Father Karl W. Lenhardt, Vice Provincial for the United States of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest will celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on EWTN this September 14, 2008. This date, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, marks the first anniversary of the effective date of Summorum Pontificum.
The disaster to the formerly Catholic parish of St. Stanislaus that is Marek Bozek gets more media attention in Sunday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch with an article titled “Hero? Heretic? A Parish Divided“.
But more than two years later,Bozek has reshaped the church into a community that would be unrecognizable to those 19th-century founders.
But they have also divided the church, pitting newer members against traditional parishioners unhappy with how far the priest has gone in condemning the Roman Catholic church.
There have also been questions about the priest’s trappings. He has negotiated a 143 percent salary hike, moved into a $157,000 Washington Avenue loft and leased a 2008 BMW for $450 per month.
Some parishioners point to another sign that alarmed them:Bozek, while in Poland last year, bought a silver ring custom-made for a bishop there. When he returned, he showed the ring to his parish at a Sunday Mass and spoke about it from the pulpit.
Because it’s a bishop’s ring and he is only a priest,Bozek says, he has not worn it. But he won’t say he never will — he does not rule out the possibility of becoming the leader of what he calls an “underground Roman Catholic” movement.
The three parish leaders who recruitedBozek say they now regret it.
“They’re concerned about the path of the church and where he’s leading them,” Bach said. “A lot of the old parishioners don’t consider the new ones parishioners at all.”Grzegorz Koltuniak, a longtime parishioner, calls Bozek’s tenure at St. Stanislaus “a disaster.”
“BeforeBozek, we were all together,” he said. “Our fight was about property, but never about religion. The people who have come here since then are here for different reasons. … Where are they taking this church?”
MarybethMcBryan, one of the church’s newer members, said she came to St. Stanislaus because it was more inclusive and accepting than her previous parish.
“There’s a group of parishioners who have been there a long time and who don’t like change,”McBryan said. “They are not very fond of us who are not Polish.”
Timothy Kyle, who joined the church about six months ago, says longtime members wantBozek “to break the rules important to them, but not stand up for the ideals and beliefs he has himself.”
“If you hire someone who doesn’t follow along the dotted line,” Kyle said, “you can’t expect him to follow it when you want him to.”
He wanted to move out of the rectory. He wanted a big salary bump. And he wanted a new car. He got what he wanted.
He moved into a downtown loft; he started driving a new BMW; and his salary jumped to $56,000 from $24,000.
The Vatican has not yet ruled on the matter. ButBozek has already been planning for a St. Stanislaus whose ties to the Vatican could be severed.
In May, he said he’d been in talks with Married Priests Now! representatives. The organization is led by Archbishop EmmanuelMilingo, an excommunicated Zambian archbishop who is married. The group, funded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, promotes a married priesthood.
News of theMilingo talks angered some parishioners, and Bozek backed away. He now insists that the church will remain Roman Catholic.
But if the archdiocese refuses to make peace, he said, St. Stanislaus could join with other “independent” churches — inside and outside St. Louis — to form an “underground Roman Catholic church.”
For example, he has been in discussions with Rose Marie Hudson and ElsieMcGrath, the two women ordained as Roman Catholic Womenpriest clerics. They are co-pastors of a congregation of about 25 people called the Therese of Divine Peace Inclusive Community in St. Louis. Bozek also has spoken with the Rev. Frank Krebs — pastor of the 90-member Sts. Clare & Francis in Webster Groves, which is separate from the Vatican — about joining Bozek’s “underground” network.
For now, he hangs on to the silver bishop ring he bought while in Poland last year. He spotted it at his favorite jeweler in his hometown, and it was made for a former teacher of his, an auxiliary bishop in a Polish diocese.
That bishop actually asked for two rings to be made. He kept a gold version, but left the silver ring — adorned only with a Jerusalem cross — behind.
WouldBozek accept a call to be the bishop of an “underground” Roman Catholic church?
“Yes,” he said. “I would do it.”
From HSLDA comes the news that the California Court of Appeals has decided 3-0 to reverse its infamous ruling that homeschooling was not allowed in California unless the parents were certified teachers.
A Great Victory for California Homeschoolers
In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that “California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.”
Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.
“It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,” said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, “but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.”
When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs. “I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling,” said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney, Jeff Shafer who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.
California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.
We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your prayers and support during this trying season.
The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.
See if you can stomach this photo slideshow at STLToday. Photo 15 is particularly vile.