Looking for a Bishop

Remember that breakaway Polish national parish, the one that defied a few archbishops, hired its own priest, and eventually won in court? Now they’re looking for a bishop. Maybe John was posting partly in jest when he suggested that Scottish Catholics go looking for a Roman ordinariate from Episcopal bishops. Apparently, the offer is on the table in St Louis; this from George Wayne Smith, Episcopal Bishop of Missouri :

I know that given St. Stanislaus’ rich heritage, the ability to retain their cherished Polish identity, along with practices and rites are surely an important matter. Alternately of course, St. Stanislaus could also choose any or all the liturgies available to the Episcopal Church.

From the pastor, Marek Bozek:

One cannot be a Catholic without having a bishop. It is my hope that by the time this process is completed, we, St. Stanislaus Parish, will have a caring and wise bishop and that we will be a part of a diocese.

The “process” he’s speaking of involves meetings and discernment with a few Catholic groups who have bishops.

From the Roman Catholic chancery:

The congregation of St. Stanislaus has not been Roman Catholic for some time. The Archdiocese of St. Louis has no comment on the internal affairs of another church.

Note that Angela Shelton, archdiocesan spokesperson, didn’t call St Stanislaus an “ecclesial community.”

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Looking for a Bishop

  1. John McGrath says:

    The Polish National Church is not Roman Catholic, and has not been since its inception. It broke from the Church of Rome a long time ago, and allows for married clergy. It is one of many independent Catholic churches, most but not all affiliated with the Old Catholic Church. The bishops are in Apostolic succession.

    Most Polish National Catholic churches are clearly owned by the parish, not the bishop or the diocese. So it not surprising that the parish won its suit. In fact I was surprised to see that there was a suit. In the Catholic and Episcopal churches the dioceses legally own the churches. This was not always true of ethnic Roman Catholic churches in the US but Archbishop Neumann systematically brought them under diocesan ownership.

    I would be curious as to why this parish wants to disaffiliate with the Polish National Church. I know that the issue of gay marriage has been divisive. But there are other issues. Sounds like its diocese might have been heavy handed and interfering. But that’s just speculation based on the fact that the diocese tried to gain control of the parish property.

  2. John McGrath says:

    Whoops. I got that wrong. The parish was Roman Catholic, not Polish National Catholic.

    The suit was brought against the parish by ex-parishioners who reconciled with the Roman Catholic church after members of the parish were excommunicated. Apparently the parish board changed its bylaws in recent times to state that it owned the church, rather than advised the pastor, who was appointed by the diocese because the diocese owned the church. The ex-parishioners sued to bring the parish back to its original bylaws, which were in conformity with Roman Catholic practice. If the diocese had sued, it would probably have won. But all the bishop wanted was for the parish to make it clear that it was no longer affiliated with the Roman Catholic church.

    It looks like the parish is looking to get a bishop from one of the independent Catholic churches, or the Episcopal church.

  3. Jim McCrea says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stanislaus_Kostka_Church_(St._Louis,_Missouri)

    Assuming this information is basically accurate, this is a good summary of the history and issues.

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