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In one interpretation the prominence that the New Testament and other early Christian writings attribute to Peter is due to their seeing him as a unifying factor in contrast to other figures identified with disputed interpretations of Christianity.Since the Protestant Reformation, many non-Catholics, in disagreement with the historic Catholic Church view, have disputed whether the feminine πέτρα refers to Peter, claiming it instead refers to either Peter's confession of faith or Jesus himself.Yet, both of these traditional explanations of this passage have been termed incorrect by some recent Catholic Bible scholars.While the reasons for disagreement on the nature of the primacy are complex—hinging on matters of doctrine, history, and politics, the debate is often reduced to a discussion of the meaning and translation of the "on this rock" passage: In the Greek text, the new name given is Πέτρος (Petros), and in the second half of the same verse the word translated as "rock" is πέτρα (petra).A literal translation, in the style of the King James Version, of the words presumably used by Jesus would be "Thou art Rock, and upon this rock will I build my church".To preserve a supposed pun, the Greek text chose to translate Peter's name as "Πέτρος" rather than as "Κηφᾶς" (Cephas).Vatican Council I defined the primacy of the bishop of Rome over the whole Catholic Church as an essential institution of the Church that can never be relinquished.This primacy is thus crucial to the understanding of the church from a Catholic viewpoint.
This belief makes a distinction between the personal prestige of Peter and the supremacy of the office of pope which Catholics believe Jesus instituted in the person of Peter.Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Our Lord then declared to him: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." Christ, the living Stone, thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death.Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church.From this, Catholics believe that Peter was given charge over Christ's whole flock, that is, the Church.Moreover, Peter is always named first in all listings of the Apostles; Judas is invariably mentioned last. It is important to note that Peter was neither the first Apostle in age nor election; therefore, Peter must be the first Apostle in the sense of authority, if you ignore the possibility of him being first in the sense of first in the list of Twelve Apostles..