St. Louis Public Radio News
3:35 pm
Thu July 29, 2010

Archbishop details reconciliation offer with St. Stanislaus

St. Louis – Archbishop Robert Carlson has offered St. Stanislaus Kostka a way to re-join the Archdiocese after a protracted dispute over control of parish assets.

Since 1891, a lay board of directors has managed the parish's property. But in 2004, then-Archbishop Raymond Burke demanded that St. Stanislaus follow conventional Roman Catholic parish governance practices, which give the archbishop more control. Members of the church, worried that the archdiocese wanted to sell the property, refused.

In 2005, Burke officially removed the church from the Archdiocese, saying leaders had led the parish into schism, or direct conflict with the Vatican. Several board members and a priest they hired, Marek Bozek, were declared excommunicated, though several board members have since reconciled.

Under Archbishop Carlson's offer made public Thursday, St. Stanislaus would continue to own all its property, including the church, rectory, and Polish Heritage Center, but would lease the church and rectory to the Archdiocese.

In a statement, Carlson said he intends for the arrangement to continue in perpetuity. If St. Stanislaus is closed, the statement said, the parish corporation would continue to own the property and could use it for Polish Roman Catholic cultural and religious purposes.

In the statement, Carlson also promised that the Archdiocese would pay the salary of a new priest for the first year, and provide funding for a consultant that would help raise money for the parish.

An attorney for the St. Stanislaus board offered no opinion about the agreement, but thanked Bozek and Archbishop Carlson for continuing negotiations, while noting that obstacles remain. Parish members are being briefed on the agreement, the statement said, and could offer their opinion to the board about the agreement in early August.

The agreement would not affect an ongoing court case.