Skip to comments.When did the Resurrection become truly the Faith, and the official teaching of the Church?
Posted on 04/13/2012 3:05:03 PM PDT by NYer
In the early hours of the resurrection appearances on the first Easter Sunday news began to be circulated that Jesus was alive and had been seen. These reports were, at first disbelieved or at least doubted by the apostles. Various reports from both women and men were dismissed by the apostles. But suddenly in the evening of that first Easter Sunday there is a change, and a declaration by the apostles that the Lord “has truly risen!” What effected this change? We will see in a moment. But first note the early reports of the resurrection and how they were largely disregarded:
So when does the resurrection become the official declaration of the early Church? Up till now the stories had been rejected by the apostles as either fanciful or untrue. Even the possible belief of one of the 12 (John) was not enough to cause an official declaration from the early Church. So, what causes this to change? It would seem that, after the early evening report by the disciples returning from Emmaus, Peter slipped away, perhaps for a walk, or some other purpose, and according to both Paul (1 Cor 15:5) and Luke (Lk 24:34) the risen Lord appeared to Peter privately and prior to the other apostles. Peter then reports this to the others, and the resurrection moves from being doubted, to being the official declaration of the community, the Church. The official declaration is worded thus:
The Lord has truly risen indeed, he has appeared to Simon!” (Luke 24:34)
The resurrection is now officially declared. Notice, the world “truly” (some texts say “indeed”). It is now an officially attested fact that Jesus has risen. Neither Magdalene, nor the women in general, nor the disciples from Emmaus, nor even John, could make this declaration for the Church. It took the college of apostles in union with Peter to do this. Hence the dogma of the resurrection becomes so on very Catholic terms: The first bishops (the apostles) in union or in Council with the first Pope (Peter) make this solemn declaration of the faith.
When I wrote a similar article some years back, some argued in opposition that the Church “did not exist” at this point since Pentecost “is the birthday of the Church.” I do not accept that “the Church did not exist at this time” (For I think she did exist, but had simply not been commissioned to go forth to the nations as yet, that would wait for Pentecost. Further even if one will piously hold Pentecost as the birthday of the Church, our existence precedes our birth by at least nine months, and the Church’s existence surely also precedes her “birth”). But let us side-step the whole debate by holding saying that this exercise of the Church’s teaching authority in this event is proleptic. That is to say, what would fully be the case later, is here seen operative in an anachronistic, yet real manner (For example, Mother Mary is saved by Jesus and preserved from sin not apart from Christ’s saving act, but in a proleptic way, in anticipation of his saving grace). Thus, the apostles and their office which were fully operative after Pentecost, are here active as the result of a prevenient grace, an anticipation of the future reality of the Church to teach authoritatively out of her basic structure and the charism given to Peter and the Apostles more fully or widely at some later time. But again, I stand by my point that the Church did exist at this time and that we do not have a proleptic but in fact a proper action of the magisterium at this very point.
But did the women and the laymen’s declaration mean nothing? In fact it does. And the Lord upbraids the apostles later for being so reluctant to accept the testimony of the others (Mk 16:14). He calls them “hard of heart” for this reluctance. But he does not undermine their authority to make the official declaration, for in the very next verse he commissions the apostles to go forth and preach and teach in his name. Surely the Lord was not pleased after he had promised many times to rise from the dead that they were so slow to listen to the voices of the first witnesses. Should they not have concluded it was the third day and that the Lord had promised to rise and connected the dots? Did he have to personally appear before they would believe?
Alas, it would seem so. Jesus’ first bishops were not perfect men, far from it. But they were the leaders he had chosen, knowing their weakness. So too for today, the Church’s leaders are not perfect and may take far too long at times to make decisions or give clearer teachings or impose necessary discipline. But, in the end it is they who are nonetheless commissioned to teach officially.
This whole event also teaches us that the bishops and even the Pope are not always the first to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. The more frequent pattern is that the Lord begins reforms and sends apparitions, not to the leaders, but among the faithful. Reform movements and messages are often received there first, and only later does the Church, through her anointed and appointed leaders, affirm or uphold certain things as worthy of belief, and set aside others as problematic.
Finally it should be noted that one of the apostles, Thomas, was absent. Even after the official declaration of the Church went forth he still refused to believe (Jn 20:25). Here too the Lord is merciful to him but in the end is clear that Thomas has fallen short. And Thomas has fallen short in a more egregious manner, for he has refused the collective and solemn declaration of the Church, not merely disbelieved the testimony of one or a few disciples. Jesus goes on to declare blessed those who accept the solemn testimony of the Church though they have not seen him with earthly eyes (Jn 20:29). That’s us!
Msgr. Pope is the man!
Met him at the pro-life march, such a great priest. He is a very careful scholar, and what he is saying here is spot on.
What I find puzzling is that Jesus did not go straight to the disciples. Where was He just before Mary ran into him? Even then, He doesn’t seem to be purposefully going anywhere.
thx for posting.
puzzle as you must...Christ IS your risen savoir... I choose to let all my questions about the Only Son of God rest in my Faith...meanwhile I try my Ustmost to Be His Highest.. sleep well my dear sister in Christ.. let every question bring a revelation,,,
LOL, so you can't figure out what God was doing? According to what, your sense of time? Your sense of activity? Tell me, if Jesus was standing right in front of you, looking you in the eyes, and talking to you - is that ALL he's doing?
>>>What I find puzzling is that Jesus did not go straight to the disciples. Where was He just before Mary ran into him? Even then, He doesnt seem to be purposefully going anywhere.>>>
I believe Jesus was teaching the apostles a lesson: There would be doubt, then there would be proof. He knew it would always be this way for His church. Hence, the saints who have responded to prayers with a miracle cure which doctors say could not have happened except for a miracle.
"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." - John 21:25
If you go to his linked blog you will see two stories: one a chronilogical listing of ressurection day happenings and another discussing where Jesus went when he died.
Both have been posted on FR.
The Resurrection Appearances Chronologically Arranged
Are There Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts? If so, Can They be Resolved?
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI - EASTER 2012
Saint Gregory the Greats Sermon on the Mystery of the Resurrection
Pope Benedict XVI warns of moral 'darkness' as he celebrates Easter Mass
Easter Changes Everything
New Catholics a sign of Easter blessing for church (in Oregon)
On Easter Joy -- General Audience, Pope Benedict XVI
The Christ of the Folded Napkin
Reflection on Hope and New Life After the Easter Feasts (Thomas Rosica, CSB)
Easter Time [Eastertide or Easter Season]
Risen Christ opens for a us a completely new future says the Pope at Easter Mass
Man Who "Died" 5 Times Is Becoming Catholic (Thousands to Enter Church at Easter)
On the Resurrection-Pope Benedict XVI
Octave of Easter, Pope Benedict XVI
The Double Alleluia
Our 'Great Sunday' (Season of Easter) [Editorial Column]
Happy Easter: The Tomb is Empty! The Warrior of Love has conquered!
Homily Of His Holiness Benedict XVI (Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, Saint Peter's Basilica)
Pope to Baptize Prominent Muslim
Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
The Dark before Dawn
Easter and the Holy Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil
Easter Day and Easter Season
THE EASTER LITURGY [Easter Vigil] (Anglican and Catholic Rites)
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil
Poles visit symbolic Christ's Graves on Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil tonight
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER FOR EASTER VIGIL FROM 2002-2005
2 Paschal Candles; Lights On at Vigil And More on Washing of the Feet
RCIA and Holy Saturday
The Time Of Easter or Eastertide -- Easter Seasosn
Easter Day and Easter Season
Easter Reflections -- 50 Days of the Easter Season
The Blessed Season of Easter - Fifty Days of Reflections
Reading things into my post that aren’t there, then mocking, doesn’t sound very Christian. In fact it points in the very opposite direction.
Paul preached it from the beginning
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.