Sex Abuse Scandal

Bishop Bruskewitz's supporters upstage Call to Action critics


More than 100 Lincoln Catholics gathered on less than an hour’s notice outside the Cathedral of the Risen Christ June 1 to show support for their bishop.

The supporters of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz gathered in response to the actions of the nine members of Call to Action. The Call to Action contingent came to Lincoln to call attention to Bruskewitz’s refusal to participate in the U.S. bishops’ annual sex abuse audit, reported the Lincoln Journal Star.

Call to Action had petitions, signed by more than 1,000 people nationwide, asking Bishop Bruskewitz to comply with the annual study of whether local dioceses are in compliance with the Church rules to prevent and respond to sex abuse.

Bishop Bruskewitz has been identified as the only bishop who has declined to participate in the audits.

Rachel Pokora, president of Call to Action-Nebraska, reportedly said Bishop Bruskewitz has drawn criticism from some for his excommunication of those who belong to the group Call to Action. She believes that her group represents the majority of Catholics nationwide who want bishops to fully comply with the annual sex abuse study. 

The bishop has said his diocese is in full compliance with all civil and Church laws regarding abuse of minors. He also pointed out that the audit is not mandatory. In discussions about his refusal other U.S. bishops have upheld his right to opt out.

Nevertheless, the non-participation raises questions and does not guarantee that children of the Lincoln diocese are protected, said Call to Action members.

The Call to Action members had planned to deliver their petition to the bishop’s office, but several police officers prevented them from crossing onto church property. Call to Action members said they would deliver them by mail or courier, reported the Lincoln Journal Star.

Doug Vandervort, who headed up the supporters’ petition campaign, noted that the 1,400 signatures came from people in Lincoln and several other states and were collected in 31 hours, whereas the Call to Action collection was done over several months.

Supporters of the bishops say they believe the diocese’s safeguards against abuse are working. They gathered outside the chancery with their petition, and the bishop came out to accept it.

He reportedly called his supporters kind and asked them to pray that Call to Action members return to the true faith. The bishop considers Call to Action anti-Catholic.

Asked about a case this week in which a student at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary (not the diocesan seminary) was arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography, a bishop’s supporter reportedly said the fact he was identified and apprehended shows diocesan policies and procedures are effective.

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