Renegade Priest Leads a Split St. Louis Parish

I just hope they figure out this situation permanently and quickly.

"ST. LOUIS — Some say he is on a mission from God. Others say he is the devil. But no matter whom you ask in this city’s tight-knit community of Polish Catholics, the name of Marek Bozek is seldom met with a shrug.

To supporters he is a holy man who has risked his soul’s damnation to rescue St. Stanislaus Kostka church during a long-running dispute over financial control with the Archdiocese of St. Louis. To detractors he is a charlatan — a disgraced priest who has wrested command of the parish and ushered in a vision of Roman Catholicism so progressive as to be unrecognizable to the faithful.

But one thing is clear: Last Sunday, parishioners rejected a proposed settlement that would have ended a lawsuit brought by the archdiocese and returned them to the archbishop’s good graces. Instead, they opted to yoke their church’s fate to the portly priest with thinning hair and a fashionable patch of whiskers just beneath his lower lip.

“They give the church to the devil,” fumed Mary Bach, 75, in heavily accented English after casting her vote to accept the settlement. “People are blind. They don’t see what he’s doing. This is belief in Bozek, not in God.”

The vote nearly brought some parishioners to blows. Nevertheless, it is but the latest chapter in the extraordinary history of St. Stanislaus, a cause célèbre for those with progressive leanings in this deeply Catholic city by the river, and a source of scandal for traditionalists.

For more than a century, St. Stanislaus has enjoyed a rare role within the archdiocese. A lay board of directors governs the parish, and church property and financial assets are owned by the congregation. That relationship began to shift in 2003, when the archdiocese proposed that St. Stanislaus’s property and assets — then estimated at $8 million — be brought under an archdiocese-managed trust.

Fearing the archbishop would close the parish and use its proceeds to combat the sexual-abuse scandal, the congregation balked. As negotiations dragged on, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, arguing the parish was out of compliance with canon law, turned up the pressure on the church by removing its archdiocesan priests — effectively denying communion to parishioners."

Praying that everyone involved will follow the Pope
rather than a renegade priest.

Ughh…This is why we have a **pope **people! :frowning:

Vow of obedience!! HELLO!!

There is nothing to figure out. The priest and this parish and left the Catholic Church

Well … the archdiocese could close the church and sell the property. If that were my parish, I would be heartbroken. A lot of legal mumbo jumbo can arise out of this situation.

There’s a lot to figure out – like how folks can re-join the church and remit their transgressions.

I would hope all they have to do is go to confession. Either have their church regularized or go to a new one.

I hope they don’t need to do anything public- no need to prolong this painful chapter. This priest- that’s another matter- apparently his ego really got to him. He should make a statement of apology/repentance. But hey, I’m no Bishop. . . .

In checking out their site I noticed there are two other senior priests in residence- so sad.

Also their claims that the money would be used for the sex abuse crisis were groundless. My understanding is that dioceses were not using private collection money. I wouldn’t have given to the collection if my money were going to pay for these freaks- sorry this is a pet peeve of mine. I have a lot of anger towards these monster-priests.

Agreed. If that were the case they would’ve agreed to the settlement the diocese offered them which would’ve protected their church from being liquidated. They have now reap the reward of hiring a renegade priest. Once a priest breaks his vow of obedience there is no stopping them which is how what was once described as a conservative Polish parish now finds itself outside the Church with a priest supporting female ordination in homosexual priests.

Female ordination- gosh I didn’t know that. Hopefully, this priest turns things around for himself and for those who have fallen into his errors. So he was schismatic before they hired him? I assumed he was the pastor of the parish and brought St. Stanislaus along this tragic road. .

By merely taing he job he a schismatic but he didnt promote his herectical ideas until after they hired him

Actually, the Archdiocese can’t do that because the property belongs to the parish. The parish has a board of lay directors who control the property.



That is the root dispute. Every parish I’ve ever belonged to when we built a church, it was paid for entirely by the parishioners yet we did not own the church. The diocese did. In addition you now have a problem where the new priest ,with the help of dissident parishioners ,pushed everyone off the board who wanted to remain in communion with Church. It is going to be a tough sell for this parish to convince a court they should be treated any differently than any other parish in United States or for that matter the world.

Yes, but the problem is that St. Stanislaus Kostka was incorporated with a 19th century legal model, which almost all Catholic parishes changed during the 20th century, but they did not.

In 1891, Archbishop Peter Kenrick agreed to allow the laity of the St. Louis Polish Catholic community to form a corporation that would govern the church’s finances. Kenrick’s move was not unusual in the 19th century, when immigrants often formed their own Catholic communities to buy land and build a church.

By the 20th century, bishops had assumed control of most of those parishes around the country. St. Stanislaus was a holdout.

In the church’s original bylaws, its lay board controlled the property and assets while the archbishop appointed its board members and a pastor. But in 2001, and again in 2004, the church’s board rewrote its bylaws, eventually eliminating the archbishop’s authority. The church set up the St. Stanislaus Corp. as its legal entity.

I don’t understand the financial and legal issues at stake, but all of the news articles I have read indicate that St. Stanislaus’ legal status is unlike almost every parish in the US.

At any rate it is obvious this is no longer about the property as the Diocese offered a compromise that would’ve protected that-the dispute is now about renegade parishioners and a herectical priest who have seized this church and started their own religion

The problem is, in 200x the board changed the charter to omit the necessity of the Archbishop’s approval on who gets voted onto the board. They put themselves into schism. So Archbishop Burke moved the Polish parish to St. Agatha’s and proved a Polish priest for them. St Stan’s then “hired” Marek Bozek, who disobeyed his bishop in Springfield MO. This bishop had brought Marek Bozek from Poland and helped pay for his studies to become a priest.

Bozek has open Communion, participated in a Womenpriest ordination at a Jewish Synagogue in St Louis, and was defrocked by the Pope. The parish now consists of dissident Catholics such as openly homosexual unions, remarried Catholics, etc. The original Polish parishioners who stayed true to the Archbishop were disenfranchized and not allowed to vote.

This all reminds me of Rev. Stallings in DC. So sad.

Please elaborate on the similarities.

As I understand it the parish, not the archdiocese, owns the land and the church and that’s part of the problem. I’m familiar with another parish like that, where the people, not the diocese actually bought the land and built the church and they are the owners, not the diocese. The diocese can close the parish but they can’t take the assets.

I was thinking about that myself. Before my daughter moved to Chicago she lived right around the corner from his Church and when I was visiting her I used to walk by it every morning on the way to St. Joseph’s

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