Pentecost NOT “Birth of the Church”

Editor: it is a common error, repeated often in homilies/sermons, that the Church was “born” at Pentecost.  We need only recall the Petrine verses in the Gospel, and Christ’s final command to his apostles prior to his Ascension into Heaven: “Go out into the whole world and baptize…” to recognise that this claim is false.  The apostles were strengthened at Pentecost, their faith renewed so that they had the courage to come out of hiding and obey Christ’s Ascension command to go into the whole world and spread the Faith.  The Church, however, was established by Christ Himself  during His time on earth, as amply reported in the New Testament.

Below, extracts from a short article on the subject…

Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ established and sustains a community of faith, hope and love for all believers. This community we call His Church. The Church that Christ founded is the Catholic Church which has a formal earthly structure established by Christ and which continues under His authority and protection.

 Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said “build,” as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.

Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.”(John 20:23)

Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, “Do this in memory of Me.” (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, “Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.

The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.

God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Source

Comment: 

It is important to note that there was never any time when the Church was known as “Christian Church” – never.  From the earliest times, the Church was called the “Catholic Church”.  The adjective “Roman” was added during the Reformation period by the Protestant Reformers to push their heresy that the Church is made up of “branches” – of which those who adhere to Rome are but one part.  Click here to read more.  There is one exception to the writer’s claim that “RC” is not used in official Church documents, and that exception is found in Humani Generis # 27 – click here.  However, Pope Pius XII is a recent pontiff, so the facts  stand, as detailed in the article How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?

What, if any,  difference does it make if priests preach that Pentecost celebrates “the birth of the Church”?    

Archbishop Leo Cushley, new Archbishop of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh: there’s no crisis in the Church in Scotland…

Archbishop Leo Cushley, new Archbishop of St Andrew's & Edinburgh: there's no crisis in the Church in Scotland...

The new Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh has been consecrated at a ceremony in Edinburgh…

Speaking to the BBC last week, Archbishop Cushley said he did not believe the cardinal (O’Brien) would or should return to Scotland.

But he denied that the Catholic Church in Scotland was in crisis in the wake of the scandal.

He added: “I think the fundamentals are very solid, very sound, but I can’t deny there are important issues that I’m going to have to deal with.” Click on the photo to read the rest of this BBC report.

Then reflect:

According to Edinburgh’s new Archbishop, there’s no crisis in the Church in Scotland. That’s a relief. Either that, or it’s a classic case of “being in denial”, as all the best psychiatrists say…

Personally, I doubt there will be any noticeable change for the better within the Catholic Church in Scotland in the foreseeable future – what do you think?

“Whistleblowing” Scots Priest Dismissed

A Scottish Catholic priest, who has fought for 17 years to force the hierarchy to act against a fellow priest who abused him, has been dismissed from the diocese of Galloway while recovering from cancer and issued with a formal warning for talking to the Observer.

Father Patrick Lawson, who spoke out in the Observer in July using the pseudonym “Father Michael”, was sent a decree of removal by Bishop John Cunningham last Wednesday, forcing him to hand over the keys of his parish house within two days. The bishop had consistently refused to accept Father Lawson’s pleas, on the advice of doctors, to drop one of his two parishes – St Paul’s, Hurlford – while convalescing.

The case is a potentially explosive development in an increasingly tense relationship between the Scottish hierarchy and the laity over abuse and cover-up. There is now a standoff in Father Lawson’s other parish – St Sophia’s, Galston – with many parishioners telling the Observer that they will walk out of masses this weekend in protest, cancel their church subscriptions, and refuse to return unless the priest is reinstated.

Parishioner Manuela Kevan says around 200 people have signed a petition backing the popular, hardworking priest. “We know what this is really about.”  Read more

Obviously, we have no way of knowing whether what is reported in the Observer article is accurate or not. We have to take it at face value, in the absence of any other reliable information.  However, it could be one of those “there’s more to this than meets the eye” situations.  Suffice to say that Catholic Truth has had cause to contact Fr Lawson in the past, so we are keeping an open mind on this at the moment and will merely add an observation that it’s interesting to see what it takes to have a priest dismissed. Annoying the bishops?  It’s certainly not writing heresy in the  Catholic papers week in and week out, and similar related dissent, that’s for sure!

Having said all of that, we reported some years ago that the Church in Galloway was in meltdown.  But is it any different from the Church in the rest of Scotland? Frankly, I doubt it. What about you?