Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy
PETER DE ROSA - a graduate of Gregorian University in Rome was a professor of Metaphysics and Ethics at Westminster Seminary and Dean of Theology at Corpus Christi College in London.
"It may jolt Catholics to hear it, but "the great Fathers of the Church saw no connection between the verse which Jesus addressed to Peter and the Bishops of Rome. Not one of them applies "Thou art Peter" to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyze it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They're not exactly Protestants. Not one of them calls the Bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the keys. . .
The surprises do not stop there. For the Fathers, it is Peter's faith – or the Lord in whom Peter has faith – which is called the Rock, not Peter. All the Councils of the Church from Nicea in the fourth century to Constance in the 15th agree that Christ himself is the only foundation of the church, that is, a rock on which the church rests.
Perhaps this is why not one of the Fathers speaks of a transference of power from Peter to those who succeed him; not one speaks, as church documents do today, of an "inheritance". There's no hint of an abiding Petrine office. Insofar as the Fathers speak of an office, the reference is to the episcopate it in general. All bishops are successors to all the apostles.
What, then, becomes of the promises said to be made via Peter to his "successors", the Pope's? Do not popes inherit infallibility and worldwide jurisdiction from Peter?