Sunday, October 14, 2012

Scaling for a Christian Community

Fr. Bouyer contrasted in his The Church of God two ideals of ecclesial "membership," the Church of believers and the Church of numbers. Might it be that the Church can be both, if we observed the proper scale to the local Churches (and parishes)? What is the ideal size of a [neighborhood] parish? How many people can a priest be a spiritual father to? Should he not be able to remember the names of all his spiritual children? How many Sunday liturgies can be said in a temple? Can we eventually achieve the Eastern ideal of one? (Given the time necessary to train priests, it seems that celebrating more than one Sunday liturgy at the [main] altar of a temple is a pastoral necessity.

How big should a local Church [diocese] be, in terms of both members and size? In the Western patriarchate at least, auxiliary bishops are given titles to dioceses that do not really exist any longer. What if, instead, the archdiocese was broken up? What if we had more bishops, instead of auxiliary/titular bishops, and more metropolitans (and provinces)? (Is attendance at an ecumenical council limited to metropolitans, in practice or in law?)

What is the basis for the inequality in status (and power?) between the metropolitan and the suffragan bishops, besides the link between his diocese and the political capital? I need to read up more on Church governance and the sacrament of Holy Orders.