“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Matthew 19.19 (ESV)

St. PeterThe keys to the kingdom that Jesus gives Peter in Matthew 16.19 is certainly a puzzling passage, but it is by no means a nail in the coffin for those who want to question the papacy. The strongest argument I have seen attached to it is that the keys are a reference back to Isaiah 22.15-25, in which Eliakim is given the keys to the house of David — but that’s a theologically creative stretch at best, no matter how emphatically the apologist says it.

Even supposing the keys do note succession (as the mantle of Eliakim supposedly does), they why the See of Rome? Peter also helped found the Church of Antioch, and his successors are still there as well.

If the keys are to be interpreted solely as denoting the power to bind and loose, then the other disciples were given those keys as well. See John 20.22-23:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,  “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

On an aside: I like Pope Benedict XVI, for what that is worth, even if my heart does lie with Orthodoxy.