The petrine heresy
The term "pope" by which the head of the Roman Catholic church is known, is derived from the Latin papa, meaning father. But Jesus forbade his followers to call any man father in a spiritual sense (Matthew 23:9). In ancient times, several patriarchs were called pope, but eventually as the claims of Rome rose higher and higher, the bishop of Rome came to hold this title exclusively to himself. Gregory I was the first one to be given the title of universal bishop by the wicked emperor Phocas, in the year 604. This he did to spite the bishop of Constantinople. Gregory, knowing that this was a novel idea, refused the title, but his second successor, Boniface III (607) assumed the title, and it has been the designation of the bishops of Rome ever since.
Again, the term "Pontiff," referring to the pope, means a bridge builder. It comes from pagan Rome, where the emperor, as the high priest of the heathen religion, was called "Pontifex Maximus." The title was lifted from paganism and applied to the head of the Roman Catholic church. Thus the pope claims to be the mediator between God and men, in flat contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:5. He claims to be the head, whereas Christ is clearly given this position in Colossians 2:9 and 1:18.
The papal system has been in process of development over a long period of time, with error encroaching upon error so that the end result is something diametrically opposite to apostolic Christianity. Romanists claim an unbroken line of succession from the alleged first pope. But the list itself is quite doubtful; it was revised several times, with a number who formerly were listed as popes now listed as anti-popes. The existence of an unbroken succession from the apostles to the present can neither be proved nor disproved.
For a period of six centuries after the time of Christ none of the regional churches attempted to exercise authority over any of the other churches. The early ecumenical councils were composed of delegates from the various churches who met as equals.
The first six centuries of the Christian era know nothing of any spiritual supremacy on the part of the bishops of Rome. Gregory the First is the one who consolidated the power of the bishopric of Rome and started that church on a new course.
The papal cause was much aided by forgery and blatant lies which were exposed during the Renaissance through such critical studies as those of Valla on the "Donation of Constantine" and the "Isidorian Decretals."
The pope boasts of exercising the power of the keys. But as early as the second century, Tertullian writes that "every one who confesses Christ, as Peter did, has the keys of the kingdom of heaven, as did Peter" (Scorpiaca).
It is also well-known that in post-Constantine times the Roman empire was Christianized but the far majority of the people were Christian only in name. Numberless pagan customs were brought in the church. One of them was the role of the emperor as patron and high priest of the religious system.
With the downfall of Rome and the removal of the seat of the emperor from Rome to Constantinople, the way was paved for the Antichrist to be raised up and assume his blasphemous role, thus fulfilling 2 Thessalonians 2, eventually coming to the position where the pope was called God on earth. For instance, Leo X was addressed thus by John Capito Aretinus (1513-21): "If to serve God is truly to reign, you are reigning if you serve Leo, for Leo is God on earth."
Eminent scholars, such as A.Hislop, have also traced the pagan origins of the papacy. We read about a Peter Roma, the interpreter of the pagan mysteries (cf. papal infallibility), we read about the keys of Cybele and Janus, the power of which is now vested in the Bishop of Rome.
The Sancta Sede has nothing to do with the New Testament; actually it is traced back to paganism. When seated on this chair, the pope is now said to be infallible in the doctrines and decrees he makes, exactly the same fables that were popular in paganism. The popes of Rome are in fact direct successors of the ancient pontiffs of the Babylonian religion having a very thin disguise of Christianity.
The true origins of the papacy, therefore, however shocking it might be to many, is from crass paganism.