Q. If Jesus made Peter the Pope or head of the Church on Earth, Peter didn’t seem to know a thing about it. Why would he, in I Peter 5:1, call himself a fellow elder putting himself on the same level of authority as others if he knew he was the POPE?
A. The use of a fraternal term identifying himself with others in a similar office is nothing other than humble courtesy. For instance, when a president or king addresses the populace with, “My fellow citizens…” it is an appeal to unity with them not an admission that he does not know he is the president or king.
In addition to this, the Pope is the Bishop of Rome. In one way this is the same as the bishop of any other diocese in the world. However, the Bishop of Rome has, since the time of Peter, been acknowledged as the seat of the government of the Catholic Church. The Bishop of Rome as the Pope is the highest authority in the Church on Earth as the vicar or prime minister of Christ.
One additional point to be made here is that, Peter certainly did seem to know he had authority over the Church because in the following verses (I Peter 5:2-4) he goes on to instruct his fellow priests and bishops in how to carry out their ministry.
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