- As a Catholic I believe he’s definitely not Mother Mary’s son. What he could have been is debatable. I believe Wikipedia gives an accurate account of all sides here:
- Is it Catholic dogma that he’s the same as the Apostle James the son of Alphaeus? Judging by the text I believe he’s James the son of Clopas, who isn’t the same as Alphaeus.
Incidentally, Levi/Matthew is the “son of Alphaeus” too. So maybe we have two sets of brothers among the Twelve.
- He was, by tradition, the first bishop of Jerusalem… but some use this against the notion of Petrine primacy.
The same Wikipedia page puts it well: "Roman Catholics believe the bishop of Jerusalem was not by that fact the head of the Christian church, since the leadership rested in Peter as the “Rock” and “Chief Shepherd” - paraphrased from The Dictionary of the Bible by John L. Mckenzie. (I have a copy - thick book, green cover)
So what if he presided over the Council of Jerusalem? One shouldn’t expect to see the highly developed Church organization of later centuries. Besides, couldn’t he have decided the matter as it was on his turf?