Hasta la vista, baby! One step closer to ‘Romanorum coetibus’!

Those of you who have been reading here for a while may remember my urgent pleas that the Anglican communion issue provisions in some form of document that could be called Romanorum coetibus (as a response to Benedict XVI’s Anglicanorum coetibus).

As you will remember, Romanorum coetibus is that document whereby our Anglican sisters and brothers will make provisions for disaffected catholics, offer them a safe-haven from the patriarchal oppression of Rome while preserving intact their most cherished traditions, such as clay cups, guitars, abortion clinic escort nuns, hand holding, the dream of female deacons, etc.

News has come in that we are one step closer to this dream!

A reader alerted me to a page on the site of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.  It seems that the bishop there is working out how to accept a renegade catholic perish… parish… into their Anglican/Episcopalian thing.

A sample:

Dear People and Clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri:

I want to let you all know some exciting news related to our Diocese. The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis are in discussions that could lead to the church coming into union with the Diocese, should both parties agree that this is in their best interests and in best service to Christ. This process will take some time to work through and we do not yet know what the outcome will be, but the Diocese is enthusiastic about the possibilities of a union.

On the face of it, the Diocese and St. Stanislaus have many things in common—in sacramental practices, in Catholic identity, in commitment to the marginalized, in having cherished heritages.

The Mission of the Diocese of Missouri is the mission of all baptized Christians: to teach and to spread the Gospel and its knowledge of salvation to all people; and to make the love of Christ known in the world through our own actions as individuals, as congregations, and as the Diocese, by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, caring for the sick, visiting the prisoner, and comforting those in times of trouble.

With regard to St. Stanislaus and their heritage, one connection of our Diocese is especially relevant. Since 1931, the Anglican Communion (of which we are a part) and the Union of Utrecht have been in full communion, sharing the sacraments and recognizing the ministries of one another. The Union of Utrecht consists of churches in 10 European nations with about one half million members in all and, like the Communion, it preserves the historic episcopate and recognizes the seven sacraments of the Western church. It recognizes the three Catholic orders of ministry. The titular head of the Union is the Archbishop of Utrecht, currently the Most Rev. Joris Vercammen. The Union regards the Episcopal Church of the Anglican Communion as its representative in the United States, and the existence of an Old Catholic Church in Poland holds an attraction for St. Stanislaus.

Canon I.16 of the Episcopal Church provides for a parish to come into union with one of its dioceses and yet retain its own liturgical practices and rites. I know that given St. Stanislaus’ rich heritage, the ability to retain their cherished Polish identity, along with practices and rites are surely an important matter. Alternately of course, St. Stanislaus could also choose any or all the liturgies available to the Episcopal Church, most of which are in the Book Of Common Prayer.


This is certainly exciting news, especially for all Missourians.

Isn’t the National Schismatic Reporter headquartered in Missouri?

Maybe the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri needs a diocesan newspaper.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Athelstan says:

    :sigh: Another sad chapter in the tragic saga of St. Stan’s.

    Obviously, we should be sad to see any parish leave the Church, especially one so old and with such a rich history in Polish Catholicism. Yet the truth is that St. Stan’s has already left the Church anyway, thanks to the prideful obstinacy and error of a segment of its leadership; and in a certain sense it may be best for them to join a communion with which they are theologically sympatico We’ve gotten over thirty parishes from the ECUSA over the last two years, small but solid communities with liturgy and orthopraxis well beyond the Catholic norm; they get St. Stan’s in return. I think that’s a fair trade.

  2. Athelstan says:

    Of course, it turns out there may be another motivation for “Father” Bozek to push this move to join the Episcopal Church, rather than merely remain part of the Union of Utrecht:

    …as recently as last summer[2008], Bozek disparaged independent Catholic groups that, as it turns out, he was a member of at the time. “With all due respect for the independent Catholic movement, it’s full of weirdos,” he told the Post-Dispatch …

    Never mind that their orders are invalid and that, well, the ECUSA has more than its share of weirdness these days, more than a little of it imported from us (Matthew Fox, anyone?). At least they’ll get all the wonderful innovations of the Sexual Revolution that he seems to hold near and dear to his heart.

  3. Fr AJ says:

    I’m wondering why they wouldn’t join the Polish National Catholics? At least they have valid orders and sacraments and a Polish heritage that these folks at St. Stan’s claim is so important. I’m guessing this Bozek is so nutty the PNCC doesn’t want him and his group or he thinks the PNCC is too conservative.

  4. ClavesCoelorum says:

    Now, Father, that’s another prayer answered!

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    “This is certainly exciting news, especially for all Missourians.

    Isn’t the National Schismatic Reporter headquartered in Missouri?

    Maybe the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri needs a diocesan newspaper.”

    LOL! But Missourian Episcopal Reporter doesn’t have that grand ring to it.

    St Stan will be going for a reverse Tiber swim in Missouri…

    Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you,
    Away you rolling river.
    Oh Shenandoah, I long to see you,
    Away, I’m bound away,
    ‘cross the wide Missouri.

    Shanty sung by a men’s choir from Huston.

    i Hasta la vista!

  6. Titus says:

    Another sad chapter in the St. Stanislaus saga indeed. The whole affair is a) terribly sad, b) worse every time it appears in the paper, and c) a clarion warning to bishops to make sure the deeds and corporate documents for parishes and like things in their dioceses are drawn properly: poor draftsmanship* is what enabled the whole ordeal in the first-place.

    * Calling it “poor” draftsmanship is unfair to the nineteenth-century folks who drew the papers. They never imagined that their successors would be lunatics. “Insufficiently cautious” might be better.

  7. Phil_NL says:

    One thing that cannot pass without comment:

    This mr Vercammen should not be confused with the proper archbishop of Utrecht, Cardinal Eijk ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wim_Eijk )

  8. pberginjr says:

    I’d wanted to send you a note on this yesterday but couldn’t dash one off. I’m glad someone else came through, I thought you’d comment.

  9. Charlotte Allen says:

    Without siding with St. Stanislaus, I must point out that the parish seems to have a legitimate beef with Archbishop Burke. The split was over property rights. From its inception more than a century ago St. Stan’s, alone of all the Catholic parishes in the archdiocese, owned its own church property. Other parish churches in the archdiocese are the property of the archdiocese. Burke wanted St. Stan’s to cede its property over to the archdiocese–and the clergy and parishioners at St. Stan’s feared–perhaps reasonably–that their parish buildings would then become archdiocesan assets that could be seized and sold to pay judgments and settlements assessed against the archdiocese in lawsuits involving sexual misconduct by priests not affiliated with St. Stan’s.

    I don’t know what St. Stan’s should have done–but its website and that of its pastor assert that St. Stan’s, and its clergy, apart from the property dispute, have always been in theological accord and faithful to Rome and past bishops of St. Louis. So the current situation seems tragic more than anything. Should St. Stan’s have obeyed–because that’s what it’s supposed to do–at the cost of surrendering its historic independence as a Polish community?

    I don’t know what the answer should be. And certainly, if St. Stan’s is theologically heterodox, I have no sympathy for its plight. And if it affiliates itself with the Episcopal Church, my sympathy goes down to minus numbers.

  10. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    With respect to the PNCC – and Dr. Vercammen – may I recommend the late Laurence Orzell’s May 2004 Touchstone Magazine article, “Disunion of Utrecht” (available online)?

  11. Nordic Breed says:

    Fr AJ: the Polish National Church wouldn’t have them.
    Charlotte: St. Stan’s board violated the charter with the St. Louis Archdiocese and illegally changed their by-laws. It’s complicated, but Cardinal Rigali was already trying to right the mess when Burke was appointed. I’d be really careful of hinting the top legal mind in the Catholic Church goofed up. The evil was done by the board. Burke called a Polish archbishop to come over from Poland and talk with the board. Got nowhere. Board excommunicated. A few board members repented and were brought back into communion. They either were kicked out of St. Stan’s or resigned.

    I know defrocked Marek Bozek from his service in Springfield, MO. This whole thing is really sad, but the natural outcome of former Bishop Leibrecht’s recruiting policies to the priesthood. We are talking about really, really far from orthodox Catholic here. Peace.

  12. Nan says:

    @Charlotte, once you break with canon law and don’t listen to the bishop with regard to fixing it, you aren’t in communion with the Church; the board knowingly broke canon law and refused to right it. Then they hired a priest from another diocese, who was excommunicated because we’re not protestants; the parish council doesn’t just hire a priest. Free floating priests are a bad thing.

  13. William Tighe says:

    Here is some background material which may be of assistance to readers.

    In response to Venerator Sci Lot, here are links to two articles, one of them that of the late Dr. Orzell (with whom I was acquainted) to which VSL refers in his comment, and the other to an earlier-published article of mine on the same subject:



    As to Bozek himself, he would undoubtedly find the PNCC “too conservative” to suit him, as he has repeatedly expressed his support for the pretended ordination of women and for church-acceptance of same-sex pseudogamy, both of which the PNCC strongly opposes. And as to his own “proclivities,” while the English-language Wikipedia does not have his biography, the Polish version does:


    and please note its statement of why he was asked to leave the Catholic seminary in Poland at which he originally studied for ordination:

    “Od 1998 roku by? klerykiem Wy?szego Seminarium Duchownego Metropolii Warmi?skiej Hosianum w Olsztynie. W 2000 roku zosta? pos?dzony o nieobyczajne zachowanie, które sugerowa?o sk?onno?ci homoseksualne.”

  14. Vecchio di Londra says:

    “in commitment to the marginalized”
    When I read this phrase, at first I was puzzled. Someone wanted to stop them carrying out the Gospel’s message of practical help for the poor? Did the Bishop want to take away their CAFOD Collection Boxes? Prevent them from making sandwiches and manning food banks in the local area? Censor their prayers for “justice’n’peaceintheworld”?

    Suddenly the penny dropped, and I began to have an inkling as to which groups the ‘marginalized’ probably are…

  15. Fr AJ says:

    Venerator Sti Lot, without reading the article I believe, if I recall correctly, the PNCC pulled out of the Union of Utrecht when the other parties to that union started to ordain women to the priesthood.

  16. William Tighe says:

    In my comment above I unfortunately truncated the Polish excerpt I presented, and omitted the ensuing English translation. They should have run:

    “Od 1998 roku by? klerykiem Wy?szego Seminarium Duchownego Metropolii Warmi?skiej Hosianum w Olsztynie. W 2000 roku zosta? pos?dzony o nieobyczajne zachowanie, które sugerowa?o sk?onno?ci homoseksualne. W zwi?zku z zaistnia?? sytuacj? zosta? z olszty?skiego seminarium duchownego usuni?ty.”

    “From 1998 he was a seminarian at the Warmia Metropolitan Seminary in Olsztyn, the Hosianum. In 2000 he was accused of indecent behavior that suggested homosexuality. In view of the situation he was removed from the Olsztyn seminary.”

  17. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    William Tighe,

    Thank you for filling in the background so much!

    I have never seen a clear summary of the matter, but I have the impression that various Provinces of the Anglican Communion are acting with respect to, e.g., ‘The Episcopal Church’, in ways analogous to that Dr. Orzell reported of the PNCC – as well they might! Indeed, the whole Communion might do well to do so with respect to the Union of Utrecht as well as its own determinedly erring Provinces, for the good of all concerned. Dr. Vercammen et suis have grossly compromised the Bonn Agreement: wholesome chastening, however likely or unlikely to succeed, seems clearly in order.

    Having read R.H. Benson’s autobiography not long ago, I cannot imagine someone like him wishing upon the Anglican Communion such additional ‘problem cases’ as The Episcopal Church has become, whether on the level of parish, diocese, or province, unless it were for a sequestration in a sort of quarantine, until mayhap they became penitent, a sort of opportunity of exomologesis (as I read of in Edward Hanna’s 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia article about “The Sacrament of Penance”) – that would be a very interesting sort of Romanorum coetibus!

  18. Del says:

    But imagine! — A diocesan church that the NcR could actually serve and be of use to! (For something other than wrapping the fish…)

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