Marek Bozek Dismissed from the Clerical State

Mr. Marek Bozek
Mr. Marek Bozek

On Monday, March 9, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau announced that Pope Benedict XVI dismissed Marek Bozek from the clerical state. Since 2005, Bozek has been under suspension from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and has been in a state of schism with the Catholic Church since accepting the offer from the board of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation to be the pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka.

Bishop Robert J. Hermann said of the dismissal, "As the Administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, it is my responsibility to safeguard the unity of the Catholic Church and protect the souls of the faithful. The situation of Marek Bozek is sad for the whole Church. Please join me in praying that Marek Bozek 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."

Bozek may no longer function as a priest now that he has been dismissed from the clerical state. The faithful who hold the sacraments in highest honor must therefore refrain from receiving sacraments from Mr. Bozek, because he no longer has the rights and obligations of a cleric.

More Information concerning the dismissal of Marek Bozek from the clerical state:

Questions and Answers

What is the status of Marek Bozek?

Pope Benedict XVI has dismissed Marek Bozek from the clerical state. Therefore, he may no longer function as a priest, with the exception of offering absolution to the dying.

Marek Bozek has been under suspension from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau since December, 2005. Bishop John Leibrecht, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, placed Bozek under suspension after Bozek abandoned his assignment as associate pastor at Saint Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, MO without permission from the bishop. During the ordination ceremony, all Roman Catholic priests make a promise of obedience to their bishop and his successors.

Only a Bishop can lawfully appoint priests to parishes in a Diocese. According to Church teachings, Bozek was declared to have excommunicated himself from the Church after the board of St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation offered the job of pastor to Bozek and Bozek accepted. In accepting that offer, Bozek committed the canonical offense of schism. When he committed schism, Bozek automatically excommunicated himself from the Church.

What happens next?

It has always been the hope of the Archdiocese of St. Louis that Bozek would return to his home diocese to be reconciled with the Catholic Church.

What happens to the St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish Corporation?

The dismissal from the clerical state focuses solely on Bozek, and does not address the status of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Corporation.

Since December 29, 2005, the St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish Corporation is no longer a part of the Roman Catholic Church. The six directors of the Board, along with Bozek, were declared to have excommunicated themselves from the Church on December 15, 2005, after the Directors offered the job of pastor to Bozek, who already was not in good standing with the Catholic Church. Bozek accepted an offer to pastor St. Stanislaus Kostka, which had separated itself from the Archdiocese, and thereby committed schism. In the Catholic Church, only a Bishop can appoint priests to parishes.

On June 10, 2008, four former members of the Board of Directors of Saint Stanislaus Parish Corporation met with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke to be reconciled fully with the Catholic Church. They are once again in full communion with the Catholic Church and are no longer under any censure.

How does this affect the civil case against St. Stanislaus Parish Corporation?

The case will continue in civil court. In July, a group of parishioners filed a lawsuit against the St. Stanislaus Parish Corporation in St. Louis City Court. The lawsuit is asking for the corporation to return to the 1891 Bylaws, to which the parish and the Archdiocese of St. Louis had agreed. If the lawsuit is successful, the Archdiocese of St. Louis is prepared to appoint a Catholic priest to St. Stanislaus as an administrator.

Can Catholics still attend services at St. Stanislaus?

Since Marek Bozek has been dismissed from the clerical state, and no longer has the rights and obligations of a cleric, and since the Holy See has forbidden his exercise of orders, including the celebration of the sacraments, the faithful who hold the sacraments in highest honor must refrain from receiving sacraments from Mr. Bozek.

Why doesn’t the Church look the other way?

The mission of the Catholic Church is to bring people to Christ. If people are being lead astray, it is the Church’s obligation to speak up and correct the situation.

The bishop has an obligation to correct a priest when the priest’s teachings and actions are contrary to those of the Catholic Church. For a bishop to do nothing is a serious failure in the care of the faithful.