Today, I read an article in Zenit about the decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to confirm an earlier declaration from the St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to excommunicate the board of directors of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation ( formerly, St. Stanislaus Kostka parish ) and their priest, Marek Bozek.
Of the priest, Zenit has this;
"The priest involved, Father Marek Bozek of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, had left his priestly assignment against the expressed will of his bishop, Bishop John Leibrecht, in order to be hired by the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation."
In an interview from April, 2006 Bozek said,
"In November, I asked Bishop [John] Leibrecht for a leave of absence from Springfield. I explained that I felt called to serve these people without sacraments. A few days later he called back and said the archbishop didn’t want me in St. Louis. On December 2, I told Bishop Leibrecht that I needed to follow my conscience."
Now, less than five years after he was ordained (on his 28th birthday) in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Bozek finds himself excommunicated.
In Archbishop Rayond L. Burke's weekly column in the St. Louis Review , the Archbishop writes,
"On December 15th of 2005, I was obliged to declare the excommunication of the members of the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation because of their persistence in schism. The members of the Board had committed the most grievous delict of schism by hiring a suspended priest, that is, a priest not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals at Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church, all outside of the communion of the Catholic Church. The priest in question, the Reverend Marek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, had left his priestly assignment against the expressed will of his bishop, Bishop John Leibrecht, in order to be hired by the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation."
From the Archdiocese of St. Louis web site:
Background to the Decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Issued May 15
December 15, 2005: Archbishop Burke declares the members of the Board of Directors of the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation excommunicated because they formed an "independent entity" outside the Church and hired a suspended priest as their pastor.
March 23, 2006: The Board of Directors appeals the archbishop's decision to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that has jurisdiction over matters of schism.
May 15, 2008: The Congregation rejects the appeal made by the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Board, because the Board was "negligent" in fulfilling formal requirements for an appeal. The Congregation confirms the Decrees of Excommunication issued by the archbishop, because the Board members continue to operate in a state of schism.
The Congregation encourages the Saint Stanislaus Kostka Board members to withdraw from their schism. They have 30 days to exercise their right to present an appeal to the Congregation's "Cardinal and Bishop members."
The church's web site has this,
"2005 - Despite many efforts to solve the property dispute with the Archdiocese, which involves administrative rules only and not dogmas or morals, Saint Stanislaus was left without a priest and sacraments for over seventeen months. Upon receiving the approval of the Parish vote, the Board of Directors began the search for a priest courageous enough to minister to Saint Stanislaus parishioners with or without the Archbishop’s permission. On December 2, Father Marek B. Bozek from the neighboring Springfield – Cape Girardeau diocese was hired to be our Pastor. On December 16, both the Pastor and the members of the Board of Directors were excommunicated by Archbishop Burke and all Catholics were warned that participation in any services in Saint Stanislaus constitutes a mortal sin. On December 24, the first Mass was offered in our church in over seventeen months, the Christmas Midnight Mass. Over two thousand people gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus and rebirth of our Parish. Appeal against excommunication was filed with the Holy See."
The St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation claims this is just a disagreement over property rights.....the Archbishop ( and now the Vatican ) say it is about the group not accepting the authourity of the Catholic Church over the local parish.
"It is evident that the Board Members have committed the delict of schism by constituting St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish as an independent entity capable of appointing its own clergy apart from the hierarchy of the Church," wrote Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
I've seen photos of the church on their web site and it's very beautiful and I can understand the attachment the parishoners have for it, but they have removed themselves from the Church and are now excommunicated because of their love for something "material" ( a building ).
Recent Decisions of the Holy See Regarding Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation