These rebuttals are in response to an anti-Catholic page on the internet.  The Protestant viewpoint is in the red type, that is the actual article I downloaded on July 23, 1998.  My response will be in blue.


(Protestant)  "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so." - Acts 17:11

 (Catholic)  I'll comment on this passage in another essay.

(Protestant)  The Roman Catholic Church claims that a papacy with universal jurisdiction has existed since the time of Peter, and has been recognized as such since that time. The First Vatican Council claimed (emphasis mine):

"We therefore teach and declare that, according to the testimony of the Gospel, the primacy of jurisdiction over the universal Church of God was immediately and directly promised and given to blessed Peter the Apostle by Christ the Lord....At open variance with this clear doctrine of Holy Scripture as it has been ever understood by the Catholic Church are the perverse opinions of those who, while they distort the form of government established by Christ the Lord in his Church, deny that Peter in his single person, preferably to all the other Apostles, whether taken separately or together, was endowed by Christ with a true and proper primacy of jurisdiction; or of those who assert that the same primacy was not bestowed immediately and directly upon blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through the Church on Peter as her minister." (Chapter I: Of the Institution of the Apostolic Primacy in blessed Peter.)

 (Catholic)   To his credit, the apologist has used an actual Catholic document to set up his argument.

(Protestant)  These claims of the Roman Catholic Church leave no room for "development". If a papacy with universal jurisdiction has existed since the time of Peter and has been "ever understood" as such by the Catholic Church, then "development" is not a possibility. And if the First Vatican Council is wrong about this subject, then why should we trust the other claims of the First Vatican Council? Or the Second Vatican Council? Or the Third, Fourth, Fifth, etc.?

 (Catholic)   There is a serious assumption made here by the author that invalidates this entire paragraph.  The assumption is that becuase a doctrine was known, that eliminates any "development."  Well, I ask yout, did the Apostles teach the Trinity as a doctrine?   You know the answer is "Yes, of course they did."   You also know very well that this doctrine did indeed, "develop" throughout the first 300 +  years of  Christianity!  It is a historical fact that the Council of Nicaea was called to combat the Arian heresy which denied Jesus was 'eternal', much like Mormons and JW's today.  Therefore, you are in grave error assuming a doctrine cannot develop even if it is known.

(Protestant)  While Peter is mentioned a lot in the gospels and in the earliest chapters of Acts, often this is because he's the most outspoken and rash of the disciples (Matthew 16:16, Matthew 16:22, Matthew 18:21, Matthew 26:33, Mark 9:5, John 18:10).

 (Catholic)  This is another assumption on the part of the apologist.  You know well that not everything the Apostles said or did is written in Scripture.  It is possible that many of the Apostles spoke a lot, albeit of the record, but it is interesting that only Peter's statements, for the most part,  are recorded.  For you to make this statement is "rash."

(Protestant)  This is why Peter received so much attention from Jesus (Matthew 16:23, Luke 22:31-34, John 18:11, John 21:15-17).

(Catholic)  Peter is mentioned in the New Testament 175 times, all other Apostles combined equal 155!  Yeah, I would say that is MUCH more attention.  One has to ask why Peter is so prominent in these writings.  In John's Gospel we read: "but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.( John 20:31).  This means that everything, I say everything, written in the Bible is there for a reason.  We just cannot pooh-pooh evidence like this by simply saying Peter was "outspoken and rash."  Although I agree with the assesment that Peter was outspoken, it doesn't follow that that is the reason he is mentioned so often.

(Protestant)  From the second half of Acts forward, however, Paul is mentioned much more than Peter.

(Catholic)  This should not be so surprising.  Luke is the author of the Acts of the Apostles, and he was also Paul's secretary.  So it would only stand to reason that when he was journeying with Paul, he'd be writing about Paul.  And just because this is true, does this then invalidate everything written prior? A nonsensical question.

(Protestant)  Paul ends up writing much more of the New Testament than Peter does, and the earliest church fathers (Ignatius, Polycarp, etc.) speak more of Paul than they do of Peter, and they make statements about Paul that are more exalted than what they say about Peter. Paul, by far, receives the most attention early on, even though Peter became more popular among many of the church fathers who wrote from the third century onward.

 (Catholic)  Now here is certainly an interesting statement. And I must say it is good to see Protestants reading the Fathers.  The apologist says that the church fathers wrote more about Paul than Peter.  Does he supply us with any actual texts?   No.  Are we just to take the authors word for it?  I'm sorry, but when it comes to my faith, I want to see the evidence.  Even if Iranaeus and Polycarp did mention Paul's name more often, what does it matter?  After all, the Bible clearly lists Peter's name the most!  Paul is not even in second place. You see how the non-Catholic argues then; first going to Scripture, and when that doesn't support his claims, he resorts to "tradition",  a naughty word among Protestants.  Besides, if you are going to take the evidence of what they wrote as verification of what was taught, then why not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?  You know they all taught that!  (I will be happy to provide you with these if you want to see them)

(Protestant)  Did the apostles have any concept of Peter being their ruler? No (Luke 9:46, Luke 22:24, 2 Corinthians 12:11).

 (Catholic)   Let's look at Luke 22:24 since this apologist put this forth as one of his prooftexts. "A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves" (emphasis mine) (Luke 22:24-26).   Notice how the passage, when taken in context, shows there is a "leader", a "greater" one, in the  apostolic community.  I didn't say it, Jesus did!  So there was a leader among the Apostles.   Now, let's look at 2 Cor 12:11 "I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these superlative apostles, even though I am nothing.  I don't think the apologist read 2 Corinthians.  It is obvious, taken in context, that these  "superlative apostles" are the heretics (Judaizers) whose teachings have infected the church at Corinth.  To take this passage and apply it to the real Apostles is almost blasphemous.  Because he uses this passage, which has absolutely nothig to do with the topic at hand and is badly taken out of context, everyhing else this apologist uses as a defense must be viewed with suspicion

(Protestant)  Did Jesus think that Peter was a "shepherd" in the sense that he would oversee the other apostles? No. To the contrary, He tells Peter that John's future is none of his (Peter's) concern (John 21:21-22).

(Catholic)  This is so typical of Protestant "cut and paste" mentality.  Here is that whole passage, once again in context;

    "When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."  He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me." Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" ( John 21:15-22)

    Now, who can't see that this does not say what this apologist wants it to say?  In verses 15 through 17, Jesus tells Peter not once, not twice, but three times to do what?   "FEED MY SHEEP."  To whom else, even among the Apostle's, did Jesus command to "feed my sheep?"   I ask you who are Christ's sheep?  Are they not all the Christian believers around the world?  Do you think Peter would ignore this command?

    Now let's look at the verse you offered as proof.  It seems obvious that Jesus wasn't telling Peter not to care about John's future, as you put it, but simply that if I (Jesus) want to keep him here till I return, that's none of your business.  That is a far cry from not being interested in ANY part of his future, don't you think?

    The other point that needs to be made in this passage is another command of Jesus to Peter.  That command is "FOLLOW ME."  To "follow me" as visible head of the church is a very viable interpretation taken the context of the passage.

(Protestant)  The apostles are repeatedly portrayed as being at the same level of authority (Matthew 19:28, Ephesians 2:20, Revelation 21:14).

 (Catholic)  "Straw Man #1"  The teaching of the Catholic Church is clear.  All bishops, including the bishop of Rome, have the same status.  The bishop of  Rome only in certain circumstances, has this charism of the Holy Spirit to "FEED" Christ's sheep.

(Protestant)  During the doctrinal dispute in Acts 15, Peter's testimony is heard (Acts 15:7-11), but doesn't settle the dispute.

 (Catholic)   Again, did you really read this passage, or did you just read your own 'gospel' into this passage.  Let's look at this first ecumenical council of the Church in Acts 15;

    "And after there had been much debate, Peter rose and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us; and he made no distinction between us and them, but cleansed their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." And all the assembly kept silence.  (Acts 15:7-12)"

    How is it you can say that Peters testimony did not settle the dispute!!  Look at the text!   Verse 7 "After there had been MUCH debate, Peter rose and said . . ."  Then after Peters testimony (actually proclamation, teaching, etc.) what happened in verse 12?   "And all the assembly kept silence."  He didn't settle the dispute, eh?  Then why did they then suddenly, and only after Peters speech, keep quite?  Now I ask you dear reader, who is reading a personal bias into this?

(Protestant)  James has the last word (Acts 15:13-21), and his terminology is incorporated into the letter that's sent out (Acts 15:23-29). The letter mentions"the apost les and the brethren who are elders", but says nothing of papal authority.

(Catholic)    James "last word" was nothing more than the 'plan' of putting what Peter proclaimed into action.  In other words, how can we keep both the Judaizers and the new converts happy.  He certainly added nothing new, doctrinally, to what Peter said.  The letter does say "the apostles and the brethren who are elders",  Isn't it nice to see a hierarchical structure in the early church.  There is a definite distinction drawn here between 'apostles' and 'the brethren who are elders.'

(Protestant)  Did the apostles view the Roman church as some sort of "Mother Church" that had supreme authority? No. To the contrary, Paul writes a letter of doctrinal and moral instruction to the Roman church. In his letter to the Romans and in his letters written from prison in Rome, Paul never mentions a papacy, nor does he even mention Peter in association with the Roman church. Paul refers to himself instructing and caring for all of the churches (1 Corinthians 7:17, 2 Corinthians 11:28), something he surely couldn't have done if he didn't have authority over the Roman church. Paul writes about church government over and over again (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11-12, etc.), but never mentions a papacy. To the contrary, he refers to "apostles" as the highest authority (1 Corinthians 12:28), with no mention of a Pope who is above the authority of an apostle.

(Catholic) "Straw Man #2"  How could the Church at Rome be Peters chair, if Peter hasn't yet made the trip to Rome (though he would in the near future)?  Historians tell us that Peter first built up the church at Antioch before going on to Rome.   But, unfortunately, this is the type of commentary you get from individuals who are bent on disproving the Catholic Church irregardless of what evidence there is to the contrary.

(Protestant)  Peter himself also had no concept of a papacy.

(Catholic)    I take it by this statement you knew Peter personally, or at least have access to everything he said or wrote.

(Protestant)  He refers to his authority as an apostle (1 Peter 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1) and an eyewitness to Christ's earthly ministry (1 Peter 5:1, 2 Peter 1:16), but never as a Pope. Although he had just as much apostolic authority as the other apostles, Peter referred to his governmental authority as nothing more than that of a "fellow elder" (1 Peter 5:1). This passage is especially difficult for Roman Catholic claims because it forces Catholic apologists, if they want to argue that Peter was a bishop of Rome, to admit that the offices of elder and bishop are the same.

 (Catholic)   The office of bishop and elder are not the same.  But, even today when a local bishops writes to the priests of diocese, he addresses them as fellow priests.  You see, a bishop is a priest, but with an extra shot of the Holy Spirit (an extra ceremony of laying on of hands).   Analogously, the "Speaker of the House (Senate)"  addresses the other senators as 'fellow senators,' yet you will not argue the speaker has no more authority.  Besides, as we have shown above, 'elders' and 'bishops' were different.

(Protestant)  This is just what we see in the New Testament (Acts 20:17-28, Titus 1:5-7). The terms "bishop", "elder", "presbyter", and "overseer" all refer to the same office. Yet, the Roman Catholic Church wants to separate them, so that one bishop can have authority over elders and presbyters.

 (Catholic)   It's far beyond the scope of this essay to delve into the hierarchy of the New Testament, but let me provide you with a few passages which show a hierarchy.  The hierarchy I will show is amongst the Apostles themselves.  "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37 (RSV) :"But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.  Acts 5:29 (RSV).  "But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you."  Mark 16:7 (RSV)   Was not Peter an Apostle/disciple?   If there was no distinction between him and the rest, then why do these passage all infer a distinction? "When they came to Caper'na-um, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to Peter and said, "Does not your teacher pay the tax?" Matt 17:24 (RSV)  Now, I ask you dear reader, why would the tax collectors approach Peter specifically?  We know that Judas was the treasurer (John 12:6, 13:29).  Since Judas was the treasurer, wouldn't it make sense that the collectors approach him??  Unless, even those outside the community knew that Peter was the leader.

Obviously, there was no papacy during the time of the apostles, contrary to the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic apologist is left trying to either dismiss or distort most of what I've mentioned above, in addition to reading a papacy into passages like Matthew 16:18 and John 21:15-17.

  (Catholic)  This is not as obvious as you would like to think and there is nothing to distort as a Catholic. Again, let's look at Matt 16:18 as we've already discussed John 21:15-17.   Here is the text:

    "And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Matt 16:17-19 (RSV)

    As you can see, the only distorting is being done by those who claim Peter is not the "Rock."  I've read the apologist's explanation of this passage which comes later in this essay.  But his explanation has many flaws.  I've copied his argument below;

(Protestant)  "The first of those five assumptions cannot be proven, much less all five of them. The Greek differentiates between Peter (petros) and rock (petra). If the statement was originally made in Aramaic, the terms kepha and minrah could have been used to make a distinction. Even if kepha had been used twice, which cannot be proven, that still wouldn't prove that the two are referring to the same object. The same word can be used to refer to two different objects, obviously."

(Catholic)    According to todays Greek scholars, there is no difference between "petra" and "Petros."  The most likely reason there are two different words used here is that "Petra" is a 'femine' noun, and thus is unsuitable for Simons new name, so Matthew masculinized the ending, and thus we have "Petros."  To answer the second part of his argument; if kepha and minrah were used (although I see you noted COULD have been used), then Matthew would certainly have used "petra" and "lithos"!  "lithos" is the Greek equivalent to small stone.  We see it used in the New Testament, indeed even in Matthews Gospel! (see Matt 4:3, 21:42; 1 Peter 2:5 etc.)

(Protestant)  As I've already mentioned, verses 21-22 of John 21 refute the Catholic interpretation of verses 15-17.

  (Catholic)  What are you saying here?  That Jesus told Peter to "feed my sheep", then changed His mind?  Or didn't really mean it? Or maybe it's that John isn't one of Jesus' sheep, which is ludicrous.   Why do you try to explain away the clear reading of these verses?  It is not the Catholic doing the 'distorting' here.

(Protestant)  And Paul uses much the same language in speaking to the bishops of the Ephesian church (Acts 20:28). Obviously, Paul was not establishing the Ephesian bishops as rulers of a worldwide church. Neither was Jesus establishing Peter as such a ruler in John 21:15-17. More likely, as the church father Cyril of Alexandria suggested, Jesus was allowing Peter to affirm his love for Christ three times to make up for his earlier triple denial of Christ (Mark 14:66-72).

 (Catholic)   Another quote from a Church Father, great!   Does this mean you follow Cyril when he says "For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the Holy Virgin who bore him not be called the Mother of God?"  And speaking of Cyril's explanation, are we to assume you to believe that for each passage of Scripture there is ONE, and only one,  interpretation?  As Catholics we believe there are multiple interpretations to many passages.  That is why you have guys like St. Augustine who interpreted Matt 16:18 various ways depending on the lesson he was preaching.  But ALL interpretations were correct.

    If all Jesus were doing was reaffirming Peter in the faith after his triple denial, then why did He say "feed my sheep," instead of something more suitable for job like "welcome back," or words of that sort.  No, He specifically COMMANDED Peter to "Feed My sheep."

(Protestant)  As far as Matthew 16:18 is concerned, the passage seems to be referring to a theme we see elsewhere in scripture. Peter is one of many rocks built upon the larger rock of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11, 10:4, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4-8, Revelation 21:14).

 (Catholic)  I ask you, Mr Apologist, to how many Apostle's did Jesus give the "keys of the kingdom" to? Is that a theme echoed elswhere in Scripture too?  To which Apostle specifically did Jesus give the power to bind and loose (I know in Matt 18 they all recieved this authority, but as a group, not individually)?  How many Apostles did Jesus tell to "feed my sheep?  To whom was given the divine perogative to 'walk on water'(Matt 14:29)?  To which Apostle did Jesus specifically pray that 'your faith may not fail.'(Luke 22:31)  I could go on, but why?  The Scriptures are clear enough, it is only blind bigotry that causes one not to see the truth so beautifully brought out in these and other passages.

(Protestant)  Consider the assumptions that must be read into the text in order to arrive at the Roman Catholic interpretation:

(Protestant)  1.) That Peter is the "rock" of Matthew 16:18.

 (Catholic)  I've already amply demonstrated  that Peter was "the Rock." (see above)   You can also refer yourself to John 1:42 where there can be no doubt who was to be called 'Rock'.

(Protestant)  2.) That nobody else would be a "rock" at the same time, meaning that nobody else would fill the same role.

 (Catholic)   Why did you change terminolgy from THE rock to A rock.  We are all "rocks" (1 Peter 2), but Peter was THE "rock" upon which Christ built His Church. It is vital in discussing this issue to emphasize the OT typology and context of the petrine office, which is the office of the person to whom the keys of the kingdom have been given:

Isaiah, speaking for God, says that God is unhappy with  Shebna, the man with the Keys to the Kingdom.  He says
to Shebna:
        "I will thrust you from your office, and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant
        Eliakin, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your
        authority.  He shall be a father to the inhabitants of  Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.  I will place the
        key to the house of David on his shoulder; when he  opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts no one shall
        open." (Isaiah 22:19-22)
God tells Shebna that He will take his job and give it to Eliakin.  He then goes on to describe the job.  From this we know:
        a)The keys to the Kingdom are a symbol of great authority
        b)The person with the keys to the Kingdom is called a Father to all the people in the Kingdom.  (The Pope
        is called the "Holy Father"; the Italian word for Pope is "Papa").
        c) This position is held by one person at a time.
        d)Jesus even uses almost the exact same words to talk about the authority of Peter as Isaiah used to talk
        about Eliakin: "what you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, etc..."(Matthew); "When he opens, noone
        shall shut, etc..."(Isaiah).  This refers to the person with the keys of the Kingdom having the "final say"
        or "top authority".
        e)Because the job was given to Eliakin, we know that someone had it before him, and when Eliakin dies, the position will   be empty and they will need someone else to take the job.  The same is true with the position of Pope, or Holy Father. Jesus chose Peter as the foundation for His Church, and made him the first  person to hold the keys of the Kingdom.  When Peter died, this position was empty, and the Church needed someone to fill this most important job.  The other Bishops, guided by the Holy Spirit who Jesus promised  to send to them to guide them (Jn 14:16-17, 26), chose Linus to succeed Peter.  After that was Cletus, and so on.  The Church can trace its history, through the Popes, all the way back to Peter, and so back to Christ, in an unbroken line.

This was the job and the authority that Jesus gave to Peter when Peter confessed that Jesus was the Son of God.  Jesus
chose to use an image and phrases that all Jews were familiar with and would understand, and to change the chosen apostle's
name from Simon to Peter 'rock', so that everyone would see the significance in what he was doing.

This was a great gift of Jesus to His family the Church.  He knew that He would be ascending to heaven, and being a
"Good Shepherd", He did not want to leave His flock without guidance, without someone visibly present to provide for them
throughout every age.  This is why the Pope's staff is, even today, shaped like a shepherd's staff, and his symbol, even
today, is the keys.

Incidentally, the location of Peter's confession of faith and Jesus' giving him the keys was Caesarea Philippi, in which
was situated a grotto for worship of the god Pan.  Pan was worshiped as the god of shepherds.  Where a false shepherd
had been, Christ instituted a true one.

(Protestant)  3.) That being the "rock" is equivalent to having universal jurisdiction over a worldwide denomination.

  (Catholic)We've shown above, that if Peter is to "feed MY sheep", it goes without saying that his 'rockship' would extend to all believers in the world. Especially in the OT context (which is the context in which the Apostles would have understood it) we see that the person with the keys of the kingdom has jurisdictionover the entire kingdom; now since the kingdom of God extends over the whole world, we can understand how papal jurisdiction is also worldwide.

(Protestant)  4.) That Peter would have "successors" in this role.

 (Catholic)   Doesn't it seem a bit silly for Jesus to set up  His "Church" (Matt 16:19) and only have it last till Peter died?  I'm sure Jesus knew, being God, that Peter wouldn't be alive in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed and Christianity needed a firm head to guide Christs' Church through those turbulent times.  And if Christs' Church was to last until he comes (The gates of hell will not prevail against it) then where is this "rock" that Jesus Himself appointed in 33 ad?   Not only that, but we see that the OT prototype clearly indicates successors.

(Protestant)  5.) That the "successors" would exclusively be bishops of Rome, with "antipopes" exempted.

 (Catholic)   What is so difficult in this?  If Peter went to Rome and became the bishop of Rome (a historically provable fact), it only follows that those who succeed him as bishops of Rome will be his successor, thus inherent his "chair," thus his authority also.  You would have to define for me what YOU think an antipope is.

(Protestant)  The first of those five assumptions cannot be proven, much less all five of them. The Greek differentiates between Peter (petros) and rock (petra). If the statement was originally made in Aramaic, the terms kepha and minrah could have been used to make a distinction. Even if kepha had been used twice, which cannot be proven, that still wouldn't prove that the two are referring to the same object. The same word can be used to refer to two different objects, obviously.

(Catholic)This has been answered above.

(Protestant)  The best that can be said in favor of the Roman Catholic position is that Peter might be "this rock" in this passage. Obviously, though, that doesn't even come close to establishing an apostolic papacy. And if the apostles didn't teach a papacy, then the Roman Catholic Church is wrong in its claim that the papacy has been "ever understood" by the church.

  (Catholic)  I think the best that can said for YOUR position is that it is in error.  We have easily demonstrated from the Bible that Peter had a special role in Christs' Church.  For you to deny that is to deny the plain reading of the text.  But let's look at the early Church to see how it functioned.  You've  written a lot on this, denying that the early Christians believed in the authority of Rome, but let's see what they really believed.  The following is an excerpt from Pope St. Clement about 95 ad.  The Pope is writing to the church at Corinth, that same church Paul seemed to have so much trouble with.  Note first of all, that this is written while the Apostle John is still alive, and second, that Rome is not anywhere near Corinth (there were bishops in closer proximity to Corinth than Rome).

     "Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us;"

    Note, first of all, how the Corinthian church requested that Rome look into their "problem".  Doesn't that sound "Romish"?  Secondly, Clement feels the need to apologize for taking too long to respond!  This, my friends, is papal primacy in action.  I guess my opponent  thinks maybe I took this out of context, too?  (There is more on the Church Fathers here)

(Protestant)  The truth is that the papacy is an institution that took hundreds of years to come into being. Catholic apologists try to force a post-apostolic institution into the writings of the apostles. Don't be deceived (Colossians 2:8).

 (Catholic)   Actually, the papacy took thousands of years to develop.  From Moses, through Abraham, and the rest of the prophets and kings of the old Testament, God was preparing His people for the New Covenant, which included His Prime Minister, ala old Testament (see Isaiah 22:19 ff).  That Prime Minister is Peter, and his successors, down to the present age, Pope John Paul II.