AMERICAN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESEARCH CENTER 1334 RAMONA DRIVE, MOUNT SHASTA CA 96067 #372 SEP 2014 CHURCH UNITY CHALLENGES … FORGIVENESS CHURCH UNITY CHALLENGES … FORGIVENESS Forgiveness is a most challenging factor to employ in relationships. Forgiveness often requires the admission of either a mistake or a misunderstanding at a critical time. Too often decisions occur at the time of self-preservation of an ideal that has been long-standing and the desire to continue in that vein is the norm. When the Anglicanorum coetibus document was finalized and the decision that all future vocations by the Anglo Catholics were to be celibate, the Roman participants were preserving their man made mandate of celibacy and placed that decision higher than “evangelization.” The fact that our priest shortage is an extreme scandal and that Our Lord instructed us “to go forth and make disciples of all nations” that requires an oversupply of priests, will the Romans proceed with “forgiveness” and right that wrong. If you’re a celibate priest, you are probably stating “what wrong?” The priest shortage is one of the biggest mistakes of our Roman Church bishops The above example is but one of too many. When the European Byzantine Catholics illustrate the fact that God “calls” married men to the priesthood, the celibate Roman Church Leaders continue to insist upon celibacy and the scandalous priest shortage. There are many examples where the ability to solve a problem is dependent upon “forgiveness;” most of the detrimental examples are not “envisioned” by the participants. For example, in the objective and often requested desire of “no more wars,” our Roman Church Leaders call for that ideal but do not recognize that our Church Leaders are best positioned to reach that goal. Simply because they do not “envision” that they are the best ones positioned to achieve “no more wars.” If we had an oversupply of priests and evangelized all nations, then and only then would there be a serious chance of “no more wars.” With a married clergy as allowed in the papal-approved Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and as illustrated in European Carpatho Rus, the One Church can have an oversupply of priests and evangelize all nations and achieve “no more wars.” The continuous calling for “no more wars” is a verbal action but without a following. Our Roman bishops have been instructed that the subject of celibacy is off the table. This is a classic example of admitting a desire and justifying that wrong by interpreting the Bible differently than the Early Fathers who visibly supported their decision by the ordination of married men in the early centuries. The inability of the Roman bishops to admit their mistake is hardened by their inability to seek “forgiveness,” a humbling requirement. Admitting wrong-doing requires strength and seeking forgiveness requires humility which does not occur too often with men. Seeking forgiveness for Christians’ inability to gain Church Unity has always been one of the ingredients in the mystery of practicing Christianity and existing otherwise. All the stumbling blocks therein and the inability to correct them is the primary deterrent in achieving Church Unity. The transition of first millennium Church management (via Ecumenical Councils) from the East to the West is a matter of following our Pope’s instructions but all the mistakes thereafter could have been avoided by the proper trust of the Apostles who founded Sui iuris particular Churches in accordance with Our Lord’s instructions. The Church Leaders, East and West, attempted to arrive at Church Unity in the 14th Council, the Second Council of Lyons, 1274, and the 17th previous man made mistakes were continued by a lack of forgiveness. Humbleness requires humility and Church Leaders’ forgiveness therein is too often missing. Quite often when a “good” is being done, such as the intent of the Crusades, the participants do wrong while on the way to their destination and do harm to the innocent people (Greeks) who are in the path toward the objective. The Greeks for many reasons were denigrated by the Romans and dissolution of the Church Unity Agreement was one of their ways of retaliation. Two wrongs do not make a right. Council, at Basle-Ferrara-Florence, 1431 to 1439, but In Church history, our Church Leaders have made many mistakes that have not resulted in corrective action and forgiveness. My American Apostolic Particular Byzantine Rusyn Church has been persecuted by Roman bishops during the entirety of the last century and, unfortunately, persecution continues. Instead of forgiveness for the Roman mistakes and trust in our Sui iuris status, Rome in her micro-management requires our Eastern Catholic Church to belittle herself by being required to “beg” of Rome the permission to ordain a married man. Our Code of Canons is papal-approved. Furthermore, married priests are our norm from the beginning. Yet, we are humbled by the Romans for a man made mandate instituted by the Romans after their conducting the Great Schism. Today, the Catholic priest shortage is a direct result of the man made mandate of celibacy and the European Byzantine Rusyn Catholics have proven via the status of an oversupply of priests that Our Lord “calls” married men to the priesthood as He has from the beginning. Because corrective action requires humility when seeking forgiveness, Church Unity will require miracles of humbleness especially on the part of the Romans. The heavy duty of Romans in reading the Eastern perspective will be a great challenge for Church Unity. The ABCRC in preparing article #44 (Church Unity, Orthodox and Romans) in 2004 recognized that Church Unity will best be accomplished only when corrective action of past mistakes are accompanied by forgiveness in both halves. The Patriarch of Athens and All Greece, Patriarch Christodoulos, was the only one of 400 recipients of the Unity Agreement suggestions who responded favorably to the initial working document as a “start” that was corrective and forgiving. We, of the East, are fully aware of our differences with the West, and when both halves agree to accept the differences as interpretations to be resolved while in Church Unity, then “forgiveness” will be achieved and followed by a Church Unity Agreement that allows us to follow Our Lord’s instructions. GOD IS WITH US GO WITH GOD Joseph P. Bonchonsky
Joseph Bonchonsky,
Sep 18, 2014, 9:42 AM