The Vatican has upheld Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz's decision 10 years ago that membership in Call to Action, a Catholic group founded in 1976 to examine and change certain church doctrines, "is totally incompatible with the Catholic faith" and results in automatic excommunication.
The Nov. 24 letter to the Lincoln bishop, made public today by Catholic Online, from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, to Bishop Bruskewitz said that his 1996 ruling "was properly taken within your competence as pastor of that diocese."
Cardinal Re was one of the electors of the new pope last year, and was himself considered for the position.
Bruskewitz's original ruling said that membership in the group Call to Action, or in 10 other unacceptable groups, would result in automatic excommunication. The other groups include Masons and organizations related to Freemasonry, such as Job's Daughters and Rainbow Girls, groups for young female relatives of Masons, and the Order of the Eastern Star, an organization for Masons and their adult female relatives.
"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."
The bishop said he hopes people affected by his ruling will remedy their situations without delay.
"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." [Emphasis mine (W.S.)]
Image: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops
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