Seeking Divine Mercy



Catholic Church Hierarchy



There is no basis for disputing the establishment of the hierarchal organization of the Catholic Church.  As scripture attests, since its inception Jesus began establishing the growth of His Church and the assignment of not only the apostles, but others appointed to spread the gospel. It is clearly stated that the positions of Bishops, Presbyters, deacons and so on where established by the apostles since the beginning. Saint James was the First Bishop of Jerusalem where Peter and the apostles would originally meet. This was during the period Peter’s concentrated on his travel establishing Churches in numerous locations. Once Peter had completed the initial establishment of many Churches he took the seat of the Bishop in the city of Rome and settled the primacy of authority there.  Below are some excerpts verifying the Church authority and hierarchy as it was established by Jesus and the Apostles as time proceeded. There is a great deal of information available to help one learn about the structure of the Catholic Church and Her mission at the Vatican web site. See resources.



“…After this the Lord appointed seventy (-two) others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this household.'  If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” (Luke Ch 10. 01-06)


23 “They appointed presbyters 5 for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.”  (ACTS CH 14: 23)


“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins:  Who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity.  And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was. So Christ also did not glorify himself that he might be made a high priest: but he that said unto him: Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech. Who in the days of his flesh, with a strong cry and tears, offering up prayers and supplications to him that was able to save him from death, was heard for his reverence. And whereas indeed he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being consummated, he became, to all that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation: Called by God a high priest, according to the order of Melchisedech.” (Hebrews CH5; 1-10)


“For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious. For a bishop as God's steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.” (TITUS CH 01: 5-9)


 “Whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another.  If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.” (1 Corinthians CH 12; 24-28)




Comparing verses from the New Testament to Old Testament and Compare the symbol of the keys with that in the following:


Old Testament; “In that day I will call my servant Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:20-22)


Note: the power of `loosing and binding' in heaven and on earth...

New Testament: Jesus said;  ……I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mat. Ch 16. 15-19)



After establishing Churches in various places, Peter set up his See (or place of authority) in the capital of the Empire, Rome. Here he won the martyr's crown by being crucified upside-down (not considering himself worthy to die in exactly the same way as Christ). His body was buried on a hill that was then on the outskirts of Rome, known as Vatican Hill. Realize Jesus plan was for His Church to succeed until His return and the power and authority He passed to the Apostles, they in turn passed as Christianity grew and time continued. That of course includes all the authority.



"But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus answered, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mat. Ch 16. 15-19)

“…. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” (Mat. Ch 24. 11-13)

“…Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. So be vigilant and remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears. And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts Ch 20. 28-35)


” After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and made a considerable number of disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.  They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.” (Acts Ch 14. 21-23)

Church Fathers

Irenaeus' Against Heresies Book III (c. 180 A.D.)
Topics you can refer to for the truth. The Heretics Follow neither Scripture nor Tradition. A Refutation of the Heretics, from the Fact that, in the Various Churches, a Perpetual Succession of Bishops Was Kept Up.
Primacy of the Roman Church
Succession of the First Bishops of Rome


From St. Clement of Rome, Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 44
Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office(1) of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions,(2) that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them,(3) or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from(1) the episcopate(4) those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties.(5) Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.

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