Excommunication dropped for one St. Stan's board member...

By Tim Townsend

Three weeks after the Vatican upheld the excommunication of the original Stanislaus Six, the St. Louis archdiocese said Friday that one of the board members had been granted absolution from his excommunication and is now back "in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church."

Edward Florek, 63, who was a member of the lay board of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church from 2004 until 2007, met with St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke earlier last week .

Florek "expressed his deep sorrow and regret over the harm which his schismatic activity, as a member of the Board of Directors, has caused, and promised to do everything possible in the future to promote the communion of the Church through obedience to her legitimate authority," Burke said in a statement.

The six board members were declared excommunicated by Burke in 2005 after they hired a priest, who had been suspended by his own bishop in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The priest, the Rev. Marek Bozek, also was excommunicated.

The archdiocese's statement came the day after the St. Stanislaus board voted 4-3 to dissolve itself and allow parishioners to elect a new board at its annual meeting in August.

Last week, Bozek said he was in discussions to bring St. Stanislaus under the authority of Emmanuel Milingo, an excommunicated Zambian archbishop associated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.

In January 2006 St. Stanislaus lost its standing as a Roman Catholic parish when Burke suppressed it because the board insisted on operating the parish independently.

Since he arrived in early 2004, Burke has worked to persuade the members of St. Stanislaus to conform to the same legal and financial structure as every other parish in the archdiocese. Burke removed St. Stanislaus' pastor in the summer of 2004 after the lay board had taken away the priest's access to church coffers.

Florek did not return calls for comment. He and his wife, Margaret, have been members of the church for 33 years. Both of his sons were altar boys there, and his daughter belonged to the church dance club. Until five years ago, the south St. Louis resident was the owner of Dynasty Donuts.

In February 2005, after Burke imposed the penalty of interdict a lesser form of excommunication on the board members, Florek called it a waste of time.

"It won't do any good for the parish or for the archdiocese," he told the Post-Dispatch. "Personally, I don't feel I've earned this interdict, and it won't be sticking to my conscience. I don't deserve it and I don't accept it."

In his statement Friday, Burke said he was "profoundly happy" that Florek had returned to the church. "His return gives hope that other board members will return home to the Catholic Church," Burke wrote.

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

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