter was the first pope and that he consecrated or ordained Clement (although it was Linus who was made the 2nd pope and Clement was 4th), and thus began a long line of the papacy. If this is true, then surely the Holy Scriptures would have told us. The Catholic church, however, believes that the Bible does not have the only or final say on spiritual matters. They have much oral traditions which they place on par with the written word of God. Ask them what exactly are these oral traditions and how many are there, and they have no answer. The problem with oral traditions is that they cannot be proven. There is no paper trail tracing them back to Jesus or the Apostles. So it is impossible to check truth against fables. This makes for a very shaky foundation which can lead to erroneous teachings passed down through the centuries. Repeat a myth often enough and people will start believing it. This is why we have a more sure word: the Holy Bible.
When we look at what Peter said about himself in 1Peter 5:1, we see that he never used the word: “pope.” No title like, head bishop. In 1Peter 1, he says he was an apostle, not the head Apostle. He never claimed special, hierarchical status. In fact, when Peter was speaking to the elders (Jewish believers who were scattered away from Jerusalem because of the persecution) he referred to himself as a “fellow elder.” Ask a Catholic about this and they will usually say that Peter was just being humble. Yet, that makes no sense. It would be like pope Francis saying he is nothing more than a parish priest. That would be lying, wouldn’t it?
Peter, no doubt, was the spokesman of the apostles, and he was first given the keys of the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 16:19) But, later we see Jesus giving the keys to the other apostles. (Matt 18:18) What are the keys of the kingdom of heaven? The Gospel. On the day of Pentecost, Peter opened the door of the gospel to the Jews by preaching that they needed to “repent and be baptized” for the remission of sins. Unlike Paul who was the apostle to the Gentiles and preached the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. (1Cor. 15:1-4)
When we read Galatians 2:11-21, we see Paul openly confronting Peter in the presence of the Jews. Not just talking to him, but rebuking him. Paul, a latter apostle corrects one of Jesus’ very own disciple! Why? Because Paul noticed that Peter used to eat with the Gentiles, but when some Jews walked in the room, Peter became afraid of them and removed himself from the Gentiles. This was an act of hypocrisy. If Peter was pope, wouldn’t this be a terrible way to behave? It would be equally terrible for someone to oppose him to his face and in the company of others. After all, the pope is considered the “Vicar of Christ.” Meaning he represents Jesus Christ, God the Son. The pope, according to the Catholic church, cannot err in matters of faith and morals and his teachings are declared infallible when he speaks ex cathedra. (whatever that means)
In Acts 15, at the Jerusalem Council, we see that it is James (Jesus’ half brother and not an apostle) who is the moderator and also the leader of the Jerusalem church. Not Peter. Peter seems to have lost some authority here. When some of the Pharisees stood up and said that “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses,” the apostles and elders had to respond to this assertion. There was nothing here about a pope presiding and making a final decision. It is James who decided the outcome of the deliberations. Peter is in attendance, but was silent for much of this meeting and only later speaks up in order to come to Paul’s defense. After Acts 15, Peter (and the Eleven) begin to fade from the scene and it is Paul who’s ministry takes off as he runs with the Gospel of the grace of God.
One has to wonder why the Catholic church would claim that Peter taught Catholicism and was their pope when he was the apostle of the circumcision (Jews). Jesus said that He was sent for the “lost sheep of Israel” and He commanded that His apostles not go among the Gentiles or enter any towns of the Samaritans, but to go only to the “lost sheep of Israel.” (Matt 10:5,6) The Roman Catholic Church is not Israel.