Saturday, March 05, 2005

Excommunications in Lincoln Upheld by Vatican

From Sioux City Journal: Diocese: Vatican rejects appeal of blanket excommunications:

"Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz ordered Lincoln Catholics in March 1996 to sever their ties to 12 groups or face excommunication two months later. The bishop said the groups -- including Call to Action, several Masonic organizations, and abortion-rights groups Planned Parenthood and Catholics for a Free Choice -- contradict and imperil Catholic faith.

The order was put on hold while it was appealed.

Under excommunication, Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion. They cannot be married or buried in the church. Excommunicated Catholics may be forgiven through the sacrament of confession or may be absolved in their dying hour by a priest.

The Vatican notified Bruskewitz 'some time ago' that the appeal was rejected, said Rev. Mark Huber, a spokesman for the diocese.

He declined to say why the decision had not been made public and deferred questions to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation of Bishops in Rome.

Re did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment sent to the Vatican on Friday.

Huber said the appeal was rejected because it challenged a church law -- specifically, legislation from the 1996 Synod of the Diocese of Lincoln -- which prohibited membership in the organizations.

'They can't appeal a particular law,' he said. 'They can appeal a judicial sentence or an administrative decree. Excommunication is part of the law.'"