THE CHART below is a comparison of Apostolic Lines from the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Bishop Vatican One of the former Roman Catholic Church to today. There is no question that the Apostolic line has been maintained and is unbroken.
The Catholic Church's bishops are not only custodians but heralds of a pure Vatican One apostolic line.
Because the Church is a living entity that reaches back to the original Apostles in about 33 AD. This is because the Church came first and THEN the Christian bible, not the other way around.
The only way we can be SURE we are doing things right, believing and interpreting correctly, is by ensuring that our beliefs, practices, traditions, very closely match WHAT the Apostles taught the first couple of generations of Christians.
There was MUCH taught orally to the early Bishops and Christians of the 1st through 4th centuries before the bible was assembled. Not all of this is captured in the bible. Obviously as we can see, the bible can be interpreted in many ways.. ergo, HOW do we know our interpretations are right if we ONLY have the bible to go on.
Apostolic succession is one such way. The Church did not sprout out of the Bible in 1000 AD or 1500 AD or 1800 AD or 1950 AD.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION - The method by which the episcopacy has been derived from the Apostles to the present day. Succession means successive consecration by the laying on of hands, performing the functions of the Apostles, receiving their commission in a lineal sequence from the Apostles, succession in Episcopal sees traced back to the Apostles known as bishops. The Eastern Orthodox and others share in the apostolic succession in having valid Episcopal orders, although they are not in collegial union with the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy .
As was the tradition of kings at the time...when they appointed a royal position, they often times renamed the person. We see this in the bible when Jesus renames Simon to Peter or "cephas" meaning "rock" He literally says "You are ROCK and upon you I will build my church". The best foundation for ANY building is solid rock. Metaphorically or Literally, saying Peter was rock.. meant he was the foundation and KEY to its success.
While Eastern Orthodox sources often refer to the bishops as "successors of the apostles" under the influence of Scholastic theology, strict Orthodox ecclesiology and theology hold that all legitimate bishops are properly successors of Peter. This also means that presbyters (or "priests") are successors of the apostles. As a result, Orthodox theology makes a distinction between a geographical or historical succession and proper ontological or ecclesiological succession. Hence, bishops are to be considered successors of Peter in a historical sense on account of Peter's presence in the early community. This does not imply that these bishops are more successors of Peter than all others in an ontological sense.
According to ancient canons still observed with the Orthodox communion, a bishop must be consecrated by at least three other bishops; so-called "single handed ordinations" do not exist. Moreover, bishops are never ordained "at large" but only for a specific Eucharist community, in due historical and sacramental succession.
Jesus did NOT do this for other Apostles, but through Peter.. All Catholic churches are linked directly to Jesus himself as outlined in Saint John Paul II Dominus Iesus August 2000.