Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Did They Expect?

Some "traditional" members of the canonically suppressed St. Stanislaus Kostka parish in St. Louis, Missouri are unnerved at the direction the former parish is being taken by the increasingly kooky Fr. Marek Bozek, who is in the process of being defrocked after participating in the "ordination" of some priestesses in November.

In 2005, Bozek was "hired" by the parish out of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, whose bishop promptly suspended him for abandoning his post without leave, thereby depriving him of the exercise of his priestly office. Hailed as the "savior" of St. Stanislaus, which was -- and is -- embroiled in a feud with the Archdiocese of St. Louis over control of the parish, Bozek went on to pursue his bizarre vision of a "Catholic Church" that ordains women, abolishes the clerical discipline of celibacy, and blesses gay unions. His program for a "church" that makes no moral demands on its adherents has attracted hordes of left-wing ideologues and malcontents to his congregation, a development that some welcome as a purported gathering of lost sheep into the fold.

Meanwhile, Bozek increasingly gives himself over, not only to crass materialism (e.g., a 143% salary hike, a luxury apartment and a brand-new BMW) but to delusions of grandeur, having bought a silver bishop's ring and openly declared his "willingness" to serve as the bishop of a new "underground" church. He has revealed that he has been in "talks" with schismatic and heretical groups like Married Priests Now! -- headed by former "married" archbishop Emmanuel Malingo, who has gone over to the Moonies -- and something called "the Therese of Divine Peace Inclusive Community," headed by two "Catholic" priestesses. Seeing that these overtures do not sit well with at least part of his congregation, Bozek downplays them and insists that St. Stan's will remain Catholic.

Rationalizing his moral infidelity and his apparent thirst for power and prestige, Bozek declares: "The Roman Catholic family can be described today as dysfunctional, toxic or abusive. For decades we have allowed the men who claim to be our shepherds to abuse us." Yet, although in formal schism, Bozek denies being the spiritual offspring of Martin Luther. "No one has an ambition to create a new denomination," he claims. "My vision is to be Roman Catholic and wait for the regime to collapse."

At long last, some parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka are viewing developments in their parish with alarm. Yet nothing that has come to pass there has been unforeseeable. In his open letter to the parishioners of St. Stanislaus and to the faithful of his archdiocese, Archbishop Raymond Burke notes, with the precision of a laser scalpel, that "those who choose to go into schism believe that they can be the Church without the pastoral teaching, ministration of the sacraments and governance of the Apostles and their successors." Indeed. Pursuant to canon law, all of the sacraments now celebrated at St. Stanislaus are illicit, if not invalid, as the Archbishop explains:

The ordained priest who goes into irregular for the exercise of Holy Orders (cf. can. 1044, §1, 2ยบ). In other words, he may not exercise the Sacrament of Holy Orders which he has received. Any Mass celebrated by a suspended and excommunicated priest is valid, but illicit. To knowingly and willingly celebrate the Holy Mass, when one is legitimately prohibited from doing so, is a most grave sin. A priest under the penalty of excommunication does not give valid sacramental absolution (cf. can. 966, §1). Neither can he validly officiate at a wedding (cf. can. 1108, §1).

The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation by a schismatic priest is invalid because he no longer has any faculty to do so, either by universal Church law or the granting of the faculty by the diocesan bishop (cf. can. 882). Baptism and the Anointing of the Sick are conferred validly but not licitly (cf. cann. 862; and 1003, §§1-2).

The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin.

In other words, by continuing on the way they are going, the schismatics and those they have lured out of the state of grace are either receiving no sacraments at all; or else, such valid sacraments as they do receive serve merely to compound their guilt. Such is the fate of all who buy into the false dichotomy between Christ and His Church.

At the Last Supper, Jesus admonished His disciples that He was the vine, and they were the branches, and that if they were to bear any fruit, they must remain in Him. The people of St. Stanislaus are finding out the hard way that when you cut yourself off from the True Vine, you not only don't bear any fruit; you also fall into the hands of a nutjob.

If the "traditional" parishioners really want to be traditional, and lay authentic claim to that title, they can only do so by returning to Rome. May the real St. Stanislaus Kostka, who received Holy Communion (validly and licitly) from angels, obtain the reconciliation of these misguided people with the true Church.

1 comment:

  1. "a purported gathering of lost sheep"

    I'd say the lost sheep are definitely gathering, that they may follow the blind guide (Mt 15:14)