The belief held by the Roman Catholic Church that the Apostles passed on their authority to successors, who in turn entrusted the apostolic authority to their successors, continuing even to this day. They consider Peter, as the leader with the greatest authority became the bishop of Rome, resulting in the supreme authority of the Catholic Church being vested in the Pope. However, there is no indication that Jesus, the apostles or any other NT writer proposed such a concept as apostolic succession. While Peter (along with James) did have a prominent role as recorded in the book of Acts, there is no mention of him being the supreme leader over the others. The mandate of the apostles was to establish the church with the responsibility to pass on the teaching, rather than an apostolic authority (Eph 2:20; 2 Tim 2:22). Scripture is to be followed, and all church teachings should be compared to that, not fallible man’s ideas or traditions (Act 17:11, 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16,17). Apostolic authority was passed on through the writings of the apostles, not through apostolic succession.
See also: apostle, Roman Catholicism.