Papal authority is founded on fanciful claim of succession
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul, sometimes described as the co-founder of Christianity, writing in around AD 50, well before any of the Gospels were written, told of a bitter argument he had in Antioch with the apostle of Jesus, Peter (whom Paul called “Cephas”).
The argument reflected a division among the early followers of Jesus on whether non-Jews could be admitted to the Christian religion – in essence it was whether Christianity was to be a sect of Judaism, which would require circumcision and adherence to Judaic dietary regulations, or an entirely new religion.
Paul wrote of Peter: “I opposed him to his face because he stood self-condemned; for, until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas [an associate of Paul] was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel Gentiles to live like Jews’?”
There seemed to have been no appreciation on the part of Paul that Peter was head of the new church, certainly no deference. Indeed, it seems Peter himself had no appreciation of that either for, according to this account, he, Peter, deferred to instructions from another apostle, James, the brother of Jesus, who was regarded in Jerusalem as head of the new religion.
The argument about whether non-Jews should be admitted to the new religion provoked the convening of the first council of the new church, the Council of Jerusalem, which happened apparently shortly after the confrontation between Paul and Peter. What occurred there is told in chapter 15 of Acts of the Apostles. In it is reported Peter spoke in favour of opening the church to non-Jews.
Then Paul and Barnabas told the assembly “of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles”. Then James spoke, saying he had “reached the decision” that the Gentiles should not be troubled by the circumcision requirement but would have to succumb to the Judaic dietary demands. And that was agreed.
So who was running the show at that stage? James? Or the assembly as a whole? Certainly not Peter and it seems Peter did not think so either.