St. Louis Archdiocese Sues Polish Parish; Pastor Speaks in Brookfield Tonight

By Tom Heinen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 23, 2008 -excommunicated-pastor-speaks-here-tonight.aspx

The Archdiocese of St. Louis and six members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church filed a lawsuit today seeking to regain control of the rebellious Polish parish, which has been locked in a dispute with Archbishop Raymond Burke over its management and property.

The archdiocese reported on its Web site that three former members of the parish board had reconciled their excommunications with Burke and joined in the suit. If the lawsuit is successful, the archdiocese is prepared to appoint a Jesuit priest, the Rev. Michael Marchlewski, to the parish as administrator, the statement on the Web site says.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on its Web site that the three former parish board members were secretly reconciled with the Roman Catholic church last month in a meeting with Burke before Pope Benedict XVI re-assigned Burke - the former bishop of La Crosse and an expert in church law - to a new position at the Vatican as head of the supreme court. Last month, another former board member also reconciled with the church.

The Rev. Marek Bozek, a Polish-born priest who was excommunicated after he left a different diocese in Missouri without permission to become pastor of St. Stanislaus, is scheduled to speak in the Milwaukee area at 7 tonight at a Voice of the Faithful reform group meeting open to the public at Calvary Lutheran Church, 1750 N. Calhoun Road, Brookfield.

When Burke became St. Louis' archbishop in 2004, he challenged the unusual legal and financial structure that had enabled St. Stanislaus to control its own management and property since the 19th century.

After parish leaders refused to relent, Burke removed the parish's priests, excommunicated Bozek and lay members of the parish board, and stripped the parish of its standing as a Roman Catholic parish. Before his excommunication, Bozek was a celebrant when a group advocating female priests held an ordination ceremony for two women.


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