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April 19, 1996     The Message
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April 19, 1996
 

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12 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Comment made on bishop&apos;s excommunication WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Two Colorado bishops have said the bishop of Lincoln, Neb., has called attention to important issues by invoking automatic penalties of interdict and excommunication for Catholics who keep their mem- bership in certain groups, but said they would not adopt his tactics. The action by Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz also provoked editorial comment in the Catholic press, a statement of support from a Cath.olic women's organization, and a sharp rejoinder from the leader of two traditionalist groups that he barred Catholics from joining. Besides those groups -- the Society of St. Pius X and those who participate in services at its chapel in Lincoln -- Bishop Bruskewitz in March prohib- ited membership in five Ma- sonic groups, the Hemlock Soci- ety, Planned Parenthood, Catholics for a Free Choice and Call to Action and its Nebraska state chapter. He said Catholics of the Lin- coln Diocese still belonging to any of those groups as of April 15 would automatically come under interdict, barring them from holy Communion, and would be automatically excom- municated a month later if they persisted. In Colorado, in interviews published in their respective diocesan newspapers Bishops Arthur N. Tafoya of Pueblo and Richard C. Hanifen of Colorado Springs said they would not do what Bishop Bruskewitz did. "Excommunication is very seldom used," Bishop Tafoya said. "I don't think that's the way to go. I think we have to teach morals and lead people in a correct conscience. That's the .A,. Vincennes Bicknell Sandbom Monroe City ,, Princeton *Patoka Member F.D.I.C. Washington Auto Trim 27 Years Service MUENSTERMAN'S FIRESTONE SERVICE, INC. 1400 W. Franklin Evansville, IN 424-5000 YOU SHOULD HEAR WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOI00r US. "To have someone you can depend on really means a lot. I don't know what we would have done without her.  -- Gilbert Schmitt, Oakland City, IN "My whole life l've felt that I have been drawn to do this type of work. And, if you like something, you will excel at it. It's very rewarding to be a VNP Caregiver. You must have love in your heart; people matter ... I love working for VNP." --/an Hodgkins, tP Caever of the Year, 1995 vbmNGNU If you or a loved one needs the specialized home health care we can Wovide, please call Visiting Nurse Plus today. 4u-ou3 (=vvilh=) us.=717 0rinc=) way to go." He said each bishop speaks for his own diocese, but he said that the condemnation of groups that back euthanasia and abortion serves to empha- size the importance of the church upholding the sanctity of life. Bishop Hanifen, a canon lawyer, said Canon 1318 of the Code of Canon Law has strong restrictions against the use of automatic excommunication. Canon 1318 says, "A legisla- tor is not to threaten automatic penalties unless perhaps against certain particularly treacherous offenses which ei- ther can result inmore serious scandal or cannot be effectively punished by means of inflicted penalties; a legislator is not to establish censures, especially excommunication, except with the greatest moderation and only for more serious offenses." "I would never interpret Canon 1318 the way Bishop Bruskewitz did," Bishop Hani- fen said. He said his primary ap- proach to Catholics involved in such groups would be one of di- alogue. Women for Faith and Family said in a statement April 9, "The bishop of Lincoln acted in full accord with both Scripture and the tradition of the church." The organization, which says it represents 50,000 Catholic women, said a bishop's task of defending Catholic doctrine sometimes "entails unpopular criticism of organizations which explicitly contradict church teachings." "As Catholics and as women, we are grateful for the leader- ship and witness of such bish- ops who thus provide an exam- ple to all Christians of fearless commitment to the faith," it said. An editorial in The Pilot, Boston archdiocesan newspa- per, noted that Bishop Bruske- witz said he had not consulted with his fellow bishops, even in his own province, before issu- ing his legislation. "This failure to consult colle- gially on so serious a public issue opens Bishop Bruskewitz to a legitimate theological criti- cism," the paper said. "Catholic bishops are not a collection of individuals. They constitute a college of apostolic ministry which requires close collabora- tion with each other in union with the Holy Father for the sake of the church's unity. " But the editorial said that every religious body with an identity and mission at times must face the issue of exclud- ing members who persistently twist its teachings or flout its laws. "While Catholics will legiti- mately differ on the wisdom of Bishop Bruskewitz' promise of excommunication, let there be no doubt that 'Catholic' means something specific ..... It is not a collection of personal opinion but a family of religious convic- tions," it said. When Bishop Bruskewitz' ac- tion was announced March 22, an editorial in his diocesan newspaper said the move came UNITED SOUTHWEST BANK MEMBER OlD NATIONAL ICOI WASHINGTON-SHOALS-LOOGOOTEE "only after the bishop engaged in extensive consultation over many months with innumer- able inquiries and discussions." The bishop also told Catholic News Service he had consulted with his priests' council and had its support. The Arlington (Vs.) Catholic Herald commented that "Bishop Bruskewitz merely verbalized what many Catholics have been thinking for a long time: How can some- one who is clearly opposed to church teaching -- in the case of abortion, for example -- still call themselves Catholic?" "Hopefully," it added, "this will spur Catholics in Lincoln and elsewhere to seriously ex- amine their membership and support of certain groups." In a letter to Bishop Bruske- witz, Father Peter R. Scott of Regina Coeli House in Kansas City, Mo., district superior of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, recalled the unsuccess- ful effort in 1991 by now-re- tired Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario of Honolulu to excommunicate six traditionalist Catholics in Hawaii. Bishop Ferrario had cited the six laypersons for various pub- lic activities against him, in- cluding formation of a chapel where St. Pius X priests cele- brated illicit Masses and other services. At one point they "Where customers bgought in bishop of the ister coafirmatini mun] in 1993 bY the' gation for the Faith. ..... Father Bishop any exconimt against their lay Michael the in Lincoln. "I am "that if you exco members faithful w h not hesitate to clude them." He said the tire] of Catholic ,,consistently prot the Mass Novus of the MasS), : menism, giality and spirit of the s lg fc ,, , (Council) II. Ed. 101 North Washington' I1' send their..:  Open nightly hop & . . G00,o OLD US 231 SOUTH, JA 482-2222 1-800-937" AUTO TOPS. SEAT COVERS. 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