Vatican official seeks mediator
in St. Stanislaus dispute.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A Polish
archbishop at the Vatican is intervening to try and resolve a dispute
between a Polish parish and the St. Louis archdiocese, parish members
Wesoly (pronounced SCHEP'-ahn Vee-uh-SO'-wee) expressed his support in
a letter in Polish dated March 4 to the board of directors at St.
Stanislaus Kostka parish.
"He is suggesting
the Polish Conference of Bishops get involved and wants to have a
mediator mediate this dispute," said Roger Krasnicki, a spokesman for
the parish board of directors.
Wesoly wrote that the Pope has
proclaimed this the "Year of the Eucharist."
"Precisely this year
a bishop prohibits the participation in the sacraments, over a dispute
in material matters rather than in spiritual ones," according to a
translation of Wesoly's letter provided by St. Stanislaus member
Richard Bach. "The Easter season is approaching and everything should
be done to promote participation in the sacraments."
Archdiocese spokesman Jamie
Allman said Archbishop Raymond Burke "has always been open to resolving
this," but that formal mediation is not an option when canon law is in
St. Stanislaus was
established by Polish immigrants. In 1891, an archbishop deeded the
property to a civic corporation of parishioners. The way the property
and assets are governed -- by the laity and not church leaders --
created the on-going dispute that began under previous Archbishop
The dispute has escalated
under Burke, who took over last year after Rigali became the cardinal
of Philadelphia. In August, Rigali removed both priests from St.
Stanislaus, though the parish continues to hold prayer services.
voted 299-5 in January against surrendering control of the assets. In
February, Burke issued an interdict, which denies Communion and other
Roman Catholic sacraments against St. Stanislaus' six-member board.
Krasnicki doubted the offer
of mediation would do any good, and a Vatican expert agreed.
can tell you we have
offered on several occasions to have the dispute mediated by someone
acceptable to both sides," Krasnicki said. "That has been turned down
-- simply not responded to by the archdiocese -- in the past."
But Allman said it was the
parish that has cut off communication.
Wesoly has no direct
jurisdiction in the dispute, but is close to the pope, Krasnicki said.
For years, Wesoly was
personal assistant to the pope, who is also Polish. Now, Wesoly is in
charge of Polonia -- all Polish people and people of Polish origin not
living in Poland, Krasnicki said.
The Rev. Thomas Reese,
editor of the Jesuit magazine America and a Vatican expert, doubted
those credentials will help St. Stanislaus.
"When you're dealing with
something that's a matter of law and jurisdiction, normally you have to
go through proper channels," Reese said. "But anytime you can resolve
something through mediation or simply through discussion, that's OK,
On the Net:
Archdiocese of St. Louis,
Church group: http://www.saveststans.com
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