Wednesday 12th May 2021

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

A Beacon Of Light . . . Follow The Example Of The Early Church

April 19, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + On April 4, 2021 we entered the joyful season of Easter which celebrates the Resurrection of Christ. This season extends seven weeks and includes the Scripture passages of Jesus revealing Himself to the disciples. Looking deeper into the Easter Season we find an important aspect of the Church. What do we find? We find the Church at the moments prior to her birth! We encounter Jesus, the Resurrected Lord, in the final moments as He gives the parting instruction to those He has chosen to lead the Church.
    Every year the Easter Season gives us the opportunity to journey with the Early Church. In the early hours of the morning of the Resurrection, the Church began to “go into labor.” She would begin to feel the pain of “childbirth” as she emerged from the tomb. Within these first moments the apostles and disciples are challenged to show their belief in the emerging Church.
    The first person chosen to trust in the Church was Mary of Magdala. Mary was the one caught in the act of adultery, whose heart had been transformed by the Lord. She was the first called upon to recognize the Lord, and in doing so, became the first to participate in the new Church. Scripture reminds us of this: “Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is to say, Teacher)” (John 20:14-16).
    The second person to experience this new Church was, St. Peter. It was St. Peter who had denied the Lord three times, and it was St. Peter who became the rock or foundation for the new Church. The third encounter with the Lord happened in the Sea of Tiberias. In this revelation of the Lord to His apostles, Jesus calls the early Church to put out into deep waters and cast their nets to make a catch.
    “After these things Jesus manifested himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and he manifested himself in this way. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples” (John 21:1, 2). Coming back from a fruitless night of fishing, they did not recognize Jesus standing on the shore. It was only when He told them to cast their nets again that recognition took place.
    Each of these moments could be considered a “final test” by the Lord before He entrusts them with the responsibility of leading the new Church. Just as a mother has to make sure her newborn feels secure in the new world just entered, so too Jesus wants to make sure the members of the early Church were secure in their new responsibility. As a mother nurtures her new child, Jesus was nurturing the new Church. Jesus expresses the character His new Church should have by using words like peaceful, simple, merciful, motherly, and trusting. Each of these words denotes the kind of Church we are all part of. Jesus erects the Church and she is perfect as He is perfect.
    But Jesus wasn’t naive about the struggles that would ensue. Aware of the difficulties that the “new church” would encounter, Jesus reminded His apostles of the strength they have to persevere in the journey they were embarking on. This is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. As Peter and the disciples were teaching in the Temple area, they were summoned by the chief priests, elders, and scribes and questioned by whose authority they were speaking.
    Peter responded by saying he was given the authority by Jesus Christ the Nazorean. In these early moments the apostles and disciples had to recognize they now were called upon to continue the works of Jesus. They had to dispel their fears and find the strength and courage needed to persevere. They had to access the inner core of the teachings Jesus had instilled in them during His public ministry. It was this “core teaching” that would lead them forward in establishing the Church we have today.

The Real Presence

Today as we deal with the struggles of life, and the struggles that lie within the Church, we need to return to the times of the Early Church and follow the example of the apostles and martyrs who persevered amidst the culture of their time. We are not that far off from the Early Church in the struggles of today.
Let’s think back for a moment to the difficulties the Early Church endured. What about the heresies? During the fourth century the Early Church had to fight the heresy of Arius. Arius denied the divinity of Christ and sought to make Jesus a sole human being. He preached that Jesus was not co-eternal with the Father, because He was created by the Father. The Early Church had to fight tirelessly against this false teaching. It was not until the Council of Nicaea in 325 that the Church affirmed the dogma regarding the hypostatic union of Christ and forbade and outlawed this heresy.
But was it really stopped? Don’t we see this heresy in another way present now in the Church? I raise this question because of the possibility that, without our realizing it, the Arian heresy may still be lingering seventeen centuries later! I’m talking about the belief in the Real Presence of Jesus. A few years ago there was a Pew Research Study that established there was a sixty-percent correlation of people who attended Mass on Sunday who did not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus. That there was a lack of believing that they were really receiving Jesus, God Himself! Isn’t this Arianism? Isn’t this a denial of the divine nature of Jesus?
Seventeen centuries later, as we profess the Nicene Creed each Sunday, the very creed that outlawed Arianism, we continue to see the ugly head of a lingering heresy.
My brothers and sisters: We need a renewal of faith! Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase “new evangelization.”
This “new evangelization” must include a review and restoration of the basic truths of the faith. There have been generations of Catholics who received a “watered-down” understanding of Catholicism. I recently experienced this in my own family. In discussing the faith with my mother and my aunt, I was amazed that in the span of ten years, there was such a difference in how my mother and my aunt interpreted and experienced the faith.

The Faith We Have Received

Where do we go from here? I believe the tide is turning, if even slowly, and people are tired of “watered-down” Catholicism. People are tired of being placated. There is a growing desire to know the faith and appreciate it like the people of the Early Church. This country is quickly moving toward Christian persecution in an alarming way. This country has not seen the likes of the persecution the apostles and disciples felt. But, if we continue going down the path we are on, we are likely to experience it as well.
The twenty-first century has only just begun, and I believe we will see a tremendous persecution of the Catholic faith before it ends. But how will we fight the battle if the only armor we have given to the faithful is a watered-down understanding of the faith! We need to follow the example of the Early Church, whose members believed in the same faith we profess today. History often repeats itself and we need to be ready to fight the battle that lies ahead.
During this Easter Season, listen diligently to the readings at Mass. In them we will hear the journeys of people like St. Peter and St. Paul, leaders of the Early Church who fought to give us the Church we have today. Follow their example, for if we don’t, we may find ourselves standing in the streets like lost sheep, shedding our blood for the wrong reasons! As Catholics, we shed our blood for only one reason: To protect the faith we have received.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed


23rd Texas City Bans Abortions, Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn”

The goal of much of the modern American left is to celebrate public sin and to disparage traditional values as bigotry.

Abortion on demand, open borders, four dollars a gallon gasoline, churches and schools closed - what's not to love?

Chris Manion . . . Introducing A New “Reality” By Legislative Fiat -

Load More...

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1


Today . . .

USCCB has ‘nothing in the works’ on Biden and Communion (See Story Below)

Recent reports that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops may at their spring general assembly press pro-abortion Catholic politicians not to receive Communion are unfounded, and at best ignorant of ecclesial structure, a source close to the conference has told CNA. A source close to the USCCB told CNA April 29 that they believe such reports from the AP and the Washington Post are either “just totally ignorant of the Church’s structure,” or meant “to…Continue Reading

Catholic Bishops to debate calling on Biden to stop taking communion

Catholic bishops are debating calling on President Biden to stop taking communion due to his stance on abortion. The Committee on Doctrine for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is working on a document that would say politicians who are pro-abortion rights or publicly advocate for abortion rights should not take communion, The Associated Press reported. The national meeting will be held in June and will be the first meeting since Biden, the second…Continue Reading

Oklahoma governor signs laws to ban virtually all abortions

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law Monday three new measures “protecting the lives of the unborn” from effectively all abortions, though at least two of the laws are likely to be put on hold by the courts before taking effect. KOKH reports that the first law makes it a homicide to abort any baby with a detectable heartbeat. The second la

Cardinal Cupich asked Archbishop Aquila for ‘public clarification’ over Eucharistic doctrine

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago wrote to Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila last week to express “a number of concerns,” after Aquila published an essay on theological and pastoral issues concerning the reception of Holy Communion. Cardinal Cupich urged the archbishop to offer a “public clarification” of his arguments.

‘Cleanse our land’: U.S. bishops call for prayer, action to end racism after Chauvin verdict

Bishops across the United States on Tuesday and Wednesday responded to the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the trial for the murder of George Floyd. Two chairs of committees at the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) issued a joint statement on Tuesday evening, after a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. “The death of George Floyd highlighted 

After Vatican Says No To Same-Sex Blessings . . . Cardinal Ruini Sees “Risk Of Schism” In Germany

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS ROME (CNA) — Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has said that he is praying there will be no schism in Germany, as priests and bishops in the country announce their disagreement with a document from the Vatican saying the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.In a May 4 interview with the newspaper Il Foglio,…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools . . . Beat Public Schools In Reading And Math Scores

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY Here is one demonstrable fact about the difference between Catholic and public schools: Students who study at Catholic schools do better in reading and math.We know this because students who attended Catholic elementary schools in 2019 tested better in mathematics and reading than students who attended public schools.The latest issue of…Continue Reading

Archbishop Cordileone’s Letter On Abortion… Is This Nancy Pelosi’s Last Warning?

By PHIL LAWLER ( — With his pastoral letter powerfully reaffirming the importance of the Church’s teaching on the dignity of human life, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has issued a serious challenge: to all Catholics, certainly, but to his brother bishops in particular, and especially to the prominent Catholic politicians who support legal abortion…Continue Reading

The Problem With Love

By DONALD DeMARCO Love is the will to promote the good in another. Because love operates on the plane of reality, it needs the truth of the other in order to do its work effectively. Love is not blind; its guiding light is the truth about the one who is loved. “Love is not blind,”…Continue Reading

Biden Vs. Biden On “Is America A Racist Country?”

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country.”So declared Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican, in his televised rebuttal to Joe Biden’s address to Congress.Asked the next day what he thought of Scott’s statement, Biden said he agrees. “No, I don’t think the American people are racist.”Vice President Kamala Harris…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Peace Not Of This World

By Fr. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, when you depart from every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass you should have within you Peace.Not as the world gives peace, but as Jesus gives peace. When the storms of the world threaten to sink your boat, when you try to step out of it in faith and start to sink, when it looks…Continue Reading

Live According To The Lord’s Words

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Seventh Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings:Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-261 John 4:11-16John 17:11b-19 In the first reading today, St. Peter speaks of two necessities regarding Judas. The first, he says, the Scripture had to be fulfilled when David spoke concerning the one who would hand over the Messiah. Second, St. Peter says it is necessary, based…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Due to the pandemic, we were unable to hold weekly classes for 22 tenth-grade Confirmation students. So instead of using our regular text, Catholicism & Life, which covers the Commandments and Sacraments, we prepared a series of 14 lessons on the material, with a summary of each commandment and sacrament along with some questions to answer, and sent…Continue Reading

Church Corruption Rooted In Crisis Of Authority

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them’” (Matt. 20:25).The year of St. Joseph gives an opportunity for contemplating the proper role and nature of authority in the Church at a time when it is…Continue Reading

The Good Shepherd, Judas, And Non Timebo Mala

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, in the Novus Ordo, this past Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. We heard how Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Jesus then described what it meant to be a bad shepherd. “A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Righteous Anger Against Injustice

By DEB PIROCH Anger in itself is not a sin. It is how we as humans implement that anger that can lead to sin. If anger itself is rooted in love, it may be used to correct evil. Witness the excerpt from the Gospel of Matthew, when Christ was angered by the misuse of His house:“Jesus went into the temple…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Fidelis Of Sigmaringen

By DEB PIROCH There aren’t too many saints that started off in life as lawyers, and ended up as martyrs. St. Thomas More comes to mind. But the saint today, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Germany (1577-1622)? After getting his doctorate in law at Freiburg, he found he was seeking to help the poorest clients, refused to detract from the characters…Continue Reading