Tom Doyle Responds to Archbishop Burke’s “Extra-Judical Decree”

Received via email from Tom Doyle, 4.30.2008.

* * *


Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C

I. Background

I believe it is necessary that I present a response to Archbishop Burke’s “extrajudicial decree” which was published in the Catholic paper in St. Louis. In doing so I will not get into detail about the various canonical issues involved. I do not intend this response to be part of any form of debate with the archbishop or the archdiocese nor do I intend it to be a personal attack on him.

I was approached in 2006 by members of the Board of Directors of St. Stanislaus Parish in St. Louis and asked to serve as their canonical advisor. At that time I learned that Archbishop Raymond Burke had imposed the canonical penalty of interdict on board members. Several months later he declared that they had been automatically excommunicated. I assisted the board members in preparing their appeals from these penalties, using the procedures provided by the Code of Canon Law. After first appealing to the archbishop to amend his decrees, the board then directed their appeal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I cannot serve as their appointed advocate before this Vatican congregation because their procedural rules require that any advocate be first accredited to the Congregation and also, that the advocate reside in Rome. However I have continued to act as advocate on the local level and have assisted the board members in preparing the various documents required.

The core issue has been the refusal of the board of St. Stanislaus, acting according to the wishes of the majority of parish members, to transfer ownership of the parish properties and other material resources to the archbishop. At the end of the 19th century Archbishop Kenrick gave direct ownership to the parish. This arrangement worked well until the present archbishop insisted that the board turn these resources over to him.

The board has consistently refused, believing that ownership should be held in the name of those who actually donate funds for the support of the parish. As a result of their refusal Archbishop Burke decided that the board members had committed the canonical crime of Schism. The basic argument of the board is that neither they nor the parishioners intend to sever ties with the Roman Catholic Church. They are in disagreement with Archbishop Burke which, they argue, does not constitute schism. Catholic Church law does not require the archbishop to hold title or own the parish property and its resources. There are parishes in the US and in other countries with arrangements similar to St. Stanislaus. I know of no other parish or diocese wherein a parish board has been forced to transfer ownership under a threat of excommunication.

The archbishop terminated sacramental services at the parish in July of 2004 and officially suppressed the parish on December 29, 2005. On January 3, 2005 he informed the board of the parish that if they did not conform to his requests and to the response received from the Congregation for the Clergy in the Vatican, that they would incur the canonical penalty of interdict. On February 10, 2005 he imposed the penalty of interdict. On December 15, 2005 he excommunicated the parish board because they had hired Fr. Marek Bozek.

In March, 2006 I wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on behalf of the board members. The Congregation responded to my inquiry. They did not inform me that I could not continue to serve as a canonical consultant and they did not ask about my personal opinions on any theological or doctrinal matters.

The parish elected two new members to replace two members whose terms had ended. After their election, Archbishop Burke informed them that unless they resigned from the board they would be excommunicated. They then asked me to serve as their advocate before the Archdiocese of St. Louis. I agreed and they presented mandates of appointment to the archbishop. They each received a summons to appear on September 4, 2007 in which they were told to respond within 21 “useful days.” The letter did not explain to them what the term “useful days” meant. They then contacted me and asked for assistance.

II. The canonical process against me

I wrote to Archbishop Burke on Oct. 6, 2007 and informed him that I had been asked to represent Mrs. Krauze and Mr. Rozanski. I also explained that I had been unable to respond earlier because of serious family obligations. I did not see a need to go into detail about the nature of these obligations since I expected enough good will on the part of the archbishop that he would not consider the delay to be a major problem. I also did not elaborate on the serious nature of the family problems for reasons of confidentiality. On October 15, 2007 I received the first of three summonses’ to appear in St. Louis to be informed of the details of canonical charges being brought against me by the archbishop. I responded by letter on November 9, 2007. On December 12, 2007 a second summons was sent to my home ordering me to appear in St. Louis.

I responded to the second summons on December 12, 2007 and informed the archbishop that I was unable to respond earlier or to send detailed rebuttals to his statements to Mrs. Krauze and to Mr. Rozanki. I informed him that I was experiencing some serious personal health issues that required testing, evaluation and therapy. Again, I did not go into detail because I did not believe that it was necessary.

On February 3, 2008 I received a “Decree of Contumacy” from Archbishop Burke to which I did not respond. On April 9, 2008 I received the “Decree of Extra-judicial Adjudication” from Archbishop Burke. This decree was published in the Archdiocesan newspaper.

The summons and other decrees are part of a process that has been carried out within the context of Canon Law and not civil law. I found all of the Archbishop’s letters and decrees, especially his final decree to me, to be written in a convoluted, legalistic style which made it very difficult to follow the texts and to comprehend what the archbishop was trying to say. In 30 years of practice as a canonist I don’t ever recall seeing decrees from any source which were as confusing as these.

Archbishop Burke has accused me of committing two canonical crimes. The decree states what these crimes are:

a. “Abuse of ecclesiastical function by an act or omission and this by malice”

b. “illegitimate placing and omitting of an act of ecclesiastical function with harm to another and this by reason of culpable negligence.”

I believe that what he has done is this: he has reacted to the fact that I failed to answer the initial summons sent to Mrs. Krauze and Mr. Rozanski within the period of 21 useful days. He has also reacted to the fact that I did not explicitly ask his permission to act as their advocate. The letters which I sent in response were apparently not sufficient so he reacted by charging me with a canonical crime.

Archbishop Burke has taken these two sets of facts and presumed that they amount to criminal behavior and that my actions were maliciously intended to bring harm to the board members of St. Stanislaus Parish. In the decree of adjudication he also explicitly states that I have committed “very grievous sins” in addition to canonical delicts.

The penalty which I apparently incurred is this:

a. I am deprived of any office of canonical advocate and procurator within the archdiocese of St. Louis

b. I am to return the funds received from Mrs. Krauze and Mr. Rozanski in payment for my services.

III. My Response

I have never heard of a “Decree of Extrajudicial Adjudication.” I have searched through canonical commentaries for examples or even mention of such a decree and find none. As near as I can figure what it amounts to is this: Archbishop Burke has decided that the delay in my response, explained in two letters to him, and my failure to explicitly ask his permission, amount to malicious and harmful behavior on my part which is so bad that it amounts to a “very grievous sin” which I presume he means to be a mortal sin in traditional Catholic moral theology.

Archbishop Burke’s decree was the culmination of a purely subjective process that contained none of the required elements for due process of law. He has acted as the judge and prosecutor and has presumed the authority to reject the plaintiffs’ choice of defense attorney and appointed a substitute from his own staff. For a legal system or legal action to fulfill what it is intended for, there must not only be justice, but the appearance of justice. In the case of Archbishop Burke’s version of canon law there is neither.

Furthermore he equates failure to obey his rendition of Canon Law with mortal sin. He has no authority or power to do this or to threaten anyone who disagrees with him with mortal sin. Furthermore that process, which he claims is a canonical process, is actually no process at all.

The “penalty” which he imposed on me means nothing to me and has no effect on my relationship with the board members or pastor of St. Stanislaus. No one from St. Stanislaus has a case before the St. Louis tribunal. Although Archbishop Burke has excluded me from formal advocacy, I will continue to support the people of St. Stanislaus, the members of the board and Fr. Bozek and will continue to act as their canonical advisor. Secondly, I never accepted any payment from Mrs. Krauze or Mr. Rozanski. No payment was requested or expected.

Archbishop Burke used courier services to deliver at least three of his decrees to me. He could just as easily have used the U.S. mail or FedEx. I’m not sure if the use of a courier was intended to impress me or intimidate me. It did not work either way. The canonical process is not a civil process and therefore civilian process servers are clearly inappropriate. They are also a scandalous waste of the money donated to the Church by the people of St. Louis.

Archbishop Burke stated that “the accused has, in an habitual manner, publicly committed objective denials of definitive truths of the faith.” He used this same line of argument in his justification for not allowing me to serve as Fr. Bozek’s advocate. First, my theological opinions have nothing to do with my capability to serve objectively and competently as an advocate before a church tribunal. In fact, the Code of Canon Law does not include membership in the Catholic Church as an absolute requirement to serve as an advocate. It is recommended that advocates be Catholic but in fact there are canon lawyers in several countries who are not Catholics. I have never heard of canonical advocates being subjected to a test or evaluation of their theological “orthodoxy” as a prerequisite for acting in this capacity.

What is most unfortunate about the archbishop’s subjective judgment of me in regard to having publicly denied truths of the faith is that it is an unfounded and slanderous accusation. He failed to cite anything specific nor did he specify any particular sources. He and I have never spoken to each other much less engaged in any form of conversation about my theological opinions.

I have spoken publicly many times about the bishops’ lack of adequate response in the clergy abuse crisis. The many civil trials and grand jury reports have supported my criticism. This is not heresy. It is truth. Archbishop Burke may believe that everyone must agree with the bishop of their diocese in all things and he may include this as a definitive truth of the faith. This however, is not the official doctrine of the Catholic Church.

It seems clear that I committed one of the regional crimes in Archbishop Burke’s personal version of canon law and moral theology: I aided and abetted people who openly disagreed with him. Therefore I am considered to be in disagreement with him. So be it. I am!

Archbishop Burke has used Canon Law in a highly subjective manner. He has employed the canonical process as ammunition in his vendetta against those who refuse to bow to his version of authority and to lash out at those who disagree with him or at those who publicly disagree with certain aspects of Catholic Church discipline. He has no idea what my opinions are on any matter of Church doctrine or practice including such issues as ordination of women, married priesthood or the source of episcopal authority. In any case, the present official positions on these issues are not definitive or infallible church teaching. There is no such thing as “creeping infallibility” which amounts to claiming that something becomes infallible simply because a pope or bishop stated it several times in a row. In any case, none of this has anything to do with my ability to serve as an advocate for people from St. Stanislaus Parish. In such a role the only consideration is whether or not the process of Canon Law was objectively followed.

This entire issue is not about justice or the good of the Catholic Church. It is about ownership of the material goods of St. Stanislaus parish and it is about an archbishop who cannot tolerate any disagreement or questioning of his actions or policies, whether he is right or wrong. The office of bishop has been demeaned and the widespread impression of the Catholic Church’s legal system as ineffective and even counterproductive to justice has been confirmed.

    37 Responses to “Tom Doyle Responds to Archbishop Burke’s “Extra-Judical Decree””

  1. Dan Dick Says:

    1. I pray that Tom Doyle’s health problems can be alleviated.
    2. We are all gratul for his continuing willingness to guide this parish and its board members in its dealings with the aberrant Burke.
    3. I also hope that the parish and its board do what is necessary to protect their ownership and interests in this property and its assets so that Burke and his minions can have no control or the means to trespass on this property and parish assets or in any way disrupt the operation of this property and its assets.

  2. Lisa Says:

    I just checked the website for the Archdiocese of St. Louis and found the following posting, the irony of which requires no explanation:

    Archbishop Burke Receives Two New Appointments From Vatican
    Courtesy of the St. Louis Review

    Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke to two Vatican offices, the Vatican announced May 6. Archbishop Burke was named to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and the Congregation for the Clergy.

    The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts acts as an adviser on matters of the interpretation of canon law. The Congregation for the Clergy addresses concerns for diocesan priests, deacons and seminarians in the exercise of their ministries and also looks to the preservation and administration of the temporal goods of the Church.

    The archbishop, a well-regarded canon lawyer, has been a member of the College of Judges of the Church’s Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura since 2006.

  3. c. deprey Says:

    I hope someone will write a letter to the pope that each of us can sign. It should mention that we intend to withhold money from our churches, and discontinue volunteering our services.
    Also, we would like to start our own communities with no dictates from Rome.

    Having said that, could someone please tell me who and how to get my letter through to Rome?

  4. steve dzida Says:

    I recall the first time I read Luther’s Theses which he had posted on the church door. I kept scratching my head because, as to all but one or two, my rection was: “What’s wrong with that?” Church leadership at the time seemed so much more interested in preserving its power and prerogative than in the actual issues presented. What might have happened if the Church leadership could have reacted with love and humility rather than scorn and arrogance? Sure, after years of beating and battering by the leadership Luther went off the deep end in many ways. But would that have happened if Church leadership had reacted more like the servant leaders Jesus expects them to be?

    Perhaps Bishop Burke ought to examine his conscience about this whole affair. It all started over a disagreement about title to property! Now look where it has gone. Shame, shame, Bishop Burke! I often have wondered if we did the “washing the feet” every week and only did the bread and the wine once a year (rather than vice versa) whether we might “get it” better!

  5. Mark Milburn Says:

    This is all nice coming from Fr. Doyle except his arguments all amount to “A puppy dog ate my homework”.

    Puppy Dog Excuse 1.) How hard could it have been for Fr. Doyle to respond by letter? He says his reasons for not responding won’t stand print, for reasons of confidentiality. In other words he doesn’t trust the Archbishop to keep his confidence when he explains why he can’t appear. Who is being “subjective” and nasty now Fr. Doyle? You don’t trust an Archbishop to keep a confidence? Come on!

    Puppy Dog Excuse 2.) He says he cannot interpret the meaning of “useful days”. GIve me a break! It means business days or days when the Post Office is working. Everyone knows this.

    Puppy Dog Excuse 3.) Daddy, can I change the subject.

    Once again, Fr. Doyle, like his confederates at St. Stan’s, trys to say that the whole thing is over property, and the continued validity of the Kenrick rules.

    None of that has anything to do with why he is in trouble. But accepting his detour in the argument, even there, what he says is false.

    The St. Stan’s board aborted the Bishop Kenrick rules and substituted their own rules, deliberately taking all influence, voting or otherwise, out of the hands of the parish priests. That happened in Fall of 2004. That’s where the schism began. St. Stan’s broke the canons of the Kenrick agreement by gutting the priests out of the arrangement for managing the property.

    At that moment the line of authoritative connection between the Archdiocese and the parish was cut. Schism. They started it. Not His Grace. None of which touches why he is accused of Canon Law malpractice.

    Puppy Dog Excuse 4.) This thing has nothing to do with church doctrine.

    Oh, really?

    Fr. Doyle is as coy as a Noel Coward lyric.

    Marek Bozek continues to confer invalid sacraments. Please read the St. Stan’s Bulletin of March 22, 2008. Three individuals were CONFIRMED that very Sunday.

    What Bishop visited St. Stan’s on March 22nd? If there was no Bishop I would like it answered in print what Bishop confered upon Marek Bozek the material elements to make Confirmation valid.

    Marek Bozek either did the confirmation himself — making himself a bishop — or he has already aligned the parish with some other renegade Archdiocese out of Utrecht, or Africa or who knows where.

    Sorry Fr. Doyle, doctrine does matter. If Fr. Doyle is so “out there” that he thinks Marke Bozek is practicing Roman Catholicism then perhaps he really can’t be a useful counsellor to the Parish. A protestant canonist who at least recognizes doctrinal boundaries would serve St. Stan’s better.

    Puppy Dog Excuse 5.) And lastly, once again Fr. Doyle fails to mention that one of the chief reasons the Archbishop disbarred him is for “falsifying documents”. His failure to refute this I take as an admission of guilt. Who want’s a lawyer that fakes the dates on documents?

    Puppy Dog Excuse 6.) Fr. Doyle says Archbishop Burke is a bad canonist who writes in a crabbed and indecipherable style. I guess that’s tough luck on you since he has just been appointed to the equivalent of the Vatrican’s Supreme Court, where his style may just become, de rigeur.

    Good Luck with your appeals.

  6. Tom Barnes Says:

    Can anybody believe that these canonical rules and regs would have sat well with Jesus and his Apostles and disciples? Does ANYbody in the billpaying pews of the Catholic laity actually think that these rules and regulations are Christian or even reasonable?

    What a MESS the RCC has gotten itself involved within; the hierarchy actually believes it can act like this and be taken seriously. This kind of power has been successfully challenged by citizens since the days of the Magna Charta. THIS is more or less the kind of power the Protestant Reformation railed against. This is the kind of episcopal abuse that Vatican II attempted to stop by referring to the Holy Spirit residing within the People of God as supreme wisdom in the Catholic Church.

    This is utter nonsense. The RCC must have radical structural change immediately or it will die the quick and ridiculous death of an out of touch buffoon.

  7. Jean Acerra Says:

    We once had the Pharisees vs. Jesus and now we have The Bishops vs. Tom Doyle. People were not educated then and now they are, so the Bishops look ridiculous, yet it didn’t have to be that way.

  8. Tom Nymberg Says:

    In what organization – other than the Catholic church, a dictatorship or a failing company – can an individual like Archbishop Burke behave like a spoiled juvenile and still remain in a position of
    authority? He makes you want to scold him and send him to his room. Evidentally, in “Catholic
    World”, the belligerent child sends his parents to their room. Who is Archbishop Burke’s superior and
    why is AB Burke not being reigned in? He is a loose canon (no pun intended) who needs to be removed.
    Every Catholic should be concerned. Every Catholic should take a stand against this. All his “decrees”
    must be rendered impotent and the archdiocese must step down from their efforts to steal the assests
    of this parish. This smacks of rebel soldiers breaking down your door and looting your home. You get a rifle butt in the face if you resist. I suppose the hierarchy did much the same thing with our church almost two thousand years ago. The hierarchy’s methods are an anachronism in today’s world and they have no place here. Is it possible that the sudden interest in these assests may be related to a need for cash
    to settle debts arising from abuse cases?

  9. Kay Goodnow Says:

    We have all heard the story of the Pompous Asses. Here stands a bishop who believes he has his minions under control, enjoys dressing in the Roman Regalia and loves being worshiped and adored. He behaves in a childish manner, issuing threats and ‘edicts’ against anyone who dares to think outside the box.

    Who, then, has enabled him to become what he is?

  10. lck Says:

    I agree with Tom that “every Catholic should be concerned” and that is a large part of the problem – most of the people in the pews want to keep their heads in the sand! What will it take to make every Catholic concerned?

  11. John Wirtz Says:

    All the legal “crap” spewed by archie against Tom is typical procedure of authorities to defame one who stands against their rules. Commonly it was used years ago against priest who resigned; they were defamed as “bad priests who lost their faith.” And as for “faith” instead of a theological virtue it meant “obedience to my commands.” Rememeber the joke about a nun rebuked for not planting the broom stick and watering it daily so it would grow….


  12. Greg Bullough Says:

    As Lee Hayes of the Weavers folk-singing group once said:

    “I’d as soon not have been black-listed if it wasn’t for the honor.”

    To be blacklisted, blackballed, interdicted, or excommunicated by Archbishop Burke
    has ironically become rather a badge of honor.

    He is to bishops as King Canute was to monarchs.

  13. Luke Rheaume Says:

    It doesn’t take much to realise that Ramond Burk is an Appointed Roman Governor (like Herod or Pontious Pilot) (Rome was a semidictatorship at that time too). Burke is certainly not Shepherd, protecting (from abusive priest) and leading his flock to green pastures.

  14. vincent Morton Says:

    As a member of the Roman Catholic Clergy (smirk) I submit that His Grace Raymond Burke is without any doubt the most ridiculious person appointed to the hierarchy.

    My friends I have other choice words to define him but I do refrain from using them.

    I am very grateful for Fr Tom and his continuing work for the good of the Church and those abused by bishops, priest, deacons, religious sisters and laity mnembers in the church.

  15. vincent Morton Says:

    the smirk belongs after His Grace Raymond Burke

  16. Cynthia Vrooman Says:

    I have had the privilege of meeting Father Doyle. I respect his judgment. I pray for the day that our bishops are held accountable for their decisions and especially for a leadership that is abusive and oppressive. Where are the examples of the servant leadership that Jesus called them to?

  17. Mark Milburn Says:

    Let me speak to everyone here as a fellow Catholic.

    I don’t think you guys are getting the gist of the Archbishop’s charges against Tom Doyle.

    What he is saying is that Tom is guilty of malpractice. A regular lawyer who does not live up to the ethical standards of the Missouri Bar Association will be disbarred. Archbishop Burke is basically saying, “Tom you have so willfully and negligently miscounselled your clients that it amounts to malpractice.

    Let’s do a thought experiment.

    I am going to list the Archbishop’s charges. I ask you to think and ask yourselves if a regular lawyer did this to you, in a case before a Missouri
    court would you not sue him for malpractice.

    Here are the Archbishop’s charges:

    1.) Tom Doyle falsified documents. This is something that would get any lawyer disbarred. NOtice that Tom doesn’t even attempt to refute this charge.

    2.) He misrepresented his clients by not declaring that he was their lawyer in the manner a regular canon law court requires.

    3.) He failed to respond to canonical subpoenas, and having illness as an excuse he failed to recuse himself from the case and get his clients an able and healthy attorney.

    4.) He demonstrated a kind of contempt for the court by failing to respond o the summonses in a timely and respectful fashion.

    All this seems to be very obvious. ANy competant professional would cringe to have violated any of these basic duties of professional ethics. Ask yourself what would happen at your place of employment if you failed in your duties to show up at work or at least call in sick.

    The ARchbishop is simply saying, “You, didn’t even call in sick.” For a lawyer that’s contempt for the court, contempt for your profession and contempt for your clients because you have failed to tell them that this process is serious.

    Stripped of emotion about Jesus and the Pharisees this is a case of whether Tom Doyle acted professionally or not.

    I don’t know the answer. But I’m still waiting for him to justified those falsified documents.

    1. Tom Doyle falla

  18. FMF Says:

    To answer Mark Milburn’s questioning and criticism of Father Marek Bozek’s conferral of the sacrament of Confirmation in the absence of a bishop on March 22nd, 2008, I believe that the 22nd was Holy Saturday, in which case, then, the Confirmation would have taken place at the Easter Vigil, an event which occurs annually all over the country – and others, I presume, without the presence of a bishop in most cases.

  19. Thomas Says:

    There is only one legitimate legal system here in America and since we are not citizens of Rome—none of us have to answer to any legal system that is not our own. Even Roman Catholics are not citizens of Rome—so the legal beagles of Rome that are here in America…take note—GET REAL!! And…stop harassing American Roman Catholics. Practice Roman Law in Rome!!!!!!!!! The burden of proof is not on Fr. Doyle pertaining to falsification of anything and we believe in his honesty and credibility—is this another poof slanderous statement that follows all outspoken critics of one sort or another. And yes…promotion is always good but if this promotion is supposed to make everything that the Archbishop says absolute law and a holy weapon of terroism…forget it, we will take our chances elsewhere…with He who holds absolute power!

    Evil has penetrated the Roman Catholic Church of Christ. One possible way to eliminate it is for the Coalition of American Catholic Churches to exist. This should be a network of Churches that keep the existing faith that was once the faith of their forefathers. They should have no heirarchy other than that of their own making which exist for their longevity as a parish and as a Christian entity. They should remain independent and free and abide by American Law. They should exist in communion with each other without force to orthodoxy, their priests may be multigendered, and may marry. They also have the right to be in communion with Rome as well as faiths which are not their own. They should have a mixture of laity and clergy on the governing boards and every voice may cast a ballot!

    Make no mistake, everyone and everything that exist was created by the hand of God. If not now, later, all will come to know that the voice within their head and heart was placed there at the begining of time. These are sad and stressful times for both the true and trusted Roman Catholic clergy and the faithful.

    This is what the Lord says, “Hold fast and keep the faith. I have called you by name! On the underbelly of a jackal, evil shall leave your city…as it is too unworthy to even ride upon his back!”

  20. Mark Milburn Says:

    To FMF,

    Thank you for the correction. I had forgotten that Confirmation of Catechumens takes place frequently after the Easter Vigil.
    IF there is a allowance such that a regular priest can Confirm during that time period then I am interested to know it. I don’t doubt that you are right.

    What I am curious about is NOT whether one can validly confer Confirmation without the presence of a bishop. What I am curious about is whether a priest can stand in for a Bishop when the priest is disconnected from any bishop anywhere.

    In my understanding, Confirmation is INVALID unless there is a Bishop somewhere with whom the priest is validly attached. (My language is un-technical.) I believe the Chrism oil must have come from the Bishop or something like that.

    Would you mind telling me if you witnessed this Confirmation and if Father Bozek has yet declared who his new Bishop is?

    This is important because as you know, ARchbishop Burke, in one of his many decrees has declared the St. Stanislaus Corporation a “SECT” ouside the Catholic church.

    If Fr. Marek has lined up with BIshop Ed Zimmerman of the Reformed Catholic CHurch, or Bishop Milingo of the African-Moonie whatever CHurch then the Archbishop would be clearly in the right. St. Stan’s is not precisely a Roman Catholic organization anymore and Fr. Bozek has taken St. Stan’s way outside the RC world.

    By the way, I understand that FR. Bozek now has the help of a “married priest” at some of the Masses. Do you know who he is and how he got consecrated a priest?

    To Thomas above let me restate my view. ALthough Archbishop Burke may seem bullying in going after Fr. Doyle, in charity to all and with my eyes simply on the ARchbishop’s decree and Fr. Doyle
    s reply I come to a different conclusion.

    Both documents read to me like simple arguing over procedure. Last night I attended “night court” in St. Charles. First thing a judge said to a guy standing in front of him was, “Where you been?”.

    The guy missed a summons to appear in court. His fine went up by a few hundered dollars. Now if a lawyer was to tell a client to just not show up and appear for a summons what would happen to that lawyer? Disbarrment.

    You see my point. Burke alleges and Doyle allows in his refutation that he didd not reply in a timely fashion. That and the strange business of the documents is what this is about.

    To get real for a moment let me say that a lot of this is lawyer stuff. As you know lawyers are very peculiar about what they will and will not do to other lawyers in order to preserve the dignity of the court and the profession.

    I think it amounts to BUrke saying, “Hey, we’ve got a serious, serious set of charges here which I am leveling against Bozek and members of St. Stans. You are their lawyer Tom but you are not taking this process seriously. YOu are not responding in a timely fashion. It’s like he is charging Fr. Doyle with contempt of court.

    Something like that.

    Tell you the truth everything I can tell about Fr. Doyle and the whole St. Stan’s crowd makes me conclude that they have nothing but contempt for His Grace and the whole legal processs.

    So that’s why Fr. Doyle is getting disbarred from this Archdiocese.


    Mark Milburn

  21. Thomas Says:

    Do not give the above person any information that he might in his craftiness use aganist the innocent. It is none of his business…nor anyone else’s! That is another thing that reeks of corruption…having spies among us!

    Blessed be the Holy name of Jesus Christ! His dirrectives are all that matter here.

  22. steve dzida Says:

    Mr. Milburn–

    This is not about Tom Doyle and his actions as a canon lawyer. This is about title to property. The bishop has BY HIMSELF stirred up all this hornet’s nest of claims and counterclaims when it all has to do with title to property! Would Jesus ever have caused this much ruckus among God’s people on account of title to property? The bishop is supposed to be a disciple of Jesus. Let’s judge his actions by the standards of Jesus, not by the standards of the American Bar Association or some other lawyer’s organization.

  23. Arthur from Boston Says:

    Thank you Tom Barnes for saying it all……..the only thing to add is that we are not only American Catholics, we are also American Citizens, with certain inalienable rights. We need protection from our elected civil representatives against theft, dishonesty and felonious behavior by our church hierarchy. The separation of church and state cannot be interpreted as a barrier of protection for illegal behavior by anyone.

  24. Mark Milburn Says:


    Let me say something shocking.

    I may be corrupt, and I may reek, and I may be crafty, but as long as I am Catholic I have as much a right to know what goes on in your parish as you have to know what goes on in mine.

    Shocking huh? Scary. But think about whether I’m not right.

    What does Church Unity mean but this: The Catholic Church, universal and whole. If we are universal and whole you really should have no trouble telling me what goes on at Stan’s (if you know) any more than I should have telling you about Our Lady of the Pillar. Why? Because we belong to the same Catholic Church.

    Now I want to say something really serious. If you really have stuff going on in your parish, (be it St. Stan’s, St. Cronan’s or anywhere) if you really have stuff going on in your parish that you fear to share, then perhaps, perhaps, you may really BE in schism. GIve that some thought. Ask yourself, “Are you and I really members of the same Church if one parish has secret liturgies led by excommunicated women and another refuses to do such? Are we really members of the same Church if one of our parishes confers sacraments according to their own rules and the other follows rules that apply to everyone?” In other words are we members of the same Church if we don’t play according to the same rules?

    I really am just pointing out something very simple. What are the rules and are we all playing by them? Of course that inevitably brings up the problem of some of the rules being called “CANON LAW”.

    Look, if we are all going to be Catholics together then there are certain rules and lines of authority that we must all respect. It’s what keeps us together.

    Once I found it hard to accept the following proposition. The Catholic Church has as members in good standing both Clarence Thomas and Martin Sheen, Phyllis Schlafley and Fr. Roy Bourgeois. All that keeps us together, Pat Buchannan and Gerry Kleba, is doctrine and liturgy. BUt the minute some of us start running Masses that others of us think are not Masses, or Confirmations that some of us worry are not confirmations one thing is certain. You may be right, or I may be right, and your sacraments may be invalid or mine may be invalid, but this is clear: If you fear to tell me what goes on in your parish then certainly we are not ONE CATHOLIC CHURCH. We are two. And one of us is in schism.

    I will leave it to God and the Holy Father to decide which. Which inevitably brings up the need for Canon Law.

    To Steve Dzida,

    If this is not about Tom Doyle and his actions as a canon lawyer then I wonder why he has responded in such a formal way. Of course it is. He knows this otherwise he wouldn’t have bothered to answer.

    As for the property issue I can only say this. As Fr. Bozek steers his flock ever in a more and more original and personal direction it would be a blessing if the St. Stan’s controversy COULD become a property issue once again.

    I think Fr. Marek ended all hope of that when he missed his last meeting with the Archbishop, held his press conference, and announced the existence of the “mystery bishops”. That blows everything away. We can only hope for a return to the property question some day.

    Steve, you said, “Would Jesus ever have caused this much ruckus among God’s people on account of title to property?”

    To be honest, Steve, I don’t know. I may be deficient in my knowledge of Jesus. However, I have noticed that several of the folks who post on this site seem to have Jesus’ cell phone number. I’ll allow that you may know Our Lord’s thoughts on matters of sacrament and fee simple property rights better than I. But if you have such a direct connection to Our Lord’s thoughts would you please publish his number. I’ve been struggling along trying to decipher His Heart through Scripture, Tradition, Natural Law, and the Magisterium. In other words The Church. I’m kind of on the outside. Jesus really doesn’t talk to me except through the Church. Not always an easy instrument to listen by. But is there another? And will that instrument work if it is broken into a thousand million schismatic pieces?

    Anyway, I do want to know, have you found that Our Lord has a secret phone number? Would you give it to me?


    Mark Milburn
    Our Lady of the Pillar Parish,
    Creve Coeur

  25. Rev. Ray Dubuque Says:

    In response to the important question by c. deprey “could someone please tell me who and how to get my letter through to Rome?” here is something that I tried:

    As a seminary professor, I spent many week-ends visited various parishes to help out with confessions and masses. One of sermons that I preached often created quite a stir, as it was addressed TO the pope and hierarchy on behalf of the people in the pews. Read for yourself, on my web site at http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/callnomanfather.html. The pastor of one such congregation told me that he had problems with my preaching such things to his parishoners, but thought my views worthy of the attention of the hierarchy and said he would help pay the postage if I sent the sermon to the U.S. hierarchy. I took him up on the offer and sent a copy to each of the 200 plus bishops and to the pope’s representative in Washington, D.C.

    I had already decided that I had had it with the hypocrisy and dishonesty of this so-called “church” and fully expected to be thrown out as soon as the first bishop got wind of this letter, particularly because I said that I was preaching this sermon to various congregations and that the response that I was getting from the laity was very positive. I didn’t know if they would contact me directly or get to me through my superiors, but I was sure that the response would be swift and sure.

    But I was wrong. To this day, thirty-eight years later, I have yet to hear a single peep from any of these “shepherds” of the flock. I came to the conclusion that these people are not asleep. You can’t wake them up. They are spiritually dead. With a billion or so members still willing to “pay and pray”, they could care less about a few here or there who have a few complaints, ESPECIALLY when it’s clear that they want to STAY WITHIN THE FOLD!

  26. Edward Hartmann Says:

    There comes a point where the hierarchy simply forfeit their right to be listened to. With Burke we are long past that point. His interdicts, excommunications and threats mean nothing. Every time he opens his mouth, he makes all of us look silly. Congratulations to Tom Doyle and Fr. Bozek for continuing to speak the truth. I wish I lived near St. Stans so I could attend these liturgies and sacraments. As for Mark Milburn, where did this guy come from? It is hard for me to realize that we still have sycophants like him running their mouths. Please Mr. Milburn just go away and take Burke with you. There is probably a parish in Rome next to the one that Bernard Law was sent to as punishment where Burke and Milburn could preside and send out excommunications to all who disagree with them. Happy excommunicating to the both of you.

  27. Thomas Says:

    Of course we are one united Roman Catholic Church. Why else would we have The St. Louis Review to read about each other? If it isn’t written…it didn’t happen! Religion is about relationship…and that relationship is private—so, no, another Christian need not know the entire story about what goes on in a single parish—but then again, maybe we should have so that the children of the Church would have not have been exposed to abuse! Even when we are proud of our parishes—we are very cautious of strangers. The houses of God have secrets—if not, we would know exactly what the Archbishop spent on his trip to see the Pope during his visit…and we would know also who financed that trip! No wonder we had an earthquake in his absence….the Archbishop owes AT&T money…having a cell phone to God cost plenty!!!! Get this, the number is unlisted…so, all those wrong numbers add up too—Pew Dollars at work!

  28. Mark Milburn Says:


    I’m having a little trouble following you. You say, “…another Christian need not know the entire story about what goes on in a single parish…”. I quite agree. The only things that go on in another parish that I feel I have a right to o know are things that touch on doctrine, sacraments and maybe finance. Serious differences in those areas do effect church unity. That’s why I call them my business. If If someone is cheating on their wife of course it’s none of my business.

    You went on to say, “Even when we are proud of our parishes — we are very cautious about strangers.” That hasn’t been my experience of most regular parishes. I do find in your remark just a touch of irony.

    It’s odd that you would say “we are very cautious about strangers”. The very parishes you are defending (Cronan’s, St. Stan’s ) pride themselves on their openness and inclusiveness. So why the worry about strangers? Tell me all about your wonderful place. and how they render sacraments. You don’t want to. Perhaps you are afraid to. I’ll pass over in silence why. You think I’m a spy. That’s okay. But I’m a spy you can find any time you want. I’m at the Pillar 8:30 or the St. Bridget’s and St. Theresa’s 10:30.

    The rest of what you said is garbled. I’m having a Manhattan now as I write this. I presume you are maybe having a Scotch.


    To Ed Hartmann,

    Thanks for the invite to Rome. I went there last year and loved it. I won’t be going away however. I’m a member of the Roman Catholic Church. Just like you. That means parts of me are here and everywhere. You’ll be seeing me again in this column.

    Thanks for your inclusive and tolerant consideration of my views.


  29. Thomas Says:

    Mark, I believe that you have me confused with another THOMAS! And if the Church is truely your business…why is it that you look the other way when the Bride of Christ is being ravished? Also, I do not drink! You are entitled to your opinion just as any other American Catholic is…but you are not entitled to know more that what is intended for you to know!

  30. Mark Milburn Says:


    To the Thomas who does not drink, sorry I suggested you did. I do. In moderation it is no shame. But still, please accept my apology.

    To the Thomas who said, “Even when we are proud of our parishes—we are very cautious of strangers” I still don’t understand how this is consistent with the ethic of “inclusiveness and toleration” which most of the parishes we are discussing advertise.

    To the Thomas who said, “…why do you look the other way when the Bride of Christ is being ravished?”, I can only say, are you referring to the recent sexual scandals, or are you referrring to …..well what is it you were referring to? And what have I said that makes you think I look the other way?

    Sorry about the crack about liqour. By the way, is there really more than one Thomas talking to me. I’ve only had a little bit to drink but I don’t think I’m seeing two of you instead of one.

    Mark Milburn

  31. Jim Dunphy Says:

    This is just another example of how some of the bishops in our Church have become affected by the evil of the coverup of the sexual abuse of our children. There will always be defenders of those who abuse their power. Mark Milburn lost all credibility with me when he chose to talk down to us with his Puppy Dog excuse treatise. Mark rather than enter dialogue chose to talk down and refute a person by making fun of them. This is a characteristic of those who think they are better than the rest of us. These are the people I spend great effort to avoid. My advise is to pray for truth to come to light. Abuse of power abounds in our world from greedy executives, political leaders who want to act without any checks and balances to protect us of course and Church leaders who covered up the sin of sexual abuse and now demand obedience and no questions. After prayer remain peaceful and then act within this peace. Then spread this story and go to the website of the Vatican where the address of the Pope resides and write letters and then more letters. My other suggestion is not to read any of Mark Milburn’s comments. He is getting attention. Don’t give him any. It is a shame he chose to be better than the rest of us but I will ignore all he writes.

  32. Mark Milburn Says:

    To Jim Dunphy and other readers,

    I apolgize for the “Puppy Dog” treatise. It was beneath the dignity of a Catholic discussion group. I promise to speak only in a tone of respect in the future. I failed to respond with normal Christian charity. I am ashamed for it.

    That said, much as I respect Fr. Doyle’s insights on the pedophile crisis, I do think he needs to give a more detailed explanation of the mis-dated documents which have opened him up to Archbishop Burke’s charges. I also would like a better explanation of why Fr. Doyle did not respond in a more timely fashion to the Archbishop. I’m not a canon lawyer, and I know nothing about what “procedure” is like in that world. However, it sounds to me like Fr. Doyle is being accused of contempt for procedure and I’d like to know more why he is not.

    I realize he doesn’t have to answer me.

    Maybe here is where I should say that I wasn’t talking down to readers of this Blog. I was talking down to Fr. Doyle. For that I apologize to Fr. Doyle and by extension to other readers.

    Jim Dunphy, now that you’re encouraging people not to talk to me let me comment. When protestants tell other protestants not to talk to each other they call it “shunning”. Catholics have a classier name.


    That’s my home grown definition of “schism”: Catholics refusing to pray with, or even talk to each other. I don’t think you are in schism. But I think the Church is lurching in that direction. I was hoping to heal that a little by posting on this blog. Looks like I failed. I take responsibility. HOwever, I think it might be good if Catholics, traditionalists, conservative or reform minded all learn to put up with a little “contumacy” to use a word much loved by Archbishop Burke.

    We might also learn to be a little less “contumaceous” (it IS a word Archb. BUrke and William Faulker used it.)

    Here’s my promise, I’ll hold back my contumely if you’ll hold back yours.

    Mark Milburn

  33. Thomas Says:

    So now that Mark is apologizing to various people for his looseness of tongue and pen. I recommend that he apologize to Fr. Marek Bozek. Mark believes that he needs to know everything about every Catholic person and Church…or else we are hiding things. I say that privacy is just that…privacy. How the truth is so misunderstood!

    On April 10, 2008 Mark Milburn made the following comments on Topics to Go

    “Let me see. Bozek is running a Vatican II dream parish. What does that amount to? If it’s St. Stan’s then the dream parish includes invalid sacraments, a priest who costs a BMW lease and a $58,000 salary plus room and board. The original Polish parish members have become outcasts and to top it all off communion goes to all irrespective of gender, marital status, orientation, or AGE.”

    “In other words he is giving the Eucharist to babies.”

    “Your dream parish also includes close fraternal relations with Reform Jewish rabbis who support abortion and apostolic succession from the Reverend Moon’s bishop Milingo.”

    There are more words of my own that I could add here, but I am a Christian and I will now hold my tongue—I am only the messenger!

    For St. Stan’s…..”If you’re going through hell, keep going!” (Sir Winston Churchill)

  34. Mark Milburn Says:

    For Thomas,

    I apolgized to Fr. Doyle and his friends because I believe that a Catholic Forum deserves a higher level of discourse than my “Puppy Dog Ate My Homework” address.

    Nonetheless, I stand by my words regarding Fr. Marek Bozek. Can anyone tell me that anything I wrote above regarding his effect on St. Stan’s not, in fact, true?

    In eight posts no one has even bothered to address the pertainent facts I have adduced regarding, Fr. Bozek’s invalid sacraments, the problems at St. Stan’s, Fr. Doyle’s legal circumstances, and the nature of Church Unity.

    I have to conclude that my partners in “dialogue” are unequal to the task of straightening me out regarding the truth or falsity of my factual allegations. Or, it may be that they are less interested in questions of sacramental validity, Church Unity, or the good d order and discipline any body must have by means of law, in this case canon law.

    Or, perhaps you simply feel that anyone who diagrees with you is beneath contempt.

    That’s okay. I’ll live with the contempt. Just tell me where I have said anything that is not in fact true?

    (Looking at my remarks quoted above, it does seem that I momentarily mistook St. Stan’s for St. Cronan’s. It’s St. Cronan’s that feels so close to Rabbii Susan Talve, not St. Stan’s. Allow me to correct myself.)

    Dear Brother Thomas, just one other thing.

    Regarding this issue of “privacy” as you call it I think you are deliberately
    misreading my words. Every Catholic should reasonably expect every parish to teach the same doctrines, and administer sacraments in essentially the same way. Church Unity requires this. This has nothing to do with “privacy”.

    I don’t quite know what you mean by “privacy” but let me address what I think you might mean. Church Unity has nothing to do with knowing who has had abortions or who is gay or who is having affairs, or any of the other things that are normally thought to fall under the rubric of “privacy”.

    That’s what I mean. No Catholic should fear to tell another what goes on in his parish where issue of doctrine, or sacrament are in question. I get the impression that you think these are private matters too. Is that your view? Are you thinking that if one parish dispenses Eucharist one way and a second parish chooses to do it in another way this is not the business of a member of a third parish? Is that what you are saying? I’m confused.


    Mark Milburn

  35. steve dzida Says:

    You’re right, Mark, I haven’t responded to your criticisms of Father Doyle because this should not be about him. It is about the pride and arrogance of Bishop Burke in mistreating the people of St. Stan. You say you don’t know what Jesus would have done. I sincerely believe that’s a cop-out. If one doesn’t ask that question and if one doesn’t honestly answer it, one cannot reasonably be called a follower of Jesus. All this stuff about Father Marek and Father Doyle is “bait and switch.” But for Bishop Burke’s power grab over title to property, none of this would have happened. All the rest is obfuscation. I have no phone number for Jesus, Mark, but the Gospels and our sacred Tradition lead me to the conclusion that Jesus would not have treated his followers this way. Neither should Bishop Burke have done so and no follower of Jesus should condone or rationalize his sins.

  36. Thomas Says:

    The things that you say that are factual, we here do not know that. They are your “insider” declarations and some things we are not entitled to know. But if one iota of what you say is true, I am glad that a priest of God is making such a salary. All should make as much or more. Even the Catholic educators and the good sisters. They should have the means to plan for their retirements now so that in the future they are not left out in the cold. By the way, talk to the Archbishop about giving the cemetery workers a raise too…they labor hard at keeping up with the grounds and the presentation of the final resting places of those interred!

    Yes, I called you an insider, but I do not hold you in contempt. Only an insider would know the financial arrangements and the business of St, Stan’s parish and Church. (not a St. Stan’s insider) You say it is not all about real estate and ownership, but indeed it is. It is about coveting what is not the Archdiocese’s. Membership is not the same as ownership. And Christian unity does not foster under excommunication. So what is your big issue with Christian unity when heirarchy separates instead of includes. My way or the highway tactics is not a good management skill. Mutual governance is…but this is only if the entity is one’s to manage.

    So you say it was Irish vs Polish in the past—hopefully it is not now German vs Polish? One cannot give permission and blessing centuries earlier to self-manage….and then have someone come back centuries later and wish to change everything. If this were the case, do you think that The Old Catholic Church/The Old Roman Catholic could change back into the Roman Catholic Church today?

    A human right in American society is the ability to become anything one is capable of becoming in America. This means that under the laws of the land a woman in the case of any Christian women can become a priest. If anyone cares to celebrate their ordination, they are entitled to that too. It’s like joining a club and having a party afterwards. If you belong to the Jesus Club, you know what that is like.

    The reason that I confuse you, and I am sure that it is not your blood alcohol content…is that as Christians we are not mirror images…we do not know , interpret, or express content the same way! If we did, I would wish to be an Ethopian since they do a joyous celebration of expression of their faith…but then again, I could not be Roman Catholic..they are Eastern Rite! If you feel that you need information on doctrine, sacraments, liturgy, etc. you can always purchase a book online…then there would not be any privacy/confidentiality issues at all for you to have argument with.

    “The compassion of God is without limits or measure; it is incomprehensible to our finite intelligence.
    God’s compassion embraces and includes all” St. Anthony of Padua

    “Even God Almighty wants privacy in his existence.” Bro. T

  37. Thomas Says:

    Hold fast to your faith. Our Church is transitory…it always was. Within the next 5 years it will be unrecognized. We who are now shackled will be free. The Lord says: “be of great joy! Do not be downcast and sullen, the world cannot harm you unless you let it. Have I not promised that evil would leave you? I have kept my word.”

    For Sister Lear and St. Louis in Chains!

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