Sunday, March 06, 2005

Vatican has turned down excommunication appeal

The nine-year-old decision of Lincoln Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz to excommunicate members of Call to Action and other groups has withstood an appeal, the Diocese of Lincoln announced Friday.

The diocese said that the Vatican rejected the appeal "some time ago." Call to Action Nebraska filed the appeal in protest of the blanket excommunication, but the group never heard back from Rome.

The Rev. Mark Huber, a spokesman for the diocese, said the appeal was rejected because it challenged a church law - specifically, legislation from the 1996 Synod of the Diocese of Lincoln - that 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."

Patty Hawk, the national and state president of Call to Action, a group pushing for change in the Catholic Church, said no one has ever told her organization that the appeal was rejected.

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