Is there a specific time at which Peter officially became pope?

Just wondering if there was an official time, historically speaking, where it is said that he became bishop of Rome? I ask because the passage in Galatians 2 suggests it must have been somewhere beyond 17yrs after Pentecost (3 yrs to Paul’s visit to Peter in Gal 1:18 and 14yrs to the council Gal 2:1) since Peter, while in a position of leadership, is rebuked by Paul for teachings and his example of being, in some respect, a judaizer. It just seems more traditional to think it was around Pentecost that his position was affirmed by the giving of the Spirit in fuller measure on that day. However, this seems to question that on account of papal infallibility. Also, Peter wasn’t in Rome either since the council was in Jerusalem. So, I guess, though the leader in many respects, he wasn’t yet pope? I asked the question elsewhere and was referred here as the best place to get a better answer.

Thank you!

Peter became the leader as the result of his expression of faith in Mt. 16:16-23: “’But you,’ he said ‘who do you day I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up. ‘ You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God’ Jesus replied, ;Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.”

The term ‘Pope’ and other trappings came later. But THIS is when he received the power from the Father to bind and loose. THIS is when He received authority as evidenced by the keys. This is when Jesus singled him out in such a magnificent way!


Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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