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If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at and I have a Facebook page.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Vatican Upholds Excommunications

Needless to say, there are a few cities in which unprecedented friction is occuring amongst Catholics. For example, the situation in Lincoln, Nebraska is going to present a very interesting and tense test-case scenario. (As you know, over the weekend, the Vatican upheld the 1996 decision of Bishop Bruskewitz to excommunicate members of 'Call to Action' and members of several other reform groups in his diocese. The Vatican also indicated they will not consider another appeal.)

The latest news out of Denver is that things are at the breaking point. Complaints by priests, nuns, lay ministers and diocesan employees about conditions there suggest that their archbishop better stock up on headache medication. (He can expect to get a multitude of complaints from the faithful as their rights continue to be violated by the powers-that-be.)

Needless to say, the Boston Archdiocese is also experiencing deep divisions. (Some in the archdiocese have even indicated that things were better under the leadership of Cardinal Law than they are now. In fact, I received an e-mail this morning from an individual who indicated: "I will not allow myself to be warehoused into a parish of 5,000 people, just because my parish is closing.")

CORPUS ( continues to feel that we offer a solution to some of the problems facing the church, for we represent 20,000 married priests who are ready and willing to serve in parishes. (We also represent a multitude of women and married men who are called to ordination.) Yet, in many cities, diocesan priests are forbidden to associate with married priests (professionally or socially) and there is currently no dialogue at all between our organization and bishops (through no fault of our own). Therefore, certain bishops will continue to be challenged and criticized by our organization. My personal criticisms will be articulated in the context of my daily blogs and at

Up to this point, I have not publicly suggested that Roman Catholic bishops be excommunicated from the church. However, when bishops act contrary to the inclusiveness modeled by the early disciples of the church, they should consider stepping down. Yet, the reality is that their power-hungry desires will prevent them from doing this. (I would especially urge Bishop Bruskewitz in Lincoln, Nebraska and Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Missouri to consider leaving the Roman Catholic Church. At the very least, the Vatican should consider excommunicating these two individuals, for they are an embarrassment.)

To give you a sense of how bad things currently are in Lincoln, Nebraska, here is the latest from the Associated Press:

Saturday, March 5, 2005
Diocese Declares Blanket Excommunication Final

Associated Press Writer

Saturday, March 5, 2005

LINCOLN, Neb. -- An appeal of the threatened blanket excommunication of scores of Lincoln Catholics has been rejected by the Vatican, the Lincoln Diocese confirmed Friday.

But some canon law experts questioned whether such a blanket action was valid.

"It's against the whole spirit of Church law," said Monsignor Kenneth Lasch, a retired canon lawyer in Morristown, N.J.

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."

Lasch, who said he was not aware of a mass excommunication ever being done in the United States, said he was dubious of what he called Bruskewitz's "generic warning" of excommunication.

Lasch said that while Bruskewitz "has the authority to do what he did, the spirit of Church law has not been observed by him.

"It's only under the most extreme circumstances that such laws should be promulgated," he said. "Bishops ... should avoid using these extreme measures except in the most dire of circumstances. It has to be proven that membership" in one of the groups "is in fact resulting in great scandal to the faithful of the diocese.

"I really think it's a stretch to impose such a penalty," he said. "It borders on scare tactics."


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