St. Stanislaus Kostka
One of two churches that survived the rise and fall of Pruitt-Igoe, St. Stanislaus has retained its Polish congregation through thick times and thin. Today the church staff is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Archdiocese over an attempt to seize the parish's property.
The parish has worked hard and poured considerable time, effort and money into restoring the church's ornate interior, and to good result: St. Stanislas has the most festive, celebratory decor of any St. Louis church I have yet visited.
The church faces a murky future: church staff have weathered a bitter dispute over the Archdiocese's attempt to seize control of the parish's property and finances, which have been managed by the church since the 1800s. At the end of 2005, 6 members of the church board were excommunicated over the issue after hiring their own priests, to replace those removed by the Archdiocese. The parish continues to operate independently today.
[My personal, editorial viewpoint as an outsider to the whole affair: it is difficult to see the move as anything but an act of pure greed by the Archdiocese, an effort to take control of the Parish assets so they can be sold off, as many other Parish churches were in 2005. How else to explain the Archdiocese's fixation on this thriving and spectacularly renovated church?
Archbishop Burke writes in response to this widely-held viewpoint: "Some have understood the object of the conflict to be power and money. Such is ... clearly not the case...The object of the conflict is obedience, the obedience we all owe to the Apostolic teaching and discipline of the Church." In which case, the move is an act of greed for power. I'm not much of a religous scholar, but I'm pretty sure the Apostles said nothing at all about church property management. This is not a matter of morals or rituals; it's one of material goods.
Regarding the outside priest hired by the parish so they could continue their services, Burke further writes: "The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments...commit a mortal sin." There it is: a game of souls by a man of the cloth in the name of property, money and power. I cannot adequately convey my disgust and contempt.]
Urban Review St. Louis has further discussion on the issue (including a couple of opposing viewpoints). Editorializing again, I agree with Steve Patterson: I support whoever keeps
this thriving city institution and architectural landmark open and operating.
- Wikipedia offers a much longer and detailed account of the schism.
- The Church's own history site
- This page, though horrificly ugly, contains a very thorough set of related news links, starting about half-way down the page.