Peter was still there, so his blessed authority was intact. Where is the blessing of man to designate the next holder of that authority?
Christ Himself proclaimed: “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18). “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in My name, He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (John 14:26) “But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify Me, because He will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that He will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15)
Following Professor Oscar Cullmann, Dr. John Lowe writes in his book, “Saint Peter”, p. 56: “Reluctance to admit this” (that Peter was the ‘Rock’) “has been due, consciously or unconsciously, to the fear that such an admission is to concede the claims of Rome.” Declaring this is a wrong approach, he says the argument should now be, not a denial of St. Peter’s unique position, but a denial that the office given to St. Peter was transferable to any successors. “No one,” he writes, “could take over Peter’s function as the Rock man.”
In this, he adopts with Cullmann what Cardinal Journet, in his book The Primacy of Peter, p. 50, describes as Dr. Cullmann’s “false dilemma”, namely, that Peter’s office must either perish with him, or survive him in its entirety. There is an alternative position, that held by Catholics. Catholics hold that St. Peter was endowed with an extraordinary non-communicable gift (as an immediate apostle and witness of the life and resurrection of Jesus) relating to the foundation of the Church, but also with an ordinary communicable gift transmissible to successors and necessary for the preservation of the Church. No Pope claims to be the “Rock” on which the Church is built. The claim is simply that St. Peter’s supreme “episcopal” authority is still exercised in the Church through the succession of bishops elected to the primatial See of Rome.