Burke to be deposed by St. Stanislaus lawyers this week.

By Tim Townsend

Former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke is scheduled to be deposed by lawyers for St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Thursday.

The deposition is part of an ongoing legal battle between the St. Louis Archdiocese and the historically Polish church just north of downtown St. Louis.

George von Stamwitz, attorney for St. Stanislaus, said Monday that he was waiting for more documents from the archdiocese, but that two litigators for his firm would be traveling to Wisconsin to take Burke’s deposition.

Bernard Huger, an attorney for the archdiocese, confirmed that Burke was due to be deposed this week.

Burke is scheduled to be in La Crosse this week for events surrounding the Dec. 12 feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the shrine he founded near his hometown.

In July, the archdiocese and former St. Stanislaus parishioners, including former board members, sued the church, asking a judge to restore the structure that existed before its board re-wrote the bylaws in 2001, then again in 2004, eventually eliminating the archbishop’s authority.

In the church’s original bylaws, its lay board controlled the property and assets while the archbishop appointed its board members and a pastor.

In such an arrangement, the St. Louis archbishop would once again have authority - via his board appointments - over St. Stanislaus. But the church would still have a corporate structure that puts it outside canon, or church, law.

Von Stamwitz, an attorney with Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis, would not say what questions his colleagues would be asking Burke. In June, Pope Benedict XVI named the archbishop to head the Vatican’s supreme court making him one of the most powerful Americans in the Catholic church.

The St. Louis archdiocese is one of eight dioceses - and the only archdiocese - currently without a bishop in the U.S. church. Bishop Robert Hermann is the interim head of the archdiocese.

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

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