Saturday, December 03, 2005


CHATTER's always reliable man, MIT, spotted this story while on roving assignment in St. Louis. Sounds very troubling for those who care about the goings-on in the Catholic Church.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In a defiant challenge to Archbishop Raymond Burke's authority as the leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church has hired a Roman Catholic priest from the neighboring diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau to be its parish pastor.

The Rev. Marek B. Bozek will take over at St. Stanislaus, without Burke's consent. Bozek, 30, was associate pastor at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Mo., and is a native of Poland. He will celebrate his first Mass at St. Stanislaus on Christmas Eve.

"I am deeply saddened by this action, which causes further damage to the Church, not only here in St. Louis, but in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau as well," said Burke in a statement.

Burke and the Polish-heritage parishioners of St. Stanislaus have been in a legal battle over control of the church for nearly two years.

In an interview Friday, Bozek said Bishop John J. Leibrecht, leader of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, had asked Burke if the priest could take a leave of absence to shepherd St. Stanislaus while the dispute over control was resolved. Burke refused, and Bozek resigned from St. Agnes Friday.

"I find it my sacred duty as an ordained Catholic priest to answer the call of the people of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish," Bozek wrote to Leibrecht. "They are the People of God in need of a spiritual leader and a pastor, and I am willing to answer their call, which I believe to be the call of God himself."
Leibrecht is retiring and on his way out in the local diocese. His successor will certainly have some blow-back to handle.


Anonymous said...

First, Liebrecht shouldn't have gotten involved in the affairs of another diocese. Second, and most importantly, the position of the assets belong to the parish and its people is the crux of the argument in bankruptcy proceedings to pay off abuse lawsuits. I suspect the diocese would have another position should it be demanded to sell all assets.

Anonymous said...

Liebrect has every right to "have gotten involved" in this issue because of his standing as bishop of the diocese in which Father Bozek was ordained and took his vows of obedience. Under Canon Law, that's a fully legitimate action for any bishop to take when a priest decides to break vows, cut and run.

All that said, I'm for Bozek's gutty move. The parishioners of St. Agnes will continue to be served by someone, the good people of St. Stanislaus will have a pastor who clearly cares about their needs, and Archbishop Burke will have to squirm in the spotlight that this story will inevitably focus on him.