Breakaway Polish church in Missouri rejects archdiocese's reconciliation deal

Voting 257 to 158, a breakaway Polish Catholic church in Missouri rejected a reconciliation deal offered by Archbishop Robert Carlson as a way for the group to return into communion with the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

St. Stanislaus Kostka – a church in the north of the city which has advocated women priests, married priests and non-Catholics being able to receive the Eucharist –  has long been in contention with the archdiocese. In 2005, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed then Archbishop of St. Louis Raymond Burke’s decree excommunicating the board of directors of the parish. 

Under his new leadership, Archbishop Robert Carlson offered a compromise that would have allowed the church board to own the parish property and assets as it currently does, but with a second board being set up to lease the church and the rectory.

On Sunday, however, 415 members of St. Stanislaus cast a ballot with the majority voting against the reconciliation effort, reported local St. Louis Fox2Now news.

"The people have spoken, in ancient Rome the Christians used to say 'Vox populi, vox dei,' which in Latin means the voice of the people is the voice of God," said church pastor Marek Bozek, who was excommunicated in 2005 along with several other board members. "And I do believe members of this church have expressed their strong opinion that most don't wish to go back to the diocese."

However, one former board member who has since reconciled with the archdiocese, called Archbishop Carlson's proposal fair, saying the deal was “exactly what we wanted.”

Bob Zabielski, who was excommunicated but has since reconciled with the archdiocese, was critical of the vote results.

"It's not about the power and the money anymore, it's about the priest," Zabielski told Fox2Now, "and I don't think he's taking his church in the direction of a Roman Catholic church anymore."

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