Vatican Approves Excommunication of Members of “Call to Action”

The Vatican has confirmed an American bishop's decision to excommunicate members of the dissident group Call to Action. In addition to touting itself as a Catholic group working for justice and peace, the group promotes altering Church teaching on sexuality, women in the priesthood, and electing bishops.

Call to Action is "causing damage to the Church of Christ," wrote Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in a letter to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska.

In March 1996, Bishop Bruskewitz had announced the excommunication of all Catholics in his diocese who were members of Call to Action or several other dissident groups which he described as "totally incompatible with the Catholic faith."

The Nebraska chapter of Call to Action appealed the bishop's decision to the Vatican. In his November 24 letter to Bishop Bruskewitz, Cardinal Re reports that Vatican's finding that the disciplinary action was "properly taken."

The Vatican has determined that "the activities of 'Call to Action' in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic Faith due to views and positions held which are unacceptable from a doctrinal and disciplinary standpoint," Cardinal Re writes. He concludes: "Thus to be a member of this Association or to support it is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith."

The excommunication that Bishop Bruskewitz announced covered not only to Call to Action, but also to members of Catholics for a Free Choice, Planned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society, the Freemasons, and the Society of St. Pius X.

The excommunication order applies only within the Lincoln, Nebraska diocese. But the Vatican's judgment against Call to Action raises clear questions about the status of the group's members in other dioceses.

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  • Guest December 9, 2006, 12:27 am

    Bravo!!!! If only more Bishops would take their job of upholding the teachings of the Church as seriously as Bishop Bruskewitz.

  • Guest December 9, 2006, 4:23 am

    I feel that it’s a shame that it has to come to an excommunication. Many people feel that the Church is a democracy and an action can be changed by “lobbying” Rome. Alas, it isn’t so (and that’s a good thing). We all need to realize this and pray for a deepening of understanding on the part of EVERYONE!

    Most of all, we need to pray for a full re-union of these souls with the Church.

    –Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam–

  • Guest December 9, 2006, 6:43 am

    You are right it is a shame it has come to an excommunication. The Catholic Church is not a democracy. As Catholics we accept the Pope in Rome as the head of the church on earth, the successor of St. Peter, who was appointed by Jesus to lead the church. In order to be one body, one church, in unison with Christ we must accept the Pope (sic The Vatican) as the governing Head (Body) of the church. There is no wiggle room for members to decide what is right or wrong in matters of faith and doctrine based on secular opinion. This group has been in rebellion to the teachings of the church and is a cancer which must be cut out.

    We must continue to pray that they see their errors and repent.

    Old Soldier
    “Peace be with you”

  • Guest December 9, 2006, 9:12 am

    Excommunication is the call to ‘think it over, and decide where you think you ough to be’. It is a call to exert free will as the person will, without thinking any other should give endorsement. And, if you decide you don’t belong – go where you do belong.

    (My soul shudders for the excommunicated – their egos usually have them in its grip . . .)

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest December 9, 2006, 11:47 pm

    Yeah, bravo. But is this article correct? It really took the Vatican ten years to confirm that this was the right thing to do? Swift justice is often more instructive. How long have people who should have been dealing with excommunication been holding on to hope that they won’t be excommunicated in the end?

  • Guest December 10, 2006, 3:46 pm

    Sometimes swift justice is swift injustice. Ten years may seem like an eternity but for eternal damnation it is but a moment. The church has considered all of the facts and has issued the decree to “think it over”

    Not knowing all the details but I am sure that all along the way the errors in what this group was doing were pointed out and appropriate warnings issued. They failed to heed and the ultimate warning has been issued. The fact is that if they fail to repent they face eternal damnation.

    Pray for them.

    Old Soldier
    “Peace be with you”

  • Guest December 10, 2006, 7:26 pm

    I do think that 10 years is “swift” when you’re talking about the Catholic Church. That’s not a negative observation…just an observation on the reality of things.

  • Guest December 10, 2006, 11:52 pm

    You’re not saying that if this decision had been reached 9 years ago it would have been unjust?

    Don’t forget, excommunication does not say (as far as I understand) that you are going to hell. It says, “you don’t look like you’re in communion with the church.”

    If you see excommunication as a decree to “think it over”, it would have been way better to have confirmed it a long time ago, instead of leaving people hoping that the vatican might allow them to continue their sedition while “in communion” with the church. These people have gone for ten years still (perhaps) hoping that they could keep on calling themselves members of the church.

    Of course, with this kind of dissent they’ll probably say they are still members of the church. Dan Brown says he’s a christian.

  • Guest December 14, 2006, 10:38 am

    I thought it was intresting. The older term that is used for what we call excommunication is actually much more evocative.

    anethma means to dedicate or turn somthing over to God.
    We have done what we can to help our brothers belive what is true , they have refused to belive. To follow The Way ( which is Jesus) so the only thing left for us to do is to give them over to God and let Him judge them, thus we can no longer consider them part of our common group our communion. They are excommunicated. Moved to without. Outsiders.

  • Guest December 14, 2006, 5:43 pm

    Boy, fishman, you make it sound exactly as ‘worst’ as it should! Want a job in the Holy Office?

    ‘Brother fishman is here to form a life mask of you so you can dwell and concentrate on what a fool looks like. He will also be giving you a running commentary on being anathema, which is yours as gratis as the mask.’

    I remain your obedient servant, but God’s first,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell or …

  • Guest January 4, 2007, 9:03 pm

    Not to diminish what you all have said previous, and the explanation of ‘anathema’ sheds much light onto this topic, we recall the focus on Mercy which dear Pope John Paul II expounded and explained in the midst of the Church’s recent and numerous public scrutinies. Never wishing to make rash judgement nor to condemn any souls while Providence and time allow all concerned to convert or turn to truth is a merciful way of dealing with these types of matters. Scandal is not the desired effect or motive and is to be avoided for the salvation of souls.