EDITORIAL
Contending for the Faith

November 1996By Dale Vree



As expected, our October editorial (“The Shot Heard ’Round the World”), which supported Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’s excommunication of Catholics in his diocese who belong to 12 specified anti-Church organizations, generated lots of letters. The vast majority of letters have been favorable, and some appear in this issue’s letters section.

One letter-writer, Manuel Perez in El Paso, Texas, congratulated us on the editorial, and asked how the U.S. bishops have reacted to Bruskewitz’s action. And so, we’d like to oblige Mr. Perez here.

Overall, the reaction has been varied. Some in the hierarchy, such as Bishop Myers of Peoria and Cardinal Law of Boston, have offered supportive comments. The primary target of Bruskewitz’s action is Call to Action (CTA), which favors the usual laundry list of trendy dissenting causes, and we are aware of four bishops who, not unlike Bruskewitz, have taken concrete actions against CTA in their dioceses (D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Curtiss of Omaha, Cronin of Hartford, and Keating of Arlington).

On the other hand, while many bishops have kept their opinions to themselves, others have taken a stance like that of Chicago’s now-deceased Cardinal Bernardin, who, a week after Bruskewitz’s action, responded to it by saying, “my approach has been” to pursue “dialogue” with CTA. Of course, the basic strategy of CTA, which is headquartered in Chicago, is to engage the hierarchy in dialogue. Moreover, less than five months after Bruskewitz’s action, Bernardin launched the Catholic Common Ground Project (discussed in our Nov. editorial, “Rome Under Siege”), and the point of that Project is, going by its original statement of purpose, to foster dialogue between Catholic teaching and dissent. Indeed, Bernardin stated that one reason he launched the Project when he did was because he was so troubled with Bruskewitz’s action. And to no one’s surprise, CTA announced its support of Bernardin’s Project.


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