Visiting Polish prelate does little to heal rift between Archbishop and rebel parish

.- A visit from Bishop Ryszard Karpinski of Lublin, leader of Polish Catholics outside Poland, reportedly has done little to heal a long-standing rift between St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The dispute erupted nearly 18 months ago after parish board members refused to comply with Archbishop Raymond Burke’s directive to bring the parish civil structure into compliance with Church law.

Under the current structure, St. Stanislaus’ pastor is subject to the authority of the parish governing board. Archbishop Burke has pointed out that this structure is in violation of Canon Law and months ago, removed the parish priests and relocated official Polish language Masses to a nearby church.

While many have stuck with the Archbishop, others remain at St. Stanislaus, holding weekly prayer services in lieu of Mass. Reportedly however, three unauthorized Masses have taken place, said by priests whose identities have been kept secret.

Bishop Karpinski was in town to celebrate the dedication of St. Agatha parish--the Archdiocese’s new official Polish parish--and to help with dialogue between St. Stanislaus and Archbishop Burke.

While Bishop Karpinski met with board members and other leaders from St. Stanislaus Saturday, both Archbishop Burke and the parish are keeping the details confidential. The archbishop said however, that he is still "hoping and praying that things will be reconciled with the church."

A spokesman for St. Stanislaus told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the meetings with Bishop Karpinski were “frank” and “polite.” The bishop was invited to say Mass on Sunday at the parish but refused until St. Stanislaus was reconciled with the Archdiocese.

Parishioner Krystyna Bzdyl told the Post-Dispatch that she felt lied to by the board and that "they were treating the church as their own playground." Others say that despite the visit from the Polish prelate, the road to reconciliation may still be very long indeed.

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April 19, 2014

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