Hearing held on St. Stanislaus.

August 8, A.D. 2008
by Joseph Kenny, Review Staff Writer

The elections for the board of directors at St. Stanislaus Parish Corporation will continue, but members will not be changing its bylaws.

After a court hearing, the judge entered an order that provides that St. Stanislaus Parish Corporation will withdraw from consideration its proposed 2008 bylaws and that the plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order will be withdrawn.

Three board members reconciled with the Catholic Church in June. Last month, with a former board member, two parishioners and the archdiocese’s administrator, they filed a lawsuit asking for the corporation to adhere to the Articles of Agreement and 1891 bylaws, to which the archdiocese and parish had agreed.

According to a statement from the archdiocese, if the lawsuit is successful Jesuit Father Michael Marchlewski will be named administrator of St. Stanislaus.

St. Stanislaus no longer operates as part of the Roman Catholic Church. Since December 2005 nine board members and the pastor, Marek Bozek, were declared to have excommunicated themselves from the Church. The excommunications came after board members offered the job of pastor to Bozek, who is not in good standing with the Church. Only the archbishop can appoint priests to parishes.

The excommunications no longer apply to the three board members and former board member who filed the lawsuit. All four earlier reconciled and had asked Archbishop Raymond Burke for help in reconciling the parish with the archdiocese.

The hearing on Aug. 6 was before St. Louis Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach. The hearing had sought a temporary restraining order preventing St. Stanislaus from amending its bylaws or electing new directors.

The suit asks the court to rule that the board has violated its corporate purposes and violated the restriction on how the bylaws can be amended. After the hearing, the lawyers for both sides and the judge met privately. Afterward, the judge issued a ruling to which both sides agreed. The board elections will continue this weekend, but members will not be allowed to change the bylaws.

"It was a satisfactory resolution on an interim basis," said Bernard Huger, attorney for the archdiocese.

Huger noted that the judge "basically said that he wasn’t going to keep the corporation from having its annual meeting and electing directors ... that no corporation can continue to exist without directors. Additionally, the judge said he agreed with us that they should not be able to change the corporation in a manner that makes it no longer in communion with the archdiocese and the Roman Catholic Church."

The parish property is owned by a civil corporation, and the original articles of agreement and paperwork filed with the circuit court of the City of St. Louis forming the Polish Roman Catholic St. Stanislaus Corporation state that among its purposes is to be a Polish Roman Catholic Church. Those who filed the lawsuit have stated they believe later amendments of the bylaws are incompatible with how a Roman Catholic parish is administered.

Huger said both sides will meet with the judge Sept. 2 to schedule a trial. "We would love between now and then to have an opportunity to resolve it, but we’ll see if that opportunity presents itself," he said.

The archdiocese’s website, www.archstl.org includes various St. Stanislaus documents, including the original articles of agreement, the charter, and the 1891 bylaws. . 

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