Accord Reached in St. Stan Dispute

By Tim Townsend
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

August 6, 2008

The St. Louis Archdiocese today agreed to drop its motion for a temporary restraining order against St. Stanislaus Kostka Church after the parish agreed to cancel a parishioner vote to amend the church’s bylaws scheduled for this weekend.

The new bylaws would have given parishioners authority to remove the church’s pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek. According to the church’s current bylaws, the pastor can be fired only by a majority vote of the parish’s lay board.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Bryan L. Hettenbach presided over a nearly two-hour hearing in a courtroom packed with 120 St. Stanislaus parishioners who had become divided over the direction of the church under Bozek.

Last month, the archdiocese sued St. Stanislaus, asking a judge to restore the church to the structure that existed before its board re-wrote the bylaws in 2001, then again in 2004, eventually eliminating the archbishop’s authority. In the church's original bylaws its lay board controlled the property and assets while the archbishop appointed its board members and a pastor.

In such an arrangement, the St. Louis archbishop would once again have authority — via his board appointments — over St. Stanislaus. But the church would still have a corporate structure that puts it outside canon, or church, law.

In June, the church’s six board members deadlocked twice on the question of firing Bozek. At a third meeting, Bozek put forth the motion to disband the board and broke the deadlock himself, dissolving the church's board.

The parish was scheduled to elect new board members this weekend and vote to amend the church’s bylaws a third time. The compromise agreed to today will allow only the board election to take place.


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