The Catholics base their entire religion on the belief of ''Sacred Tradition'' and ''Apostolic Supremacy.'' Catholics claimed that a man named Linus was the second pope and succeeded Peter in 67 A.D. And they believe him to be the same Linus mention in II Timothy 4:21. They even have a list of popes [The List of Popes]. When asked about this a Catholic told me they got the list of ''early popes'' from Irenaeus, Jerome, Eusebius, and John Chrysostom. The problem there is that none of those people were born in the first century and were around like the apostles were with Jesus. I suppose my question after all of this is: Is it possible that there were men around who claimed to be Pope?
Also, Catholics believe in sacred tradition because they claim the Bible itself is tradition. They have their councils because they believe that examples of ecumenical councils are in the New Testament. And they do not believe in the authority of the Bible because they say nowhere in the Bible does it have a list of the books that are only to be used in living a Christian life and they think that the Bible didn't exist before they canonized it in the fourth century when it says all over the New Testament ''these things that are written.'' Could you address Sacred Tradition?
Since the title "pope" wasn't accepted until Boniface in 606 A.D., no there were no popes prior to this time. Even the Roman Catholics admit that the early so-called popes were the names of bishops in Rome. In this, we can see the Roman bias of wanting to be the center of religion. They choose to ignore that in the early days of Christianity there was no earthly central authority. Yes, there was a discussion in Jerusalem (Acts 15), but you will find that the cause was that some members of the Jerusalem were going around to other churches telling them that their members had to keep the Jewish laws. Jerusalem, realizing this was false doctrine, sent letters and men out to tell the other churches they were not behind these teachings and did not send these false teachers out.
Even later, when the eldership started being corrupted and one elder was being elevated over the others, Roman was still not the center of religion. There were local regions of which Constantinople held more sway that Rome for quite a while.
What you found is simply a rewriting of history to create support for later beliefs. I have no reason to doubt that these early men lived, but I strongly believe they never saw themselves as popes.
The elevation of tradition above the Bible has been discussed several times. See: