When Our Lord "called" twelve men to be His Apostles "to go forth and make disciples of all nations," the instructions to the twelve men resulted in the formation, eventually, of 22 particular Catholic Churches within the One Church. During the early centuries, the Roman particular Church was having great difficulty from her persecution and it was the Eastern particular Churches that conducted the first millennium’s ecumenical councils. In the East, the Bible was compiled, the first canons declared, the Profession of Faith (Nicene Creed) prepared, condemnation of Arianism, Nestorianism, Monotheletism, Pelagianism, Monophysitism, Iconoclasm, Adoptionism, and the confirmation and re-confirmation of the Precedence of the five Patriarchs. East and West were united, universal, working together as One during the first millennium.

Popes were married, married priests pastored parishes in the majority, and celibate priests conducted many missions. The One Church was growing and within one millennium, more than 20% of the world’s population were Catholics. The five Major Holy Sees allowed for management, growth, and compatibility worldwide.

However, in the middle of the first millennium, celibate priests in the West were increasing in numbers and in addition to missions, the parishes were increasing with celibates as parish pastors. The Catholics in the East were called Orthodox and primarily married clergy led their parishes. The West decided that their relationship with the Pope required more control of the ecumenical councils and the resulting direction of the One Church; this resulted in the Great Schism in 1054. What are we doing?

There were twelve apostles with individual instructions and group instructions from Jesus, yet Rome overrode the Eastern Patriarchs and Romanization attempts were enacted in the Western-held ecumenical councils in the entirety of the second millennium. The changes included the manmade mandate of celibacy in 1139 and a major difference between East and West was further established. The Romans formally separated one large section of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, and the Roman priesthood was isolated to celibates. What are we doing?

Soon, celibate priests carried out both the missions and the parishes in the West; however, the celibate priesthood did not adequately supply the number of priests to meet the need required to fully evangelize all nations. What are we doing?

Unease entered with the Western direction; The One Church was divided again and the faithful numbered approximately 20% of the world’s population for the second half of the second millennium. What are we doing?

True, the Western Church, mostly Roman, was growing in numbers but not in percentage of the world’s population; the Church became limited percentage wise. In the second half of the last century, celibate seminarians decreased in the two major breadbaskets of the Roman Church, Europe and the Americas. Missions decreased, parishes were without priests and sisters were decreasing in great numbers. 20,000,000 American Catholics in the USA departed. What are we doing?

Our Church bishops may have been captivated or mesmerized by the idealistic benefits of celibacy. The USA seminaries decreased from 47,574 vocations in 1963 to 5,015 vocations in 2012. Europe decreased from 39,357 seminarians to 20,564. The world's sisters decreased from 1,014,292 to 721,935 in the same time-period. What are we doing?

Our Church Leaders, the world’s bishops, were fully occupied in their own self-generated problems of managing wayward priests, off-the-table mandates from Rome, closing of parishes due to the priest shortage, and lack of effective worldwide missionary growth and evangelization. Decisions that were not oriented to universally maximize the priesthood numbers dominated the Roman Catholic Church. Returning Eastern Catholics were denied their papal-approved canon for a married clergy in many countries. The initial return of Anglicans was accomplished and then their future growth negated by the requirement that their new vocations be only celibate. Many Protestant groups were seeking unity with Peter and the visual, limiting treatment of returning Anglicans was non-beneficial. In the midst of the greatest-ever priest shortage, the Roman Catholic bishops denied the married men "called" by Jesus. What are we doing?

Today, mid-2013, our oppressors are burning Churches, killing faithful, and our bishops are without capabilities for the corrective action. Due to the self-inflicted priest shortage during the second millennium, primarily caused by the manmade mandate of celibacy, we have lost our missionary effectiveness to educate the world’s population and, thereby, no educational effectiveness amongst the anti-Catholics resulted in their evil acts. What are we doing?

Celibate priests were first initiated for missionary accomplishments; married priests were destined for parishes. All men received God-given attributes to propagate and very few men were qualified to be celibate. A celibate priest is a unique priest and highly cherished but not at the expense of propagating a priest shortage. What are we doing"

Are we placing the celibacy of the priesthood above the saving of souls? Is not the Body of the Church the faithful? The One Church without priests results in no Church. The One Church with insufficient priests is a deficient Church. Are our bishops unaware of the miracle of Slovakia and Ukraine’s recovery after the atheist communist persecution from 1945 to 1989 terminated the Particular Churches? Within 20 years, the particular Eastern Churches in Europe recovered fully and primarily because they adhered to the Early Fathers papal-approved canon of a married clergy. What are we doing?

On four recent occasions, the USA Roman bishops insisted that the USA particular Eastern Catholic Churches obey the Roman manmade mandate instead of the papal approved canon for a married clergy in the code of canons of the Eastern Churches. My USA particular Eastern Byzantine Catholic Church (Carpatho-Rusyn) in 1963 had 312,793 faithful and in 2012 we number 85,588 and steadily declining. What are we doing?

Our USA Byzantine Catholic bishops are fully aware of our revival in Carpatho-Rus. We are aware of the Roman demands of 1893, 1907, 1929, and 1998 and our Rusyn bishops subserviently remain in obedience to Rome? What are we doing?

What we are doing is "being afraid." We Eastern Catholics are afraid of being obedient to our papal approved canons. We are afraid of living in the instructions to the First Twelve Apostles. We are afraid of educating all people. We are afraid of evangelizing every soul. We have lost sight of Our Lord’s instructions to go forth and make disciples. What are we doing?

The excuses to avoid "go forth and teach all nations" include finances, priest shortage, challenges, etc., etc. And today, the Roman bishops, instead, extol the responsibilities of the faithful when, in fact, our bishops preserve their manmade mandate celibate niche as their limiting interpretation and even a discussion is "off the table." What are we doing?

Saving souls and going forth is the Word of God. Let us sow the seeds of love, the greatest gift of all. Let us plan on an oversupply of priests, celibate and married. Do not be afraid! Fear not the obstacles and move forward. Reconcile with the Orthodox. Let the returning Anglicans ordain married priests. Encourage the American Eastern Catholics to obey the papal approved code of canons. Let us mission all people with an oversupply of priests and sisters leading us with missionary zeal.

Bishops, we, the faithful, followed you in the past and, now, we do not know what we are doing? We are living in a disastrous priest shortage. The USA faithful per priest changed from 776 per priest in 1963 to 1,740 faithful per priest in 2012 and our seminarian shortage validates that there may be 4,340 faithful per priest in 2050. The 1963 and 2012 statistics were obtained from the USA bishops annual report to Rome. The 2050 numbers were formulated by ABCRC and calculated by the average number of USA seminarians during the past 20 years and the upcoming 20 years. Europe and America are headed for more disasters. We are evidencing the early stages now. Abortions, same sex marriages, continuing poverty, out-of-wedlock births, massacres of our students and citizens, etc., and during the past 50 years, the decrease in priests and sisters, parallels the ills. Politically, we Catholics have measurably lost our worldwide impact. Our Catholic news media follows our bishops’ lead and the solution to the priest shortage remains off the table. What are we doing?

We, the faithful, follow our bishops’ instructions and the statistical direction is not good. There are unlimited vocations "called," men who inherited the inherent instructions of marriage as it was in the first centuries with our Early Fathers. Our Lord selected married men in the First Twelve Apostles. The celibate bishops of the universal Church are fully entitled to grow the One Church and solve all problems of mankind by the education made possible with an oversupply of holy priests, married and celibate. Let us follow the Lord. The code of canons of the Eastern Churches that permit a married clergy provided a revival of the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe after the wake of atheism. The wave of secularism that is now changing the world away from Our Lord’s teachings can not be overcome without an oversupply of priests. The European lands of the Eastern Catholics now thrive with an oversupply of holy priests, married and celibate. There are 22 particular Churches in the One Church and they were founded by the Lord’s "called and chosen" Apostles; may we increase the number of particular churches; may our bishops be the Early Apostles of today and "choose" the "called."


Joseph P. Bonchonsky