In many of the apologetic arguments it always ends with what authority does one have to interpret scripture. I am going to argue that the Catholic Church is the sole authentic interpreter of Scripture and I will use the Bible … not using verse quotations but the Bible as a story for it is the story of God revealing himself to man. The similarity between the story of Abraham and God is very similar to that of Jesus and Peter. The role of lineage and passing of authority is a key component.
God used Abraham to found the Jewish nation. He first did this by changing Abram’s name to Abraham and telling him he will be the father of a host of nations. Fatherhood implies authority and a responsibility … one of a leader. To follow Abraham one must have faith that Abraham speaks for God. While Abraham is not God … he does wield whatever power and authority God has given him and it was great. God put Abraham in charge. Was the authority give to Abraham gone after his death. No, it was passed to his son Isaac thus starting a means of succession. This gave the Jewish people an identity and continuity, a feeling of family. This is important because what happens when people are leaderless. There is splintering and fragmenting … it is not pretty. God had not abandoned them even after the deaths of leaders. Were the leaders always the best people or did they always do what was right. No but does that change the validity or the authority of that leader. No it does not, it remains. The other important point is that God created something concrete. It was real. The nation was real.
In much the same way the story of Jesus and Peter follows the same script. It seems Peter was always getting the tough questions from Jesus. Peter was being prepared for what God had in store for him. While Jesus was alive did Peter any authority … no not from reading the Gospels. He was learning and many times seemed to frustrate Jesus with his comments. Jesus knew he was not going to be on earth to lead them for much longer. Like the Old Testament we were not going to be left leaderless or without something concrete and real, so what did Jesus do? He changed Peter’s name and Jesus left him the keys and said on this I will build my church … this is similar to what happened in the Old Testament. Someone was anointed by God to lead. Where is that place … it is real and it exists … it is not something hidden. It is his visible church on earth, the Catholic Church.
The key elements are …1) God speaks to someone 2) a leader is identified and given authority 3) this authority does not leave when the person dies, it is passed to a succesor.
This is why apostolic succession is so important for Catholics … it is our lineage back to Christ. It points out that we are part of what Jesus actually created. The same as the Old Testament Jews tracing lineage back to Abraham.
This is why the Catholic Church is the same Church Christ started 2000 years ago. God revealed this formula for his people long before Christ came to earth. Like I said look at it from the story perspective.