The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
Pope Paul VI - General Audience of 12/6/1974
"We turn out thoughts today towards an effect proper to Pentecost: the supernatural life produced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the visible, social and human body of Christ's disciples. This effect is the eternal youth of the Church... The human persons making up the Church undergo the fate of time; they are entombed in death. But this neither suspends nor interrupts the witness of the Church through the ages. As Jesus declared and promised: “I am with you always even to the end of the world” (Mt 28,20). He likewise gave Simon to understand the same thing when he gave him a new name: “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the power of death will not prevail against it” (Mt 16,18).
Along with so many other people today we could immediately raise the objection: concerning the permanency of the Church, maybe, it has lasted twenty centuries; but it is precisely because it has lasted for so long that it is old... The Church, people say, is venerable because of its antiquity..., but it doesn't live now by that breathing that is always new: it is no longer young. This is a powerful objection...; a long treatise would be needed to reply. But for minds open to the truth it would be enough to say that the Church's continuation is synonymous with youth. “It is wonderful in our eyes” (Ps 118,23; Mt 21,42) : the Church is young.
What is most astonishing is that the secret of its youth is its unchanging continuation through time. Time does not cause the Church to age; it makes it grow, stimulating its life and fulness... True, all its members die just like other mortal beings; but the Church herself not only contains an invincible principle of immortality outside of history; she also possesses an incalculable force for renewal."