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April 01, 2006

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Over at his blog, Dr. Ed Peters is asking whether Bishop Bruskewitz is right to refuse compliance with USCCB's review board. In a nutshell, the answer is yes. Dr. Peters might be a canonist, but so are Bishop Bruskewitz and... [Read More]

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Comments

Charles R. Williams

The Charter does not require an ordinary to participate in the audit process.

As I recall the parts of the Charter requiring Vatican approval pertain to how priests accused of abuse are to be treated. There are canon law implications here. In any case, Vatican approval would not be required to set up a Review Board and start an audit process. The Review Board is nothing but a USCCB program, which any diocese is free to ignore.

RP Burke

What else would you expect from Bruskewitz, The-Great-I-Am who is above criticism on anything?

john

I have to somewhat grudgingly admit that I agree with Ed Peters on this one. While I think National Review Board is overstating things by suggesting fraternal correction, they were legitimately established and therefore at least somewhat binding. The limits of their authority are certainly debatable, but to outright refuse to accept their existence is wrong.

Things like this make Bp. Bruskewitz seem like the Gumbleton, Weakland, Untner of the right..."I'm only willing to accept the legitimacy of those things which I personally agree with."

Dan Crawford

So, Amy, there is no need for such a board, and the only problem with the Lord High Bishop of Lincoln is his tone toward women? And what precisely is the point the Lord High Bishop of Lincoln intending to make?

Are we to assume that no prelate should be accountable to anyone save perhaps God?

I know you have been very outspoken on the matter of child abuse in the church, and I thought, equally outspoken on the lack of accountability in the church. Which is why this post confuses me.

amy

Because by saying things like this:

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization. -

Saying that he doesn't see any reason for the existence of a particular human being - goes beyond hyperbole and, in the end, distracts mightily from whatever point he was trying to make.

Which is what I said in my post.

Fortiterinre

I agree with Amy that the petulant tone of the bishop is embarrassing. If his goal is to precipitate a canon law "constitutional crisis" by opening rejecting the Review Board, simple sober language would have accomplished his end just as well.

The question is an interesting one worthy of further review. Rome does much through episcopal conferences, such as approving liturgical translations, that clearly have the force of "particular law." Surely no one would argue that Lincoln, Nebraska could reject liturgical books and develop its own.

But it is not at all clear to me that the Charter has the force of "particular law;" when the Charter came out there was much criticism that it in fact had no legal authority and was dependent on the voluntary cooperation of the bishop. The theoretical criticism has become a reality with the open defiance of the bishop of Lincoln. Just because it's embarrassing and wrongheaded doesn't mean he's breaking a law.

Todd

He's your cardinal of choice, St Blog's.

CB

Did Bp Bruskewitz come to serve, or be served?

Jimmy Mac

The Fabulous Fabien is, and has been for a long time, a braying embarrassment. The people of the diocese of Lincoln deserve what they have and will continue to have UNLESS they rise up and deal with him in their most expeditious manner: with their wallets and offerings. There is one thing that always gets the attention of the "Princes" of the church .... money, money, money!

Ed Deluzain

I thought Bishop Bruskewitz's comment was offensive and uncalled for. Even if he's technically not required to participate in the audit, his refusal creates the perception that he doesn't take the sex abuse scandal seriously. I can only imagine what that does to the morale of the people of his diocese, much less any victims of abuse who might live there.

Juan Valdez

nice comment, todd. that added a lot to the discussion.

Juan Valdez

"Saying that he doesn't see any reason for the existence of a particular human being - goes beyond hyperbole ...."

When he said "the existence of Ewers" I assumed he meant her position, not her person.

Alfredo

By my calculations, Bruskewitz suffered for about fifteen years as a pastor under Weakland's regime in Milwaukee. I must confess that this would be enough to make me reluctant to take condescending criticism from people who don't accept the teachings of the Church.

Juan Valdez

Jimmy Mac-----
I'm sure many Jews thought John the Baptist was a "braying embarrassment" too. That's why you should first inspect the fruit prior to criticizing.

Patrick Rothwell

Of course, when Cardinal Mahony says the same thing as Bishop Bruskewitz, to the National Review Board, that just underscores what an evil, awful, bishop he actually is, according to St. Blog's CW. Either both of them are bound to provide data to the Board or they aren't so bound and have the discretion to flip the bird at the Board, though probably we could do without the cranky pose that Bishop Bruskewitz has adopted.

AmericanPapist

Todd - newsflash, Bruskewitz isn't a cardinal.

Fortiterinre - the NRB definitely has the status of "particular law", re-read Ed Peter's post.

Charles Williams - can you cite any source that claims ordinaries have the right not to be bound by particular law in their country?

Francisco

I am surprised by the level of vitriol being spewed against a staunchly orthodox Roman Catholic bishop. I am sure he sees as I do that the creation of the National Review Board was nothing more than an attempt to avoid responsibility by the USCCB over their failure to police themselves in past sexual abuse scandals. That so many are name-calling and criticizing Bishop Bruskewitz's tone is an indication that his position has hit the panic button for those who don't understand that we RCs belong to the Church Militant and not the Church of Sensitivity.

For a more appropriate response to this issue see Diogenes at Catholic World News.

Anonymous

A commentor at Domenico Bettinelli's blog states the following: "Nothing in the Charter requires an ordinary to participate in the official audit process. Peters is off-base.
Nothing authorizes the Review Board to make a public call for the fraternal correction of ordinaries who do not cooperate."
http://www.bettnet.com/blog/index.php/weblog/any_people_really_incensed_lately_flat_out_of_luck/

Jeff

Bishop Bruskewitz and the diocese of Lincoln aren't HAVING any problems with sexual abuse. Doesn't that count for anything with you people?

He told his priests recently that if they committed child abuse he'd turn them in himself--he wouldn't protect them. "I'll visit you in jail," he said.

How refreshing! Instead of designing programs to teach children about sexual touches so they can avoid being molested by your employees (there's an excellent argument that this is simply WICKED), concentrate on the employees doing the wrong.

I don't know the ins and outs of the canon law on this subject; I assume the bishop has his own canonists. But the Review Board and the approach of the bishops as a whole seems to me to be deserving of contempt. Many of the last episcopal appointments by JPII were Bruskewitz men--I guess the Vatican thinks he's a good place to look for decent bishop material.

And--obviously--Bishop Bruskewitz didn't say that he didn't see the reason for the existence of a human being. He said, "The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization," which treats them as a unit, not as two particulars. Not the most felicitous writing, I grant you, but the meaning is clear--it's not the same as "...does not see any reason for the existence of Ewer or her organization," which WOULD have been silly.

I'm not sure that calling the Bishop's approach that of a 15-year-old isn't less grown up than the bishop's attitude.

Jennifer N.

Francisco, I agree with you completely!

I do not blame Bishop Bruskewitz one bit for being "mad as hell and not going to take it". Of course his tone is righteous indignation. He tries to be loyal to the magisterium and along comes some pro-abort chastising him for not following rules? Please.

My parish priest has decided to be non-compliant against our diocese's insistence that we catechists corrupt our young students with good touch/bad touch junk. I'm proud of him and grateful for his courage.

My priest, like Bishop Bruskewitz, is obedient... to lawful directives.

Bill

Is it clear that the Charter is binding on all bishops, as Peters states? If it is, I think Brukewitz needs to speak to that issue. If it is not, I think Bruskewitz's response was entirely appropriate.

Amy, I don't think it is a fair reading of Bruskewitz's statement to say that the bishop questions Ewers' right to exist or her inherent value as a human being. Obviously, he is limiting his remarks to Ewers' claim to wield authority in the Church.

Dennis Martin

I'm with His Excellency on this one, for the reasons already cited. It wouldn't be the first time Peters has erred in prudential judgment (witness his spat with Ave Maria University/College). Bruskewitz has been pretty steady all the way through. And he's perfectly correct regarding the authority of the local ordinary and the relatively limited authority of the USCCB (and Benedict XVI is on his side regarding the extremely limited canonical authority of the national conferences of bishops).

If all bishops were like Bruskewitz we would never have had the Long Lent of 2002. 'Nuff said.

Unapologetic Catholic

What a hapless bishop. He's already called his fellow bishops essentially spineless. Sadly he's right. No one will fraternally correct him.

What a shame.

Patrick

I think this is the point:

Do you really think B's rhetoric helped make his point? Do you? That is Amy's point, and some of you are completely ignoring what she says in support of the criticism and the problems of the Board.

There is such a thing as knowing how to say something strongly, and keeping the focus ON THE ISSUE. B's snide remarks took the focus OFF THE BOARD and thrust them ONTO HIMSELF.

Which is not what is needed and will do nothing to help the bigger problem. You can applaud all you want from the safety of your computer, but just imagine this happened in your workplace. Would rhetoric like B's be effective in a manager?

Kevin Miller

I know (and like) Bishop Bruskewitz. I was a member of his parish in a Milwaukee suburb. He did not "suffer" under Archbishop Weakland. He simply focused on being a good pastor of a good parish. And he's wrong to say things with the tone of this statement about the review board and so on. Finally, I agree that he's doing the right thing in saying he won't protect abusers. But the point is that the only way you can turn abusers in and see them prosecuted is if their victims recognize the abuse and turn them in - and cooperate not only with the diocese but also with the criminal justice system in seeing the prosecution through. Thus, it isn't a question of "either" focus on the abusers, "or" teach kids to recognize and report abuse. It's "both-and."

AmericanPapist

Ed Peters has updated his post to respond to some of these questions.

To sum it up: Article 9 of the Charter clearly expresses that ALL bishops are subject to it. Read up before knee-jerking folks.

Charles R. Williams

Charles Williams - can you cite any source that claims ordinaries have the right not to be bound by particular law in their country?

Read the Charter, AP, the Charter sets up this Review Board but does require bishops to cooperate with it. Of course particular law binds bishops.

The Vatican had to get involved with the Charter not to set up a Review Board but to approve the new approach for disciplining offending priests.

Bishop Bruskewitz is expressing contempt for a contemptible process. He is not accountable to "some woman Ewers" because he is not. And when this person makes inappropriate public statements no one should be surprised when Bruskewitz publicly blows her off.

Jason

"B's snide remarks took the focus OFF THE BOARD and thrust them ONTO HIMSELF."

But is sarcasm never justified? Elijah, for example, taunted the prophets of Baal to "shout louder" because their God may be busy. Saint Paul took at jab at the Cretans, citing their own prophet, saying that they are "always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons."

I think Bishop Bruskewitz is just sick of the presumptuous tone dissenters and boards like this take against Bishops, and he's putting them in their place.

Susan F. Peterson

First of all, I am not informed about the canonical status of the review board, so I don't know if Bishop B is obliged by holy obedience to accept its authority. This whole bishop's conference thing is not part of the historical structure of the church..Pope, Bishops, Priests, Deacons. But if the Pope tells Bishop B that he must obey the rulings of the conference...or if he signs off on something which says Bishop B must obey them, then I suppose he has to. And I don't know if that is the case.
That said, I feel rather sympathetic to Bishop B in this case. The composition of the review board tells me that it is a creation of people who accept the business management and the professional credentials models of how things ought to be done in the church. They have selected people who have secular credentials, degrees, service on commissions etc, rather than people who are humble and holy and might be thought likely to exercise prayerful discernment.
Someone who is proabortion should never be in the position of telling a bishop what to do in his own diocese about any moral issue or any issue with moral implications. I might make an exception for the plumbers who work on the diocesan pipes, so long as they don't park trucks saying "Pro-choice Plumbing Inc." in the diocesan driveway, but thats about it. Having this woman on the review board shows that whatever bishops who approved her appointment have been, essentially, seduced by "The World," as in "the world, the flesh, and the Devil." This is the same "The World" which seduced medieval bishops into cozzening up to kings and nobles. It is the delusion of "I am an important person who is respected by the people in the know, the people of the ingroup." To be such a person, accepted by the contemporary ingroup, is to accept the decrees and the language of professional associations, the credentials of professional schools, and the opinions of other ingroup people, and to try to do one's job in a way which gets their approval. The review board clearly shows such influences and is little different from something a government bureaucracy or secular university would do.
A bishop is not supposed to be like a manager in a business or government bureaucracy. I know what the latter sort do. They do whatever produces the right numbers, the ones on which they are evaluated and they say nothing publically which opposes or criticizes the current ubermanagers or their plans, or their newest set of slogans. (The engineer promoted to management, who tried to stop the use of defective o-rings on the first shuttle which blew up back in the 80's, was told to stop thinking like an engineer and think like a manager..and he shut up, and seven people lost their lives, including a schoolteacher with young children.) A bishop is supposed to be a shepherd of his people. Shepherds are ordinarily a rather down to earth set of folks. Now one could take that analogy too far and of course bishops are actually going to live in a comfortable place and drive a decent car and be educated people who speak standard English. But when confronted with an inflated balloon of jargon and PC speech, sometimes it takes some blunt speaking to puncture it.
I don't really want Bishop B to speak manager talk. I think he is right to say, Who are these people who say they have the authority to tell me how to run my diocese? I say they don't have any such authority, and I don't acknowledge it. I realize the "some woman" sounds a bit misogynous, but can you really say you don't recognize the species which might have driven him to this remark? (Which as several commentors above rightly said, did not question the reason for her existence qua person, but qua head of the review board.)

Susan Peterson

AmericanPapist

Charles - I did read the charter. Did you?

Article 9: This public report is to include the names of those dioceses/eparchies which the audit shows are not in compliance with the provisions and expectations of the Charter.

Article 10: The President is also to share with the Holy See the annual reports on the implementation of the Charter.

Article 17: We pledge our complete cooperation with the Apostolic Visitation of our diocesan/eparchial seminaries and religious houses of formation recommended in the Interdicasterial Meeting with the Cardinals of the United States and the Conference Officers in April 2002.

"We bishops and eparchs commit ourselves..."

"Conclusion: This Charter is published for the dioceses/eparchies of the United States."

I see nothing in here about a) the charter not aplpiying to the diocese/eparchies of the US, or b) the results of the visitations including ALL diocese/eparchies.

Where is the opt out clause? It's just not in there Charles...

AmericanPapist

... clearly I meant B) I see nothing that EXEMPTS the results of the visitations including ALL dioceses/eparchies.

Michael Hugo

Yo, people! There is no such thing as a SMALL crack problem.

In the midst of a complete implosion in the Church in U.S., morally, financially and administratively, you guys are offended by Bp. Bruskewtiz's comments?

Facing forty years of sustained heterodoxy, inaction, neglect, mismanagement and open dissent....simply put, the ABJECT FAILURE of the American Bishops, you guys get your panties in a bunch over Bp. B's refusal to cow-tow to a USCCB bureaucrat asking for HIM to be subjected to "strong fraternal correction"?

Why? Because the criminal scumbags running at least 50% of the diocese in this country need him to toe the line on their pathetic, immoral, public relations band-aid?

UNBELIEVABLE!

Good Lord! You people are the problem, not Bp. Bruskewtiz.

Sparki

Tone, tone, tone. Nobody likes the bishop's TONE. Well, I didn't hear any TONE when I was reading the statement. Anybody got an audio recording to shoot at me, so I can hear him being snippy and self-righteous?

Those of us who have met Bishop Bruskewitz in person know that he does speak plainly, but he doesn't adopt a self-righteous tone, at least not when I've ever heard him speak, which I happen to have the privilege of a LOT, since I live in the Diocese of Lincoln.

Look, the Bishop has no intention of letting children become the victims of pedophile priests or other criminally minded religious. As soon as he got here, he adopted his predecessor's policy of any crime committed by a priest/religous/lay employee is turned over to the police PRONTO and the Diocese will stand behind the victim and victim's family, not the criminal.

His main complaint about the review board is that it is staffed by people who not only do not UNDERSTAND Catholicism, they admittedly REJECT the teachings of the Church.

If the board was made up of authentic Catholics who agreed with and sought to live by the teachings of the Church, Bishop Bruskewitz would very likely have nothing but positive things to say about them. As for fraternal correction, the USCCB is not an organization that exhibits any form of authority from one member to another -- or even a committe of members over another. They are all equals -- brother bishops. If Bishop Bruskewitz was under the impression that one U.S. bishop could tell another how to run his Diocese, you'd better believe you all would be hearing a LOT more from this guy.

Bill

AP,

The issue is whether or not the Conference has the authority to bind bishops to the terms of the Charter, if, indeed, the Conference intended to do so. (Obviously, if the Conference did not intend to bind individual bishops, then the question doesn't even arise.) It won't do to point to the language of the Charter and to claim that it supplies its own authority. If that were the only basis for the purported authority, then the Conference would seem to be mere usurpers and Bruskewitz would do well to resist them. So I ask you: What is the basis for claiming that any group of bishops can tell an individual bishop what to do in his diocese?

Sparki

Hey, I know! Let's get a board of laypersons to advise the USCCB on marriage/family issues and staff it with reps from Planned Parenthood, non-Catholics who have been married 4+ times without annulments, and some of those Zero Population Growth people.

Let's get together another board to advise the USCCB on liturgical issues, and staff it with Pentacostal ministers, satanists and those cutsie Christian boy-band fellows -- what are their names again?

Then we'll have THREE boards made up on people who reject Catholicism telling us how to fix the problems in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Michael Hugo

...and is it necessary to make an INFINITE list of Bishopric misconduct to demonstrate the complete hypocrisy of anyone in the USCCB "correcting" ANYONE????

American Papist:

Thanks for the Chapter and Verse. Bishop B says: "The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws."

Are you suggesting you know more about his Diocese and his position regarding the Charter than he and the lawyers representing the diocese about their position?

And why do you take as "gospel" the directives of a board that is made up of "ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors"? Do you have information to the contrary?

There is, indeed, a crime here; however, I think you are the devil's advocate on this one.


Caroline

The "some woman" is offensive. And the subsquent emphasis on Ewers sex. If you don't get it, you don't get it.

"This bishop" needs to get on his knees and thank God that no big time dirt has shown up in his diocese from his time there or that of his predecessors and humbly pray that it won't .

I want to say to him the Christian equivalent of "Knock on wood."

Michael Hugo

Caroline,

Right, it shows where your sensitivities are. You are more concerned about gender "correctness" than the fact that a WOMAN is, in affect, usurping authority from Bp. B.

Are you offended by THAT? I thought not.

Fr. Brian Stanley

Speaking of tone, does the Ms. Ewers' public call for fraternal correction accomplish what it sets out to do? Is this really the way to get Bishop Bruskewitz to comply? I have to say that the mere fact that this is all out in public speaks volumes about how the USCCB and board hope to accomplish compliance. There is no professional discretion here, and so as Bishop Bruskewitz has been "called out" on this, he responds publicly, and people are offended by his public response. Why was he called out in public on this? To shame him? Is this effective, compassionate leadership by the USCCB and its agents and commissioners?

While one can certainly take issue with Bishop Bruskewitz's tone, there is, in my mind, clear provocation going on here. And if there is any correction of a bishop, I would think the USCCB would be advised to enlist the help of the nuncio or the appropriate curial official [perhaps Cardinal Levada in CDF], to seek Bishop Bruskewitz's compliance. This kind of public "calling out" is inappropriate, ineffective, and in fact, counterproductive.

I'm not known for being all that diplomatic, but if even I can see that this is not the way to bring Bishop Bruskewitz into the fold -- which is the goal here, isn't it -- then something must be terribly amiss.

AmericanPapist

Bill - CIC 455 tells you that a group of bishops can tell an individual bishop what to do (by the authority o the Holy See). This is all explained in Ed Peter's post.

Michael - I don't take as "gospel" what the board says. I DO take seriously what the Canon Law of the Universal Church says, namely, that B.B. doesnot have the right to exempt himself from particular law.

As for what authority I claim - on my own? none. I'm just joe smoe. But I can read and reason, and Ed Peter's makes a strong case in law that B.B., as RIGHTLY MOTIVATED as he was, might not have the law on his side.

In effect, I want B.B. to do the right thing, but I'd like to see it done in the RIGHT WAY. Catholics, even Bishops, are subject to the laws of the Universal Church and should fight for change WITHIN those boundaries and NOT outside them. Else why do we have the law?


Michael Hugo

Fr. Brian,

I agree completely.

I will take it further by suggesting that this is a powerplay. I believe this is an attempt to embarrass one of the few popular and FAITHFUL Bishops in the U.S. And who do the writhing creatures send to embarrass the Bishop? A lay woman.

This is VOTF in USCCB clothing.

Michael Hugo

"Catholics, even Bishops, are subject to the laws of the Universal Church and should fight for change WITHIN those boundaries and NOT outside them. Else why do we have the law?"

I'll let Bishop B. answer for himself. I won't lecture him about things I am sure he knows a lot more about than I do. As Fr. Brian said, this is being handled this way for one reason; he is succeeding where the rest are failing. His orthodoxy stands in damning contrast to the novel absurdities of most other diocese.

That being said, I can see hypocrisy when I see it. Do we have to list Mahoney's offenses? Why no call for "fraternal correction"?

Michael Hugo

how do I turn off italics?

tnks

Michael Hugo

Oops! I put words in Fr. Brian's mouth. I went on a tangent and attributed my thoughts to Fr. Brian.

Sorry, Fr. B. I wouldn't wish that on anyone! :o)

Jason

Italics off

Jason

Again

ted

Michael Hugo: a sign from God that you need to chill.

AmericanPapist

I agree with ted - let's try not to lose the bigger picture here. I love B.B. He's one of my all-time favorite bishops.

However, because I'm a Catholic I believe that concerns for the truth and obedience apply to EVERYONE. No one is above the law.

If the norms are indeed particular law, then B.B. should take his grievances before the Holy See to get this situation fixed and NOT engage in an ad hominem against Ewers in a way that doesn't do justice to his own integrity or reputation(especially when the law might not actually be on his side).

Okay, I'm done debating the issue. We'll see how this plays out. AMDG.

chris K

It seems here that most people are under the impression that all of the other bishops are running very similar programs and all is well and unified in their "compliance". Well, some have a smorasbord of programs to choose from; some have been quite autocratic about the use of specific harmful programs; and most of the programs simply leave parents in the dark while asking very young children to defend themselves. There is no rhyme nor reason. So thank God someone is being a good shepherd. Frankly, I couldn't tell you what a lot of bishops actually believe. When P. Pio was a child ordered to get his religious instruction from a particular priest he would not cooperate because the priest was having an affair. He refused to learn about the faith from such a priest. And people are upset because this bishop properly admonishes such an unqualified woman in the Faith who sets herself up in some authority over him?? In this refusal he alone seems to be teaching the faithful that compliance with Church doctrine comes before compliance with this stuff.
Most people know that Bishop B. really respects women in their true personhood and within their lawful positions within the Church.

Another very orthodox, wonderful teacher, Fr. Altier, subjected himself to what was being taught, reading the books offered - which made him sick - spoke against even the need of those kinds of "instructions" and he was silenced. Again, another good priest trying to defend little children with direct speech against things that in effect go against the teachings of the Catechism and we can no longer benefit from his wisdom.

Jeff...EXACTLY

And, tone?? That's pretty much the same tone the bishop takes in every interview. He hasn't changed. We probably can't count the times commenters have begged for this bishop to be sent to some really screwed up diocese to straighten them out.

Just put him in the same category as another outspoken and succesful teacher who instructed the faithful to ignore a confusing and heretical instruction re: the center of the faith - the Holy Eucharist.

Certain "women" should have been talked to in a straightforward tone many years ago when they disobeyed teachings and went on to influence the duped. They could call certain "men" of the Church all sorts of things, but no one expected them to be "corrected" by their sisters! I believe the bishop is an "equal opportunity" gender admonisher.

Kevin Miller

he alone seems to be teaching the faithful that compliance with Church doctrine comes before compliance with this stuff

Except that it isn't either-or, it's both-and. What's with all the false dichotomies here? I noted another one above. Don't we know basic logic?

Another very orthodox, wonderful teacher, Fr. Altier

Yes - it's very orthodox and wonderful to obsess about Freemasons and call them the lowest form of life. It's very orthodox and wonderful to tell people that they're wrong to receive Communion in the hand, even when Rome gives permission. It's very orthodox and wonderful to put out a statement casting oneself in the position of the persecuted Apostles and one's archbishop in the position of the biblical persecutors of the Church. Give me a break. No one who thinks Altier is "wonderful" is in a position to defend Bruskewitz.

Also: As I said above, I, too (i.e., like another commenter who appeared subsequently) know Bishop Bruskewitz personally - he was my pastor - we still exchange Christmas cards annually - and I like him. And I don't recall ever having a big problem with his "tone" in person. But we're not talking about how he comes across in some general sense - we're talking about whether there's a problem in this specific instance. Pointing out that he's generally great doesn't succeed as a reply to concerns about this instance. And it's incredibly silly to complain that you can't talk about the "tone" of a written statement. Everyone knows there are other kinds of "tone" besides "tone of [spoken] voice."

Finally: I, too, don't care for the composition of the review board. And I don't know whether the USCCB's policies on the matter of abuse prevention are ideal. But that also doesn't suffice to answer the concerns about B's statement. Two wrongs don't make a right. And even if B's tone here isn't wrong in principle, it's certainly imprudent. What does it accomplish besides venting steam and pleasing the already-faithful? It is not what's meant by "speaking truth in charity."

Judy

John Cardinal Newman: Good is never done, except at the expense of those who do it: truth is never enforced except at the sacrifice of its proponents – for nothing would ever be done at all, if a man waited to do so well, that no one could find fault with it.”

It's refreshing to see a human bishop who can just react to something instead of running his statements by an army of lawyers and PR people who gut it of all plain meaning and authentic feeling. He takes a position and is willing to be held acountable for his actions. If the bishops don't like what he's doing they should directly confront him - instead of hiding behind Ms. E's skirts.

Iacobus

I just can't believe all this whining about Bruskewitz. Did anyone ever think for one second he was the diplomatic sort? Plus, the call for fraternal correction of a Bishop by this woman (throw me on the fire too!) is so absolutely absurd that blatant sarcasm seems a pretty darned justified response to me.

Fortiterinre

American Papist,

I did re-read Ed Peters' post, and I find absolutely nothing "definite" about how the Charter is particular law.

I also re-read Ewers' letter, and she herself says, "Though their governance authority is fully understood by the Board, nonetheless, these refusals go against all of the efforts of the Church to be open and transparent in addressing child protection
and reaching out to victims to help with their healing."

Ewers herself does not seem to see the Charter as having the force of particular law, though she certainly thinks the bishop is doing something bad if not illegal.

I also read Canon 455, which says that an episcopal conference can make binding decrees only with the "special mandate" of the Apostolic See and that the conference itself decides how the binding decree then takes effect. I would argue that even if Vatican review of the Charter is seen as a special mandate to make it binding (a canonical stretch, I say), the USCCB itself has been very careful NOT to do so but to keep up the now-shattered image of voluntary compliance.

Don't get me wrong, the bishop is making a serious mistake, but the USCCB has to have the guts to pass a binding law before he can break it.

chris K

It's very orthodox and wonderful to put out a statement casting oneself in the position of the persecuted Apostles and one's archbishop in the position of the biblical persecutors of the Church.

Oh, come on, Kevin, now you give me...and Fr. Altier "a break". What statement did Fr. Altier put out "casting" himself as being persecuted? People can go here:

http://www.jimmyakin.org/2006/03/a_reader_writes_2.html

to see that I do not stand alone in admiration of this good priest...as well as the reaction of almost all commenters with knowledge of Fr. A. - both here and elsewhere in the world - to your very same rather ad hominem attack against the man.

He does not forbid communion in the hand. He advises, pretty straightforwardly, for the more respectful reception on the tongue and gives reasons why. But then so did his model, Pope John Paul, by his very actions in view of millions. One almost had to make a real noticeable insistence to receive in the hand from the Holy Father. He definitely did more than "hint" at what he preferred and felt was right. Are you saying the history of and participation in Freemasonry and its remaining influence is something forbidden to be discussed or taught? (that also is handled in the above comment section at Jimmy Akin's) The Church doesn't teach the faithful that it is forbidden to belong to such a group still? That the Church doesn't still try to educate the ignorant on the hidden aspects of Freemasonry that they can be duped into accepting? That there is no occult within the practice of Freemasonry? I know that it isn't a topic much within the US, but Fr. Altier had a universal audience. There are letters from all over the world wondering why all of a sudden the only one available to answer their questions unashamedly about the Truths of the Church has been removed.

And about that "tone" - oooh we're all so frightened and scarred for life. If this was bad I should have been ruined by some of the good sisters or strict parish priests of yore who pretty much ordered us to confession. Us being called sinners or disobedient. Perish the thought!

What does it accomplish besides venting steam and pleasing the already-faithful?

For most it accomplished something that should have been done long before...a real questioning of this whole horrible and evil influence of little children for the purpose of saving one's "respectful position".

Except that it isn't either-or

It is too an "either/or" when you have to choose whether your bishop is leading according to the Catechism or not.

And it's incredibly silly to complain that you can't talk about the "tone" of a written statement.

You can talk about "tone" all you want, but that's completely secondary to the point being made...and made forcefully when the matter at hand calls for it. Tone, in this case, has more to do with the natural personality type of this bishop. He didn't adopt a different "tone" than usual. And it's refreshing to know that "tone" hasn't become PC yet in certain dioceses with backbone.

No one who thinks Altier is "wonderful" is in a position to defend Bruskewitz.

That's merely your opinion hopefully and not another usurpation of your lay "authority" over the faithful. To quote your own argument against the good bishop:

It is not what's meant by "speaking truth (?) in charity."

But, in charity to your sensibilities, I ask that you "pardon my tone"!

tom

B. Bruskewitz does not seem to have the balls you folks accuse him of. If he did, wouldn't he take to the woodshed the bishops who put this system in place? Wouldn't he be blunt about them and their motives (that is, bowing to insurance companies and lawyers, which is the whole reason for this particular way of dealing with the problem)? Because they're the ones that voted this in. They're the ones that gave these people their jobs. These people WERE APPOINTED BY BISHOPS. Why doesn't Bruskewitz publicly vent his spleen about them?

Because he is, at heart, no different than the rest of them in that the bonds of ordination and consecration trump everything else.

I"d like a simple answer to that question. If B. is going to slam the makeup of the board, why doesn't he slam "Some bishops" who appointed them?

Answer that question.

Jim

tom is right.

Brusky can take on some woman, but he can't take on his fellow bishops....why? because, like his brethren in the pointy hats, he still has ambitions.

His day in the spotlight...or in the dock... is yet to come.

AmericanPapist

Fortiterinre, you said: "I did re-read Ed Peters' post, and I find absolutely nothing "definite" about how the Charter is particular law."

Well, you have to click on one of the links in the post: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2002/02-258a.shtml

This statement from the Holy See reads: "With your letter dated November 15, 2002, you requested the recognition for the "Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons", approved by the Episcopal Conference at the Plenary Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops"

The Holy See then gives the RECOGNITIO (which makes the norms binding particular law): "I am pleased now to send you the Decree of recognito for the "Essential Norms."

I think that's pretty clear.

Pete Vere, JCL

Keep in mind that besides being a Bishop, Bruskewitz is also an accomplished canonist. He has previously explained his reason for being "non-compliant" in an interview he did for the Wanderer.

Simply put, the Bishop would have to report all allegations of abuse -- even the most absurd type (there's a woman in his diocese with mental problems who regularly accuses half the priests of the diocese of having molested her), anonymous allegations, and those of priests who have long since passed away.

There is a fundamental principle of canon law that every accused has the right to face their accuser. The way the board is set up would deny the accused that opportunity in many instances. This is why Bruskewitz is refusing to "comply" with it.

Pete Vere, JCL

Put another way, yes, Bruskewitz is right. (Although I would agree the composition of the board is somewhat of a red herring). If the good Bishop is wrong, let Ed Peters or some other canonist of repute bring the Bishop's non-compliance before the Holy See.

Rich Leonardi

The people of the diocese of Lincoln deserve what they have and will continue to have UNLESS they rise up and deal with him in their most expeditious manner: with their wallets and offerings.

Given the polestar around which Jimmy Mac's thinking generally revolves, something tells me his opposition to the Bishop has little to do with the Review Board.

His day in the spotlight...or in the dock... is yet to come.

Isn't he pushing seventy? I'm not sure to what office his supposed ambition would take him at that age.

Jim

"Keep in mind that besides being a Bishop, Bruskewitz is also an accomplished canonist."

Keep in mind that the Pharisees were also the accomplished canonists of their day.

Rich Leonardi

In an interesting 2003 Crisis magazine essay addressing conference authority, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, president of the USCCB from 1989 to 1992, likened the organization to a “union of independent grocers. It’s a confederation, a trade association.… It’s not a super-church. It’s not my boss.” By that analogy, Bishop Bruskewitz is an especially independent grocer.

Fortiterinre

American Papist,

Thanks for the citation, I think that establishes that the USCCB COULD establish the Charter as particular law if they wanted to, by formally requiring bishops to adhere to it instead of just asking them to "pledge" it.

I still say that it's not clear that they have done so, that they intentionally seem to have avoided making the Charter particular law to make it seem that bishops had UNANIMOUSLY and VOLUNTARILY agreed on it.

The bishops might well be prepared to make the Charter a "binding decree" under Canon 455(4), especially if the Bruskewitz flap gets more media fuel, but I think the canonical issue would be that at this point they simply haven't done so. The articles of the Charter formally and legally seem to be a series of bishops' voluntary "pledges," NOT a "binding decree." Under Canon 455 it simply isn't clear to me that the Charter AS WRITTEN was ever intended to be a "binding decree" and therefor particular law.

Pete Vere, JCL

American Papist,

The board is purely advisory. That's what the the law means by consultative in this context. It has no actual power over any of the bishops. It can report its recommendations, and a bishop can accept or ignore it.

Here's a sampling from the Charter:

"Article 8

...The Committee is to advise the USCCB on all matters related to child and youth protection and is to oversee the development of the plans, programs, and budget of the Office of Child and Youth Protection. It is to provide the USCCB with comprehensive planning and recommendations concerning child and youth protection by coordinating the efforts of the Office and the National Review Board."

"ARTICLE 9. The Office for Child and Youth Protection, established by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, is to staff the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and be a resource for dioceses/eparchies for the implementation of “safe environment” programs and for suggested training and development of diocesan personnel responsible for child and youth protection programs, taking into account the financial and other resources, as well as the population, area, and demographics of the diocese/eparchy."

ARTICLE 10.
"The Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People is to be assisted by the National Review Board, a consultative body established in 2002 by the USCCB..."

"The Board will also advise the Conference President on future members."

Yes, the language was carefully chosen.

Donald R. McClarey

Bravo Bishop Bruskewitz! He realizes that as Bishop he is the one responsible for his priests before God and not some cya Review Board created as part of the dog and pony pretend reforms implement by the "hapless bench of Bishops".

Donald R. McClarey

"implemented" not "implement".

padrechillin

I wish Bp B was my bishop. It's so sad all these spinless Bp's who caused the scandal to get as bad as it did are now hiding behind the lawyers and insurance companies and this Review board made up of pro-aborts and dissidents of various sorts and trying to put the burden on innocent little children by "teaching them touching." How sick! Is this the last days- I sure hope it is.

David Kubiak

I think the Bishop's tone is terrific. But given the mamby-pamby drivel that usually comes out of bishops' mouths it is small wonder people are startled at hearing an angry man actually sounding like an angry man.

padrechillin

I recall Jesus saying something about a millstone around the neck of those who scandalize and corrupt little children. That is a bit stronger than Bp B's non compliance language don't you think? Go Bp B!

Fortiterinre

Thanks for the update, Amy. I just want to say that American Papist, Pete Vere, JCL and I are having a highly technical but I think still important side conversation about how canon law functions (or doesn't) in the 21st century, exemplified by this case.

I agree with you that Bruskewitz basically lost his temper and took the bait, something that I have done myself on more than one occasion. I agree that his "tone" shouldn't be the main point, and the reality of the financial crisis precipitated by the abuse crisis is important in serving as the USCCB's primary motivation.

But I also see an ecclesial governance crisis, most clearly seen in how abusing priests went unchallenged for so long, but also seen in the wimpy nice-guyism that has permeated the hierarchy for so long. The bishops want to govern without the burden of enforcing rules or (I would argue in this case) even making them, and that isn't much leadership at a time when we need plenty.

Pete Vere

As a canonist who was right in the middle of this scandal when it broke, having publicly backed another canonist named Fr. Tom Doyle (before we fell out over VOTF) back when it was unpopular to do so, I pretty much agree with Fortiterinre's last post.

1) yes, it appears that Bishop Bruskewitz may have been a little too hard in his tone. This is between him and his confessor; it is not a matter of canon law.

2) The crisis is really one about leadership in the Church. A Bishop is in charge of his diocese. This is how Christ chose to establish the Church. It is up to the Bishop to enforce the rules. This entails making the difficult decisions.

That being said, is the the charter a matter of particular law? Yes it is. This is why we must read the letter of the text carefully to discern the charter's canonical scope and authority. It must also fall within the context of, or at least not be contrary to, the Divine law. The divine law is clear: laypeople are subject to bishops, not bishops to laypeople.

The letter of the law is clear: the national review board is an advisory body. Thus it has standing under particular law, however, not as a body to which bishops are subject. Rather its standing under particular law is limited to that stated within the charter, namely, as an advisory body.

Pete Vere

Now that I've had a chance to relax over some libations -- I was at a turkey hunter safety course all day -- here's a line-by-line analysis of the Bishop's reported comments...

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers,

While not the most polite tone, I assume the bishop has correctly identified the name and gender of his accuser.


who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People",

Similar to above. His tone may be one of understatement and ridicule, but he seems to have correctly identified her title.

has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln."

True. That is what her board is calling for.

The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for,

I personally believe this is true, as do most canonists with whom I have come across (with the exception of Ed Peters) regularly. Nevertheless, this appears to be the source of the controversy.

If Bishop Bruskewitz is in need of correction, then the universal law provides at least two options for bringing about his correction. One can pursue judicial action via the Roman Rota, or one can pursue administrative recourse to via the Congregation for Bishops or one of the other curial dicasteries.

This is not the first time Bishop Bruskewitz has found himself in the middle of a controversy. This wouldn't be the first time his actions were challenged in Rome. He has always said he would willingly submit to the Holy See's decisions if over-ruled.

Granted, this has never been put to the test since the Holy See always upholds his actions, however, I believe he would submit.

since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws.

Again, I believe this to be true. Note he didn't say "in full compliance with all the recommendations of the national review board and/or its derivatives." If he is not in compliance with canon law or civil law, then please show me where.

Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church

True. They are an advisory board. This is clear from the charter. Thus it is a matter of particular law.

and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

Brilliantly subjective. He does not say that he does not recognize the board, simply that he does not recognize the board as having any significance. Like any good canonist, he left himself some wiggle room.

[snip text which, although true, is irrelevant to controversy at hand, namely whether or not the Bishop is subject to the board]

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

Same as above. (Although I agree with Amy that he should have made it clear he was not speaking of Ewers personally). Brilliantly subjective, leaving himself some wiggle room like a good canonist. He does not deny its existence or its mandate under canon law. He simply states he does not see the reason for it.

Pete Vere

PS...Although like most canonists I sympathize with Bishop Bruskewitz when it comes to the national review board and the John Jay study, it is not my intention to defend the tone with which he takes Ms. Ewers to task (although admittedly I have used worse in print). Rather I am simply pointing out that they are not sufficient to put him in violation of the charter or any other particular law.

Whitcomb

There is a striking difference in tone that one experiences in the Lincoln diocese v. the Omaha archdiocese. I've attended Mass many times in Lincoln under Bruskewitz's reign and it reminds me of the church of 40 or 50 years ago. And that's not all bad. But Mass in Lincoln seems grim and cold, so lacking in joy that I could not imagine in a thousand years establishing permanent residence in that diocese. It's a make-sure-the-linens-are-perfectly-starched experience.

ted

Yes, there are problems. But then why doesn't Bruskewitz publicly berate those who caused the problem - his brother bishops? That's the question no one is answering.

Pete Vere

Ted, Bishop Bruskewitz has publicly berated his brother bishops. It was picked up by bloggers at the time, as well as some of the Catholic media, but for the most part it was ignored by the MSM because His Excellency fingered raised questions about homosexuality in the priesthood that trouble secularist sensibilities.

Mary Kay

I agree 100 percent with Amy's update.

Loudon is a Fool

Poor Whitcomb. When there aren't liturgical dancers shakin' their thangs up on the staguary you can't find God? If you think you're not experiencing joy when you attend Mass in Lincoln then, no offense, but you probably don't know what joy is. But here's a hint: It's not secreted by your adrenal glands.

And sorry, ladies, that your not so latent feminist sensibilities are offended by the Bishop's focus on the nutty chick's gender, lack of authority, and general silliness. But the slap was necessary if not sufficient. The USCCB should send Ms. Ewers back to beauty school.

When a molester rears his ugly head in Lincoln, he doesn't play paddy-cake with the Bishop while they try to get to the bottom of his issues. He goes to jail. That is the case with the current bishop, as it was the case with his predecessor.

So instead of reverting to the "but I can do anything you can better" mantra ye Boomers and almost Boomers were spoon fed by your third grade teachers, let's thank the Lord for this excellent Bishop and pray that America might receive 100 more like him. And a few Cardinals to boot.

Chris

If his brother bishops had publicly called for his fraternal correction, Bruskewitz probably would be calling them to task publicly. But they haven't do so publicly. Ewers has. He's responding to her statement.

Besides, as Pete says, he has publically berated his brother bishops in USCCB meetings. And if what he does in USCCB meetings is an indication of what he says to his fellow bishops privately, I think it's a safe bet that he's said some things privately to them as well. Even if they were walking away from him with fingers in their ears.

Mary Kay

Loudon, your entire post is way out of line.

Most of the comments have addressed the issues themselves and those comments I've taken seriously.

All you've done is an ad hominem attack on Whitcomb and say that they should send a woman with a doctorate "back to beauty school." Totally out of line.

While I knew there were reservations about the composition of the review board, I have not kept up with the specifics and if someone could tell me the reservations about Ewers, I might or might not agree with them, based on the issues.

However, Louden, your comments go right where they belong - the trash can.

David Billington

I find the comments here fascinating, because most of them either want to use the good Bishop's "tone" as a stick to beat him with or defend him by reference to his orthodoxy. Both I would submit miss the real point which is about power (as at least one person noted). The Board is an advisory board. The Charter makes that clear. It has no "authority" which is why it called for the Bishop's to make the 'fraternal correction". Believe me had it had any authority it would already be making some unfraternal correction itself. As for the Bishop's tone I find the tone of the board's report offensive. From my experience within bureaucracies this is a typical bureaucratic powerplay. Lacking any authority of their own and dependant on others for it they are terrified of anyone who calls them on it. BB has called the board on this - saying they have no authority to do more than advise. The board then tries to bring in the heavy hand of the USCCB to get BB to conform so everyone will think the board has authority. If the USCCb did and BB buckled then the board could tell any bishop who objects to a board mandated program to "look what happened to BB". BB's response is certainly over the top in its language but it has to be to get attention - which it has. He has learnt from the liberals that you get attention and coverage by being in your face and forcing people who have legitimate disagreements with you to back down because they don't want a confrontation. Ewers and the Board obviously didn't want a fuss made because it would draw attention to their own lack of authority. By choosing to be in your face back to them BB has made it a public issue and the board's true lack of authority has been exposed. He has belled the cat. I am not an advocate of in your face language but it is time to fight fire with fire. The very fact that many are focussing on BB's language tells me that they rightly see the danger of this to their underhanded assumption of an authority that doesn't exist. If the bishop's believe BB is wrong let them respond with a tough statement of their own. After all would anyone have reacted if BB had mildly said he disagrred with the board. No-one would have heard of it. Authority within the Church rests with the Heirarchy not with boards and commissions.

RC

Whether or not I approve of Bishop B's letter in every detail, I have to admit that his combative response has drawn attention to the disputed questions and (even if indirectly) made them better understood in a way which polite demurral would not have done.

mark j

I guess I'm a little late to the party, but I'll say that I'm truly shocked that a thread referencing Bp Bruskewitz starts with the whiney dissenters (aka Todd, Jimmie Mac, CB) taking drive-by potshots and then not hanging aroud for the discussion. Truly amazing and unfathomable.

Sparki

Whitcomb, next time you are in Lincoln for Mass, go to North American Martyrs for a Mass celebrated by Fr. Scott Courtney. It's always lively. St. Terese of the Little Flower parish is always a treat, whether you hear the most joyous Father Joseph Nemec or the most captivating Father Christopher Kubeck. Or go to Saint John the Apostle parish for a Mass celebrated by the engaging Father Lyle Johnson. Or Blessed Sacrament -- Father John Sullivan is always relevant, interesting, thought-provoking and positive. Or try Cristo Rey, our Spanish-language parish for liturgical music that you may never want to end. St. Thomas Acquinas on campus (Fr. Robert Matya) is never a downer, and you can tell by the attendance -- he's got enough Catholic students interested that he runs TWO daily Masses EVERY DAY during the school year. Or head out of town to Assumption parish in Dwight to hear the ever-charismatic Father Peter Mitchell, or Exeter (St. Stephen's) or McCool Junction (St. Patrick's), where Fr. Stephen Cooney's charisma and joy is perfectly infectious. Way out west, you can't go wrong with homilies by Father Paul Witt (witty and orthodox at the same time) at St. Catherine's in Indianola. If you want strictly intellectual stuff, there is a long list of priests and parishes, but I'd start with Father Raymond Jensen at St. Joseph in York.

Not all of our parish priests may be "television-worthy" or even above-average speakers, and not all of our liturgical music is stellar -- some of it is even quite bad. But if your only experience has been "grim" -- you've hit one of our few dry spots. There is much life, much joy, much reverence in the Diocese of Lincoln. Try us again and you'll see.

JP

Does anyone know how long the Review Board Charter will last?Is it something that will go on in prepituity? Or does the Bishop's Conference have plans to eventually police itself? It has been 4 years now, and I would think, that as a group the Conference would establsih some ways of setting up internal systems to insure that the molestation of children will happen again.

inhocsig

Someone wrote on a blog I read a while ago that, "the bishop's crozier was not only for hooking wayward sheep, but also for whacking wolves.".


Bravo Bishop Bruskewitz for whacking a shewolf right between the eyes!

Fr. Brian Stanley

"Ewers and the Board obviously didn't want a fuss made because it would draw attention to their own lack of authority."

Mr. Billington --

How could you come to this conclusion? The fact that we are all discussing Mrs. Ewers' statement here, and that Bp. Bruskewitz responded in kind, i.e. publicly, should be proof enough that Mrs. Ewers did indeed want a fuss made over all of this. If she thought for a moment that public criticism of a bishop would get that bishop to "back down," she fails miserably, doesn't she? And is this what the USCCB wants the leader of the review board to do, to castigate in public bishops who do not conform?

I do not care for Bishop Bruskewitz's comments about Mrs. Ewers, and find them to be needlessly offensive. But I do recognize those comments as a RESPONSE to public criticism by a delegate of the USCCB. And if this is how the USCCB is going to do business, I'm less inclined to give them any deference or latitude. If the USCCB has a problem with Bishop Bruskewitz's position, there are other avenues by which to address him, through the nuncio, through the CDF, through proper canonical channels that would certainly get Bishop Bruskewitz's attention, and quite possibly, his cooperation. That they [the USCCB] have chosen to "go public" and use the media to criticize Bishop Bruskewitz seriously undermines their position, especially if they have no evidence of child abuse by clergy or employees of the Dioceses of Lincoln.

If Mrs. Ewers wanted to be taken seriously, she would have communicated privately to Bishop Skylstad, the president of the USCCB, or Cardinal George, the vice president of the USCCB. Instead, we are all reading Mrs. Ewers' letter calling for fraternal correction in the newspapers and on the internet. How much sense does that make? By her public comments, she has superceded the need for fraternal correction by Bishop Bruskewitz's colleagues. The horse had already left the barn. Why call for closing the barn door?

pokorsky

Just anger impels action. If more bishops had a capacity for outrage the Church wouldn't be in the mess she is in today. An outraged laity over perversion and depravity within the Church's sanctuary is a sure sign that the hierarchy isn't outraged enough.

Andy McDonald

It is high time that a bishop drew a line in sand. All of the people who are crying over his use of what is improperly being referred to as sarcasm need to go back and read some of the invective penned by some of the greatest saints on the calendar. The good bishop's words are mild compared to some of these gems. Why are we so afraid to support someone who is willing to fight and draw clear lines? Perhaps our modern sensibilities are overriding our sensus catholicus? God Bless Bishop Bruskewitz and may more bishops find the courage to join him.

Jeff

I agree with Sparki. If an individual thinks that attending Mass here in the Diocese of Lincoln is akin to stepping back 40-50 years in time and that it's boring, I have to ask them what they consider to be "exciting." Oops...questions like that may get my post relegated to the trash bin. :)

Jimmy Mac, accusing the bishop of braying, belched forth that "The people of the diocese of Lincoln deserve what they have and will continue to have UNLESS they rise up and deal with him in their most expeditious manner: with their wallets and offerings."

What a load, straight out of the 60s counter-revolution handbook. I, for one, will be making out a check to the bishop's annual appeal along with my thank you letter for having the strength of convictions in putting forth such a statement and such a stand. Having known our bishop I'm sure that he knew the slings and arrows that would be aimed at him for saying what he did, and that in today's namby-pamby style of political correctness he'd be criticized for them (see above comments). Yet he had the courage to say them anyhow. Would that more bishops, indeed leaders of all stripes, have the same courage.

tk

!Tilt! Failure to act as a reasonable and prudent man...a moral failure...the Bishop better plan on keeping those Cornhuskers tickets for the rest of his life.

This liability insurance underwriter would immediately cancel this dioceses coverage. I would note the file "Moral Hazard". I care nothing for "canons", I care for the DOLLARS and the PUBLICITY.

We need to pray for this Bishop.

Andy McDonald

tk,
You care for dollars, Bruskewitz cares for souls and therein lies your disagreement. Unfortunately, the vast majority of wolves (in shepherds vestments) stand on your side of the aisle.

I, like Jeff and others, will also be sending the Diocese of Lincoln a check and a thank you letter (and I don't even live in that diocese).

Fr. Brian Stanley

tk:

As an insurance underwriter, would you cancel the coverage of the thousands of public school districts, who have no plans or programs for child abuse, writing them off as "moral hazards," as their administrators remain absolutely silent in the face of the growing yet unreported scandals in our public schools?

And I am not so sure that Jesus cares for your priorities, tk: the gospel with which I am familiar does not present Jesus as being much concerned about money and publicity. In fact, the gospels present a man who avoids money and publicity. He is more interested in saving souls -- that is His bottom line.

I'm a pastor, tk, and I am not unconcerned with worldly matters, to be sure. But the day I start saying, "I care for the DOLLARS and the PUBLICITY," is the day that I hope my bishop removes me from public ministry. If you think that Bp. Bruskewitz is more concerned about canons than he is about the spiritual and physical welfare of the people of the diocese of Lincoln, then you have insights into his heart and his intentions that no one else sees. And those "canons" about which you care neither a fig nor a feather are actually laws, which help protect people, because they express the rights and duties and privileges we enjoy as members of the Church. If you care little about canons, then you care little about those rights and duties and privileges, and that would not be in your best interests, friend.

tk

I am concerned about a policy that is designed, not to determine when to kneel or stand, or how much latin should be used, but about a policy that is designed to prevent Ceaser from stripping the altars and assets of the church we love so dear. I see this in strictly temporal terms, we are talking about the protection of children here, not other issues. Unfortuntaley this is an area where the laws of the church, and the socio-legal environment today mean certain things must be done.

Can you imagine what will happen if and when there is an abuse case in Lincoln now? The plaintiffs lawyer is going to have a field day. Failure to take the same action that every other diocese took? "And, Bishop, you decided not to....would you please tell the jury why the safety of the children was less important than you internal 'clerical' arguements?" and then... "I see, would you care to comment about these remarks, that some considered offensive, about the leader of the group behind these controls?"

Yes, Jesus is not concerned with money and publicity, but I am not Jesus, and neither is the Bishop. This is bad stewardship of the flock. We are all appalled in my business at the riskiness of this behavior in the temporal world.

And yes, I would cancel ANY institution or company that failed, or in this case, deliberately refused to adopt risk control norms. Public schools have been a automatic declines for decades, the Catholic Church was getting to be an acceptable risk again, but clearly not Lincoln.

gabriel austin

There has been a lot of heat and precious little light in the discussion. But the little light has indeed been precious.
The relationship of the board to the bishopric is indeed purely advisory. That the head of the board called in the newspapers speaks for itself as a manner of proceeding.
While not wishing to tar all U.S. bishops with the same brush of incompetence, I believe it would be worthwhile were they to read with head and heart Cardinal Dulles' remonstrance to them about the lily-livered manner of proceeding in the matter of sexual abuse of children, and in the manner of handling accusations. [Rights of accused priests. AMERICA 13 Dec 2004].
How true the saying that there is nothing so cowardly as a committee.
To my mind, the presence on the Board [if it be true] of persons who find nothing wrong with aborting children robs the Board of all moral authority - yes, ALL.
As to the risks posed by lack of insurance and by the parishioners who vote with their wallets, I can but recall the words of Dorothy L. Sayers to C.S. Lewis: "The trouble with you religious people is that you havs so little trust in God".

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