Monday, August 09, 2004

Service Held at Chruch that Archbishop Forbids to Mass At

From The St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Karen Wilga was baptized in St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church more than 45 years ago. She married her husband, Vince, there in 1977 and watched her 25-year-old daughter Kristy exchange wedding vows there two summers ago.

Karen, 48, and Vince Wilga, 49, both of Florissant, are concerned the deadlocked dispute between the church and the St. Louis Archdiocese threatens the church's future as a place for their future grandchildren to worship.

"We just want our tradition to be here," Karen Wilga said. "Can you think of a better place to start your family? It's beautiful here."

On Sunday, the Wilgas joined an estimated 1,200 people from across the St. Louis area at a prayer service at the 102-year-old church, just northwest of downtown. The service replaced the church's regular Sunday Mass, halted by Archbishop Raymond Burke's withdrawal of the church's two priests last week.

The archdiocese says that St. Stanislaus' system of governance by a nonprofit lay board of directors is at odds with Catholic church laws. Many of the church's parishioners see Burke's move as a ploy for control over the church's $9 million in assets and property rights.

"It is strictly, strictly, money and power," said Ben Krauze, 64, of St. Louis, a church member for more than 50 years. "It's religious extortion."