Skip to comments.The deep wound of schism in the archdiocese (Schismatic parish excommunicated)
Posted on 12/16/2005 6:39:40 PM PST by Petrosius
I write, with heavy heart, about a situation which I, as bishop, had hoped that I would never have to address. I refer to the recent break with the communion of the Roman Catholic Church on the part of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in the City of St. Louis, and on the part of the priest from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, whom they have hired to serve them.
It saddens me, in particular, to address such a deep wound to the Church in our archdiocese in these days of our final preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord on Christmas. The fact of the schism, however, must be addressed by me now, because it has immediate effects in the whole Church, especially the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The priest in question has informed me that he will begin his service at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Christmas Eve.
As archbishop, it is my responsibility to explain the situation to all of the faithful of the archdiocese, who are so deeply affected by what has happened, in order that they not be subjected to further confusion and division, that they not be deceived about the lawfulness and validity of sacraments celebrated by the schismatic priest and that they pray for the reconciliation of those who gone into schism.
Schism is "the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him" (can. 751). It is the repudiation of the authority which Christ conferred upon St. Peter and the other Apostles in communion with him, and their successors. It, therefore, involves not only a premeditated and most grave act of disobedience to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in the communion with him, but also a certain denial of an integral part of the Catholic faith, that is, the apostolic mark of the Church. In other words, those who choose to go into schism believe that they can be the Church without the pastoral teaching, ministration of the sacraments and governance of the Apostles and their successors.
In the case of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, the act of disobedience involves directly not only the archbishop of St. Louis but also the Apostolic See. They have rejected both my direction and the direction of the Apostolic See.
At the beginning of my service as archbishop of St. Louis on Jan. 26, 2004, I was obliged to address the structure of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, in order that it be in conformity with universal Church law which demands that the form of civil corporation respect the office of the archbishop and pastor of the parish. Because the bylaws of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish had been altered to eliminate any recognition of the authority of the archbishop and pastor, my predecessor, then-Archbishop Justin Rigali, had taken the proper steps to rectify the matter. In the meantime, he was transferred to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and, therefore, it was my responsibility, as his successor, to complete the necessary work which he had begun for the good of the faithful of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and of the whole archdiocese.
From the very beginning of my service, the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation have refused to obey my directives and, in fact, made appeal to the Apostolic See against my directives to them. The appeal was made to the Holy Father?s Congregation for the Clergy, which is competent in such matters. The Congregation for the Clergy responded to the board of directors, strongly directing them to comply with my directives. When the board of directors refused to obey either my directives or the directives of the Apostolic See, I was obliged to impose the penalty of interdict, in the hope that the members of the board would recognize the error of their way and repent. I have insisted with the members of the board of directors that the way to unity and, therefore, peace is obedience to our lawful superiors in the Church, that is, the Holy Father?s Congregation for the Clergy.
Conflict with the Roman Catholic Church
Some have understood that the conflict of the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and of those who follow them is with me personally. Such is clearly not the case, as the decision of the Congregation for the Clergy indicated. Their conflict is with the Roman Catholic Church. It is a conflict which several of my predecessors addressed in their time. The members of the board of directors refuse to accept the governance of the parish by the Roman Catholic Church, insisting that they remain devout Roman Catholics by governing the parish themselves. They have, thereby, broken the bond of communion with the Apostolic See and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Some have understood the object of the conflict to be power and money. Such is also clearly not the case. The object of the conflict is obedience, the obedience we all owe to the Apostolic teaching and discipline of the Church.
The power in question belongs to Christ alone, who continues to guide the Church through those who act in His person as shepherd and head of the flock, in virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the jurisdiction conferred by the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the bishops in communion with the Holy Father. It is precisely when we place ourselves above Christ and His authority in the Church that we introduce division into the Body of Christ.
Regarding money, there has never been a question that the money and all the other temporal goods of the parish belong to the parish, as is the case with every other parish in the archdiocese. I have no authority to seize the funds of any parish for any purpose, no matter how noble. My interest in the right ordering of parish life at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish involves money only to the extent that it includes the stewardship of the goods of the parish, according to ecclesiastical and civil law, and the vigilance over the administration of the temporal goods of the parish, so that they are used for the good of the parish. For that reason, from the beginning, I have insisted that a public audit of the parish?s goods be conducted, so that there could be no question of any misappropriation of the parish?s goods.
Act of schism
The act of schism, committed by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, was the hiring of a suspended priest, that is a priest who is not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. The priest in question, Father Marek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, has left his priestly office of assistant pastor of St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield against the explicit direction of his bishop, the Most Reverend John J. Leibrecht, and after Bishop Leibrecht had explained to him more than once the gravity of his action and its consequences.
The fact of the matter is that only a priest who is not in good standing would agree to employment by a group of parishioners without the appointment of the diocesan bishop, that is, a group of parishioners who are breaking communion with the Church. All priests serve in communion with the diocesan bishop who serves in communion with the Roman Pontiff. When Father Bozek left his assignment without his bishop?s permission, he was rightly suspended. The penalty of suspension prohibits him from the exercise of his priestly office (cf. can. 1333, §1).
A priest, who knowingly and willingly chooses to attempt to exercise priestly ministry outside of the communion of the Church and, thereby, assists and encourages others in breaking communion with the Church, clearly also commits the ecclesiastical crime of schism. To be clear, it is not only the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish who are in schism, but also the priest whom they have presumed to hire and who has agreed to be hired.
In the secular media, it has been suggested that Bishop Leibrecht, more than once, asked me to accept Father Bozek for assignment to St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, but that I stubbornly refused. The suggestion is totally false. Bishop Leibrecht informed me immediately when he learned from Father Bozek about his intention to accept employment by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Bishop Leibrecht assured me that he had not given Father Bozek any permission to pursue a position at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and that, on the contrary, he was insisting that Father Bozek remain faithful to the exercise of his priestly office at St. Agnes Cathedral.
Father Bozek remains a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. Bishop Leibrecht as bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau has made it abundantly clear that he desires Father Bozek to return to his diocese immediately, in order to be reconciled. It is my prayer that Father Bozek will respond to Bishop Leibrecht?s direction, in accord with the promise of obedience, which he made, in Bishop Leibrecht?s hands, to Bishop Leibrecht and his successors on the day of his ordination. Please pray for the same intention.
Consequences of schism
Those who commit the ecclesiastical crime of schism incur automatically the penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1364, §1; and 1314). The excommunicated person is forbidden "to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the Sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever" (can. 1331, §1, 1º); "to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals, and to receive the sacraments" (can. 1331, §1, 2º); and "to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance" (can. 1331, §1, 3º). The various elements of the penalty underline the fact that the party in question has broken communion with the Church. The prohibition of receiving the sacraments or sacramentals is suspended when the party under sanction is in danger of death, given that he is otherwise properly disposed (cf. can. 1352, §1).
Although the excommunication is incurred automatically, it is my duty as the diocesan bishop in whose jurisdiction the act of schism has taken place to declare the excommunication, after I have made certain that the parties in question have understood the gravity of their act and its most serious consequences (cf. cann. 1717-1719). It has been made clear to me for some time that the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish have understood that the action of hiring a priest who is not in good standing in the Church to serve them carried with it the penalty of excommunication. Over the months since the imposition of the penalty of interdict, it has been my hope that the members of the board of directors would seek reconciliation. Also, I have renewed several times my offer to execute civil legal documents to guarantee what is already guaranteed by Church discipline, namely, the ownership of the temporal goods of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish as a personal parish for faithful of Polish language or heritage. The members of the board of directors, however, have insisted on their governance of the parish, even if, at the same time, they have asserted their desire to be part of the Roman Catholic Church. Having attempted to address the situation through fraternal correction and other means of pastoral solicitude, including the pastoral visit of the Most Reverend Ryszard Karpinski, auxiliary bishop of Lublin in Poland and the delegate of the Polish Conference of Bishops for Polish faithful living outside their homeland, now I must declare that the latest action of the members of the board of directors constitutes schism, carrying with it the automatic penalty of excommunication (cf. can. 1341).
The ordained priest who goes into schism, in addition to being bound by the above-listed prohibitions, is also rendered irregular for the exercise of Holy Orders (cf. can. 1044, §1, 2º). In other words, he may not exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders which he has received. Any Mass celebrated by a suspended and excommunicated priest is valid, but illicit. To knowingly and willingly celebrate the Holy Mass, when one is legitimately prohibited from doing so, is a most grave sin. A priest under the penalty of excommunication does not give valid sacramental absolution (cf. can. 966, §1). Neither can he validly officiate at a wedding (cf. can. 1108, §1).
The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by a schismatic priest is invalid because he no longer has any faculty to do so, either by universal Church law or the granting of the faculty by the diocesan bishop (cf. can. 882). Baptism and the Anointing of the Sick are conferred validly but not licitly (cf. cann. 862; and 1003, §§1-2).
The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin. All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts.
Finally, since the civil legal control of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish belongs exclusively to the members of the board of directors of the civil corporation and they have chosen to lead the members of the parish into schism, I will be obliged to suppress St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. It is not possible for St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish to remain a parish of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and, at the same time, to operate completely independently of the Apostolic See and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
As I wrote at the beginning, my heart is heavy in writing to you about the break of communion with the Church by our brothers and sisters at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, most especially at the Holy Seasons of Advent and Christmas. We must not, however, permit Satan to steal our joy at the preparation for Christmas and the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus. Let, rather, the mystery of the Incarnation, which we will celebrate with deepest joy on Christmas Day and throughout the Christmas Season be the source of our renewed prayers for the reconciliation of the members of the board of directors, of those who support them, and of Father Marek Bozek.
On Dec. 17, we will begin the final days of our preparation for the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. On each day, from Dec. 17 to Dec. 24, we will salute Christ our Savior by one of the ancient and beautiful titles given to the long-awaited Messiah. The last of the titles is Emmanuel. It contains all the other titles, for it means: God with us. Let us, through the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa, implore our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Mercy, on behalf of the reconciliation of those who have gone into schism. Christ, Divine Mercy Incarnate, accomplishes all things. Let us place the dolorous situation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish into all-merciful and loving heart.
These are days of strong grace in the Church. May we keep them with deepest faith and so obtain the grace of being fittingly prepared for the great celebration of the Birth of our Savior. Through the observance of these final days of Advent, may many graces come to our homes and our archdiocese, uniting us in the peace which Christ brought to the world at His Birth.
What's wrong with having people build their church and pray in it? Why was it all OK for 120 years and is not OK for Burke? Why are you anti-Polish? Poland is a large, predominantly Catholic, country with almost as many Catholics as there are in the USA. Are they worse Catholics than any other ethnic minority in America?
You do not know much about the history of the Polish National Catholic Church in the USA. It revolved around parish property and the power-grab of Irish and German US Bishops. This story here is replay of it 120 years later. Only that the PNCC is not schismatic anymore.
When you look at all details of it you will realize that Burke abused his authority. This "excommunication" stunt may extend his stay in the Purgatory and will certainly not help his beatification. The smart move for the parish would be to join the PNCC.
I am certainly NOT anti-Polish. I revered the late John Paul the Great and Cardinal Wysczinski (sp.?), Sister Faustina, all of whom managed to be both Polish and Roman Catholic. The witness of Polish Catholicism (the actual kind and not the schismatic "trusteeism" of PNCC and the formerly Catholic St. Stanislaus Kostka former parish in St. Louis) is wonderful. The devotion to the Black Virgin of Czestochova (sp.?) and the tradition of "going to the mountain" in times of national crisis is also admirable.
What is wrong in St. Louis is the abject refusal of obedience to Archbishop Raymond Burke as diocesan ordinary by a group of poisonously rebellious laity who have forgotten that Roman Catholicism is not a "nationality" religion but a universal religion. It is governed from the Vatican and from the diocesan chanceries and the parish is the lowest level of authority (when in communion with Rome and the diocese as St. Stanislaus Kostka most certainly is not). The Roman Catholic Church is a hierarchical religion and not some congregational anarchy.
Given their antiCatholic mindset, the utterly unjustified rebels of St. Stanislaus Kostka may as well join the PN"C"C or become independent Protestants of whatever other sort. It would at least make them more honest. I am not going to indulge the fantasy that there is Roman Catholicism without Roman Authority and in rebellion against Roman Authority and against Diocesan Authority. If you are PN"C"C, have a blast but don't lie to yourself by calling yourself Catholic.
The PN"C"C can also avoid hanging portraits of John Paul the Great because his religion and theirs were clean different things since he was Catholic.
When the PN"C"C is in charge of how long bishops serve in Purgatory, I feel sure we will have it on better authority than the non-existent authority of the self-serving excommunicati of PN"C"C.
I would have precisely the same attitude as to Irish, German, English, Scottish or Scots-Irish (each of my ancestry groups) pretenders claiming Catholicism while defying Rome or the diocesan ordinary. Or Braziliams or Argentinians or Mexicans or Zambians or Siamese or Japanese or Chinese "Patriotic Association" or .........
They are not barred from Communion like all schismatics are, only asked to "respect the discipline of their own Church".
The rise of PNCC is the direct result of American Bishops' folly over material property. St. Stanislaus parish was founded over 120 years ago as independent property and it was to remain as such in perpetuity. The parish never received a penny of support from the diocese. If Burke asked me to give him my truck or house or get excommunicated, guess which one would I choose?
IBINB: When these rebellious trustees are prepared to obey their duly constituted archbishop, be sure to get back to me.
Individual bishops have individual authority when they are diocesan ordinaries. The Roman Catholic Church, however, is also not a democracy. Thank God! The USCCB (aka "AmChurch" for the most part) is a collective body without collective authority. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz has no compunction telling them to go fly a kite as to his diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Nor should he.
The Vatican has actual authority. Did the Vatican approve Eastern Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East or PN"C"C schismatics to receive Roman Catholic communion????? I did not think so. Nor am I, as a Roman Catholic, allowed to receive the Eucharist of the Eastern Orthodox Churches either by my Church or by their Church. We have few differences in doctrine but we are not in communion.
Does the discipline of their own churches (capital C for the Eastern Orthodox Churches) bar them from receiving Roman Catholic Communion? I believe that to be the case of the Eastern Orthodox and I am pinging a respected Orthodox woman, Marmema, who would know better than I do and asking her to clarify the position of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. She is invited to ping others who are of the Eastern Orthodox Churches to add to her clarification.
Why am I listening to you if your truck is more important than your soul? Archbishop Burke is not demanding your truck in any event. God gave you free will to use or abuse. You choose to abuse.
The language YOU quoted necessarily recognizes that PN"C"C is NOT part of the Roman Catholic Church by referencing "their own churches."
Judas complained about money too.
Thievery is thievery is a sin, don't matter who commits it.
And the very reverend thieves may have the thermostat set a few notches up in the afterlife.
I would gladly give my truck and then some for the salvation of my immortal soul. But things don't work that way in the Roman Catholic Church. Burke, being a bishop should know that much. Judas was a bishop too. He stole money.
The November 6, 2005 homily has Fr. Bozek's creative interpretation of the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
The following was written by Rev. David Hulshof, who serves the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau as director of seminary students, in an article published December 30, 2005 titled Bozek responsible for rifts in church.
"Five years ago, Father Marek was looking for a diocese that would sponsor him in his desire to be a priest, and we responded.
After receiving letters of recommendation from Poland, we provided for Father Marek's language and theology studies."
Maybe someone else is asking why ...
Up the Magisterium!
This is good news.
Praying that the truth will come into the light...
Pearls before swine, Blackie (but I do admire your sense of duty).
No offense? LOL
Good ****** riddance.
St. Stanislaus Holds First Sunday Mass Since Receiving Notification Of Suppression
Created: 1/8/2006 6:28:05 PM
Updated: 1/9/2006 6:45:58 AM
By Rebecca Wu
(KSDK) - St. Stanislaus held its first Sunday Mass since the Archbishop of St. Louis notified its members they are no longer part of the Archdiocese.
During it's Polish Mass, they sang, they prayed and they received Holy Communion. But according to the Archbishop of St. Louis, they are no longer part of the Roman Catholic family. Parishioner Alice Kaminski took issue with that. She said, "I am Roman Catholic. I have always been a Roman Catholic, generations of my family have always been Roman Catholic. Who's saying I am not a Roman Catholic. I will be Roman Catholic until the day I die."
On Friday, Archbishop Raymond Burke notified the parish they cannot operate independently as a civil corporation and at the same time be part of the Roman Catholic church. Parishioner Anthony Kaminski said, "It makes me quite upset because it leads other people to think we are rebels and non-believers and there's nothing farther from the truth. We've been law-abiding parishioners of the church for all these years and that's not going to change."
During his homily, Father Mark Bozek talked about the issue of suppression saying this is not what Jesus would've done. He pointed out that the manger where Jesus was born included animals and pagans. Father Mark Bozek said, "Imagine the Archbishop being a gatekeeper at the manger scene. Would we have all these Magi coming to Jesus today? I'm afraid he would have said, 'I'm sorry guys you are not Roman Catholics, you can't come here, there's no room for you.' Well Jesus didn't."
But not all long-time members of St. Stanislaus are against the Archbishop. That's why they moved to St. Agatha to attend its Polish Mass. Former St. Stanislaus parishioner Wanda Brzyski said, "If you want to have a marriage, you need to follow marriage rules, if you do not follow you need to go out of the marriage, simple."
When asked why, they didn't have problems with St. Stanislaus being independent over the last century, they said there wasn't a conflict with the Archdiocese until now. That's why Alex Gorka left St. Stanislaus after 20 years. He said, "I'm very sad. that's my heart broken. But not Archbishop broke the church. The people there they broke the church. They're at fault for what happened there. Because we only got one church."
In response to why St. Stanislaus doesn't follow the same rules as other Catholic churches, Father Bozek said, "We are following the same rules. We are following all the dogmas of Catholic faith and the rules of discipline. The only question we have is the small administration rule."
That rule has to do with whether a lay board or the Archbishop should have final say and control of the church and its assets.
NewsChannel 5 contacted the Archdiocese of St. Louis and a spokesperson said nothing has changed from Friday when the notification of suppression was made.
St. Stanislaus is appealing the suppression and the ex-communication of its priest and board of directors. The Archdiocese spokesperson said they have not received official notice of the appeal.
[In the video they estimated 650 attended the english and polish masses]
Uh, except for one kinda big one, called "obedience".
This is surreal. He is either stupid or completely out of his mind.
Group Defends Archbishop Raymond Burke
Created: 1/15/2006 6:24:17 PM
Updated: 1/15/2006 9:41:42 PM
By Rebecca Wu
(KSDK) A newly formed group has now jumped into the fray over St. Stanislaus.
The grassroots group calls itself "Defenders of Archbishop Burke." They showed their support at St. Agatha Parish on Sunday. Bill Mckenzie is the group's founder. Mckenzie said, "We are here to defend the Archbishop against attacks from people who are disgruntled."
Earlier this month, parishioners at St. Stanislaus were notified they were no longer part of the Roman Catholic Church since they continue to operate independently as a civil corporation. In December, the church's board of directors and priest were excommunicated by the Archbishop. McKenzie said, "People were calling radio talk shows, calling him Hitler, on-line forums with the newspaper, people calling him idiot, jerk, anti-Christ."
Mckenzie said he is not affiliated with either St. Stanislaus or the Archdiocese. He just wants to help mend the broken fence. Mckenzie said, "We have nothing against the people at St. Stanislaus. We think they are doing the wrong thing but we just want them to come back to the church."
Meanwhile at St. Stanislaus, parishioners said the hate-calling didn't come from their church. Parishioner Bernice Krauze said, "We don't have anything against him, he's still head of our church as far as we're concerned and we pray for him every week in our petitions for prayers."
In fact, Father Mark Bozek agreed with some of what the new group stands for. Father Bozek said, "I could actually become a member of this group because I want to defend his honor. I will defend the honor of every person of you and anybody who listens to us because we all are human beings and we all have our dignity and values as Christians and humans so none of us deserved to offended in any way."
Former members of St. Stanislaus who agree with the Archbishop have moved to St. Agatha. On Sunday, Father Czeslaw Litak, a native of Poland, was installed as their new pastor.
To contact "Defenders of Archbishop Burke:" DEFENDABPBURKE@SBCGLOBAL.NET.
For information about St. Stanislaus: St. Stanislaus.
For information from the Archdiocese: St. Louis Archdiocese.