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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).
Catholics believe that Saint Paul saw Judaism as the type or figure of Christianity: "Now all these things happened to [the Jews] in figure...." attributes to the High Priest the highest jurisdiction in religious matters.
Elsewhere in Scripture such a name change always denotes some change in status (e.g., Abram to Abraham, Jacob to Israel, and Saul to Paul).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.Both Latin and Greek writers in the early church (such as the St.
John Chrysostom) referred to "rock" as applying to both Peter personally and his faith symbolically, as well as seeing Christ's promise to apply more generally to his twelve apostles and the Church at large.
From this, Catholics believe that Peter was given charge over Christ's whole flock, that is, the Church.