Schismatic Catholic church keeps independence

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    Schismatic Catholic church keeps independence

    St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in St. Louis, named for Stanislaw Kostka, the sixteenth-century Polish saint, appears destined to maintain independence from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. [ Malcolm Gay, Defiant St. Louis church wins lawsuit, New York Times, March 18, 2012, at ]

    Although there are now several schismatic Catholic churches in the U.S., St. Stanislaus Kostka may have few close parallels. In 1878, the St. Louis diocese refused support for a Polish parish, but in 1880 Franciscan friars opened a ministry. In 1891, Polish workers organized and raised funds for a church. Sponsors made an agreement with Archbishop Richard Kenrick that a corporation formed by parishioners would own and maintain the church, to which the diocese would assign priests.

    In his March, 2012, decision affirming ownership of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church by parishioners, Missouri circuit court judge Bryan L. Hettenbach provided background, citing attempts by four later St. Louis archbishops to gain control of the church property: John Glennon in 1943, Joseph Ritter in 1954, Raymond Burke in 2004 and Robert J. Carlson in 2008. The recent court ruling on motions for summary judgement is the first concrete outcome from 2008, which was the first attempt by the diocese that invoked civil law. [ Twenty-second Missouri Judicial Circuit, Cause No.0822-CC07847, Findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgement, available at ]

    Fr. Marek Bozek, a Polish immigrant who was ordained in 2002 as a Roman Catholic priest, in Missouri, began holding services at St. Stanislaus Kostka of St. Louis in December, 2005. Within three months, former Archbishop Burke had excommunicated Fr. Bozek and each director of the parishioners' corporation and had begun proceedings to defrock Fr. Bozek. In 2008, Archbishop Burke was appointed prefect of the Supremum Tribunal Signaturae Apostolicae, having charge of proceedings against Fr. Bozek, and left St. Louis for Rome. Pope Benedict XVI laicized Fr. Bozek in 2009 and elevated Archbishop Burke to cardinal in 2010.

    The Missouri circuit court found clear title to the property for the parishioners' corporation, but otherwise the judge rejected most summary judgement counts, holding some were contradicted by organizing documents for the corporation and others were premature. Further arguments are pending in the circuit court, likely followed by a series of appeals.

    Despite the notoriety, St. Stanislaus Kostka of St. Louis continues to function as a traditional Catholic church, holding several services a week in Polish and English and offering the sacraments. Although some former parishioners have left, most remain, and membership is said to have doubled since 2005. [ St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in St. Louis and Rev. Marek Bożek, at and ]

    There is a tradition of independence from the Roman church among U.S Catholics of Polish ancestry. In 1897, the Polish National Catholic Church was organized by dissatisfied Polish Catholics in Scranton, PA. It now has five dioceses and about 25,000 church members. Theologically, it remains close to nineteenth-century traditions of Roman Catholic liturgy and beliefs. However, it allows priests to marry, has adopted a less restrictive approach to birth control and provides communion to divorced parishioners.

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    Re: Schismatic Catholic church keeps independence

    Ok. But how is this important in any way. Why don't you mention protestant or Islamic congregations that so the same. There are many in the Christian orthodox church that still have no relations with the vatican.
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    Melkite Eparchy of Newton

    The previous reader appears to have some vague memories but has forgotten to mention the Melkite Eparchy of Newton, by far the best established Catholic alternative to the Roman Church in New England. [ at ]

    As with the Polish National Catholic Church, Melkite priests may marry, but married priests may not become bishops. Melkites, found mostly in the Middle East, have a far longer history, dating their origins to the second century. The relations with the Roman Church have improved to the extent that some Roman Catholic priests, for example Msgr. Ahern of Dorchester, formerly of Brookline, hold corresponding roles in the Melkite Eparchy, although none have married.