Letter-Writing Campaign to Protest Bishop Bruskewitz's Actions

By Tom Carney
National Catholic Reporter
December 14, 2006

Nicole Sotelo, codirector of national Call to Action, said her organization intends to mount a letter-writing campaign to Lincoln, Neb., Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, with copies to Bishop William Skylstad, bishop of Spokane, Wash., and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Vatican has upheld the 1996 excommunication of Call to Action Nebraska by Bruskewitz.(See related story.)

Sotelo said the letters will protest Bruskewitz's refusal to comply with the bishops' conference policies on child abuse by clergy, she said. Asked about the timing of the campaign, just after an announcement that the Vatican has upheld the excommunication of the Lincoln chapter of Call to Action, she said it would counter Bruskewitz's "attempts to silence" the organization.

"Justice cannot be silenced," she said.

Bruskewitz has declined to comply with the toughened sex abuse policy approved overwhelmingly by the U.S. bishops in 2002. Among other reasons, the bishop has said he fears the policy will unfairly slander priests wrongly accused of abuse.

According to Call to Action USA's Web site (, the organization grew out of a 1971 "call to action" to the laity by Pope Paul VI and the U.S. Bishops Call to Action Conference in Detroit in 1976. Two years later, about 400 people under the banner Call to Action met in Chicago to protest the late Cardinal John Cody's autocratic style and demand financial accountability in the archdiocese. In 1990, Call to Action's document, "A Call for Reform," was signed by 25,000 Catholics, the number now given for the group's membership.

The 1996 excommunication of the Lincoln chapter has stimulated the organization's growth, according to the Web site.


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