All I want for Christmas is a schismatic parish

All I want for Christmas is a schismatic parish

About 1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass at the schismatic St. Stanislaus parish in St. Louis, many of them from out of town. Disobeying a lawful and moral order of their bishop, even as the schismatic priest Marek Bozek acknowledges the licitness of that order, they have placed themselves outside of communion with the Church. Archbishop Ray Burke correctly warned them that participation would be a mortal sin. Lord have mercy on them.  The comments of those who attended are telling.

“It was magic,” said JoAnne La Sala of St. Louis, who described herself as a lapsed Catholic. “You could feel the spirit of the people.”

No kidding. It may have been the “spirit of the people,” but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit. Interesting also that from all appearances these aren’t devout Catholics, but in many cases are lapsed Catholics who have an axe to grind against the Church and have latched on to this cause to grind it. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch we learn:

Nonparishioners made up the bulk of Saturday night’s congregants. Catholics Joy and John Eritreo drove from Ellisville to be there. “We wanted to support the parishioners” in their dispute with Burke, she said.

Revelations about Bozek

Technorati Tags: , ,

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Good prediction. 

    Let’s hope the PNCC doesn’t get involved: progress toward full communion with the Catholic Church would probably halt if they were to interfere with the Church’s supervision of a suspended priest and/or a group of rebellious Catholics.

  • “So what will the new priest say when his parishioners ask him the inevitable question: Are you a homosexual? ‘When people ask me that, I just say, I am a celibate and chaste priest, so it doesn’t matter,’ Bozek said.”

    —-from Tim Townsend’s article on

    Fr. Bozek says “it doesn’t matter”.  Hmmm. 

    I can’t help but wonder, again, why Bishop Leibrecht brought this man to the US and not only made him a priest, but did so on an unusually fast track. 

    It’s now rather obvious that glowing recommendations did not compel him.

  • I predict that it won’t be long before there is a conflict between Bozek and the board and another split occurs. Bozek will be gone and another schismatic priest will be brought in, perhaps from one of those Polish National Catholic or Old Catholic or some other splinter group.

    Just watch out in the future for names listed at

  • I thought it was 99% certain that the reference to was just ChrisK being witty at the end of the year, but sadly, it consumes real bandwidth.

  • “It was magic,” said JoAnne La Sala of St. Louis, a self-described lapsed Catholic. “You could feel the spirit of the people.”

    This quote epitomizes where many people have gone astray today. It is about ‘feeling’ – emotion over reason. It is about ‘people’ – the human over the Divine. It is about ‘me’ – not about God. It harks back to the mantra of the 60s: “If it feels good – do it!”

    “What did you go out to see?” Our Lord asked the people about John the Baptist. We could ask a similar question of the 1500 people who attended the forbidden Mass: “Why are you here?” How many would have answered: “For God’s sake” instead of, “To support the people” or, “To stick it to Archbishop Burke”…?

    Sin is attractive. I suspect that few of us sin because – like Satan – we wish to do evil. We sin because there is an attraction to it. It is something we enjoy – even if only momentarily. Deep down we may know it is wrong, but we rationalize away our scruples. It ‘feels’ good and if it feels good it can’t be that bad – can it? And if 1500 other people are doing it, well there’s safety in numbers, right? They can’t all be wrong, can they?

    Well, yes they can – and they are. Sin, like misery, loves company. But there is no comfort in numbers if you are on the wrong track. We are told to enter by the narrow gate – not the broad path. Those people chose the broad path. It doesn’t lead to God, Who is the only reason to be at Mass.

    It is always about Him – never about me.

  • The sad thing is, these are exactly the people who probably won’t avail themselves of confession.  This makes the whole event very sad—even sadder than it looks.

    The other sad thing is that there are literally millions of people who used to be catholic, are nominally catholic at best or who are not catholic at all, but hangers-on, who are neither in nor out of the church.  They just emote on the edges and cause all kinds of trouble.  And the Vatican does nothing about it.

    We really need to be more clear about what the church teaches.  Some of these people will never be in union with the Church—we (and they) might as well be honest about that.  Some of them could be in union with the Church, if her teachings were clear (and definite) enough.

    It’s a strange thing, but many catholics honestly believe that people don’t want to hear the Gospel.  And they’re DEAD WRONG.

  • This is from an article that appeared in the St. Louis paper on Wednesday,: “His voice breaking with nerves, Bozek read a statement saying that he had received more than 200 letters, from both supporters and opponents. He said he had received ‘hate letters filled with insult and malice, accusing me of things I’ve never heard of, accusing me of being a heretic, a pedophile, a womanizer and a promiscuous homosexual.’”

    Then, on Christmas, in his homily, he said (as quoted by Dom, above) “Bozek told his new parishioners the story of his struggle five years ago at a seminary in Poland with an accusation made against him – “a witch hunt” he called it. “Some people accused me of being a promiscuous homosexual,” he said. He told the rector of the seminary to provide proof, and said the rector couldn’t, but persisted in the accusations.”

    Turns out that he has heard the term “promiscuous homosexual” after all. 

    The local paper runs a blog called “God Beat”, moderated (and I use the term loosely) by their religion writer, Tim Townsend.  The only time he seems to step in to moderate is when someone criticizes him, or the paper he works for.  The current topic, “St. Stans priest and board excommunicated”
    has over 400 comments.  Some people even took time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to vent against the Church.  But, with all those comments, no one has mentioned this contradiction.  It’s open season on the Church in St. Louis.

  • Deacon Mike,

    2000 people at mass is a good turnout.

    Alternatively to your suggestion, perhaps the Church is live and well and the hierarchy have been shown a Catholic example by the devout. 

    At some point in time, the hierarchy (and lay board) must negotiate in good faith or they will have a full fledged schism on their hands, with the Catholics taking the opposite side as the hierachy.


  • Over the past two years, since his arrival, Archbishop Burke has agreed to every demand the St. Stanislaus board has made with one exception.  They want a guarantee that St. Stanislaus parish will never be closed. 

    The Archbishop has offered an agreement that the parish will remain open as long as the members continue to support it financially.  There are 206 other parishes in the Archdiocese who would sign that agreement in a heartbeat.

    The same agreement guarantees that if the parish were ever closed, all assets would revert to the corporation (controlled by the St. Stanislaus board) to be used for ministry to the Polish community.

    There won’t be a compromise because the St. Stanislaus board doesn’t want a compromise.  They have appointed themselves the heirarchy of their own church.  They may be power-hungry, but they’re not stupid.  They have exactly what they want.

  • Deacon Mike,

    I have investigated this a bit more.  There seems to be a discrepancy on the amount of Cash that the parish has on hand vs. what is committed to the holding corporation (where does the rest of the cash go?) and on control of the holding corporation should the parish be shut, which looks to go to the Archdiocese. 

    I could be wrong on this, but I cannot see why the Parish Board would reject a deal which keeps the current ownership structure, nor why the Archdiocese wants to change the current ownership structure.


  • 2000 people at mass is a good turnout.

    Alternatively to your suggestion, perhaps the Church is live and well and the hierarchy have been shown a Catholic example by the devout. 



    The Church is definitely alive and well. But not at St. Stanislaus’s. By Apostolic Decree, those folks are dead in their sins at this moment. Here’s praying that they return to life the only way they can, by accepting the authority of the Church that Jesus Christ Himself founded, and with Whose voice Archbishop Burke speaks.

    Archbishop Burke is doing nothing but his required duty, in trying to shepherd these people into avoiding spiritual suicide. If he is to be true to his office, he has no other choice. The fact that they’ve publicly spat in the face of Christ by attending this Mass is not Archbishop Burke’s fault.

    The really, really sad part of all this is that I suspect that in the hearts of many priests and Catholics, this kind of thing is going on all around the country. What’s the difference? The courage of the ordinary and the strange ownership situation that forced the thing into the public eye. In most such parishes, this kind of schism is there, but is hidden and tolerated. God grant that at some point, all such folks will get the kind of clear guidance that Archbishop Burke has provided.


  • Rob,

    If by “strange ownership” you mean Trusteeism; it is alive and well and non-schismatic in about 50% of the Diocese I am familiar with, and in all of Europe.  It is not an issue that should cause the hierarchy to panic: 

    I repeat

    I cannot see why the Parish Board would reject a deal which keeps the current ownership structure, nor why the Archdiocese wants to change the current ownership structure.

    If by “shepherding” you mean execommunicating your flock for protecting their own assets, I would not to hire you to watch my sheep.


  • Deacon Mike,

    Are you getting any kind of feedback as to how the regular folk of St. Stanislaus (as opposed to the board, and the hordes who came Christmas Eve to show support for the dissenters) are taking all of this?

    I live in the Archdiocese of StL and know a Polish family who have strong ties to St. Stanislaus but they did not attend Christmas Eve mass there this year.  I don’t ask my friend about it because she cries when it comes up, so I don’t know for sure, but I am not getting the impression they support the schismatic acts.

  • If by “shepherding” you mean execommunicating your flock for protecting their own assets, I would not to hire you to watch my sheep.

    Actually John, by each of these words I meant exactly what I said. When people reject the authority of the Church, they need to be told that this act of rejecting Christ will have consequences. That is part of being a shepherd, clearly telling your sheep when they are approaching dangerous territory, and doing everything you can to rescue them. John, excommunication is, in fact, a means to that very end, whether you accept that or not.

    Thank you for the compliment, by the way. I’m very glad that you would never hire me to watch over your sheep.

    As far as I can find out, Trusteeism does not exist in 50% of parishes in the US. Indeed, it doesn’t exist in .5% of parishes. The combination of a courageous ordinary with this unusual parish situation is rare. Another word for “rare” or “unusual” is “strange”.

    Finally, if you can find anyplace where I claimed that Trusteeism by itself was schismatic, I’ll retract that immediately. Never said it, never implied it. On the other hand, I certainly said straight out that there are many priests and many Catholics who reject the authority of the Church in their hearts and in their lives. They are heretics and schismatics already, it’s just not given public attention as this situation is. That’s what I said and that’s what I meant.


  • Zita,
    Any thoughts that out of the 2000 in attendance, there might be some regular folk.  Just playing the odds here, but can a number that large all be so out of whack?


    Excommunicating the devout is much more akin to suicide than leadership.  So, people cannot reject the authority of the hierarchy.  That is a new one on me.  When Archbishop Weakland hired his boyfriend in Milwaukee to destroy the interior of the Cathedral, were the faithful supposed to say “rejection of Christ has consequences. We’re in dangerous territory here. Please Your Excellency, do destroy our Cathedral so that your boyfriend can get his bonus.”

    Hasn’t the Hierarchy earned some scrutiny over the last 40 years? 


  • John,

    The “devout”? Which devout? Your idea of suicide is the Church’s idea of leadership. The idea isn’t to adopt the Church to whatever John Powers or Rob Skrobola wants. It’s to keep the truth of Christ intact. That’s the charge that you seem to forget.

    In the documents of Vatican II, specifically in Lumen Gentium, it says that bishops teach infallibly when they do so in communion with the Holy Father. When they give commands that are counter to the teachings of the Church and/or counter to Canon Law, they don’t command obedience.

    As I said above, Archbishop Burke is acting in accordance with Church teaching and canon law here, according to more than a few reliable voices.

    Was Weakland acting against Church teaching or law when he ‘renovated’ the Milwaukee cathedral? That’s not clear to me. He certainly was when he misappropriated funds to pay off his lover.

    In any event, there is no question of Abp. Burke having violated Church teaching here. So any idea of yours that the laity should be set up to try to grant a Voice of the Faithful style lay-run approval of episcopal conduct is one that I reject without qualification.  Your idea of what “the Hierarchy” is would appear to have little to do with what the reality of Catholic teaching is regarding the authority of the Holy Father and the bishops.

    So if Abp Burke starts teaching things that are against the Magesterium, then we are not bound to believe him or obey him in those teachings. However, whether it’s Burke or Weakland, when they command things that are lawful (church law) with regard to the Church, as long as they are the ordinary of the diocese, we’re bound to go along. At least, that’s my understanding.


  • Rob,

    We are in agreement.  The truth of Christ is central.  Now how do we know that truth? I don’t think blindly handing over control of temporal matters to irresponsible management helps us find Christ’s truth, rather it seems sinful to be such a poor steward of the Church.

    Back to Weakland (and thank god Burke is absolutely not Weakland), he certainly did not publish “This Cathedral must be destroyed so that my boyfriend gets a fat check”.  He certainly wrapped his crimes around teachings within the Magesterium and church law.  But they remain crimes. 

    How would one ever ever check the power of such Bishops and Archbishops if we are “bound to go along” without scrutinizing an issue?


  • Hi Zita,

    You seemed to be demonizing those in attendance at St. Stans, with the term hordes, and claiming those in attendance are not “regular folk”.  My assumption that when 2000 people show up for Mass, many must be “regular folk” attending Christmas Eve Mass at St. Stans, and see what they are doing as regular Roman Catholic behavior.


  • OK, let me try to explain this complicated situation in simple terms.  The 1891 agreement between St. Stanislaus and the Archdioces of St. Louis has been tolerated for many years, because it really wasn’t that far out of line with Canon Law.  It seems like each successive Ordinary has tried to deal with it, met resistance from the board of directors, and let it slide.

    In 2001, the St. Stanislaus board rewrote their by-laws, eliminating the Archbishop’s oversight of the parish.  In the past the Archbishop had the right to approve or reject board members and was entitled to inspect the books.  This was removed from the 2001 revision, effictively removing the parish from the control of the Archbishop.  Note that Archbishop Burke arrived in St. Louis in January, 2004, making the board’s insistance that this whole matter is Raymond Burke’s fault ridiculous.

    Archbishop (now Cardinal) Justin Rigali began making serious efforts to bring St. Stan’s into line, but was sent to Philadelphia in 2003.  It’s just my opinion, but I believe this problem may have had something to do with the fact that we received a replacement Bishop so quickly.

    Also my opinion, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the man chosen to be our new Archbishop is one of the foremost experts on Canon Law in the United States.

    From the beginning, the Archbishop has bent over backwards to be as accomodating to the St. Stanislaus board as he could.  He has met virtually every one of their demands.  He has balked at only one, that he sign a document agreeing to keep St. Stanislaus open forever.  He did agree to a signed agreement to keep the parish open as long as the parishioners would support it financially, an agreement that thousands of US parishes would love to sign.

    He has also agreed that if the parish should close, all assets would revert back to the St. Stanislaus corporation to be used to promote Polish worship in the Archdiocese.

    There are three key points which are documented facts, and which the St. Stan’s board continues to deny.

    1.  They started the problem when they unilaterally and illegally revised their by-laws, excluding the Archbishop from any control of the operations of the parish.

    2.  The Archbishop has met each and every one of their demands with the exception noted above.

    3.  The Archbishop is not out to “steal” their assets.  Under current Church Law and under the agreement which the Archbishop has agreed to sign, there is no way that any of the parish’s funds would ever fall into the Archbishop’s hands.

    I mean, get real people.  Raymond Burke can make a couple of phone calls and raise more than the value of the St. Stanslaus property.  He doesn’t need their money.  He doesn’t want their money.  And he certainly didn’t ask for this PR nightmare.

    Oh, one final point.  The Archbishop did not excommunicate anyone.  Excommunication is automatic when a schism occurs.  The Archbishop has been extremely patient, giving these people every opportunity to come back into the fold.  When they went into the free agent market and hired a priest, that was the last straw.

  • John,

    In my question to Deacon Mike, what I meant by “regular folk” was, the registered parishioners of St. Stanislaus, which I have read number only about 450. 

    Please try to refrain from nitpicking what I said, it wasn’t even addressed to you.

  • John, why do you insist on relying merely on the numbers game?  I mean, I don’t care if it were 20,000 people cheering on an excommunicated priest with a checkered past at an illicit mass, it still would not be health.  Rather it’s more the case of your mother still asking the question…so if everybody else jumped out the window to their deaths, would you?  And if you think the hierarchy hasn’t been in compromise with the laity all these years, you’ve been sleeping just about as long as Rip Van Winkle…well, at least for around 40 years or so.  And look what that has brought.  When a valid authority finally plays by the book of canon law, created in order to keep unity within the Church (you know, the deepest desire of Jesus), you get a response of complete disobedience, even unto endangering souls for all eternity.  Fault the authorities for being lax all of these years, but don’t applaud the dissident and unruly results of that lack of attention.

  • Zita,

    As this is a public forum, I think your comments are fair game to a retort.  You characterization of churchgoers as a “horde” is worthy of an anti-Catholic pamphlet of the 1840’s. 


    What is the magic number of devout Catholics to drive away?  All Catholics but you and Archbishop Burke? 

    So excommunicating people gets us unity?  That is worthy of George Orwell. 


  • Deacon Mike,

    As the corporation was separate from the Archdiocese, I would assume they can change their charter and bylaws at will.

    It looks to me that if the parish ever fails, via AB Burke’s proposal, the Archdiocese controls the holding company in which the Parish assets default, and can do as they please with them.  Now, by excommunicating the board and a hired priest, the Parish is set up to fail, and the holding company defaults to the Archdiocese.

    Am I missing something?


  • The only unity is the unity found in the truth.  All other attempts at unity are illusory.  So lying to people in the name of “unity” which is just some sort of temporary consensus is not unity.  It’s just fast-talk.

    There are a fair number of people who just don’t think very deeply.  Don’t be one of them.

  • John Powers:
    If you are as informed as you claim to be on the matter, then your keybord is betraying you. Have you read Deacon Mike’s brief explanation?  Have you read the actually documents? Do you understand that this is not about MONEY or ASSETS?

    Here a bit of background info…

    Parish Corporation Structure in 1891
    -A Missouri benevolent corporation formed 1891
    -Archbishop appoints six directors and successor directors, Pastor is also a director
    -Any dispute/controversy among directors is referred to Archbishop whose decision is final and binding
    -The powers of the corporation MUST be exercised in accord with Church law, any amendment to the By-laws must not conflict with Church law
    -Upon dissolution of the corporation, all assets become the property of the Archbishop
    Parish Corporation Structure as Amended in 2004 WITHOUT the approval of the Archbishop (in violation of original by-laws)
    -A Missouri benevolent corporation formed 1891
    -Directors are elected by the parishioners; the Pastor is also a director
    -Archbishop has no authority with respect to the corporation and all references to the Archbishop or the Archdiocese have been removed from the By-laws
    -Upon dissolution of corporation, the parish assets are to be transferred to a Roman Catholic religious organization promoting Polish language and heritage, selected by the Board

    It’s not too difficult to see the major differences in the illegal modifications of the by-laws.  The board has basically “taken over” the parish.

    For those who would like to understand more about Catholic parishes in the US, I would suggest The Canonical and Civil Status of Catholic Parishes in the United States by by Fr. Charles Augustine (c 1926).  It provides all of the history and background on how such structures came into being.

  • MCatholic,
    Your deep thoughts are very much appreciated, but not very illuminating.  Yes I have read the Archdiocese Documents, and your insult is cheerfully collected with the rest of them I have received from such a warm-hearted and devout blog.  What is your point?

    I am glad to hear this is not about money or asssets.  Please copy this to the Chancery in St. Louis so that they will know this as well.

    Illegal? Then why isn’t this in civil court?  Does not seem illegal to me for the people in control of a corporation to change its bylaws.


  • Irslattery,

    Thank you for an excellent summary of what’s gone on. For the sake of the timeline, I would add that there was a revision in 2001 which triggered the current crisis.  Not as radical as the 2004 by-laws, it did take away the Archbishop’s right to approve directors and to review the corporation’s financial records.

    To Zita’s question, it’s hard to say what regular parishioners are thinking.  As you know, all quotes in our local news media have been from those supporting the schism.  Obtaining quotes from those not in attendance at St. Stanislaus would require some effort on the part of the news media, something that’s been completely lacking in this situation.

    Yes, there were 1,500-2,000 people in attendance.  There were also 65,000 people at the Rams’ game on Christmas Eve.  That doesn’t make the Rams are a football team!  Since there were only a few hundred parishioners of St. Stan’s before this all started, it’s fair to say that the large majority of those attending were there to spite the Archbishop.

    I think it’s also important to say, again, that Archbishop Burke did not excommunicate anyone.  Church law makes excommunication AUTOMATIC for certain acts.  The board excommunicated themselves when they publicly separated themselves from communion (ex-communi-cate) with the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Deacon Mike:
    I know you have followed this quite closely and are well aware of the issues and are to be commended for helping to expose the lies and falsehoods.  Unfortunately though, there are others who elect to close their eyes to the facts of the matter and buy the spin put out by the board and others.

    Perhaps, the following will help you see that the issue is not about money but about removing the   administrative oversight to be governed by the Archbishop as the original by-laws stipulated.  As far as any lawsuit is concerned, it is my understanding that this is still an option.

    I received another ‘synopsis’ this past year from an Archdiocese official, to supplement the one I had put together with the help of others.  This synopsis stated, in part:
    The Board of Directors was to function as an advisory body to the parish priest in accordance with the norms in force at that time. Those norms included:
    * the legislation of the Plenary Councils of Baltimore (1852, 1866, 1884),
    * the declaration of Pope Gregory XVI of August 12, 1841, and
    * the letter Non sine mango of Pope Pius VII of August 22, 1822.
    . . .
    In 1978, 2001 and 2004 the Board of Directors, without the approval of the Archbishop of St. Louis, made revisions to the bylaws which removed the power of the Archbishop to appoint the directors of the corporation, to resolve disputes among the members of the Board of Directors and to be the recipient of the assets of the corporation upon its dissolution. By this action the revised bylaws violated directly the norms of the 1917 Code of Canon Law as well as all prior legislation.

    Hope this helps in furthering the understanding of the matter.

  • lr and DeaconMike,

    Can you explain to me why a secular corporation is governed by Canon Law? 

    If I start a gas station, that donates gas to a parish do I need permission from the Archbishop to run it?  Can the Archbishop sell my gas station if he doesn’t think it is doing enough business


  • The argument that it’s “all about the money” seems absurd to me. (then again, I am a simple housewife, what do I know?) 

    But what if some renegades in my little semi-rural, fiscally strapped parish decided:  Hey, we don’t like Archdiocesan meddling and governance, and can run this operation better ourselves.  We boot Father D. off the premises and hire someone else as pastor. 

    Does anyone seriously think the Archbishop is just going to shrug and say…eh, what do I care, that parish wasn’t worth any money…?

    No, there would be a lightning fast smack-down, baby, and the Burke-bashers and anti-Catholics would whine that he’s mean and only did that because we were poor and couldn’t fight back.

    No matter what the man does, it’s going to be “wrong”.

  • “Can you explain to me why a secular corporation is governed by Canon Law?”

    Because the corporation was formed to operate a Roman Catholic Church under the Authority of the Archbishop of St. Louis.

  • Can you explain to me why a secular corporation is governed by Canon Law?

    Article 1 of the original by-laws states, “The corporate power of the corporation shall, under the laws of the State of Missouri, be exercised in conformity with the principles and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, and in accordance with such rules and regulations as may be established from time to time, for the government of said church, by the Roman Catholic Archbishop in the Diocese of St. Louis, or by his authority.”

  • And then if the corporation changes such bylaws, what would happen? It looks to me just like what we are seeing today: a state of jurisdictional limbo needing less excommunication and some more negotiation. 

    This can’t be that hard to figure out. 


  • John,

    This can’t be that hard to figure out.


    It isn’t. You (and the folks at St. Stan’s) just aren’t hearing the answer you want. The Church is not a gas station. If less excommunication is wanted, do less things that invoke automatic excommunication, that would be my advice…


  • It isn’t hard to figure out if you look at the facts.  Unfortunately, the facts are being obscurred by those who have other axes to grind with the Archgishop and the Church.  If you follow the various blogs and forums on the topic, the vast majority of the anti-Burke/anti-Church posters include references to other issues, primarily the abuse crisis, abortion, marriage, and Archbishop’s stand on anti-life “Catholic” politicians and voting.

    There have been more than 60 parishes closed in this area.  Outside of those directly affected, there has been virtually no protest.  Why are so many people interested in a Polish parish with about 400 members?  That’s not hard to figure out either.

    It really has nothing to do with St. Stanislaus or their alleged millions of dollars.  It has everything to do with dissent from the Church.

  • RS,

    But a corporation is just another corporation in the eyes of the state.  The Archbishop standing with the state is just a fired member of the Board. 

    From what I have read, and what Deacon and LR note above, the corporation changed its bylaws to boot the Archbishop.  Now the Archbishop wants back in, and the corporation will not budge.  For some reason the Archbishop thinks this can be solved via Canon Law, but there is a well funded corporation with an excommunicant Board of Directors, an newly excommunicant Priest and 2000 Roman Catholics that are not in agreement.  Has this gone to civil court? What a mess!

    I keep heading to the simple solution…if St. Stans wants a Priest, they have money, pay them with Parish funds rather than Archdiosocean Funds.  The Priest would be communicant with the Archbishop, but not in the Archdiocese hierarchy, much like a Franciscan or Dominican Parish (there are hundreds of these in the USA).

    How hard is that?  Deacon Mike and I came up with a similar solution a few weeks ago.


  • John,

    I think it’s time you studied Church teaching and stopped putting civil law and libertarian politics before Catholic faith. This is not just a civil corporation, it is a Catholic parish.

    Every priest’s ministry in a particular diocese is an extension of the bishop’s ministry. The bishop is THE priest of the local church. Ordained priests are granted faculties by the bishop, i.e. permission and authority, to exercise ministry, whether they are religious order or diocesan.

    To fail to be in communion with the bishop is to fail to be in communion with the Church.

    But you don’t want to hear this. Every time someone offers a reasonable explanation, you ignore it and continue insisting on that which has been explained away. You are being obstinate and you refuse to comprehend what you being told.

    In other words, further discussion of this with you will be fruitless until you actually address what people tell you. And until you learn what the Catholic faith you profess actually holds.

  • John:
    It really isn’t too difficult to figure out.  The adversarial demeanor and character of a few St Stanislaus parishioners seems to have begun about 60 years ago or so and starts ‘percolating’ (it may even be earlier than this). 

    We must not lose sight of the fact that the parish was established in 1880…the corporation was started in 1891, and that year, Archbishop Kenrick conveyed the property to the civil corporation. 

    How did the adversarial attitude start?  Not really certain but some facts might have some bearing.

    About the time of the corporate structuring of St. Stans, the Pope had declared that parishes should not be under the control of civil corporations with lay boards of directors.

    This declaration of the Holy Father was not uniformly applied until the adoption of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

    By 1951, all parishes of the Archdiocese of St. Louis which had this structure were brought into conformity with Church law, except for St. Stanislaus.

    Why did St Stans not conform?  Not sure, really…But…

    Financial irregularities began to surface at St Stans as early as Archbishop John Glennon’s episcopacy, at which time the then-Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Monsignor John Cody, sent a letter dated March 29, 1943 to the pastor of the parish.

    In this letter Monsignor Cody explained that, by order of the Archbishop, only the pastor of the parish was authorized to sign checks on parish accounts.

    Then-Archbishop John Glennon also requested that the necessary changes be made to the parish structure to conform to Church law as every other parish was required to do.  It never happened.  Within 8 years ALL parishes were in conformity except this one.

    Later, in the 1950’s & 60’s, Cardinal Joseph Ritter addressed other aspects of the irregular situation at the parish and sought to have them corrected.  Never happened here either.

    About this time an adversarial attitude toward the Archdiocese became apparent when the then-Pastor Monsignor Joseph Pawlowski was publicly ridiculed at a parish meeting in the school hall and prevented from completing his presentation about the regularization of the irregular circumstance of the parish.

    A spirit of independence and autonomy had become rooted by this time.  The rest is basically all we hear about – how the evil Archbishop want the money to pay for sex abuse lawsuits. 

    Had the by-laws not been changed, and if the Archbishop still had authority over the parish for the appointment of pastors, etc., it seems reasonable, at least to me, that the ‘irregularities’ would not have become such a major issue. 

    Had the board continued operating as it had previously and had it not usurped for itself those powers reserved to the Archbishop and pastor, most people would probably never have heard about St Stanislaus – and we would not be having this conversation.

  • Dom and LR,

    Any consideration to my (pretty reasonble) suggestion that

    “if St. Stans wants a Priest, they have money, pay them with Parish funds rather than Archdiosocean Funds.  The Priest would be communicant with the Archbishop, but not in the Archdiocese hierarchy, much like a Franciscan or Dominican Parish (there are hundreds of these in the USA)”


  • John, here’s an example even you can understand:

    You (John Powers), the mayor of Boston and I make an agreement to run a public school in the city of Boston.

    We sign the agreement, which says in part that nobody can modify the agreement unless all signatories agree to the modification.

    Ten years later, you and I rewrite the agreement and remove all reference to the mayor of Boston.

    Under your rationale (above), you and I have every right to do that, and Mayor Menino and his successors have nothing to say (now) about how a public school in the city of Boston is to be run.

    Is this just?

    And, please, address the example.  Debate does not occur when one party sticks his fingers in his ears and keeps repeating the same line, over and over . . .

  • But a corporation is just another corporation in the eyes of the state.  The Archbishop standing with the state is just a fired member of the Board.

    This is clearly not so!…and the book I recommended earlier would clear up this confusion.  One must know the history of these things in order to understand how and why these things came into being and why the Church, after seeing the problems, particularly in the US, began to address them.  The State allows certain juridical entities to be established for the purpose stated in its charter.  Rather than misquote or cause further confusion, I will address this aspect at a later time when I have the book before me.

  • observer,

    Debate does not occur when one side insists on name calling and general vile behavior.  I see no reason for you to address me without leading with an apology. 


    After the Archbishop was fired (if the firing and change of charter was legal), what business is it of his what a private corporation does?  Sounds purely civil.


  • John, you see no reason to address the issue because you know you can’t.  You accuse me of “name calling and generally vile behavior.”  Sorry, not buying it.  My address to you has been no more “vile” than your address of the Archbishop and the chancery.

    So, either be honest and address the question at hand, or do not—and be counted for what you are.

  • “I will not respond….I will not respond….I will not respond…has he stopped asking those terribly difficult questions that I can’t answer?…..I will not respond….”

    JBP – I don’t know what you mean by “behave like a gentleman,” since you’ve shown no evidence that you can do that either.  Unless, of course, by that you mean being obstinate.

  • John,

    Don’t be obnoxious. Scroll up and read it. This is why I think you’re not serious about this. You are in serious danger of becoming a troll, which in my book warrants suspension of posting privileges. I won’t tolerate people who purposefully provoke others.

    Your questions have been answered over and over again, yet you return with obstinacy by asking the same questions over and over.

    This is not about civil law. This is about the Church and the correct relationship between Catholics and their bishop. If you can’t address it at that level, then don’t bother.

  • Hi Dom,

    Here is the last post I see from you


    I think it’s time you studied Church teaching and stopped putting civil law and libertarian politics before Catholic faith. This is not just a civil corporation, it is a Catholic parish.

    Every priest’s ministry in a particular diocese is an extension of the bishop’s ministry. The bishop is THE priest of the local church. Ordained priests are granted faculties by the bishop, i.e. permission and authority, to exercise ministry, whether they are religious order or diocesan.

    To fail to be in communion with the bishop is to fail to be in communion with the Church.

    But you don’t want to hear this. Every time someone offers a reasonable explanation, you ignore it and continue insisting on that which has been explained away. You are being obstinate and you refuse to comprehend what you being told.

    In other words, further discussion of this with you will be fruitless until you actually address what people tell you. And until you learn what the Catholic faith you profess actually holds.”

    In that I did not see a response to my query, which is basically…

    why not let the parish live or die on their own?

    What am I missing?  Is there a post not showing?

  • Yes Dom,

    Of course I already knew that.  But, with the Cardinals permission, hundreds of Parishes, Missions, Chapels do hire their own priest…which leads the simple solution: Archbishop Burke provides permission but not funds to hire a priest.  SStans hires a priest and is responsible to pay him.  . 

    Case closed?


  • Parish, missions, and chapels don’t hire their own priests. I don’t know where you’re getting this, but you’ve been misinformed.

    This isn’t simply about hiring and firing. Once again you are looking at something fundamental to faith in terms of business or politics.

    And I’m done discussing it.

  • Dom,

    Next month when our parish secretary writes out its paycheck to our priest, I will tell the parish council that we were misinformed. I don’t think the Bishop is going to buy it, but it is worth a try.


  • Since it’s the pastor who signs the check, I don’t think it matters.

    But of course since you can’t help but think of the Church as a secular corporation and not as the Body of Christ, and you seem to have no sense of the Catholic faith as a divine institution, I wonder what kind of job your pastor is doing to inform your faith anyway.

  • Dom,

    Rest assured, instruction in Faith has very little to do with getting paychecks to priests.  It is mostly a matter of fundraising, banking, and inking a check. 

    There are hundreds if not thousands of corporations that have some ties to the Roman Catholic Church (What is now Charter One Bank, for a huge example, was incorporated by the Parish of St. Paul in Chicago), that are absolutely not the Roman Catholic Church. 

    If one cannot see the multiple ways to run Catholic Related institutions, we are doomed to repeat the mess that we see now in St. Louis.  I think AB Burke has had his fill of St. Stans, (and St. Stans of the AB) which should reduce the incentive for such miserable behavior.