Local Catholics React To St. Stanislaus Punishment

12/18/2005 6:27:51 PM
By Alex Fees

(KSDK) - Sunday marks the first Sabbath Day since six board members at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church were excommunicated by Archbishop Raymond Burke. The action comes after years of wrangling over control of church assets between board members and numerous archbishops.

But while St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church has a unique Polish heritage, it is also unique in that it is likely the only ethnic, Catholic church in St. Louis that has not subjected to the authority of church officials.

At St. John Nepomuk, a Catholic Church with Czech roots in Soulard, a sign on the building shows Father Henry Lipovsky as first pastor in 1854.

At St. Ambrose Catholic Church on The Hill, the cornerstone shows it was built in 1925 and a statue out front depicts the Italian immigrants.

St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Dogtown has Irish roots. Pastor John Johnson talked about what happens when a church subjects to the authority of the archdiocese.

"It's sort of a form of Christian community," said Johnson, "cooperative... like it was in the early church. (Church officials) see where we are financially, and it's another way of being accountable for spending your money."

But does subjecting to the authority of the Archdiocese means parish pastors have less control over church money?

"No, we have total control over our money," replied Johnson.

So if all these other national or at least ethnic Catholic churches eventually became a part of and make themselves subject to the authority of the Archdiocese, then why not St. Stanislaus.?

Several church members reacted following mass at St. James the Greater.

Greg Chulick said, "And there's your churches out in west county and out in out (of) state Missouri (and) they all abide by what the Archbishop has to say."

Chulick was asked what is different about St. Stanislaus.

"I think they just want to be their own people."

St. James parishioner Leslie Lewis said, "I'm kind of caught in the middle. I know everybody should belong to the Catholic Church and be under the same Archdiocesan rules and regulations but it's been this way for centuries or years. And why does it have to change now?"

Ann Chulick, another St. Louis Catholic, said, "the Archdiocese, as far as I know, is not trying to get all the assets and keep all the buildings and stuff."

Bill Kennebeck said, "As far back as St. Stanislaus goes, I'm sure other ethnic groups go back as far (too). We're all here for one reason: the greater honor and glory of God. Why shouldn't we all be the same?

Also Sunday, St. Stanislaus legal advisor Roger Krasnicki said the church was established as a civil corporation in 1891 by Archbishop Kenrick. Paraphrasing church canon laws, Krasnicki said that if something has existed and not been in contradiction of morals for thirty years then it should stand.

Regarding the battle between St. Stanislaus and the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese, Krasnicki said, "You created us this way when we were worth nothing. We now have tons of money and now you want us."

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