Today we honor St. Peter and those who followed as him as bishops of Rome. However, we need to see that Jesus gave authority to the other Apostles, and to their successors as bishops. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians tells us about a time when Peter in refusing to eat with Gentiles had Paul standing up to him, telling him he was wrong.
Between 1962 and 1965 Pope John XXIII, recognizing their authority, called in all the world’s bishops to straighten out our beliefs on every aspect of our faith that has come down to us from the Apostles. He quietly accepted the truths the bishops published.
Back in the year 100, a man named Polycarp delighted in the many hours he had sat listening to St. John talk about what he had heard from Jesus. Now, this man Polycarp had a student named Irenaeus who loved hearing Polycarp talk about the basic Christian message.
When Irenaeus was in his fifties he met with people who claimed that God had revealed a new Christianity to them. Irenaeus straightened them out, saying that there could be no true Christianity that conflicts with what was handed on by the Apostles. He wrote that to hear that message one must listen to the unique Christian message derived from the Apostles Peter and Paul and preserved in Rome.
It was in the year 500 that we made the mistake of seeing the pope as the only witness to the true Gospel. The way that happened was that Christianity was almost wiped out when a strong new nation, the Franks, came into the Church. As good as that was, there was a little glitch. The Franks believed that in their nation God had given all power to their King Chlodwech, and so they insisted that in his church God had given all authority to its Pope Symmachus.
The Church in later centuries should not go against its practice in earlier centuries. In 255 when St. Cyprian of Carthage told Pope Stephen he should not interfere in naming bishops to north Arica, and Stephen accepted the rebuke.