ARCC Life  

ARCC Board
President's Messages
Online News
ARCC News 2012 ARCC News 2013 ARCC News 2014 ARCC News 2015 ARCC News 2016 ARCC News 2017
25 January 2017 Changing the Conversation (170509) Celebrating More Than 50 Years (170509) Conscience-Based Moral Judgments (170509) Dignitaries Humanae (170509) False Views on Jesus' Views on Divorce (170509) Mission and Human Rights (170509) Jesus and the Ordination of Women (170516) 29 May 2017 How much of Church Doctrine do we really believe? (170602) Trump Pulls Out of Paris Agreement (170602) 05 June 2017 Thoughts on Religious Vocations: An Open Letter to Pope Francis (170605) I can't get the institutional church out of my system (170618) 25 June 2017 Just War? Enough Already (170703) What would Teilhard say? Evolve or be annihilated (170710) Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (170719) Religion's Wax Nose (170726) American Civil Religion (170731) A Heresy of the Times (170807) Cardinal Calls for Global Church (170818) The Price of Being a Prophet (170821) The Implosion of the Roman Catholic Church (170902) Reflection on Racism in America (170913) Who am I? Where am I going? (170918) One Priest's Hopes for the Mass Translation (170925) The Edge of the Inside (171002) Selective Christianity (171016) Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America (171016) Resisting Islamophobia Is The Catholic Thing To Do. (171023) It Started With a Letter to the Archbishop (171030) Why Do We Still Tolerate Mass Stipends? (171106) Their Cross to Bear: Catholic Women Told to Forgive (171113) Papal loyalists become dissidents (171120) Echoes of Theocracy (171127) Will Pope Francis Remove the 'Warning'? (171204) Gumbleton on Nuclear Deterrence (171211) The Scandal of the 2011 Missal (171218)
ARCC News 2018
Prophets of a Future Not Our Own (20180101) 2018: Time to Become Ultra-Human? (20180118) Time for a Bonfire of Their Vanities? (20180122) Until All Are Welcome My House, My Rules: 3 Women "Rejected" (20180208) Policing the Communion Line (20180205) A Time to Judge (20180212) Mary McAleese Being Banned is Embarrassing (20180219) Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication (20180226) Catholic Tradition, Labour, and Organizing Workers (20180305) Misogyny in the Vatican (20180312) The Unofficial Saint of the Internet (20180318) Francis Invites Change, But We Are the Change (20180325) Rediscovering the Role of Mary Magdalene as Apostle of the Apostles (20180401) Synodality and its Perils (20180409) Get rid of the clergy - But keep Holy Orders (20180415) Renewing the Program of Priestly Formation (20180429) Male and Female, in the image and likeness of God (20180506) Wedding Bans: Why Do Parishes Turn Young Couples Away? (20180513) Christian Humanism, the Path to the Divine (20180520) Mary - Prophet and Priest (20180527) A Wake-Up Call to Liberal Theologians (20160603) Canonization is right for Oscar Romero (20180610) Could the Church take a risk? (20180618) AJC expresses "Profound Concern" over beatification (20180624) The Bible's #MeToo Problem (20180701) 'Humanae Vitae' and the census fidelium (20180715) The Catholic Church wasn't always so against contraception (20180722) 50 years later, scientist's findings on birth control... (20180729) #MeToo, Your Excellency The Catholic Church needs a way to deal with bad bishops (20180812) The Catholic Church is tempted by power and obsessed with sex (20180819) Real change against abuse... (20180826) Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice (20180829) Catholics Are Facing a Very Real Emergency (20180902) Truth and its violent consequences (20180909) The Third Millennial Catholic Reformation (20180917) Reality in an Historical-Critical Perspective (20180923) Both Prudential & Indisputable (20180930) Catholic Crossroads and Catholic Conflict (20181007) Schism or Evolution? (20181015) Theology: Stones or Bread? (20181028) White Christian America (20181102) Stone Throwing. Or Not. (20181104) Young People, Hope for the Church(es) (20181112) Who Represents the Laity? (20181118) Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops: It's Over (20181125) From Collegiality to Synodality (20181203) The Birth of the Messiah (20181217) A Non-traditional Blessing for 2019 (20181231)
ARCC News 2019 Changing Power Relationships


Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication (20180226)

Correct, Don't Complicate Excommunication


Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action

Correct, don't complicate excommunication of Lincoln's Call to Action members
Zach Johnson

In 1996, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, then serving as the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, issued a blanket decree excommunicating all Call to Action members in his diocese.
The impact that this decision has had on CTA members in Lincoln has been profound. For over two decades, they have been barred from beloved lay ministry positions and denied the sacraments including: Communion, the sacrament of the sick, reconciliation, marriage, or even a Catholic burial. One rash political decision by a bishop has had lasting impact on their lives.
Over the last 22 years, members repeatedly tried to reach out to their bishop, but Bruskewitz remained unmoved. Two years ago, his successor, Bishop James Conley, finally agreed to meet with CTA members.
The bridge built by Conley and members of Call to Action's Nebraska Chapter is truly remarkable. For 16 months, they prayed, shared stories and discussed common values. They also spoke honestly about the ways those values had occasionally led them to different conclusions about issues such as LGBTQ equality or women's ordination.
In a time of unprecedented division and vitriol in both our church and nation, these meetings between Conley and CTA members serve as a visible sign of the potential for Christ's reconciliation and peace in our world.
Sadly, Conley's proposed solution fails to reflect the spirit of reconciliation and healing which was so present in those private meetings. He recently announced that individual members of Call to Action in the Lincoln diocese may have their excommunication rescinded if they attend a special event where they will recite the Nicene Creed and the Easter Vigil profession of faith with him. Otherwise, the blanket excommunication on Call to Action members would still stand.
This proposed solution only further complicates an already vague situation. The excommunication placed on CTA members in Lincoln has been canonically questionable from the beginning, and the grounds for their excommunication have never been made clear. It is true that CTA members were following their conscience by speaking out for women's rights, LGBTQ equality and lay empowerment. But to simply hold these beliefs is not an excommunicable offense. In fact, most U.S. Catholics disagree with their bishops on these issues. Why were CTA members excommunicated for holding the same beliefs as most faithful U.S. Catholics?
Conley's proposal also does nothing to clarify CTA members' relationship with the larger church. If CTA members were only excommunicated in the Diocese of Lincoln, what happens when they travel to a neighboring diocese for Mass? Does an Omaha member of Call to Action somehow become excommunicated as soon as they travel to the Lincoln Diocese only to regain their standing in the Catholic Church after returning home? CTA members in Lincoln had hoped that their communication with Conley would offer much needed clarity to this situation. By proposing a special ritual to lift individual excommunications - while keeping the blanket excommunication in place - Conley has only added more confusion to an already confusing situation.
One can't help but feel that Conley is trying to hold contradictory positions. He seems to quietly acknowledge that the excommunication is an unjust, unpastoral and ultimately embarrassing legacy handed to him by his predecessor. But the male leaders of the Catholic Church are not in the habit of acknowledging their mistakes. And so, an unjust decision is allowed to remain.
For 22 years, CTA members in Lincoln have lived lives in fidelity to a church that has not been faithful to them. They should be commended for their devotion to our Catholic faith, not asked to jump through hoops to further prove their loyalty. They deserve an apology from their diocese, and the gratitude and support of justice-seeking Catholics across the United States.
Call To Action members in Lincoln have suffered for far too long because of one bishop's mistake. Now is the time for that mistake to be corrected - not further complicated. Let's hope that Conley has the courage to do so. Only then will healing and reconciliation truly begin for the Diocese of Lincoln.

Zach Johnson is executive director of Call to Action



Quick Links... 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.