How should I answer this Mormon intelligently who said this to me about the early Catholic Church authority and history?..
“We have bishops quarreling over who gets to be in charge for centuries with no way to pass on the authority of a bishop (succession can only be vertical. It cannot be horizontal, so bishops cannot ordain other bishops. Only apostles can ordain bishops.) When they finally get straightened out (with Constantine’s help), they decide the collective bishopric has the power to then ordain other bishops. Paul also chewed Peter out and argued against him, ultimately getting his way. The deeper you look into the church pre-325, the more discord you find. It took the threat of exile just to get a majority of bishops to agree on the correct perception of the relationship of God to Jesus, and that was achieved just because the biggest “homoousios” supporter in the room (they were a vast minority prior to Nicea) happened to be Constantine’s right hand man, so he got Constantine to threaten those who didn’t sign on with banishment. Some bishops tried to change the text to “homoiosios” (like substance) when they went up to sign, but they were caught and banished. Just because one guy says, “Oh, yeah, the church I’m trying to defend was unified,” doesn’t mean all the other evidence is void.”