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SFBay Catholic Special Report:  Bruskewitz

Will the Next Step Be an Appeal to Rome?

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Lincoln Bishop Rejects

April 24 1996 Letter Summary

In a letter to Call to Action Nebraska on April 24, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz formally turned down the group's appeal for reconciliation and a lifting of the interdict and excommunication threat for members within his diocese. The rejection of the CTA appeal was expected, and this opens the way for the organization to make a direct appeal to Rome. Sources close to Call To Action say that the organization plans to make that appeal as soon as possible.

 Call to Action was one of 12 organizations condemned by the Bishop of Lincoln Nebraska in a public letter published in the local diocesan paper. Other groups included Catholics for a Free Choice, a pro-abortion group; The Society of St. Pius V, a Catholic Traditionalist organization, and various masonic adult and youth organizations, allegedly because of secret-oath requirements.

 Call To Action, an organization of  Catholics promoting basic Church reform was the only group to formally appeal the bishop's ruling. It has been widely speculated that CTA was the real focus of Bp. Bruskewitz' ruling. The other organizations, most of them making no  claim to be Catholic, had long been viewed as being incompatible with Catholic teaching. It should also be noted that The Pius V group is also in a separate category, and they have also made a public statement of a possible future  appeal.

 Church lawyers, commenting on the appeal and rejection stated that according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law a formal appeal to their bishop was necessary before the group could petition Rome for a hearing and  reversal: "Now that Bp Bruskewitz has responded to the appeal, CTA will most probably take its case to Rome." One Catholic Professor of Theology at the local Jesuit University in San Francisco (he asked not to be  identified) suggested that a CTA appeal to Rome might well be successful: It is becomming very clear that Bishop Bruskewitz did not follow the letter or the spirit of the 1983 Code (Canon Law). It looks more and more like the bishop acted without the facts and without any attempt at reconciliation."

 In his April 24th letter to Call to Action the bishop denied any responsibility for the resultant public scandal: "all the scandal in these matters is entirely due to you and your associates." ... "You write about 'effects (psychologically, communally, spiritually) so damaging.' You and your associates should acknowledge that you are sole cause of such 'effects'."

 Since Bp. Bruskewitz issued his public letter of condemnation he has been coming under increasing public criticism from Catholic papers and his fellow bishops.

 For related articles please see: Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, Bishop Lucker, The Boston Archdiocesan News Article.

Reprinted with permission 5 May 1996. --- Signed Articles represent the views of the author a
nd do not always reflect the opinions or beliefs of SFBAY CATHOLIC

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