Is a Catholic priest, bishop, or pope a Biblical Church leader?

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Can someone help? This is a small part of a letter someone has written.

Is a Catholic priest, bishop, or pope a Biblical Church leader?

No. In the Bible, there are three terms used interchangeably to mean the leaders of the Church; elder, bishop, and pastor. This can be seen from the passage below, where Peter is addressing all three terms to the same men, to mean the same thing.

1 Peter 5:1-4
1To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

The origin of the term “elder”, translated from the Greek word presbyters, obviously means those who are more mature and able to lead a family. The Greek word that is translated as “bishop”, episcopes, is the same word that is translated as “overseer”; such as a nobleman might use to manage a large estate. The term “pastor” has the same root in Greek as the term “pasture” and means a shepherd. So, the Bible uses all three terms when describing the criteria for who should be a leader of the Church.

1 Timothy 3:1-5
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer (bishop), he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

Titus 1:5-9
5…and appoint elders in every city, as I gave thee charge; 6if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children that believe, who are not accused of riot or unruly. 7For the bishop must be blameless, as God’s steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; 8but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled; 9holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers.

It is obvious from these passages that a leader of the church must be married and have children. Until about 850 AD, Popes were allowed to be married. If it was not necessary for Popes to remain unmarried before this time, why is it necessary now? It is another example of Popes changing Church doctrine when they had been expressly forbidden to do so.
For the first part of your post, the Catholic Answers tract “Bishop, Priest, and Deacon” gives a nice summary:
The sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons.
Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They are often called “evangelists” in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5).
Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).
Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).
**In the apostolic age, the terms for these offices were still somewhat fluid. Sometimes a term would be used in a technical sense as the title for an office, sometimes not. This non-technical use of the terms even exists today, as when a Protestant pastor who is actually an elder is also called a “minister” (Greek, diakonos), though he is not a member of his congregation’s deacon board. **
Thus, in the apostolic age Paul sometimes described himself as a diakonos (“servant” or “minister”; cf. 2 Cor. 3:6, 6:4, 11:23; Eph. 3:7), even though he held an office much higher than that of a deacon, that of apostle.
Similarly, on one occasion Peter described himself as a “fellow elder,” [1 Pet. 5:1] even though he, being an apostle, also had a much higher office than that of an ordinary elder.
The term for bishop, episcopos (“overseer”), was also fluid in meaning. Sometimes it designated the overseer of an individual congregation (the priest), sometimes the person who was the overseer of all the congregations in a city or area (the bishop or evangelist), and sometimes simply the highest-ranking clergyman in the local church—who could be an apostle, if one were staying there at the time.
Although the terms “bishop,” “priest,” and “deacon” were somewhat fluid in the apostolic age, by the beginning of the second century they had achieved the fixed form in which they are used today to designate the three offices whose functions are clearly distinct in the New Testament.
As to your friend’s second point about the Church changing doctrine, it’s a straw-man. Priestly celibacy is a disciline, not a doctrine. Secondly, his history is way-off. The first legislation ever enacted forbidding all clergy of the Latin (i.e. Western) Church from marying came from Pope Saint Siricius, in the late 4th century. Prior to then, it had just been common practice for bishops, priests, and deacons to be either celibate, or living in continence with their wives. Whether or not this was common in the East is open for debate.

Your friend does not know the difference between Church Dogma, Church Law, Faith and Morals, Doctrine, etc.:confused: Neither do many Catholics for that fact either as shown by the number of people who leave our church based on statements like this and others?😦 I talk to people like this a lot too. Your friend also has chosen to skip over some facts included in history and Scripture both.

Very long subject so I’ll just direct you to some help:

You may like this site too? Every Catholic should see this one!

I have these points used against me often? How can we win? It just takes practice and prayer.:bowdown:

I have lots more but this is a good start. So much is there to support the RCC.

Next time you meet your friend, I suggest you ask HIM the questions and make him prove his points. He may have trouble on many.

Good luck,


Peter’s mother in law is mention in the Gospel. So, we know he was married at soem point, but not whether his wife was still alive when he was following Jesus.

Ask your friend to name one Apostle other than Peter whose marital status is mentioned in any way in the Bible. Zero is the answer.

You may also find these these post of interest.
For the first part of your post, the Catholic Answers tract “Bishop, Priest, and Deacon” gives a nice summary:

Thank you for the listed links. Celibacy is so grossly misunderstood. I appreciate the help.
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