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Archbishop extends 'olive branch' to St. Stanislaus

by Maggie Crane

KMOV.com

Posted on July 29, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 29 at 5:42 PM

The long fight over St. Stanislaus Catholic Church may be coming to an end.

Archbishop Robert Carlson proposes a deal to bring the church back into the diocese and end the dispute over control of the church's assets.

It's been six years since then-Archbishop Raymond Burke removed the priests from the parish.  In 2005, the lay board at St. Stan's brought in Father Marek Bozek, but the archbishop then excommunicated the board, defrocked Bozek and removed the church's standing in the diocese.

The church and the archdiocese have been at odds for years over who controls St. Stanislaus and what its leaders teach.  It hasn't been recognized as a catholic parish for six years, even though it has been holding catholic mass there ever since.

Pastor Bozek has agreed to step down, if it means the church and diocese can come together again.

The biggest fear has been that the diocese would close the parish and sell its property, with proceeds benefiting other plans in the archdiocese, but take a look at this paragraph written by Archbishop Carlson:

He says:  "...We have developed the concept of the present corporation continuing to own the parish property and the cash and securities that it holds and leasing, without charge, the parish church and rectory to a new parish corporation..."

Archbishop Carlson continues on to describe what would happen in the event a future archbishop should close St. Stanislaus:  "...If the parish were ever closed in the future by an archbishop, the parish property would continue to be owned by the St. Stanislaus corporation and used for Polish Roman Catholic religious and charitable purposes."

"Our members must decide what is really important to them -- to keep the property and maybe in the near future be without a priest and without services, or to keep independent and keep going as we have  for last five years," Pastor Bozek says.

If the parishioners agree to the proposal during their August 8 meeting, it would mean that Pastor Bozek will be out of a job, and he fears new leadership might drive parishioners away.

"We are a welcoming parish, we are a non-judgmental parish, we do not condemn people  if they are divorced Catholics; we welcome Protestant spouses with their wives or husbands and offer them communion, so all these people would be disenfranchised," Bozek says.

As part of Archbishop Carlson's agreement, he has committed to provide a new pastor for the next year -- at no cost to the parish and to contribute $10,000 to fund raising planning to make sure St. Stanislaus survives.

Maggie Crane is a reporter for KMOV.  To contact her, email mcrane@kmov.com.

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