Religion: Peter and the Papacy

You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.

—The Gospel of Matthew 16:18

In St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, the words are inscribed in gold in the cupola, the key argument that the papacy was founded by Jesus himself when he made Peter the head of his church. But does that long-contested biblical verse in fact mean what Roman Catholics traditionally take it to mean? Was Peter the first Pope? Are his successors the ultimate earthly authority in Christendom? In a new study, Peter in the New Testament, an investigative group...

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