Saturday, March 15, 2008

Excommunication For Women Claiming Ordination

St. Louis , Mar. 14, 2008 ( - Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis has formally announced the excommunication of three women who participated in a ceremony that they described as ordination to the Catholic priesthood.

In defiance of warnings from the archbishop, two Missouri women-- Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie McGrath-- claimed ordination during a November 11 ceremony performed at a Jewish synagogue. A German woman who claims to be a bishop, Patricia Fresen, led the ceremony. Since that time, Hudson and McGrath have been serving as "pastors" of a group based in a Unitarian church.

All three women are excommunicated, the St. Louis archdiocese announced. The disciplinary action against Fresen was taken by Archbishop Burke because the offense-- the imitation of a sacrament-- was committed in St. Louis under his jurisdiction.

The penalties of excommunication apply throughout the world; the women cannot receive the sacraments unless they are reconciled.

Archbishop Burke revealed that he had warned the women against participating in the "ordination" ceremony, and subsequently issued repeated invitations for each woman to meet with him and repair the damage done by their public actions. The women have refused to accept his authority.

"Because they participated in the attempted ordination, Church law requires me to publicly declare the excommunication," announced the archbishop, who is an acknowledged authority on canon law. He explained that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women as priests, that Pope John Paul II (bio - news) solemnly reaffirmed the teaching, and that the teaching "is to be held definitvely by all the faithful."

"The situation is sad for the whole Church," Archbishop Burke said, urging the faithful to pray that the women will be reconciled.


Archbishop formally seeks dismissal of excommunicated priest in St. Louis

The Associated Press - March 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS: Archbishop Raymond Burke has recommended the removal of an excommunicated priest at the center of a dispute over a Polish-heritage Roman Catholic church, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Burke formally declared that Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, is improperly representing himself as a Catholic priest and should be removed from the priesthood, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on its Web site.

The Post-Dispatch said Burke made formal his recommendations after Bozek refused to meet with him Wednesday to discuss their long-running dispute. The archdiocese released the text of Burke's decree in Friday's edition of the local Catholic weekly newspaper, the St. Louis Review.

Burke and St. Stanislaus' lay board have long been at odds over control of the assets of the north St. Louis church. The lay board appointed Bozek in December 2005 in defiance of the archbishop, and that month Burke declared the lay board and Bozek to be excommunicated.

In January 2006, Burke also stripped the parish of its standing as a Roman Catholic church. The matter is under appeal at the Vatican.

Bozek is under fire for allegedly breaking with the church and for participating in an ordination ceremony for two Catholic women in November.... (more)

From St. Louis Catholic:

Statement Regarding New Members of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation Board

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has issued the following statement regarding Stanley Rozanski and Bronsalaa (Bernice) Krauze:

ad_news.jpgAs Archbishop of St. Louis, it is my responsibility to safeguard the unity of the Catholic Church and protect the souls of the faithful.

I have communicated with both Mr. Rozanski and Ms. Krauze that the Board of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation is in schism, the parish had been suppressed, and that if they joined the board, they would be knowingly joining a sect that held and professed views outside the communion of the Catholic Church. Because they joined the board knowing this information, they excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church. Church law requires me to publicly declare the excommunication.

The situation of Mr. Rozanski and Ms. Krause is sad for the whole Church. It is cause of great concern for me as archbishop. Please join me in praying that both will be reconciled with the Church and that the great harm which has been caused to the Church, with the help of God’s grace, will be healed.

Questions and Answers Regarding New Members of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation Board

Q. What is the latest development?

A. Archbishop Burke has declared excommunicated the most recent Board members of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation, Mr. Rozanski and Ms. Krauze.

Q. What does it mean to be excommunicated?

A. Excommunication is knowingly and willingly placing oneself outside the full communion of the Catholic Church. A person excommunicates himself/herself. When the archbishop declares an excommunication, its purpose is meant to be healing, and a call for the person to reconsider the action and reconcile with the Catholic Church.

Q. Were the new Saint Stanislaus Kostka Corporation Board members given any warning by the archbishop, and, if so, what kind of warning?

A. The archbishop wrote to each party three times asking them to refrain from joining the Board at Saint Stanislaus because: the Board was in schism, the parish had been suppressed, and they would be knowingly joining a church that held and professed views outside the communion of the Catholic Church.

Q. What is schism?

A. Schism occurs when a baptized Catholic withdraws from unity with the pope or the local bishop and the faithful under him. They will not be allowed to go to Confession.

Q. How does a priest prevent them from obtaining absolution in the confessional if the priest doesn't know it is they who are confessing?

A. They should refrain from presenting themselves in Confession. A priest is only to deny them absolution if he is certain that they have been excommunicated and have not sought repentance.

Q. What happens to a priest if he unknowingly administers Holy Communion to them?

A. Nothing; no one can be held liable if an excommunicated person attempts to receive the Eucharist, and the status of the person is unknown to the minister. Q. What happens to a priest if he knowing administers Holy Communion?

A. He is liable to just penalties for his offense, as Church law forbids giving Communion to one who is under the penalty of excommunication or interdict.

Q. How is the Archdiocese of St. Louis going to monitor this?

A. No one is monitoring this. It is simply expected of a priest or minister of the Church.

Q. Should they be in grave danger of death, can Last Rites be administered to them by a priest in good standing? If so, are they then allowed to be buried as a Catholic in good standing?

A. If they truly are contrite about their offense and wish to be reconciled, then after the reconciliation, the priest could administer the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. If they are not contrite, then he can not, because they remain obstinate in their offense. The same option would hold true concerning a request for a Funeral Mass and burial in sacred ground.

Q. If one is excommunicated, does that mean the person is going to hell?

A. We believe that is not a question for us, but for God.

Q. Why doesn't the archbishop look the other way?

A. The archbishop, as the chief shepherd of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has the responsibility to make sure that people are not mislead by false teachings. He is to protect the people and make sure that scandal does not lead them astray. He also has to uphold the true teachings and practices of the Catholic Faith.

Q. Why does the Archdiocese of St. Louis have to make this public?

A. Because the persons involved have committed the canonical crime of schism. At three separate times, Archbishop Burke formally called them to withdraw from their schism, but they have refused to do so. They have lost membership in the Roman Catholic Church and have become members of a sect. The Church is obliged to make public the fact of their status, lest the faithful be confused and even led into the error of joining them in schism.

Q. Aren't excommunications more divisive than uniting?

A. Excommunication is more than a penalty for past actions; it's really an urgent call to reform one's conduct in the future. Excommunication is classified as a "medicinal penalty" by the Church precisely because its main purpose is to bring about reform in the individual. Having certain actions punished by excommunication demonstrates that certain actions are gravely wrong in themselves and cause deep harm both to their perpetrators and to others. The hope of this excommunication, and all excommunications, is that the parties will be awakened to their offenses and seek to return to full communion in the Church.

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