Joseph Bonchonsky  (jpbonchonsky@gmail.com)
AMERICAN BYZANTINE CATHOLIC RESEARCH CENTER 1334 RAMONA DRIVE, MOUNT SHASTA CA 96067 #385 OCT 2014 CHURCH UNITY CHALLENGE ... CONGREGATION FOR THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES ... RE-ORGANIZED CONGREGATION FOR THE ORIENTAL CHURCHES ... RE-ORGANIZED In our study of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches ... Profile, the initial organization in 1862 was headed by a Cardinal Prefect with a Secretary and 27 Cardinals, one Archbishop and 4 Bishops designated by the Pope. Members (of the Congregation) by right are the Patriarchs and the Major Archbishops of the Oriental Churches and the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Unity among Christians. Statistically, the congregation was to be a Roman majority and therefore dominating. In reading the above organizationAL structure, the title “Cardinal” denotes a Roman Catholic (despite Rome’s attempt to continuously appoint Eastern Catholics as Cardinals) and the Eastern Patriarchs as an after-thought or secondary to the importance of Cardinals. In our observations of Roman actions of the second millennium this is the normal procedure especially when the task involves both the East and the West. Why does this belittling mentality continue to exist? Church history at the end of the first millennium reveals the beginning for the Roman man made mandate for celibacy of the Roman priesthood (1139). Before this objective could be reached, Rome had to separate from the East (1054), who opposed this mandate. The Roman Church, by her own actions, was no longer to be an Apostolic Church of Twelve Apostles. The second millennium evidenced small numbers of the Orthodox Particular Churches returning to the Catholic Church from which they came. Unfortunately, in nearly every case, a high penalty was paid. My own Byzantine Catholic Rusyn Church was even denied papal- approved canons in America. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches with its primarily Roman majority leadership surely did not follow the objectives of the organization. The objective of this article is to assist the ten Postulators for the Pontifical Council for Church Unity to include effective, corrective action for the potential upcoming Church Unity Agreement. There are many suggestions but the most important is to remove the un-Universal history of the present Congregation. Minor changes would simply indicate minor corrective action and the full, bad taste of past actions must be eliminated. There were Twelve Apostles selected by Our Lord Jesus to be the foundation of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Peter was also selected as the Rock, the keystone of the bridge between the East and the West. The East immediately “founded” multiple Apostolic Particular Churches and the West, eventually, resulted in a singular Apostolic Particular Church, the Roman Catholic Church. The West, the Roman Catholic Church, must realize that Our Lord “chose” Twelve Apostles to found the One Church, His Church, Our Church, the Church of Twelve Apostles, not just Peter’s. When Peter corrects the faults of the second millennium and presents the organization initiated by Jesus, then and only then, will Church Unity be restored. The Orthodox Apostolic Particular Churches have followed Our Lord’s instructions to the Twelve Apostles and evangelized via the addition of Apostolic Particular Churches through Apostolic Succession and have patiently observed the dictates of the Roman Catholic Church to the Eastern Catholic Churches who attempt to follow Our Lord’s instructions to be One. The second millennium growth has not been managed as One of Twelve Apostles. As an Eastern Catholic in America, I have observed the best of our faithful in their heroic attempts to basically survive the continuous onslaughts by the Romans, especially the Roman bishops in America. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches has not only failed us but has been guilty of some of our persecution. Here at the ABCRC, we have detailed a small portion of our persecution (www.abcrc.us) and, despite all of our grievances, we move forward to assist in the Church Unity of East and West. Our adherence to Our Lord’s instructions to Twelve Apostles, (all from the East), are at the foundation of our allegiance to Peter. We, of the Eastern Catholic Churches in the Americas, are not lost sheep but simply have watched others wander. We acknowledge that our Orthodox and Roman brothers observe us as an oddity but let it be known that our actions are both Catholic and Orthodox. We proudly follow Our Lord’s instructions to be One and of Twelve Apostles. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches in 1862 was initiated with the best of intentions but primarily staffed with Romans who would prioritize their own objectives. The intentions were correct but the implementation faulty. The Apostolic Particular Orthodox Churches must be properly welcomed into Church Unity and seated according to Our Lord’s instructions. A Patriarchal Ecumenical Council is suggested to allow for the Orthodox to determine their management of their own Apostolic Particular Churches. The Romans must become aware that the Orthodox beginnings of the One Church and their preservation therein are one of brotherly love and full participation in the evangelization of all. The suggested Patriarchal Ecumenical Council must have full participation in its determination of organization and operation. For example, locate its operation outside of Rome and have top representation for equality of each Apostolic Particular Church. The Patriarchal Ecumenical Council should be chartered with the objective of evangelizing every human being on earth. The addition of an unlimited number of Apostolic Particular Churches, East and West, is suggested as the route of evangelization. Let us truly become brothers, trusted to follow Our Lord’s instructions as initially intended. The second millennium must not be repeated with separations and the third millennium must become the time when Apostolic illustrates our Oneness. GOD IS WITH US GO WITH GOD Joseph P. Bonchonsky
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