Missouri Polish parish votes to protect itself in standoff with archdiocese

Posted: Friday, April 30, 2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) A Polish parish at odds with the St. Louis Archdiocese voted overwhelmingly Sunday to release its assets to a Roman Catholic charity not the archdiocese if the parish ever dissolves.

St. Stanislaus Kosta parish vigorously challenged Archbishop Raymond Burke's demand that it relinquish control of $9 million in assets and leadership by a lay board, calling that an unlawful takeover.

Various administrative changes amount to insurance protection in a feud with little hope for compromise, parishioner Roger Krasnicki said. A spokesman for the archdiocese declined to discuss the situation.

The historic parish has contacted religious orders requesting staff if Archbishop Raymond Burke withdraws its archdiocesan priest. A delegation will seek support at the Vatican in May.

In 1891, then-Archbishop Peter Kenrick and parish leaders signed a deed ''forever'' conveying property from the archdiocese to a private parish corporation with a lay board. Last year, the archdiocese told the congregation that violates church law.

Burke says it's wrong for a Catholic parish to ''be under the exclusive direction of a civil corporation.'' He has threatened to declare St. Stanislaus no longer Catholic and to establish a Polish-speaking parish elsewhere.

Matters came to a boil at a March 28 meeting where Burke was booed, heckled, interrupted and laughed at by angry parishioners.

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