I was very much surprised when in a discussion with a Catholic guy about the history of the church, he suddenly told me this (paraphrasing, I don’t remember the exact words):
It is so amazing that the church has existed for such a long time and there is this continuous tradition right from the start. Jesus named Saint Peter as his true follower who then in turn instructed others, right until the priests from today! We are standing in an unbroken chain that goes right back to Jesus.
I was perplexed, as I had only ever heard this argument from tradition as a "proof" of the truth of a religion from Jews (the so-called Kuzari argument I’ve previously written about). There are some differences – he is talking only about the priests not about everybody, he is not claiming that they lived exactly by the same rules then as we do today – but the gist of the argument is the same. I was so surprised he’d pull this argument of all things, that I didn’t know what to answer. What do you think? Somehow "We have the same argument, but ours goes back longer" doesn’t seem adequate.