AMERICAN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESEARCH CENTER 1334 RAMONA DRIVE, MOUNT SHASTA CA 96067 #366 AUGUST 2014 CHURCH UNITY CHALLENGE … ATTITUDE CHURCH UNITY CHALLENGE … ATTITUDE It is axiomatic at the top of the management organization, the ones-in-charge, undergo a position of a singular attitude, one of the best and worst attributes to the success of an organization’s objectives. In my humble opinion, the first millennium Ecumenical Councils were productive because of the attitude of the participants. The excellent results and growth of Sui iuris Apostolic Particular Churches founded in the first millennium and the maintenance of Church Unity during the first millennium were the result of a full understanding of the responsibility at the Patriarchal level, the second tier, of management. The key was the East’s honoring of the Pope’s assignments from Jesus as both Patriarch of the Apostolic Particular Roman Church and the Pope in Rome as the manager of Unity and the Solidarity of the faith and morals of all Apostolic Particular Churches. The attitude in the first millennium resulted not only in great accomplishments but also a brotherly love amongst Patriarchs. The basic reason of this attitude status in the first millennium resulted, most likely, because the second tier of the One Church management was allowed to proceed undisturbed by the Pope in charge. The respect that the Pope had for his brother Patriarchs was most beneficial simply because he knew they were being guided by the same source. Then something happened and it is best described as the interpretation for singular importance. The result is the entering of a lack of respect for brothers of equal responsibility as Patriarchs. The Orthodox of the East always interpreted that the Patriarch of the West was the first amongst equals at the Patriarchal level. The West misinterpreted the East. The East also then stated that the Patriarch of the West was the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, as instructed to the Twelve Apostles during their years of instructions from Our Lord Jesus. This understanding resulted in an attitude of brotherly-love for each other. In the second half of the first millennium when the West was developing interpretations without the counsel from the East, a number of Western interpretations were being embedded in the Church hierarchy of the West. Celibacy was one of those interpretations primarily because the West was cognizant of the advantages for missionary efforts. The objective was basically correct; however, when the number of celibate priests in the West became their majority and the singular importance of the Pope allowed for the decision to eventually mandate celibacy and the Patriarchs of the East preferred their Early Fathers’ position of a married and celibate priesthood, the differing interpretations became cause for a change in attitude toward the East by the West. With Rome, a change in attitude toward the East sabotaged the Unity between East and West. Be mindful that it was initially an act in the East that chose celibacy for their hierarchy and maintained the married clergy allowed for their priests (mostly pastors). The interpretations of East and West differed and the attitudes changed. With the Patriarch of the West being the Pope, the decisions of the West were automatically in favor of the West. This period of time in Church history became crucial for the change in management of the One Church. After the Great Schism of 1054 which resulted in the separation of East and West, Councils were to be held in the West without the Eastern Patriarchs participating (except at two councils). With a fully embedded Western hierarchy of celibates, celibacy was mandated “for the West” in 1139 at the Second Lateran Council. Although the East maintained the married clergy practice from the time of the Early Fathers, an attitude change of singular importance invaded the Councils, all held in the West during the entirety of the second millennium. The attitude changed dramatically. The West commenced new research of the parables in the Bible to justify their actions while the East retained the decisions of interpretations by the Twelve Apostles and Early Fathers of the early centuries. An attitude change between West and East was now fully underway and with significance in management decisions of the One Church. The West, weakened by the absence of the Eastern Patriarchs in the Councils, was to be confronted by the Protestant Reformation, a percentage decrease in their faithful, and a decrease in strength inherent from Church Unity of the Patriarchs. The East continued to add Apostolic Patriarchal Churches for Church growth and in the West, the Apostolic Particular Roman Church eventually contained the other four Apostolic Churches of the West. An attitude of singular importance became further instituted in Rome and the East also suffered as a result. The One Church United was now further divided from within when a few Roman Catholic priests, and others, continued the commencement of Protestant Churches and the strength attainable by Church Unity was further decreased. In this third millennium, a change in attitude, not faith and beliefs, must be introduced. The Synod of Bishops seeking Church Unity can become the key changing factor to reach Church Unity. A complete review of Church history and correction of wrongs is the first step suggested for the Assembly. This results with a change in attitude, an attitude that existed in the time of the Twelve Apostles and Early Fathers, East and West. An attitude change is most difficult because it, quite often, is interpreted as a destructive power struggle. It is a power struggle but this time to be a struggle for Oneness as it was in the beginning; Patriarchs of equality and “togetherness trust” in their Sui iuris management. The clarity of authority between the Patriarch of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope of the One Church in the management of the Patriarchs needs a major change, especially in attitude. The interferences of the staff of the Patriarch of the West and the Patriarchs of the East have darkened our second millennium and transparency must be made to clarify the importance of Patriarchs, all of them. Evangelization through the increase in priest numbers requires an attitude change as well as the addition of Apostolic Churches, Sui iuris. Church Unity is a necessity for all. GOD IS WITH US GO WITH GOD Joseph P. Bonchonsky
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Aug 30, 2014, 9:32 AM