A change of heart? No, notice the word “Catholic” in the title of this post. Perhaps the least-known injustice caused by the St. Stan’s dissenters in their recent sordid history is to cause the impression that Polish Catholics are on one side and the Archbishop is on the other.
However, there were many brave, faithful Polish Catholics who were forced to leave St. Stanislaus parish because of the outrageous actions of the former parish Board. These people have been true to the faith, and have suffered the loss of their lifelong parish and of many of their friends and family. Not through the unjust actions of the Archbishop, but through the unjust actions of the Board. Yet these people are not the media darlings that Bozek and the diversity crowd are. At first located at St. John the Evangelist downtown, they have been granted a new personal parish
at St. Agatha’s
just south of the brewery, a beautiful
church formerly home to the Latin Mass community.
One could ask, why did they not seek to publicize their position? Well, they did. As this blog was not around in 2005, I could not have posted the following letter sooner. I apologize for waiting as long as I have. But with the same accuracy and efficacy of Cassandra, these brave Polish Catholics issued an open letter in support of Archbishop Burke in 2005. The title of their open letter was unfortunately accurate:
AN APPEAL THAT WILL NEVER MAKE THE NEWS
FROM A GROUP OF ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA PARISHIONERS
February 21, 2005
Dear Friends in the Archdiocese of St. Louis:
Since March 2004 Catholics in the St. Louis area have been affected by a dispute between the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and the lay board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish which illegally took away control of the parish corporation from the Roman Catholic Church.
The conflict escalated after the board refused to bring the parish civil structure into conformity with Church law that clearly states that the pastor appointed by the Archbishop, not a group of laymen who assign the pastor the role of an employee, has ultimate authority regarding parish life.
As a result of the board’s defiance, manifested by offensive behavior of board members towards our priests, in August 2004 Archbishop Burke transferred the parish center to St. John, Apostle and Evangelist Church in downtown St. Louis. [As indicated above, now at the personal parish of St. Agatha]. Parishioners who support Archbishop Burke continue to celebrate the Mass in Polish there and the parish continues to thrive.
Many Catholics in the St. Louis Archdiocese have initially expressed support for the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Parish. This was a result of an intensive media campaign conducted by the board of directors and their supporters.
The main objective of the board seems to be to discredit Archbishop Burke, damage his reputation, and portray the parish community as a victim of his demands. Secular media not only disregarded the existence of parishioners supporting Archbishop Burke, but also distorted the truth about the background of the conflict.
One such distortion relates to the fact that St. Stanislaus Kostka parishioners supporting Archbishop Burke refused to participate in January 9th voting which was orchestrated as another publicity exploit by the board of directors and its media advisers.
Although the board and their spokesmen loudly attempt to portray themselves as representatives of St. Stanislaus parish community, in reality they represent only a group of supporters who choose to affirm them. This critical distinction was never made by the media.
Support for the “Save St. Stan’s” campaign mounted by the board of directors is provided from many sources interested in destroying the unity of the Roman Catholic Church.
…The public scandal caused by the board, which has been instrumental in swaying the opinions of many of its supporters, and of the general public, has created much pain in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and in the community at large.
… Over the last several years members of the board fostered a culture of blatant disrespect for the Church as well as for many members of the parish community. There is ongoing speculation about the reasons the board of directors changed corporate by-laws and assumed control over the parish finances. It is apparent that this situation exempted the board from the strict accountability required of all other parishes of the Roman Catholic Church.
Contrary to public declarations, the board refused to conduct an independent financial audit by a certified public accountant, and to disclose details of parish operations, including procedures for awarding contracts and service agreements. The change of corporate bylaws was done with premeditation through amendments in 2001 and 2004. This itself is a clear violation of the original 1891 corporate bylaws, which explicitly state that corporation bylaws must be in conformance with diocesan rules, regulations and requirements.
…We are deeply concerned that the actions taken by the board of directors are clearly intended to weaken the authority of the Holy See and of Archbishop Burke. We reject the board’s rhetoric comparing their role to that of Solidarity in the fight for the freedom of Poland. This comparison is simply insulting to many of us who are parishioners, and who personally participated in the fight for the freedom of Poland, and drew our strength and inspiration from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
…We reject the notion of separating St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish from the Roman Catholic Church. We call on the board of directors of the parish civil corporation to stop the campaign of hostility and animosity towards the Catholic Church, and its leaders in Rome and in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, a campaign that knowingly, deliberately, and publicly has damaged seriously the unity of the Roman Catholic community.
None of us – Roman Catholics in St. Louis Archdiocese – should remain disinterested in this matter. This conflict is a test of our judgment as Catholics, a test of our ability to clearly comprehend the complexity of the situation, and of our courage to make a conscientious choice.
We appeal to all Catholics the in St. Louis Archdiocese to express strong support for Archbishop Burke in his efforts to resolve this matter. …
ST. STANISLAUS KOSTKA PARISH ADVISORY COMMITTEE
God will reward those who remain faithful to Him in the face of hardship, calumny and persecution. God bless these faithful souls, and all of the Polish Catholics of St. Louis who stood for the cause of justice.
This letter highlights the true agenda of the Board– already visible in 2005 and now in full panoply– the destruction of Catholic unity and doctrine. The Bozek fiasco is the product of this; the Board is reaping what it has sown.