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                                                                                    #303 ABCRC DECEMBER 2013 CHURCH MANAGEMENT


                                                                  CHURCH MANAGEMENT


Management is a complex word with many applications. In this usage of the word “Management,” ABCRC intends to apply the word to the “organization for management and actions of management.”


As well known, there are 22 particular Churches within the Five Major Holy Sees of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ when He “called and chose” twelve apostles. The Five Major Holy Sees in the Order of Precedence are Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem.


There are five particular Churches in the West and seventeen particular (individual and unique) Churches in the East. Each of the 22 particular Churches are headed by a Patriarch (Rome has recently dropped the title of Patriarch of the West...?). The Patriarch of each particular Church may use different titles such as Catholicos. The Jesus-appointed Rock of the One Church is Peter and he is titled Pope. The seventeen particular Churches of the East are organized under the Ecumenical Patriarch of the East, the Patriarch of Constantinople. The particular Churches of the One Church were not formed at day one, except for Jerusalem.  Some of the particular Churches were formed near the end of the first millennium; for example, the Byzantine Catholic particular Church of the Rusyns in 863 and the Byzantine Catholic Ukrainians in 988.


The Ecumenical Councils of the first millennium were held in the East and the Ecumenical Councils of the second millennium were held in the West. The Ecumenical Councils in the East were held without the presence of the Pope, in all cases but one, legates of the Pope were present and all management actions were submitted to the Pope for final approval.  The first millennium ecumenical councils highlight the preparation of the Holy Bible, the Profession of Faith (The Nicene Creed), the first canons of the One Church, condemnation of Arianism and many other attempts to mislead the One Church. Evangelization during the first millennium resulted in approximately 20% of the world’s population to be Christianized.

The second millennium resulted in the division of the One Church into the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches during the 1054 Great Schism. Rome was to separate and go it alone without the particular Churches of the East. The management of the One Church was to rest with the Patriarch of the West, the Pope. The management of the East was to rest with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the remaining four Major Holy Sees with the seventeen Patriarchs therein. This separation between West and East resulted in Roman interpretations of Church positions unique to the West but the East held steadfast to the interpretations of the first millennium. Consequently, the East and West commenced to have differences. For example, in 1139, Rome, during the Tenth Ecumenical Second Lateran Council mandated celibacy for the West.  Although not a dogma of the One Church, the manmade mandate of celibacy rule was required of each priest including the hierarchy. In the East, the hierarchy alone was restricted to celibate priests.


During the entirety of the second millennium, Rome held 13 Ecumenical Councils  with the Pope in attendance and twice with the four Patriarchs of the four Major Holy Sees of the East (the Ecumenical Council of Constance in 1418 and the Seventeenth Ecumenical Council of Basle-Ferrara-Florence when held at Florence)  The Ecumenical Councils of the second millennium, all held in the West, resulted in many accomplishments via their Western interpretation but also the second major division within the One Church, the Protestant Reformation, that was led by four (separately) Roman Catholic priests ( John Hus in Bohemia, John Wyclif in England, , Martin Luther in Germany, and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland), one Roman King (Henry VIII in England), a lawyer (John Calvin  in France)  and  a Catholic (John Knox in Scotland).            


The Protestant Reformation leaders, noted above, represented six different European countries but soon became worldwide by the addition of hundreds of Protestant denominations. Today, 2013, there are approximately 300,000 Protestants and management of many of them going their separate ways. The Orthodox Churches number over 300,000 faithful and retain the Universal faith of the first millennium.


Management of the One Church during the first millennium was fully complete with management actions (for example the preparation of the Holy Bible, the Nicene Creed, the first canons, etc. plus the  opposition to attempts of Arianism, Nestorianism, Pelagianism, Monophysitism, Monoytheleism, etc. and were properly condemned by the  united One Church.


Extensive management action when conducted as One Church was formidable. The world was observing the One Church working in “unison” during the first millennium. Priests and sisters increased measurably and missions were most active. In the second millennium, Christians-divided has the One Church with a decreasing percentage of the world’s population during the second millennium. The most recent trends require a management analysis to right the ship. In the last 50 years, 1963 – 2013, the worldwide faithful per priest has changed from 1,323 to 3,552. The USA changed from 776 faithful per priest in 1963 to 1,740 in 2013. The number of USA seminarians has changed from 47,574 in 1963 to 5,015 in 2012.  The future of the Catholic Church requires immediate worldwide management action, Church Unity and an increase in priests and sisters.


 Despite the best of intentions of Our One Church management, our bishops, there is but one critical, common sense fundamental management action; that is, to increase the number of priests. Statistically, it is quite obvious but the hierarchy has been caught between supporting celibacy at all costs or returning to the Early Fathers and the first millennium of a married and celibate priesthood.  ABCRC has clearly illustrated the Eastern Catholic example in Slovakia and Ukraine of a successful married and celibate clergy within the papal-approved canons in the website, www.abcrc.us, articles #056, #118, and #207.


The saving of souls, every one of them, worldwide, is a prime objective of our One Church and our Church Leaders must follow Our Lord’s instructions, to go forth and make disciples of all nations.”  


Let us begin by taking management action.




                                             Joseph P. Bonchonsky