The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
Sergiusz, zeroneet, Atomic Parakeet 1, Anna777, HeraclitusTheObscu
5,830 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
4 members (Charbelknox, theophan, Devin1890, 1 invisible), 76 guests, and 33 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
by Veronica.H, April 24
Byzantine Catholic Outreach of Iowa
Exterior of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,140
Posts414,747
Members5,830
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 4 1 2 3 4
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,217
L
Member
Offline
Member
L
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,217

EC's could use something like the St Monica sodality.

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,028
A
Member
OP Offline
Member
A
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,028
Originally Posted by Tim
Fr. Serge is doubtless correct about the need to add a fourth and more egregious category of statistical misinformation to the standard three.

I fear, however, that any error in the UGCC, BCC and other EC stats in the Annuario is more likely to be one of overstatement than understatement. (The tendency of the stats to vary only minimally year-to-year suggests that overworked ecclesiastics (at parochial or eparchial level in one of the Churches here, in the Apostolic Delegation if that is where data are consolidated, or in Rome) have simply plugged in old numbers rather than chase down accurate current ones.

This would seem to bode ill for at least some Eastern Catholic Churches in this hemisphere. The time has certainly come for a serious study of what is happening in our faith communities, and why. If the lessons learned cannot be applied to revitalize the BCC and UGCC, perhaps they will provide helpful insights for other Eastern Catholic (and Orthodox) Churches who may have been lulled into a false sense of security (as indeed were the UGCC and BCC in past years) by a surge in numbers caused by immigration.

I can only agree. Looking at the entire slew of Eastern Catholic statistics only made me more suspicious as to the veracity of the statistics.

Without in any way wishing to malign anyone, or to pass judgement on any given institution, the statistics for the Maronites and the Melkites (which are so far out compared to secular estimates as well as official Catholic statistics from the 1960's) seemed to me to be especially bloated. For example, the official Maronite statistics have it that there are more than 1.4 million Maronites in Lebanon (out of a total population of 4 million), while secular statistics put Maronites at 12-20% of the population (which means 480,000 - 800,000). And it is no secret that there is a massive Maronite outward migration. Complicating matters is the Lebanese government's avoidance of having to take a census, in order to avoid another round of ethnic and sectarian violence. Of course, the Maronites have every reason to NOT look fewer: it will only embolden Hezbollah and other Hagarenes in the area to put an end to their presence once and for all.

At the same time, the dry statistics tell me of massive losses to the Latin Church. For example, there are said to be 700,000 Maronites in Argentina (served by FOUR parishes and 29 priests) and 468,000 Maronites in Brazil (served by TEN parishes and 12 priests). (Secular statistics at times actually give higher figures for Brazil.) Obviously, only a small fraction of these Maronites have access to their own churches and clergy. Guess where they most likely go? Why, to the Latin churches, or a lot of them may already be Protestants (especially in Brazil). Given that Maronites are close to the Latin church, shifting to the Latin churches won't be too hard for them.

The statistics also tell me that North American Eastern Catholics are actually very lucky! US Eastern Catholic eparchies and exarchates have a disproportionate share of the clergy of their respective sui juris churches. For example, there are only 24,435 Melkites in the US out of an estimated 1.3 million throughout the world, but this tiny fraction -- which accounts for less than 2% of all Melkites, at least according to official statistics -- have 64 priests, or about eleven percent of the world's 521 Melkite priests.

There are only about 100,000 Ukrainian Catholics in the US and about 85,000 in Canada -- again, as per official stats, which may not be wholly trustworthy -- out of 4.2 million throughout the world (or less than 5% of the total) but these are served by 500 of the world's 3,013 UGCC priests, or about a sixth of the total number.

Of course, it isn't just the Eastern Catholics who have the problem of skewered statistics. Latin church figures -- oh, that much-abused "we're a billion strong!" -- are meaningless in the face of the rapid secularization of Catholic Europe and North America and the rapid Protestantization of large portions of Catholic Latin America. In my country, the "80 % Catholic figure" is a sham in the face of massive secularization, loss of faith, low church attendance (less than 20%) and conversions to either Protestantism or Islam.

I sometimes think that if a true census of Catholics who are active or at least practicing at times, were to be taken, Latin Catholics probably won't even reach 200 million worldwide.

But that is probably what we need -- a more accurate knowledge of our own numbers. The shocking realization that we are not as many as we would like to think should aid in a long-overdue change of mentality. We must accept that the age of cultural Christianity is over and that, henceforth, the church must think and act as a creative and dynamic minority (to use a phrase made popular in recent years) with a powerful missionary urge.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,760
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,760
The 2007 numbers reported for the BCC are probably slightly understated; the 1990 numbers were probably grossly overstated. I base this statement upon the instructions for conducting the censuses of this decade and how they were conducted in my parish.
Rather than the priest estimating the population, each family or individual had to pick up, complete and return the census form within a month (if I remember correctly.)

So if a family/person did not attend at least two Sundays (one to receive the census and one to return it) they weren't counted. Perhaps the pastor made other arrangements but you can see that those who attend Easter and Christmas or frequently go to the Roman Church wouldn't be included.

Maybe some pastors could fill us in on the particulars of the census accuracy in their parishes.

Fr Deacon Paul


Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
...It is therefore interesting to compare the number of Catholics (whether estimated or registered) and the number of baptisms, which is likely to be quite accurate...

I respectfully disagree. Using the number of recorded baptisms within a given sui iuris Church is no more accurate than using the number of registered parishioners. Over the past few decades there have been literally thousands of children born into Byzantine Catholic families and baptized in Latin Catholic parishes. In most cases, these children (and probably their parents as well) become forever recorded on the books as Latin Catholics... this, despite the fact that in the official eyes of the Catholic Church they are, and should remain, Byzantines!

The problem is that the Catholic Church does a lousy job of tracking the true canonical enrollment of her members. Byzantine families who move to areas not served by a Byzantine parish invariably 'default' to the nearest Latin parish. They believe that by registering at that Latin parish they have become Latin Catholics. Sadly, many, if not most, of the Latin clergy mistakenly believe the same thing - precious few take the time to research the background of their new parishioners past the basic fact that they are "Catholics."

Canon Law permits any Catholic individual to worship within any other sui iuris Catholic Church at any time - even if it be throughout that individual's entire life! These individuals, however, remain canonical members of their own sui iuris Church (unless an official Change of Canonical Enrollment is enacted). Their children, even those children baptized in a Latin ceremony, officially retain their father's canonical enrollment, regardless of which sui iuris Church their baptism occurs within. This is Church Law. You'd be hard-pressed, however, to find more than a handful of Catholics, laity and clergy alike, who realize this fact. As a result, we currently have thousands upon thousands of canonical Byzantine Catholics here in the USA living life as Latin Catholics, all with the tacit approval of the Catholic Church.

Our Catholic Church must either step up and do a much better job of tracking (and perhaps enforcing) the canonical enrollment of her membership or change the rules regarding canonical enrollment to fit the de facto situation that currently exists. Clearly, the status quo is somewhat of a farce.

Al (a pilgrim)

Joined: May 2008
Posts: 1,405
L
Member
Offline
Member
L
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 1,405
Originally Posted by a pilgrim
Originally Posted by Latin Catholic
...It is therefore interesting to compare the number of Catholics (whether estimated or registered) and the number of baptisms, which is likely to be quite accurate...

I respectfully disagree. Using the number of recorded baptisms within a given sui iuris Church is no more accurate than using the number of registered parishioners. Over the past few decades there have been literally thousands of children born into Byzantine Catholic families and baptized in Latin Catholic parishes. In most cases, these children (and probably their parents as well) become forever recorded on the books as Latin Catholics... this, despite the fact that in the official eyes of the Catholic Church they are, and should remain, Byzantines!

The problem is that the Catholic Church does a lousy job of tracking the true canonical enrollment of her members. Byzantine families who move to areas not served by a Byzantine parish invariably 'default' to the nearest Latin parish. They believe that by registering at that Latin parish they have become Latin Catholics. Sadly, many, if not most, of the Latin clergy mistakenly believe the same thing - precious few take the time to research the background of their new parishioners past the basic fact that they are "Catholics."

Canon Law permits any Catholic individual to worship within any other sui iuris Catholic Church at any time - even if it be throughout that individual's entire life! These individuals, however, remain canonical members of their own sui iuris Church (unless an official Change of Canonical Enrollment is enacted). Their children, even those children baptized in a Latin ceremony, officially retain their father's canonical enrollment, regardless of which sui iuris Church their baptism occurs within. This is Church Law. You'd be hard-pressed, however, to find more than a handful of Catholics, laity and clergy alike, who realize this fact. As a result, we currently have thousands upon thousands of canonical Byzantine Catholics here in the USA living life as Latin Catholics, all with the tacit approval of the Catholic Church.

Our Catholic Church must either step up and do a much better job of tracking (and perhaps enforcing) the canonical enrollment of her membership or change the rules regarding canonical enrollment to fit the de facto situation that currently exists. Clearly, the status quo is somewhat of a farce.

Al (a pilgrim)

Benedicite!

The points you make are of course quite correct! I only mean to say that the number of baptisms can be a useful guide to how many people are actually being reached. None of these statistics say anything about how many Eastern Catholics there are canonically speaking, i.e. how many people there are who belong to Eastern Catholic Churches as defined by the Code of Canons.

As a Latin Catholic I am personally appalled by the apparent lack of knowledge and indeed the apparent lack of interest among most Latin clergy and laity about the Eastern Catholic Churches, and sadly I don't know if there is any remedy for this!

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 36
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 36
During a discussion among a group of us gathering at a post-liturgy social, one other aspect of this topic was raised. The need for a clear canonical designation really only arises in the case of marriage. Even then, a change of rite is not technically required, but only permission of the bishops. This has to do with 'jurisdiction' i.e. one sui juris church has no 'jurisdiction' over another.

I just recently learned that my Dad, raised RC, married my BC mother in the '40's and has ever since been associated with a BC church (until a few years ago when he moved to an area where no BC church is convenient). He still intends to be buried from the BC church he attended most of his life. He would have changed 'canonical enrollment' to BC many years ago, except that it required going thru Rome, which he was reluctant to do. Fortunately, the changing of church designation is now a matter of letters to both bishops ---- a much more reasonable process. So technically, my Dad remains RC. I married a RC, who did not change canonical enrollment, though he considers himself BC. My sons, though raised BC are techically RC unless they officially change canonical enrollment, (they are over 18 years of age).

In our BC parish, many families live so far away that though registered in our parish, they probably attend RC churches as well. So, there are more families on our BC parish role than the average attendance numbers reflect.

My cousin, raised RC, decided to join both a local RC and a local BC church, telling each pastor about this, so as to be able to serve and grow spiritually in each.

There seem to be many dimensions to the confusion in the statistics on this topic!

Peace to you all! A student

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Originally Posted by A student
...The need for a clear canonical designation really only arises in the case of marriage...

Hi, A student!

Not only with regard to marriage but also, and even moreso, with regard to Holy Orders! Your sons could not pursue ordination within the Byzantine Catholic Church, the Church that obviously represents the liturgical and theological praxes closest to their hearts, because, quite frankly, they're not Byzantine Catholics. This, of course, could be changed, as you recognize, with a Change of Canonical Enrollment.

Although I cannot testify to its accuracy, I have heard a story of a young man who was denied ordination to the RC priesthood at the last minute because the fact somehow surfaced, very late in his formation, that his father was, in fact, Ukranian Greek Catholic.

Al (a pilgrim)

Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 773
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 773
see this link: http://www.emergentvillage.com/

The emergent people are typically evangelicals or people from the evangelical movement who have broken with the evangelical subculture. There are several streams in the emergent church, and one simple definition is not adequate.

Some of the emergent church people call themselves post-evangelical, post-conservative, and some in the movement have started house or pub churches, where they have theological discussion over a glass of beer or wine.

They try to engage or in some cases, embrace, postmodern culture. Some of them especially value postmodern literature, and the use of the narrative. They reject therefore, grand, meta-narratives, such as a triumphalistic view of America or the Reformation (and also, Constantinian Catholicism/Orthodoxy). They seek admirable to hear the voice of those who have been marginalized in history.

They are critical of traditional evangelicalism and its subculture, especially in its American form, and have broadened their historical and political perspectives. Some have criticized them for being too "liberal", especially the more traditional and reformed evangelicals. However, they are still very much in the evangelical camp because they promote faith in Christ and seek to win others to Him. They maintain a high view of the Bible, and maintain basic evangelical doctrine.

They have rejected the anti-catholicism of their parent's generation, and have looked back to the fathers for monastic wisdom and spiritual practices, even though there seem to be no large numbers of them joining Catholic or Orthodox churches.

They have created another movement, called the New Monasticism, begun by Baptist student Shane Claiborne, in which these young evangelicals seek to live a radical life of discipleship, in emulation of the ancient monastics, with emphasis on rules of prayers, icons, fasting, almsgiving, working with the poor and street people, and generally living simply. They have looked to the older evangelical left, as represented by people like Jim Wallis & Sojourners, for guidance and inspiration.

I believe Catholics and Orthodox will miss an tremendous opportunity to bring other believers and spiritual seekers into unity with the Church if we fail to engage this movement.


Lance

A Byzantine Christian in a Postmodern World [byzantinechristian.blogspot.com]

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,461
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,461
CIX!

Lance, thanks so much for posting that information. We do indeed need to reclaim and recover the idea of Christian culture and the village. The village will not be in the beginning a geographical thing, of those with similar love for Christ and His Church living next to each other. That may come in time, but certainly we can implement elements of the village in terms of prayer/liturgy, spirituality, and social fellowship.

Our Constantinopolitan tradition lends itself very well, actually, towards this, and most of our people in the early immigration waves were themselves of the village. We have an immense treasure that can be shared in living rooms with "bright corners" as much as in a beautiful Church edifice.

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 282
T
Tim Offline
Greco-Kat
Member
Offline
Greco-Kat
Member
T
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 282
Further on the subject of "Transfer/Change of Canonical Jurisdiction":

It arises also in the case of Baptism/Re-Baptism. I applied for and was granted a "Change of Rite" from Latin to "Byzantine-Slavonic" way back in pre-Vatican II days. I made the necessary declaration of intent to transfer (required by the letter, all in Latin, that I had received from the Apostolic Delegate) before a Ukrainian Catholic priest. Many years later, when our newly adopted child needed to be chrismated and receive first Eucharist, having been validly baptized by a Catholic layperson before coming to us, my BCC pastor informed me, with great regret, it must be said, after checking with eparchial experts, that he could not celebrate the Mysteries of Initiation for our child because I was UGC, canonically, and that our only recourse would be to invite a UGC priest to celebrate the Mysteries in our BCC parish church, or go to a UGC church. We did the latter.

It appears that, at least in the view of some canonists, a Change of Rite under the old Oriental Code, even when it drew no distinction among the several Churches that used the Byzantine-Slavonic Rite, nevertheless must be retroactively construed as a Transfer of Canonical Jurisdiction, with the "Receiving" jurisdiction determined by the parish in which the declaration of intent to change was made.

I am tempted to quote the remark of the character from the old TV program, "Laugh In": "Verrrrry interrresssting! But shtooopid!"

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
Re UGCC in Canada

The bishops of Canada tend to use as the official number of UGCC members in Canada the statistic produced by the last Canadian government census.

Not very accurate in my estimation. There are many UGCC members who think themselves as Latin Catholic because that is where they go to church every Sunday (or at least twice a year).

Last edited by father michael; 06/09/08 04:10 PM.
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 249
Bless, Father!

So what's the answer??

I'd be willing to bet that, at least in the USA, there are probably more canonical Byzantine Catholics worshipping as Latin Catholics, living Latin Catholic liturgical lives, raising their children as Latin Catholics, even truly believing that they are Latin Catholics - than there are following the corresponding Byzantine traditions.

How do we 'fix' this... or do we?

The Catholic Church has clear-cut rules regarding who belongs to which sui iuris Church... yet she seems to ignore the fact that a good number of the faithful ascribed to the Latin Church in the Annuario Pontifico numbers are technically and canonically not Latin. What's the point of the rules if they are so blatantly disregarded? Why bother to keep and publish 'the numbers' year after year if they are so erroneous?

Should the rules regarding canonical enrollment be more strictly enforced? Changed? Eliminated?

As a priest, what are your thoughts, Father?

Kissing your hand,

Al (a pilgrim)

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
Recently, a young woman was married in our Church. She was a little girl when she actually became a member of the UGCC - or so I thought. She was baptized in the Lutheran Church. When preparing for marriage we found out that she is to be regarded as a Latin Catholic because she once belonged to the Lutheran Church. We had to go to the local Latin bishop and seek permission for her to marry in our church (she has practiced in our church for many, many years).

I checked with a canonist on the matter and he confirmed that is someone is already baptized and enters into the Catholic Church in a Byzantine Church, they are not in fact Byzantine Catholic but Latin Catholic (unless they came from an eastern Church).

This makes it very difficult if not impossible to accept people into our churches.

The canons regarding this are biased - certainly - toward the Latin Church. As they are not divine laws, they should be seriously reviewed and , imho, eliminated.

Last edited by father michael; 06/09/08 06:47 PM.
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 148
I would like to add that I am not a canonist... I am simply relaying what I have been told by a canonist.

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,652
Likes: 3
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,652
Likes: 3
Father Michael, bless!

I have heard that opinion from some canonists as well, but if they are going to argue the technicalities to suit that point of view, I'd say that since Lutheranism is not considered a church by the Catholic Communion, any baptism is not considered "valid and licit" until she or he decides to approach Catholicism - therefore the Church which receives the ex-protestant is the Church to which he/she canonically belongs.

In the case of your parishioner, she was baptised in Lutheranism - a faith community, not a Church, according to our Canons - and was received via UGCC, therefore her initial contact with Catholicism is with UGCC and to UGCC she belongs.

The same rules don't apply to the Eastern, Oriental, or Assyrian Churches since those are Truely and Properly Churches and the Catholic Church fully recognizes their Sacraments.

In my book, any protestant wishing to be received into any Catholic Church can choose which Church on their own. The two exceptions to this rule are the Ukrainian Lutheran Church and the Marthoma Syrian Church of Malabar -- these two eastern-rite "protestant" (not truly protestant, 'reformed orthodox' would be a better term to describe them) Churches would automatically be enrolled to their Eastern Counterpart unless the candidate asks not to be.

Page 2 of 4 1 2 3 4

Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2022 (Forum 1998-2022). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5