Two at St. Stan to ask for priest's removal
By Tim O'Neil
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
ST. LOUIS — Two members of St. Stanislaus Kostka church say they will ask Sunday for the removal of its pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, on grounds that he is promoting ideas contrary to Roman Catholicism, such as his offer to give Communion to people who aren't Catholic.
The Polish-heritage church itself is embroiled in a long-running battle with Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has stripped the parish of its Catholic standing and declared Bozek and the parish board members excommunicated.
But the two parishioners who want Bozek removed say the parish's dispute with Burke is over money and control, not dogma.
Roger Krasnicki, former spokesman for the St. Stanislaus board, and Alice Kaminski of St. Peters said they plan to attend the board meeting Sunday afternoon to press for Bozek's removal. They said they speak for many members of the parish.
William Bialczak, board chairman, said they were welcome to speak. As for sentiment to remove Bozek, Bialczak said, "This is the first I've heard of it."
Reached Thursday evening, Bozek said he was aware of the criticism and said his detractors "make up a small group of maybe a dozen, against 400 who are very happy with the parish. ... I am not changing any matter of our faith."
Krasnicki and Kaminski, both of whom say they no longer attend Sunday Mass at St. Stanislaus, said Bozek upset many parishioners when he recently announced during Mass his support for the ordination of women as priests and for offering Communion to anyone who approaches the altar, not just Catholics. Bialczak confirmed that Bozek took those stands.
Krasnicki said there was concern "that Father Bozek is straying far afield from Roman Catholicism." Said Kaminski, "We're still a Catholic church, and we should be following the rules and dogma of the church."
In November, Bozek was among clerical celebrants at a ceremony at Central Reform Congregation at which two women were ordained priests by a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
This is really very important news. It would be easy to point out that the reason why maintaining the proper relationship between a parish, or an individual Catholic, and the local ordinary, is to ensure not only visible unity but also dogmatic unity. The Church was established by Christ and is guided by the Holy Ghost. It has two thousand years of experience in Church governance. When the Board, unfortunately aided by many who were naive-- or perhaps ignorant (but in good faith)-- or perhaps misled-- or perhaps complicit-- cut itself off from the Church, it cut itself off from the truth. Now who will check the ascendancy of non-Catholic teaching and practices at St. Stan's? It has to be the Board. Krasnicki is an important player at that place; this could be a very good sign.
But, as I said, better than I-told-you-sos will be prayer that this is a watershed moment for this former parish. If the Board does boot Bozek, perhaps his wacky schismatic followers will ditch the place, too, and follow him to the next barge ordination. If the Board will attempt to uphold Catholic doctrine, it will be some tangible sign (which has not yet been seen) that they really do want to be Catholic, and then they can reconsider the Archbishop's previous offer of holding any assets they have in trust for them. You remember, the offer he made to the Board of an irrevocable trust, that was never given any attention by the media and distorted by the Board to its parishioners?
Pray, pray, pray for this situation.