AMERICAN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESEARCH CENTER 1334 RAMONA DRIVE, MOUNT SHASTA CA 96067 #325 FEB 2014 QUALITY WITH QUANTITY QUALITY WITH QUANTITY The priest shortage, worldwide, must be solved. Without an unlimited quantity and quality of holy priests, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Churches’ fulfillment of the Lord’s instructions will never be achieved. The faithful are the Body of the Church. The priests are the Leaders, the Teachers, and the Guides of the Body. One must believe that Our Lord’s instructions to the Twelve Apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations were supported by His “calling” of an oversupply of quality priests. Yet, today, we have an awesome shortage of priests and as a result, the world is in a mess, a big mess. Our Lord “calls” an oversupply and our bishops “choose” an undersupply. Why? When our bishops mandated celibacy in 1139, a decision to “choose” the best, in their opinion, would be the optimum approach to go forward. Unfortunately, we, the faithful, decreased in the world’s percentage and the shortage of missionaries is a direct result. In “choosing” only celibates, the source of priests was limited. As a result of selecting from a few, the quality was impacted. You do not meet the needs of the faithful by importing an Italian priest to a parish of Irishmen or an Irish priest to a parish of Italians. True, our bishops state that this condition should not make a difference. But, it does. In the town of Mount Shasta our predominantly Italian town has had 6 of the last seven priests to be from Ireland. One vocation has come forth. In my hometown of Pittston, PA, during the pastorates of three married Rusyn priests in our Rusyn parish, seven priests, five sisters, and one brother have emanated. The quality of the cultural aspect is revealed. Today, with our mixed culture, the optimum priest should be an American bred. The invasion of Irish priests and other foreign priests has solved a temporary problem of the bishops but now, without priests from “over there” we have not developed the “choosing” of American born vocations. We must review the ones “called” and our needs. In Slovakia, my Byzantine Catholic Church was exterminated from 1945 to 1989, and within 20 years thereafter they have chosen an oversupply of quality priests. The quality was possible because of the quantity of married vocations available. This quality from quantity was possible because of Our Lord’s “callings.” They were called to the “priesthood and marriage” as permitted by the papal approved canon from our beginning. This canon in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches was initiated by the Early Fathers and based on Our Lord selecting married men for the first Twelve Apostles. In 1139, the manmade mandate of celibacy was instituted in the particular apostolic Roman Catholic Church, not the entirety of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. While the intent of the manmade mandate was to accentuate the Roman missions, the world’s percentage of Roman Catholics has actually diminished to our all time low of 17.5%, today. With the Roman Catholic Church in power control and a celibates-only mentality, any return to their married priest status of the first millennium is wishful thinking, unfortunately. Pray for our bishops. The one factor that may change Rome is the number of faithful per priest. In 1963 there were 432,247 priests for 572,006,000 faithful, a ratio of 1,323 faithful per priest. In 2013, with 1,213,591,000 faithful and 413,418 priests, today’s faithful per priest is 2,936 faithful per priest. Further research shows the United States with a high of 48,992 seminarians in 1965 and had a low of 4,522 seminarians in 2010. The last twenty years, the United States averaged below 6,000 seminarians annually. It is calculated that in 2033, the priests in the United States will decline from the high of 59,803 priests in 1968 to 30,000 priests in 2033. In 1963, the United States had 776 faithful per priest (43,851,538 faithful with 56,540 priests), in 2013 the faithful per priest numbered 1,764, (69,436,660 faithful with 39,368 priests). The ABCRC calculation, (based on the number of seminarians) is 3,000 faithful per priest in 2033. The illustration of Byzantine Catholics in Carpatho Rus (Slovakia, Ukraine, etc.) being exterminated (www.abcrc.us) from 1945 to 1989 to complete recovery within 20 years, thereafter, is a subject off the table in the Roman Catholic Church. It is obvious that Our Lord “calls” an oversupply of vocations to the “priesthood and marriage.” Our Roman Catholic bishops have evidently placed their manmade mandate of celibacy above the Lord’s instructions to go forth and make disciples of all nations. With the priest shortage, especially in the last fifty years (1963 to 2013), we have observed the “evil” of abortion, same sex marriage, contraceptives, poverty, etc., gain momentum as our Church Leaders “fiddle” over solving the priest shortage. Statistically, the direction of our faithful per priest indicates a greater disaster in the years ahead and unless Pope Francis changes the worldwide management procedures in Rome, our ability to make disciples of all will be shattered. The great number of celibate priests who have given their all only to find their good works offset is a fundamental fault of our bishops in leading their journey. The second millennium is full of Mea culpas but to allow them to continue is the biggest Mea culpa of them all. Solving today’s internal household problems in the particular Roman Catholic is good but only for Romans. Pray for our cardinals. GOD IS WITH US! Joseph P. Bonchonky
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Feb 27, 2014, 12:09 PM