Can you name any time between Pentecost and the 16th century, when "there were no layers of authority, just the Lord the people"?
You seem to be proposing an 'egalitarian' way of conceiving of the Church, and that doesn't seem to fit with 1 Corinthians 12, Hebrews 13:17, or the first 1500 years of Church history.
In the peace of Christ,
Well, I think that Bryan Cross is definitely on to something here. It’s obvious that John Bugay has never bothered to read 1 Cor 12, for if you turn to that chapter you’ll immediately see the startling one-to-one correspondence between Pauline polity and Catholic polity:
“Now concerning holy orders, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant. There are diversities of clerics, but the same charism. To each cleric is given the charism of the holy orders. These are all ordained by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each cleric individually as he wills. And God has appointed in the church first the Queen of Heaven, second the Pope, third the Nicene Fathers, fourth the Tridentine Fathers, fifth the Church Fathers, sixth the College of Cardinals, seventh the Doctors of the Church, eighth the Archbishops, ninth the Bishops, tenth the Monsignors, eleventh the priests, twelfth the saints, thirteenth the lay religious, fourteenth the laity, and fifteenth the livestock” (1 Cor 12:28).