I’m a convert (former Baptist, and converted at age 20ish). From a Catholic perspective, verse 18 applies only to the apostles, and then their successors. However, the other verses seem to apply to all Christians. Either the entire passage (15-20) applies to all Christians, or it applies to just the apostles/successors.
If the former, then we all can “bind & loose.”
No. Christ instituted His Church on Peter and the Apostles. The thousands of Protestant sects, all differing in beliefs, show how no one else can “bind and loose”.
If the latter, then only the apostles/successors can be guaranteed to receive what they ask if two or more pray together, and only they are asked to “tell it to the Church” if someone sins against them. If this is the case, then who are their “brothers”? The other priests/bishops? If so, then who is the “Church”?
316. Where in the Bible does it say that Peter was the Vicar of God?
The three classical passages in which St. Peter’s supremacy over the Church is clearly shown are as follows: In the Gospel of St. Matt. XVl., 18-19, we find Christ saying to Peter, “I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall he loosed also in heaven.” Christ there constituted Peter head of the Church in promise, declaring that the office would carry with it the power to act vicariously in the name of God. In St. Luke, XXII., 31-32, we have the words of Christ, “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” St. John, XXI, 15-17, tells us how Christ, after His resurrection, commissioned St. Peter to feed His lambs, and to feed His sheep, i.e., to be shepherd over the whole flock.
Modern Catholic Dictionary
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
CHURCH. The faithful of the whole world. This broad definition can be understood in various senses all derived from the Scriptures, notably as the community of believers, the kingdom of God, and the Mystical Body of Christ.
As the community of believers, the Church is the assembly (ekklesia) of all who believe in Jesus Christ; or the fellowship (koinonia) of all who are bound together by their common love for the Savior. As the kingdom (basileia), it is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies about the reign of the Messiah. And as the Mystical Body it is the communion of all those made holy by the grace of Christ. He is their invisible head and they are his visible members. These include the faithful on earth, those in purgatory who are not yet fully purified, and the saints in heaven.
Since the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church has been defined as a union of human beings who are united by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by participation of and in the same sacraments under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the one representative of Christ on earth, the Bishop of Rome. Each element in this definition is meant to exclude all others from actual and vital membership in the Catholic Church, namely apostates and heretics who do not profess the same Christian faith, non-Christians who do not receive the same sacraments, and schismatics who are not submissive to the Church’s lawful pastors under the Bishop of Rome.
At the Second Vatican Council this concept of the Church was recognized as the objective reality that identifies the fullness of the Roman Catholic Church. But it was qualified subjectively so as to somehow include all who are baptized and profess their faith in Jesus Christ. They are the People of God, whom he has chosen to be his own and on whom he bestows the special graces of his providence. (Etym. Greek kyriakon, church; from kyriakos, belonging to the Lord.)