27 April 2010

St. Stanislaus Reconciliation Nigh? UPDATED

[UPDATE] I am looking into this story, and may have some additional information later. Until then, I have included some additional information from the STLToday story, and add some comments after the article below.

Still praying this is true. From STLToday:

St. Stanislaus appears close to reconciliation

by Tim Townsend

ST. LOUIS — In the strongest evidence yet that the long legal battle between the St. Louis Archdiocese and St. Stanislaus Kostka Church could soon be resolved, the church's pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, told parishioners Sunday that he may be leaving within months to start his own church.

"I told them that I, and the board, have been working hard to reach a settlement (with the archdiocese) that is acceptable to both parties," Bozek said in an interview Monday. "And that if and when we do, I most probably will not be part of the picture at St. Stanislaus."

Bozek said he could not discuss the details of the settlement negotiations, but he said they were "moving forward." He said he was hopeful that "a happy ending" would occur for St. Stanislaus "within months."

"I don't want to be the last standing impediment to those negotiations," he said.

In November, Bozek made a similar announcement to the parish, saying if his departure would be better for the church, he would step down.

Bernard Huger, an attorney for the archdiocese, did not return a call for comment. But in November, Huger said Bozek's presence was not the only obstacle the archdiocese faces in regaining the church.

"The rest of the parish would need to want to get back in communion with the church," Huger said at the time.

St. Stanislaus was founded in the 19th century with a unique structure that allowed it to manage its own finances and property. Tension between church members and the archdiocese heightened in 2004, when former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke demanded that the church conform to the same legal and financial structure as all other parishes.

The church's lay board refused and changed its bylaws to eliminate the archbishop's authority. Burke responded by pulling the church's priests.

In 2005, the lay board named Bozek — then a priest in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese — as its pastor, something only bishops can do.

Burke excommunicated Bozek, along with a succession of lay board members, and stripped the Polish church of its standing as a Roman Catholic parish.

The Polish-born Bozek was hailed as a hero by St. Stanislaus members in 2005 for risking his vocation to lead a church some Catholics felt had been abandoned by the archdiocese. But over the last four years, Bozek's version of Catholicism drove away many of the church's traditional members.

At the same time, his support for homosexuality in the church and women's ordination brought in a new group of parishioners.

In 2008, some of the original excommunicated board members turned against Bozek, and he engineered their removal from the board. A few of them reconciled with the church, then joined the archdiocese in its lawsuit against Bozek and the current board. Pope Benedict XVI laicized Bozek in 2009.

Bozek said Monday he intends to start a new church "that will be Catholic, but not Roman Catholic — not Vatican Catholic — somewhere in St. Louis."

"There's a need among St. Louis Catholics who have been disenfranchised by their church and who are disappointed with their Catholic leaders," Bozek said. "This church will be Catholic, but without Roman Catholic limitations."

Some quick comments:

1. I have to hand it to one of the commenters on this blog, who in the recent post on the replacement of the Seminary Rector speculated that Msgr. Wojcicki, the outgoing Rector and former pastor of St. Stanislaus, might be involved in the process of reconciling St. Stan's to the fold. Now, obviously, this is mere speculation, but the timing is interesting, to say the least. Until I get more, I'll keep it in the "amazingly coincidental" column.

2. Mr. Bozek is indeed the biggest--though of course not the only-- obstacle to the return of the former parish to the Catholic Church. Running 1A as an obstacle is the entrenchment of heresy and schism he will leave in his wake. St. Stan's current reality places it far outside the realm of Catholicism, and it can be considered in no way Catholic. The former parish's leadership promotes and condones sodomitical "unions"; allows manifest public sinners to commit sacrilege by unworthy reception of Holy Communion; promotes schism by its public, heretical teachings and flirtations with protestant and schismatic sects; promotes the fantasy of women priestesses; and actively foments contumely for the Archbishop, and by necessary extension also the Holy Father and the Holy Catholic Church. Removing Bozek begins to heal the breach, but does not complete the healing process.

3. Those Board members who reconciled with the Church, and who helped to bring moral, legal and public relations pressure on the current St. Stan's regime, deserve credit. Though their initial actions in cooperating with the effort to bring Mr. Bozek to town and to disobey their Archbishop have reaped the whirlwind, the mercy of God is infinite, and they have taken great steps to repair the damage. May God continue to bless their efforts, and show them mercy.

4. I wonder how Mr. Bozek will like it when the new religious sect he contemplates forming or joining is merely one of the 33,000 protestant sects already out there--whose raison d'etre is merely one of a million quibbles with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church-- and he loses his media glory as a would-be Savonarola to become "Pastor" Marek of the church of the what's happening now. Because 7 minutes after that happens, the media spotlight will be irrevocably lost to him. I pray that such an occurrence will give him the time and space he needs for serious reflection on the state of his soul. Because, of course, should he seek it God's mercy is there for him as well.

5. As for the present time, the article sums up Mr. Bozek's problems pretty well, alluding to "Bozek's version of Catholicism", and quoting the degraded ex-priest as desiring a Catholic, but "not Roman Catholic" church, and one "without Roman Catholic limitations". Anyone's "version" of Catholicism-- other than the visible Catholic Church, established as the one true Church by Christ and governed under the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, to whom and to his successors Christ Himself entrusted her governance-- isn't Catholicism at all.

And that is what this is really all about.


StGuyFawkes said...

Townsend writes,

"the Rev. Marek Bozek, told parishioners Sunday that he may be leaving within months TO START HIS OWN CHURCH."

I thought he had ALREADY started his own church! Oh, never mind. Thank God for the reconciliation and for what will no doubt be a continuing dark comedy provided by the Rev. Marek Bozek.

By the way, this news of a "new church" recommends a re-reading of Flannery O'Connor's "Wise Blood" wherein an itinerent preacher founds the "Church of Christ, Without Christ."

Flannery's harlequin specticles had 20-20 sight of Marek fifty years ago.

St. Guy

Jeff Geerling said...

At least the facts are more or less correct in this story—finally.

Anonymous said...

So, Msgr. Wojcicki to St. Stan's after reconciliation? That would be a good move...seminary presidents have to be pretty savvy politically...

StGuyFawkes said...

Two things to watch in the St. Stan's settlement:

Q. Will the Rev. Marek keep his condo?

A. Yes. It's deeded in his name so presumably he will keep it.

Q. Since Marek says that his new church will not be under the juristiction of the Vatican, or the Archdiocese, OR ANY LARGER CATHOLIC MOVEMENT does that mean that ....could it mean that ...?

A. Yes, he will be Pope.

Q. What name will the Rev. Marek take as Pope?

A. Pope Boguslaw of course
What a career!

Badger Catholic said...

Any thoughts on the deal? Sounds like the church property will be returned to the diocese.

Anonymous said...

I thought the archdiocese offered to place St. Stan's assets in trust, but eventually controlled by the archdiocese. Article did not mention how these would be handled.

thetimman said...

For the record, I received an email from Phillip Lichtenwalter that stated that the comment previously posted here did not come from him.

Therefore, I removed that comment and also the responsive comments that followed it.

Please, if you comment here, use your own name or "screen name"-- you can remain anonymous or give an identifying tag. Please do not pretend to be someone else. It is not charitable and leads to confusion.