I am reading Dr. Taylor Marshall’s (Dean of the College of St. John Fisher and Thomas Moore) new book: The Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholic Christianity. Great book, so far! However, I have a question about one passage which claims, quoting Bl. Pope John Paul II, that the Pope is the successor of both Peter and Paul:
“In this regard it is interesting to underscore the reference of tradition to the two Apostles associated in their martyrdom with this Church. The Bishop of Rome is the Successor of Peter; however, he can also be called the heir of Paul, the greatest representative of the early Church’s missionary efforts and of the wealth of her charisms. The bishops of Rome have generally spoken, taught, defended Christ’s truth, celebrated pontifical rites and blessed the faithful in the name of Peter and Paul, the ‘princes of the Apostles’ the olivae binae pietatis unicae (‘the twofold olive-branch of a singular piety’), as is sung in the hymn for their feast on June 29. The Fathers, the liturgy, and iconography often depict this association in martyrdom and glory.”
What am I to make of this? Am I right in understanding that Paul was never actually a joint-Pope with Peter, though they shared the Apostolic ministry in Rome?
I think that Dr. Marshall really knows his stuff, but I have never heard anyone say this before. Can someone who understands clearly what Bl. John Paul II is talking about please comment?