ADAMS, Mass. — The doors at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church aren't opening any time soon.
Vigilers there had hoped that a recent decision at the Vatican would force the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield to restore the church as a place of worship. The diocese, however, has appealed the Congregation of Clergy's ruling. The vigilers have been advised that they, too, should appeal to ensure their voice continues to be heard.
Laurie Haas, one of the leaders opposing the decision to close the church more than two years ago, wrote that the Friends of St. Stan's had twice contacted the diocese attempting reconciliation after the Congregation of Clergy appeared to overturn that decision in February.
"We wrote to Bishop Timothy McDonnell and offered to enter dialogue with him in an effort to agree upon a manner of implementing the decree and reopen St. Stan's in a way that would best serve the Catholic community of Adams, as well as the Diocese as a whole," Haas said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our plea for conciliation went unanswered."
St. Stan's Church was still filled with Christmas decorations in February when vigilers and supporters gathered to hear the good news about the Congregation of Clergy's ruling. Now that it has been appealed, it may be months before the church's fate is known.
The ruling by the Congregation of Clergy, which included other church closures, has proved confusing to the dioceses affected.
The decree, received in February, upholds the suppression of the parish and its merger but rejects the reasoning behind its closure, saying it should have continued in sacred use.
At the time, the diocese said the "Congregation [of Clergy] seems to be undertaking a new application of Church law" and said it would ask for clarification.
"After consultation with canon lawyers from both within and outside our diocese, we determined the need to seek this clarification through the continuation of this canonical process," said diocese spokesman Mark Dupont in an email on Friday. "It is important to note that the Vatican upheld our right to suppress the parish in all cases, which was the more significant finding."
Dupont wrote that the decrees were all based on the same applications of Church law, but resulted in different findings by the Congregation.
Haas said the vigilers, who have refused to vacate the historic Polish church since before Christmas 2008, were informed of the appeal on Friday.
In a letter sent to Haas by the Apostolic Signatura, the high court's representative states "Bishop McDonnell contends that the Congregation erred in judging that the serious reasons for his decision were not demonstrated in the documentation submitted to the Congregation."
The vigilers had hoped the ruling would pave the way if not for resurrecting the parish, at least for reopening the building as a shrine or other sacred use.
In her statement, Haas said their canonical counsel had advised they (technically Haas and six other signatories) appeal as well to ensure their participation. "Regrettably, therefore, the Diocese has left us no alternative but to file an appeal of our own."
Haas said the Friends of St. Stan's were disappointed but confident the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal will reopen the church.
"The future of St. Stanislaus Kostka is ultimately in the hands of Almighty God."
Updated on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at 7:34 p.m. with new information on the Allentown Diocese that was brought to our attention.
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I wholeheartedly agree with the previous post. This is nothing more than a personal war that is being waged on the people in Adams and the people at St. Stans. This has nothing to do with what is right or what a proper decision should be, it's all about that ... in Springfield that wears the dunce cap. To think that this ego-maniac is ignoring the Vatican itself and the ruling that they handed down, just so in his pea brain he can prove himself right. Too bad the Vigil at St. Stans is bigger and stronger than he is and it will be going on for much longer than he will, since he will be forced to retire at 75 years old, which will be the greatest blessing from God that this diocese could ever receive!
Absolutely disgusting display of unwarranted arrogance on the part of Springfield and the local parish. This devout Catholic of over 50 years has, as of March, left the town Parish and the diocese in favor of a similar but less dollar-oriented religious practice. I could not have any more contempt for these supposed spiritual leaders then I do right now.
This is one of the reasons the Reformation occurred. Clearly, the church is the most beautiful, clearly it is financially secure (more so than the others). If John Paul the Great was alive he would have never let this happen.
Benedict, can you hear me....please just rule to re-open as a parish, and the bishop then has no choice!
A church is more than a building. And devout Catholics should be more concerned about setting a good example by accepting the decisions handed down by church authorities than being able to worship in a beautiful church. Those who have suffered religious persecution know that being free to worship anywhere, in a vacant room, a barn, is a blessing.
That is not to say, I do not sympathize with the parionishers of St. Stan's. We all love our churches, but we cannot always have our way. hings, d
Spoken by a true "sheep". Just roll over and let these cloaked "MEN" continue to walk all over you. These are decisions made in the financial best interests of those in charge, not the parishioners. Time to change that. These are absolutely the most ORDINARY of men making insultingly bad decisions.
I have to agree after reading the article on Masslive.com on how the bishop closed the polish chuch in Holyoke this weekend. Like the people in Holyoke stated "Hitler also tried to close all the Polish churches"
Editor: Any further references along those lines will be deleted. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
"a believer" stated "A church is more than a building. And devout Catholics should be more concerned about setting a good example by accepting the decisions handed down by church authorities than being able to worship in a beautiful church. Those who have suffered religious persecution know that being free to worship anywhere, in a vacant room, a barn, is a blessing.
That is not to say, I do not sympathize with the parionishers of St. Stan's. We all love our churches, but we cannot always have our way. hings, d "
Well, "a believer",you certainly have a right to that opinion, but the Vatican really does have laws and procedures by which congregations can challenge a church's closing. That is exactly what the good members of St. Stans did. Now, the diocese has the right to appeal; again, according to Vatican laws and procedures.
The reason the Vatican has such procedures is because they realize that dioceses make mistakes. The "church authorities", as you call them, are not infallible. Knowing that, do you still think that, if they feel they have been wronged, parishioners should just accept any decision the diocese makes? I certainly don't think so. And, apparently, neither does the Vatican.
Yes, you can worship wherever you please. And, if you would like to continue to worship in the building that your forefathers erected, you have a mechanism by which to (at least try to) do that.
2 more years of this bishop, then mandatory retirment. Hopefully we get an open minded, intelligent one...preferably polish.
Has anyone noticed how much money the adams church community has lost. Many of the St. Stan's faithful go to Cheshire now....ooops. Guess the arrogant bishop didnt see that coming.
if only catholics worried as much about making the world a better place or stopping their priests from raping their children as they do about keeping one of 10 churches in the same town open, they might actually be on to something.