VM: 04/2012 : Comments. Parishioners win control of church from archdiocese

Parishioners win control of church from archdiocese

From: alphonso tao
Date: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 9:51 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: [New post] VM: 004/2012 : Do Archdiocese run schools also needs cleansing?
To: SILENT VOICE <silentvoice58@gmail.com>

After a nine-year battle, the removal of several parish priests and a series of excommunications, a judge has awarded the parishioners of a US church an “unassailable” victory.
Joshua J. McElwee
United States
March 21, 2012


St. Stanislaus Kostka Church

St. Stanislaus Kostka Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Catholic Church News Image of Parishioners win control of church from archdiocese

Parishioners of a Polish Catholic church in St. Louis are celebrating after a judge ruled last week that Archbishop Robert Carlson and the St. Louis archdiocese have no right to claim control of their parish and its property because of a unique 19th century legal contract.

The decision, which came after almost a decade of dispute over St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, was issued Thursday in a 50-page ruling by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Bryan Hettenbach.

At the center of the case, in which Hettenbach took two years to issue a decision, seemed to stand complicated questions of the entangling of church and civil law. In the end, however, it came down to an everyday contract dispute.

Finding that he had no power to invalidate an 1891 agreement the archdiocese made with the parish, which ceded title to its property to a board of directors incorporated under Missouri law, Hettenbach writes in the ruling that while “the Archbishop may own the souls of wayward St. Stanislaus parishioners … the St. Stanislaus Parish Corporation owns its own property.”

The ruling, in which Hettenbach found in favor of the parish on nine of 13 counts, seems to draw to a near-close a chapter that has roiled the St. Stanislaus church community since 2003, when the parish board refused a demand by then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke to change its bylaws to allow the archdiocese ultimate control of its financial resources and property.


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