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    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    Setting things right

    Lincoln, Neb., Dec. 08, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has sent a letter supporting Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’s decision to excommunicate members of the dissonant group Call to Action in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Cardinal Re affirmed that, in the judgment of the Holy See, belonging to or supporting Call to Action is “irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith,” due to some of their anti-Catholic activities and stances.


    CTA was begun in 1976 based on an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, according to the Diocese of Lincoln, by 1990 CTA leadership was growing impatient with their own lack of influence on Catholicism in the United States and decided to take more drastic action.

    To motivate change, CTA founders Dan and Sheila Daley, both former religious, drafted a document titled “Call for Reform in the Catholic Church.”

    In the statement, printed as a full-page ad in the New York Times on Ash Wednesday in March 1990, they chastised the Church for “ignoring” social issues like a threatened environment, growing poverty, increased drug abuse, and international conflicts. By contrast, the solutions they offered included ordination of women, an end to the discipline of priestly celibacy, popular election of bishops instead of papal appointments, new forms of liturgy, and the use of artificial contraception.

    The group has also closely linked themselves to abortion providers and strong abortion supporters and more recently have begun supporting homosexual agendas and protesting the Church’s ban on openly homosexual clergy.

    Bruskewitz’s statement cited Call to Action (CTA) and ten other organizations, including the Freemasons, Catholics for a Free Choice, Planned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society, and the Society of St. Pius X, declaring that membership in the organizations, “is always perilous to the Catholic faith and most often is totally incompatible with the Catholic faith.” The bishop’s 1996 letter invited Catholics who supported the groups to remove themselves from their rosters and to seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that they could return to full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who refused to do so within a month were automatically excommunicated.

    “Parents have to tell children that they can’t test everything in the medicine cabinet or drink everything under the sink,” the bishop explained. “The Church is our mother and gives us these instructions as protection against dangers we might not perceive…It is liberating, not enslaving.”

    Whether or not the organization attempts to appeal the cardinal’s ruling, the press release from the Diocese of Lincoln continues to offer individuals a way back to full communion. To overcome the excommunication, the release notes, is still not difficult, “Catholics who wish to return to full communion with the Church need only repudiate their membership in these groups by sending a letter to the organization and having their names removed from any rosters or mailing lists. Then, they can seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where their priests can guide them in confession and penance.”

    “They may be asked to make a profession of faith,” added Bishop Bruskewitz, because membership in these organizations often requires them to reject Catholicism and take dissenting oaths.

    “The Lord loves everyone and died for everyone, and He wants all to be saved,” he said. “The best lesson that can be learned from everything that has happened is that one finds happiness, joy and satisfaction in obedience to the Church.”


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