In the aftermath of each of the disciplinary actions of Archbishop Burke in his short but great tenure as Shepherd of the Saint Louis Catholic flock, the affected dissidents and their supporters decried the “harsh” or “legalistic” or “punitive” approach of His Grace.
Q & A Regarding Reconciliation of Saint Stanislaus Board Members and Lawsuit
Q. What is the status of Saint Stanislaus Parish Corporation and the Archdiocese of St. Louis?
A. Saint Stanislaus Parish Corporation is no longer a part of the Roman Catholic Church. Since December 2005 nine board members, including Rev. Marek Bozek, were declared to have excommunicated themselves from the Church. The excommunications came after board members offered the job of pastor to Rev. Bozek, who is not in good standing with the Catholic Church, and Rev. Bozek accepted. Only the archbishop can appoint priests to parishes.Since June 2008, one former and three current board members have reconciled with the Catholic Church.For a comprehensive background of the issue, log onto www.archstl.org.
Q. What is the most recent development?
A. In June, Mrs. Bernice Krauze, Mr. Stanley Rozanski, and Mr. Robert Zabielski, members of the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Parish Corporation, met with Archbishop Burke to be reconciled fully with the Catholic Church. They are once again in full communion with the Catholic Church and are no longer under any censure. This reconciliation closely followed that of Mr. Edward Florek, a former board member who also reconciled himself with the Catholic Church.This morning (Wednesday, July 23, 2008), the three joined other parishioners of the former Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish in filing a lawsuit against the Saint Stanislaus Parish Corporation. The lawsuit is asking for the corporation to adhere to the Articles of Agreement and 1891 Bylaws, to which the parish and the Archdiocese of St. Louis had agreed. If the lawsuit is successful, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is prepared to appoint Father Michael Marchlewski, S.J., as administrator to Saint Stanislaus.
Q. What is included in the Bylaws of 1891?
A. The original Articles of Agreement, which have not been changed, include the following purposes: to unite Polish Roman Catholics in a church congregation; to maintain a Polish Roman Catholic Church; and to encourage attendance at Roman Catholic religious services. Those involved in the lawsuit believe the current and proposed bylaws do not now, and will not in the future, provide for a corporation which can be the civil incorporation of a Roman Catholic parish.
Q. Under what authority are the plaintiffs allowed to sue Saint Stanislaus Corporation?
A. They are all members of the former parish, and contributors to the corporation. Most are members or former members of the Board of Directors.
Q. Why are they filing a civil lawsuit if this is a Church issue?
A. The parish property is owned by a civil corporation, and the civil corporation’s principal purpose is to maintain a Polish Roman Catholic Church. Over the course of several years, the board of directors has amended the bylaws of the parish corporation. These amendments are incompatible with how a Roman Catholic parish is administrated.
Q. Why are they filing the lawsuit now?
A. Last month, three board members reconciled themselves with the Catholic Church, and personally asked the archbishop for help in reconciling the parish with the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This is the result of several interested parties joining together and working to bring Saint Stanislaus back into the Roman Catholic Church.
Q. What happens to Rev. Marek Bozek?
A. Rev. Bozek is a priest who has excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church, and is not in good standing. If the lawsuit is successful, Rev. Michael Marchlewski, S.J., will begin working at the church as administrator.
Q. What happens to the Saint Stanislaus Corporation?
A. If the lawsuit is successful, the corporation will exist, but under the terms of the 1891 Bylaws.
Q. Does the archdiocesan administrator have the authority to file the suit?
A. Yes. Bishop Hermann has the authority and responsibility to continue the work that was in process under the previous archbishops.
Q. The Saint Stanislaus Corporation voted to disband the Board. Does this lawsuit mean those people are still on the Board?
A. This lawsuit does not address the vote that occurred in June to disband the Board of Directors.
Information about the case,Bernice Krauze et al. v. Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Parish, is available at the court’s website. Included in the list of plaintiffs are current and former Board Members, other parishioners, as well as the Most Reverend Robert J. Hermann, Archdiocesan Administrator.
Also expected to be announced at the press conference is the news that four St. Stanislaus Board Members have now been reconciled with the Church. They are, in addition to Ed Florek (previously announced), Bernice Krauze, Stanley Rozanski, and Robert Zabielski.
The Post-Dispatchhas just posted the story as well:
3 more St. Stans board members reconcile
By Tim Townsend and Heather Ratcliffe
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The St. Louis Archdiocese filed suit today against the St. Stanislaus Kostka church in an attempt to regain control of the former Polish parish.
Six parishioners, including three recent board members, joined the archdiocese in the suit. They are asking a St. Louis judge to void any changes to the St. Stanislaus’ bylaws since 2001 and give the archbishop the authority to appoint a pastor and board there.
Last month, the St. Stanislaus board voted 4-3 to dissolve itself and allow parishioners to elect a new board at its annual meeting in August. Eight St. Stanislaus board members had been declared excommunicated by Archbishop Raymond Burke.
According to the archdiocese, the three board members who lost that vote – Bernice Krauze, Stanley Rozanski, and Robert Zabielski – were secretly reconciled with the Roman Catholic church last month in a meeting with Burke before Pope Benedict XVI re-assigned him to a new position at the Vatican.
Last month, Edward Florek, a former board member, also reconciled with the church.
The archdiocese’s release said that if the lawsuit is successful, it “is prepared to appoint a Catholic priest, Rev. Michael Marchlewski, SJ, to St. Stanislaus as administrator.”