An excommunicated board member of a breakaway St. Louis Catholic parish has reconciled with the Church after meeting privately with the Archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond L. Burke. Archbishop Burke has said he is “profoundly happy” about the man’s reconciliation.
Edward Florek was excommunicated in December 2005 for his membership on the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation board of directors, which opposed Archbishop Burke’s parish restructuring plan and brought in a renegade priest to staff St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.
According to the St. Louis Review, The church was founded by Polish immigrants in 1880. In 1891 the then-archbishop allowed the parish to form a lay trustee board to control parish finances and own the parish property. In 2004 Archbishop Burke continued his predecessor’s efforts to persuade the board to transfer property ownership to the archdiocese, as required by canon law.
The board publicly stated it could not reach an agreement with the archbishop, saying they were concerned about the future of the parish if the property were transferred.
The archbishop excommunicated the six members of the parish board. While Florek left the board last year, his replacement and the replacement of another member were also excommunicated.
Archbishop Burke’s decree of excommunication, which had been appealed to Rome, was recently upheld by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
After Florek initiated a meeting with Archbishop Burke, he reconciled with the Church on June 2. Florek said he prayed the Nicene Creed with the archbishop and then swore an oath of loyalty to the archbishop and the Catholic Church.
Florek told the St. Louis Review that he believed Father Marek Bozek, the priest hired to be the church’s pastor, was leading the parish away from Roman Catholicism. He said he stopped attending St. Stanislaus in March when the priest “refused to enter discussions with the archbishop.”
Florek expressed his regrets over the St. Stanislaus board’s actions.
“I regret that we didn’t envision the harm which we did to the parish and St. Louis.
"We worried not only about the financial angle of the parish but about the spiritual guidance. We protected the financial part of the parish but we lost on the spiritual guidance and direction leading us from the Roman Catholic Church," Florek said to the St. Louis Review.
Archbishop Burke on Friday issued a statement about Florek’s reconciliation, saying, “He 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.
“I am profoundly happy that Mr. Florek has reconciled himself and is now, once again, in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The purpose of an ecclesiastical censure like excommunication is the return of a member, who has broken communion with the Church, to full communion with the Church. I thank God that Mr. Florek has returned to the Catholic Church and is no longer under any censure from the Church. His return gives hope that other board members will return home to the Catholic Church. I ask the faithful of the Archdiocese to continue to pray for that intention.”
Florek said that the situation at St. Stanislaus is “complicated” and that he has written “open letters” to St. Stanislaus members to encourage reconciliation. At present he is the only excommunicated board member to seek reconciliation with the archbishop.