No Resolution in Dispute Over Mo. Church
February 5, 2008 – 8:44pm
By CHERYL WITTENAUER
Associated Press Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) – St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke met with an excommunicated priest at the center of a dispute over a Polish-heritage Roman Catholic church on Tuesday, but dismissed the pastor’s reconciliation offer as “offensive to God.”
The Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka church, said he would “seriously consider” leaving the parish and would be willing to repent and publicly apologize – if Burke kept the church open, revoked excommunication and other penalties, and made other concessions.
“The offer is offensive to God because he admits he needs to repent but he puts conditions on it,” Burke said. “People can’t buy reconciliation.”
Burke said in an interview Tuesday that he ordered the priest to appear before him for a “canonical admonition” to make Bozek recognize the “serious wrongs he has done, withdraw from them and make reparation.”
Bozek is under fire for allegedly breaking with the church and for participating in an ordination ceremony for two Catholic women in November.
Burke said he is particularly troubled by Bozek’s “invalid celebration” of sacraments as an excommunicated priest suspended from priestly duties two years ago. He also said issues surrounding Bozek and St. Stanislaus must be dealt with separately.
Bozek said that he has never questioned church dogma on matters of faith, but that he “cannot obey rules and edicts that are untrue, unjust and uncharitable.”
Burke said Bozek’s problem is “he thinks he’s the pope,” Burke said. “He thinks I’m operating out of a narrow prism of rules and out of touch with reality. I’m operating out of the … Gospel.”
Burke and Bozek are scheduled to meet again March 5.
“It doesn’t look very good right now,” Burke said, adding he has prayed daily for a resolution.