At least 1,500 people attended Christmas Eve Mass with an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest presiding, despite warnings from the archbishop that participating would be a mortal sin.Like politics in Iraq, this fight too is about power and money.
The Rev. Marek Bozek left his previous parish without his bishop's permission and was hired by St. Stanislaus Kostka Church this month. As a result, Father Bozek and the parish's six-member lay board were excommunicated last week by Archbishop Raymond Burke for committing an act of schism.
Archbishop Burke said it would be a mortal sin for anyone to participate in a Mass celebrated by a priest who was excommunicated.
The archbishop, who could not stop the Mass, said it would be 'valid' but 'illicit.'
The penalty of excommunication was the latest wrinkle in a long dispute over control of the parish's $9.5 million in assets.In Iraq the weapon of choice is the bomb; in the archdiocese in St. Louis, it's excommunication. One uses whatever weapons one has at hand.
The parish's property and finances have been managed by a lay board of directors for more than a century. Archbishop Burke has sought to make the parish conform to the same legal structure as other parishes in the diocese.