Considering that Pentecost is often mentioned as the birthday of the Church it is not surprising to hear a homily referencing the age of the Church. Today I heard the same and like I hear all to often it involves bad Pentecost math in that the Church is referred to as being 2,000 plus years old.
Now I can understand a bit of shorthand in referring to the Church as being 2,000 years old, but not 2,000 plus. The error seems to count the birth of the Church from the birth of Jesus and not Pentecost after his death. While there is some lack of precision on the year Jesus was born (theories ranging from roughly 1–7 BC) any such recalculation still does not make the Church 2000 plus years old in the year 2013. Now this is no big deal, just one of those little things that annoy me.
Still I wonder if in the years ahead if the Church will try to set some date as a 2,000 year anniversary of the Church? Jimmy Akin had an interesting piece this year exploring if we could know when Jesus died. He sets it with some precision as 3:00 p.m on Friday, April 3, A.D. 33. So in 20 years we really could be saying the Church was 2,000 years old.
The other bit of bad statistical math involved in the homily was the priest saying there were 2 Billion Catholics. The actual figure is somewhat over 1.2 Billion.
Since the priest wasn’t interested in precision of numbers I put in a donation envelope that said $20 on the outside, but contained a check for $5 inside. Well not really.
Speaking of math, here is something from post from 2006 The Mathsiah.
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division;”
“Be fruitful and multiply”
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log of x+1 that is in your own eye?”
“Go and sine no more.”