15 January 2008

Worth Repeating: Q&A on Former St. Stanislaus Parish

From the Archdiocese's website:

Questions and Answers: The Status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation

The following provides a brief digest of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation and its Board of Directors. The questions and answers may help place recent media reports in context and provide additional information for a more thorough and complete understanding of the status of the corporation and its board. 

Q. What is the current status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church?

A. St. Stanislaus Kostka is no longer recognized by the Vatican, the Archdiocese of St. Louis, or even the Internal Revenue Service as being part of the Roman Catholic Church. On December 29, 2005, because of the decision of the Board of Directors to commit an act of schism, and hire, on their own authority, their own minister of worship, the parish was suppressed. Since that date, St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation has existed outside of the Catholic Church’s canonical structure. 

Q. Since St. Stanislaus is no longer a parish of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, why has the Archdiocese continued to involve itself with the corporation?

A. Since St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation continues to represent itself as being "Roman Catholic" to the public at large, the Archbishop believed he had a duty to alert all the faithful under his care about these facts. Specifically, in accordance with canon 383, §1, the Archbishop had an additional duty to advise the two new board members, who were baptized as Catholics, that if they persist in their choice, then, in virtue of what Canon Law itself states, and not by a decision of the Archbishop, they will have automatically excommunicated themselves, i.e., placed themselves outside of the communion of the Roman Catholic Church. It is only when it has been determined that the board members have persisted in their choice that the Archbishop would be obliged to declare formally that automatic excommunication has indeed taken place.

Q. Have the new board members been told that they have been excommunicated?

A. No. The Archbishop has not declared that the new board members have been excommunicated. However, the Archbishop has warned them that they have committed one of the offenses that automatically results in excommunication—an act of schism, according to canon 751.

According to canon 1364, §1, of the 
Code of Canon Law, whenever a Catholic commits an act of schism, the same Catholic cuts him or herself off from full communion with the Church, by his or her own actions. If they are fully aware and deliberate in their choice, then they excommunicate themselves.

The Archbishop is waiting to determine if the new board members have taken their actions knowingly and willingly in a fully reflective manner. Only then can the Church, through the bishops, fully understand, and respect, the choices made by its members.

In order to make this determination, and respect their right to defense, the Archbishop has provided each of the new board members a period of 21 days to submit arguments in his or her favor.

Q. Will the new board members be excommunicated? 

A. If the new board members decide to continue not to adhere to the teaching and universal discipline of the Roman Catholic Church, then, by their own actions, they will have chosen a different path which is not that of the belief system of the Roman Catholic Church.

Q. Why did the Archdiocese reject the canon lawyer whom the new board members had chosen to represent them?

A. The canon lawyer, whom the new board members freely chose, failed to respond on behalf of his clients before the lawful deadline established by the Archbishop according to Church law. In regular civil law court cases, as in matters of Catholic Church law, when a lawyer representing a client does not submit a brief on time, or even ask for a continuance from the judge before a deadline, a client’s welfare can be very seriously jeopardized.

Q. Doesn’t the canon lawyer who has been appointed work for the Archdiocese? Wouldn’t there be a conflict of interest here?

A. No. According to canons 1483 and 1487 of the Code of Canon Law, for serious reasons, namely, when a freely chosen canon lawyer will not respect established deadlines lawfully established by a judge, then, the judge, or bishop, has the right to reject or remove the lawyer’s appointment. This is not only out of the bishop’s fundamental concern for the right of due process for his clients, whose status and rights can be seriously jeopardized by their lawyer’s non-observance of established deadlines, but also because the bishop has an obligation under Canon Law to make sure that a canon lawyer is filing work for his clients on time.

Q. Why can’t the Archdiocese just let the matter of St. Stanislaus rest? Isn’t it all just water under the bridge?

A. St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, by its continued use of the term "Roman Catholic," is leading faithful to believe that it is still part of the Roman Catholic Church. Since this is in fact no longer the case, the Archdiocese has not only the right but also the duty to warn its faithful whenever a false understanding might lead them to believe otherwise.

Moreover, whenever the sacraments of the Church are not conferred validly, or whenever grave violations of faith or morals jeopardize the eternal salvation of Her faithful, the Church has an obligation to act. In this case, the priest currently hired by St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation is not validly administering, outside of instances where there is the danger of death, the sacraments of Confirmation, Confession, or Marriage to faithful who come to him for assistance. Apart from that significant concern, because that priest is ministering in complete canonical illegality, any faithful who attends and receives sacraments outside the danger of death commits a mortal sin, endangering his or her eternal salvation.

1 comment:

Berolinensis said...

"because that priest is ministering in complete canonical illegality, any faithful who attends and receives sacraments outside the danger of death commits a mortal sin"

That would apply to SSPX priests as well, wouldn't it?