AMERICAN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESEAECH CENTER 1334 RAMONA DRVE, MOUNT SHASTA CA 96067 #357 AUGUST 2014 CHURCH UNITY … IMPACT CHURCH UNITY … IMPACT The Church Leaders of the Apostolic Churches are correct in their prayers to Our Lord in calling for assistance, aid, and comfort to the people, worldwide, who are undergoing persecution; however, the prayers of Church Leaders must also be directed to what we can do, as 1+ billion faithful, to provide our assistance to the solutions of persecutions. Asking God is a normal procedure for obtaining His intervention and of prime importance. Now, we, ourselves, must also become directly corrective. How does one coordinate 1+ billion faithful to have our direct impact with God’s Blessings? The task is huge and complex but we are positioned through the One Church, founded by Jesus, to provide major impact. Of all the possible first steps, the effort to attain Church Unity when successful will provide more impact than any other human endeavor. Instead of 17.5% of the world’s population working together, praying together, being involved together, we must establish the goal of 100% of the world’s population being together to overcome the evils of the world. The first step begins with a genuine love, a love encompassing all. For Orthodox Apostolic Churches and the Catholic Apostolic Churches to be separated for 960 years (1054 to 2014) is akin to accepting defeat and positioning the world to continue down the path of minimal existence. What we must do is to first acknowledge our past position and our present position as being impotent (17.5%) in the basic step of “going forth and making disciples of all nations.” Nine hundred sixty years have been expended by the Apostolic Churches of the world, the ones founded through Our Lord’s instructions, in lacking adequate love, forgiveness, and direct impact to be One. Together, we are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and we act like dissenting children. We can instantaneously set aside our differences, agree to be One, and begin the task of evangelizing all nations. As a Byzantine Catholic, I give great credit to the Orthodox Apostolic Particular Churches and their over 300,000,000 faithful in holding on to the Early Fathers teachings and not changing during our separation. We Catholics, if anything, are guilty of modernization. While we must update our practices, the impact must be judicious. I remember the Roman change from the Latin language to the vernacular in the daily Liturgy. The change was made on a “this and nothing else” movement when Cardinal Lefebvre and hundreds of thousands of Latin faithful separated. Why? Was there not a more correct management way? I remember my Byzantine Apostolic Catholic Church and her beautiful Church Slavonic language and with thousands of GI’s returning from WWII requesting the English vernacular to provide their children with the same advantage their parents had in teaching their children. The Byzantine bishops’ decision was for each pastor to provide both languages. The least attended earlier Sunday Liturgy was chosen to be in English and soon became the most attended. The precious Church Slavonic remains while the English Liturgy gains. No one was lost, harmony prevailed. In the Latin Churches, the dictate of everyone being the same at the same time required decades to arrive at the present status, scars remain. It is this impact of being judicious to all that must prevail as we move to Church Unity and evangelize every single human being. The Lord’s instructions to the Twelve Apostles must be honored and followed. An unlimited number of Apostolic Particular Churches, large and small, must be “found” to reach out and to evangelize all. The faithful, worldwide, must be at “home” in the One Church. “One” does not mean identical; together is more descriptive. The ten newly appointed Postulators to the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity possess a nearly insurmountable task. After 960 years of “failure,” measured by our present day continuation of separation and deeply embedded set of individual practices, our ten Postulators will be required to possess the utmost in wisdom. Their chances, based on past conferences, are slim to none. The greatest obstacle will be the present status of our Roman Church Leaders who will insist in their dictates. As a faithful member of the Byzantine Rusyn Catholic Church, my first three Byzantine pastors at St. Michael’s in Pittston, Pennsylvania were married men with families. We have our papal-approved (latest, Pope John Paul II) Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches that authorizes our bishops to ordain married men. However, the Roman Catholic bishops of the United States, through bullas Ea semper (1907) and Cum data fuerit (1929), illegally demanded their man made mandate of celibacy. Our USA 312,743 faithful in 1963 now number 83,315 persecuted faithful. Based on the impact of Roman Catholic bishops demanding their Apostolic Particular Church’s man made dictates, during 960 years, Church Unity is a dream. The ten Postulators for Church Unity will be challenged every inch of the way. They must become the most learned of Church historians and especially of the Early Fathers and the impact on the first millennium. When Pope John Paul II humbly and correctly asked for forgiveness during his memorable Mea culpas, the path was opened to corrective action. The ten Postulators in planning the actions required for Church Unity of all, will need to fully understand the “impact” of the lack of Church Unity and then move forward to “impact” the requirements leading to 100% Church Unity. What seems impossible is corrected through the Instructions from Jesus to the Twelve Apostles. GOD IS WITH US GO WITH GOD Joseph P. Bonchonsky
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Aug 30, 2014, 11:13 AM