In a very real sense, it is misleading for the Roman Catholic Church even to list popes during the first five centuries of church history. Church historian Michael Walsh observes:
'Papal authority as it is now exercised, with its accompanying doctrine of papal infallibility, cannot be found in theories about the papal role expressed by early Popes and other Christians during the first 500 years of Christianity.' (An Illustrated History of the Popes)
The papacy as it is known today took centuries to develop. Its origin can be found in the emergence of the bishops in the second century and events which took place during the forth and fifth centuries. Its origin can be found in the emergence of bishops in the second century and events which took place in the political structure of the Roman Empire during the forth and fifth centuries."
James G. McCarthy, The Gospel According to Rome, p. 254-255