Burke declares two more St. Stan's board members excommunicated...

By Tim Townsend

St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has declared the two new lay board members of St. Stanislaus Kostka church excommunicated.

Bernice Krauze, 65, of St. Louis, and Stan Rozanski, 60, of south St. Louis County, received declarations of their excommunications, delivered by courier, Thursday night.

In the declaration, Burke said each was "guilty of having committed the canonical crime of schism" and that they had excommunicated themselves from the Roman Catholic church.

Krauze and Rozanski were elected to the board in August, replacing two board members who retired. The outgoing board members, Edward Florek and Stanley Novak, were part of the original Stanislaus Six — the board members whom Burke declared excommunicated in late 2005 after a prolonged battle over the property and assets of the church, just north of downtown.

Soon after Krauze and Rozanski were elected to the board, Burke asked both to resign. When they refused, Burke warned them three times that by joining the church's board, they could face excommunication, and demanded they appear before him. Again Krauze and Rozanski refused.

Rozanski said he expected the excommunication, and that he's not anxious about the status of his Catholic faith. "It doesn't worry me," he said. "I'm doing business with God. I don't need a man to determine my destiny, whether it's an archbishop or not."

Krauze could not be reached for comment Monday.

The recent excommunications came on the heels of three others last week. Two St. Louis women who were ordained as priests in an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriest, and the bishop who led the November ceremony were accused of schism, which led to their excommunication.

Schism is defined by the church as "the refusal of submission to the Roman pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him." A Catholic who is excommunicated is barred from the sacraments, including Holy Communion.

Since he arrived in 2004, Burke has tried to persuade the Polish-American members of St. Stanislaus to conform to the same legal and financial structure as every other parish in the archdiocese. As part of an arrangement at the founding of St. Stanislaus in the 19th century, a lay board of directors has managed the church's business affairs for over a century.

Several bishops have tried to make St. Stanislaus conform, but none had removed the parish's priests until Burke did in August 2004 after the board eliminated their pastor's authority by seizing total control of the church's assets.

In December 2005, the St. Stanislaus board hired a Polish-born priest suspended from the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese to be the church's pastor. Later that month, Burke declared all six board members and the priest, the Rev. Marek Bozek, excommunicated. The archbishop also declared that St. Stanislaus was no longer a Catholic parish.

In his declaration of Krauze's and Rozanski's excommunications, Burke wrote that since its suppression in 2005 "the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation has never been and is not now a part of the Roman Catholic Church but instead is a sect…"

For the past two years, Bozek has continued celebrating Mass, administering sacraments and otherwise serving as pastor of St. Stanislaus. Earlier this month, Burke declared that Bozek was improperly acting as a priest and said he was recommending Bozek's removal from the priesthood. The case will be decided by a canonical trial.

ttownsend@post-dispatch.com 314-340-8221

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