"You may not like what I say, it may be hard to swallow, but as a Catholic and a priest, I HAVE to say it. Because I'm not going to hell for anyone!"
This is even more true for bishops who are responsible for many more souls. Recall that in the confiteor we pray at the beginning of Mass: "I confess to Almight God.....in all that I failed to do". Neglecting to fulfill one's duties in life, whether a parent or bishop can bring about an unfortunate consequence - the loss of one's soul. Archbishop Burke has lived steadfast with that in mind and has been in the news a lot of late.
You may recall a story a couple of years ago about a wayward priest from one diocese (Springfield) setting up shop in a more traditional, ethnic-Polish parish in the St. Louis diocese (without permission). He basically led a parish into schism and brought upon himself excommunication. The board was also excommunicated. There is an entire history with this thing that gets more bizarre by the day.
An old blogpost at AMDG covers: Who is Fr. Marek Bozek? There are some troubling things within the information that appeared at the St. Agnes Cathedral website.
AMDG also has a letter which he wrote announcing his intent to take over St. Stanislaus.
Canon Lawyer, Ed Peters offered some advice in suggesting: Fr. Bozek should stop and think.
Back in January of this year, CWNews reported that Abp Burke was seeking a rare laicization of Fr. Bozek on canonical grounds.
The Archbishop ordered him to present himself and reconcile with the Church, and apparently, the wayward priest did meet for about an hour. Unfortunately, while repenting, he put down conditions - something you never do when seeking forgiveness.
Here is the beginning of the AP article: No Resolution in Dispute Over Mo. Church
By CHERYL WITTENAUER
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke met with an excommunicated priest at the center of a dispute over a Polish-heritage Roman Catholic church on Tuesday, but dismissed the pastor's reconciliation offer as "offensive to God."
The Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka church, said he would "seriously consider" leaving the parish and would be willing to repent and publicly apologize — if Burke kept the church open, revoked excommunication and other penalties, and made other concessions.
"The offer is offensive to God because he admits he needs to repent but he puts conditions on it," Burke said. "People can't buy reconciliation."
Bozek, 33, met with Burke for about an hour as more than 200 of Bozek's supporters stood outside in a cold, steady rain and prayed for him. A dozen other Roman Catholics prayed and held signs promoting obedience to Burke.
Burke said in an interview Tuesday that he ordered the priest to appear before him for a "canonical admonition" to make Bozek recognize the "serious wrongs he has done, withdraw from them and make reparation."
You know, folks, this is what can happen when you place greater importance on your beloved parish than you do Holy Mother Church. Whenever money is involved, and in this case the dispute was over Church assets where there was an unusual arrangement, people get paranoid that the issue is strictly about the money. This issue began under Cardinal Rigali, and was inherited by Archbishop Burke. He has a duty to make clear to those defiant souls in that parish that they are playing with fire, and he is not being neglectful of that duty. As usual, he will be vilified within the secular press, and persecuted relentlessly as "the bad guy picking on those poor parishioners". The media will play on the emotions of those people, and encourage them in their defiance. That's pretty typical of "the world". But, are we not called to be countercultural?
I believe the behavior of the people in that parish reveals there were deeper underlying problems with the culture there - problems that are not reflective of appropriate Catholic behavior. No saint who ever walked the earth, including St. Stanislaus, would advocate prideful disobedience, even if the bishop were not justified in taking control of assets (I think he was well within his rights).
Here they had a piece of traditional eye-candy in St. Stanislaus Kostka parish and they felt it was somehow threatened by.....one of the most traditional, orthodox bishops in the US?!?!?. Sooooo..........the board hires this wayward priest from another diocese, and he ends up eventually, recently, ordaining women!!!
Despite the craziness of this whole situation, I have hope. The fact that the priest even went to Abp Burke in the first place is reason to hope that he will go back and reflect on the lessons he should have learned while in the seminary: Never make repentance conditional.
This priest could use a very long retreat out in the sticks to help him along. In the meanwhile, please offer some Mass intentions, and some adoration time, Rosaries, and more for his, and the parish's conversion.
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