The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has confirmed the excommunications of six members of a Missouri parish board who refused to turn over Church property to the archdiocese.
St Louis Today reports the Holy See has upheld St Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke's 2005 declaration of excommunication of the Stanislaus Six, the six lay members of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church board who refused to turn over Church assets to the archdiocese.
The board members were declared excommunicated after they hired a priest, Fr Marek Bozek , who had been suspended by his own bishop in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.
Bozek, who was made a member of the St Stanislas' board, was also declared excommunicated by Burke, and the rejection of the board's appeal also includes his excommunication, according to the archdiocese.
The CDF rejected the board's appeal of the excommunications in a decree dated May 15, 2008.
"It is evident that the Board Members have committed the delict of schism by constituting St Stanislaus Kostka Parish as an independent entity capable of appointing its own clergy apart from the hierarchy of the Church," the decree noted.
"In a gradual process the parish has been removed from the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary," the Congregation's prefect, Cardinal William Levada continued.
"This can be seen as an expression of the refusal of the members of the Board to subject themselves to the lawfully constituted Ecclesiastical authority."
Schism, the canoncial offense that triggered the excommunications, is defined in the Catechism and the Code of Canon law as "the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."
The board members were given 30 days to appeal the Vatican's ruling.
Vatican upholds declaration of excommunication for St. Stan Six (St Louis Today, 28/5/08)
St Stanislaus Kostka Parish, St Louis (Wikipedia)
Delict of schism (Code of Canon Law)