"I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University."

bishop-fabian-bruskewitz

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, a personal hero of mine, sends a letter to Jenkins that is blunt and to the point regarding Obama Day at Notre Dame on May 17, 2009:

April 3, 2009

The Reverend John Jenkins, C.S.C
President, University of Notre Dame
400 Main Building
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Reverend and dear Father Jenkins,

Permit me to add my name as well to the long list of Bishops of the Catholic Church who are utterly appalled at your dedication to immorality and wrong-doing represented by your support for the obscenity called “The Vagina Monologues” and your absolute indifference to the murderous abortion program and beliefs of this President of the United States.

The fact that you have some sort of past connection with the State of Nebraska makes it all the more painful that the Catholic people here have to see your betrayal of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University.

I am,
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus,

The Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz
Bishop of Lincoln

56 Responses to "I can assure you of my prayers for your conversion, and for the conversion of your formerly Catholic University."

  • I think this type of rudeness is disappointing and counter-productive, particularly coming from a Bishop.

  • I think John Henry that we need a lot more blunt talk against people like Jenkins who make a complete mockery of the Catholic Church.

  • The world would be a better place if more bishops had the candor of Bp. Bruskewitz.

  • As I noted on my own blog, Deus caritas est, but God is also Truth.

    I fail to see any “rudeness” in His Excellency’s letter.

  • I think this type of rudeness is disappointing and counter-productive, particularly coming from a Bishop.

    Pardon my rudeness, but stuff it. While you might think moderate tempered mealy-mouthed reactions are what’s going to suddenly make people see the light, the rest of us applaud the fact that some Bishops have suddenly found their voice and are willing to call out those who aid and abet the culture of death.

    I’m frankly more disgusted by people who wag their fingers at those who raise their voices above a whisper.

  • The problem with the letter is

    1) Notre Dame has not lost its Catholic status, so the letter itself is mirepresenting the status of the university. If it had lost its status, this would be a proper letter to make. When it has not, then it only hurts the point the Bishop makes. It is always important to be honest and not misrepresent the situation by exaggeration.

    2) It’s also dishonest in saying President Jenkins is indifferent to abortion or the beliefs President Obama has on abortion. It’s over-the top.

    3) Should we use this line of reasoning, as exemplified in the letter, it would turn on upon the Catholic Church and end up calling the Church not Catholic for its historical mistakes and indifference to many crimes against humanity which it turned a blind eye to when regimes did them (such as the Spanish Inquisition). It’s really absurd, and poor ecclesiology.

  • Sorry to draw your ire, Paul(s). As I’ve said before, I am glad that bishops are addressing the issue, particularly Bishop D’Arcy and Cardinal George. The question is how to address it, and perhaps by temperament or whatever I prefer a lighter touch than the episcopal version of ‘I can only pray for you, you miserable quisling.’ I don’t like that style in com-boxes, and I’m not a fan in public discourse.

    Furthermore, I think he overstates his case; I don’t think accusing Fr. Jenkins of ‘absolute indifference’ is entirely fair, although I do think Fr. Jenkins has shown he does not place a high enough priority on the protection of unborn life. And Notre Dame is not a ‘formerly Catholic University,’ as much as it is one that is struggling with what it means to be Catholic. I’m not sure such harsh dismissals aid it in that endeavor. At a general level, I’d say there are different models for engagement; the prophetic is a legitimate model, but it’s not the only model, and I’m not sure it’s the best one here.

  • I agree that any indifference charge is unfair. But what is really “over the top” is conferring an honorary law degree on the legislator who led the effort to stop Illinois’ protective born alive legislation.

  • The bishop’s letter is unfortunate, both in its unbecoming tone and its untruth. Any productive point he could have made is lost in gross exaggeration and seemingly foul temper.

    What puropose can it now possibly serve, other than a personal, narcissistic one? Is this what prophetic witness entails or constists of? I too think not.

  • To preface my comment, I think his book “A Shepherd Speaks” is one of the best books out there. In many ways I think he has been a model of a bishop, providing clear leadership in exhortation and practice. If I’m not mistaken, he has been responsible for setting homes for unwed mothers and has done good things with the education system. I think this letter though is a pretty clear example of why he hasn’t been moved beyond Lincoln despite his many gifts.

  • When conservatives speak, people always worry so much more about how a thing is said than about what is said.

    But let liberals riot, and we’re asked to “understand.”

    It gets old.

    I disagree that the letter is over the top. Notre Dame has set itself at odds with Church teaching, and Fr. Jenkins has refused the correction offered him by scores of bishops, and the superior of his own order.

    If I had 30+ bishops telling me publicly that I was wrong about something, I would surely be moving to correct my error, not releasing statements to justify it.

  • That is why you have recanted your support of the Iraq War, ended your crusade against illegal immigration, and myriad of other things I take it.

  • Fr. Jenkins is a grown man and the President (or whatever, not sure of exact title) of a major university. I seriously doubt he is stupid. Which leaves the impression that he is indifferent to O’s views or at least does not feel strongly enough against them to withhold the honoray degree and opportunity to speak.

    Overly nuanced approaches are what have gotten us to this point in the first placed.

  • Unbelievably rude, condescending, and untrue.

    Where did you find the text of the letter, out of curiosity? It’s, in fact, so rude my immediate reaction is to suspect that Bill Donahue (or Donald McClarey!) wrote it!

  • And we all know how scrupulously Michael avoids any trace of rudeness and condescension in his own comments.

  • Michael,

    You’re so shocked by what you consider rudeness that you immediately accuse two people, by name, of forgery?

    What tender sensibilities you do have…

  • That is why you have recanted your support of the Iraq War, ended your crusade against illegal immigration

    Yes, because all those things are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Oh wait, no. That’s only what you told yourself to convince yourself that voting for Obama was a-ok. Whatever. Some people on this thread have clear consciences. Others, well, less so.

  • Unbelievably rude, condescending, and untrue.

    Wow, like every comment that michael has ever made. Bishop Bruskewitz must be a personal hero of yours.

  • Paul,

    The standard the other Paul gave was, “If I had 30+ bishops telling me publicly that I was wrong about something, I would surely be moving to correct my error, not releasing statements to justify it.”

  • And we all know how scrupulously Michael avoids any trace of rudeness and condescension in his own comments.

    I can be rude, and yes, condescending. But I don’t lie.

    Wow, like every comment that michael has ever made.

    Show me a comment in which I have lied.

    You’re so shocked by what you consider rudeness that you immediately accuse two people, by name, of forgery?

    T’was a joke!

  • No Catholics are ever neutral about Bishop Bruskewitz. One of the reasons he is a hero of mine is that he does not speak in ecclesi-speak, which tends to be rambling, vapid and full of weasel words. Bruskewitz always tells the truth as he sees it with the bark on. I concede that it is much easier to find this quality endearing when you agree with the substance of what is being said.

  • Bruskewitz always tells the truth as he sees it with the bark on.

    Sounds like Rush Limbaugh with a mitre.

  • Show me a comment in which I have lied.

    As I am sure you are clever enough to know, this is something of a tricky thing. To show that you have lied I would have to show that you said something untrue, knew it was untrue, and intended by saying it to decieve people.

    So for instance, while I recall you on various occasions of having said that I don’t care about the poor, don’t care about people after they are born, worship war rather than God, etc., it would be hard to make the case that you didn’t believe these to be true at least in whatever rhetorical sense in which you meant them.

    However, in this same sense, it is doubtless the case that Bruskewitz is saying that Notre Dame is “formerly Catholic” and that Jenkins does not give sufficient priority to abortion in a sense which is true in regards to what he believes to be the case. He is not, for instance, trying to decieve people into thinking that Notre Dame is not accredited as a Catholic university. (That would be lying.) He is stating, we must presume accurately, that Notre Dame’s actions represent an abandonment of its Catholicity and a lack of interest in the unborn.

    So basically, if you don’t lie in your comments, then Bruskewitz is not lying, and if he is lying, then you often do.

  • The bishop did not say Jenkins “does not give sufficient priority to abortion.” He said “absolute indifference.” He’s out to deceive.

  • Rush Limbaugh? No, actually he reminds me more of the gentleman who wrote this :

    “I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another, only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. 9 As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

  • “As I am sure you are clever enough to know, this is something of a tricky thing. To show that you have lied, I would have to show that you said something untrue, knew it was untrue, and intended by saying it to deceive people.”

    Quite right –

    This is something that even the great St. Thomas More himself had spoken quite eloquently in its regard during his unjust inquisition at Westminster, noting Aquinas own thoughts on the matter — in particular, the interoribus mortibus which no man is able to judge.

  • Also, when a Bishop says “X is not Catholic,” that has implications which are different from when you or I say it. Since a Bishop is the ultimate authority within their own jurisdiction, if they said that about an institution within their own jurisdiction, I would say it would have an effect, just like an excommunication or an anthema has had. Obviously there would be canonical issues, and could sometimes work to show a Bishop over-stepped their authority in doing so, but that would be decided under review, and their Bishop’s stand would have relative authority. However, when they try to say X is not Catholic to an institution not in their own jurisdiction, they are undermining the authority of another Bishop, and indeed, causing ecclesial scandal. This is, for example, caused great division throughout the ages when a Bishop acts beyond their proper authority (look, for example, to the ordination of Origen as an early example of where such mistakes can lead).

  • Donald – I see no resemblance whatsoever. One involves a pastor being firm with his congregation, but speaking the truth. The other involves a relatively obscure bishop taking advantage of a shallow, buzzing news story in order to gain attention, attempting to out-do his fellow bishops in rudeness.

  • Let’s see:

    Fr. Jenkins certainly hasn’t claimed the high ground here. He’s shown no qualms whatsoever about honoring and giving a free political podium to a man whose actions and words demonstrate a commitment to increasing the death rate of unborn (and even recently-born, the horror of it) life.

    Moreover, he employs reasoning in defense of his actions that can’t be dignified with the term “casuistry” and refuses to engage the opponents of his actions in dialogue after promising to do so.

    In other words, where exactly is the evidence that he does care about abortion? As in concrete actions, and not the usual attempts at verbal disinfectant and empty reassuring noises. If someone can point to a pro-life initiative by Fr. Jenkins as President of ND (or even before), then the Bishop’s accusation will be unjust, and the Ordinary of Lincoln should be presented with this evidence.

    If not, well, President Jenkins got himself into this mess, and he shouldn’t have expected plaudits.

  • Mr. Lafrate writes:

    “The other involves a relatively obscure bishop”.

    A relatively obscure bishop? Where have you been for the last two decades?

    That Fr. Jenkins had some sort of connection with the diocese of Lincoln surely gives Bishop Bruskewitz “standing”, as the lawyers call it to reprimand him.

  • A relatively obscure bishop? Where have you been for the last two decades?

    Well, I have not been intimately involved in the irrelevant circles of the Catholic Right, nor have paid much attention to whoever their episcopal heroes might be. Has Bruskewitz been a newsworthy figure in some way? I’ve not heard of him.

  • Mikey Mikey. So cute when you’re mad. Bishop B has been bad bold and boisterous for well unto a generation. Cries aloud and spares not. His comments about Father Jenkins were bang on the money. Funny how you get SOOOOO jumpy and personal on this that or other thing. Might wanna check your own self. Meanwhile Bravo Bishop B and keep on laying down smack.

  • Mad? Jumpy? Personal? If you say so. Merely pointing out the obvious. Other than than, I’m chillin’ like Bob Dylan.

  • Should read “other than that.”

  • A google search would quickly disabuse anyone that Bishop Bruskewitz has been obscure. Controversial? Yes. Ordaining more priests per capita in many years than any other bishop in the country? Yes. Contentious? Frequently? Obscure? Anything but!

  • I bet most Catholics in the United States don’t know who he is, Donald. Just because he is popular within a certain internet crowd doesn’t make him non-obscure. People might know what their local ordinary is doing, but beyond that? Not necessarily.

  • The diocese of Lincoln is ranked 131st in the nation by Catholic population, having 89,000. ( http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/country/scus1.html ) The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.

  • Iafrate is obscure. Bruskewitz not so.

  • The American Catholic is obscure, as is Koss Nova. The diocese of Lincoln is obscure if you are a protestant living in canada.

  • “The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.”

    Wasn’t Jerusalem likewise an obscure and insignificant province of the Roman Empire?

    Yet, somehow this obscure backwater ended up being historically monumental.

    Go figure.

  • Koss Nova

    Eh!!! Did you come up with that one on your own? Wow! I’m so impressed!!!

  • MZ,
    As a matter of fact, I did, several months ago. But its formation was undeservedly obscure.

  • The diocese of Lincoln is ranked 131st in the nation by Catholic population, having 89,000. The See has no historical importance and is one of the least important in the country.

    I’m not really clear where all this argument about whether Lincoln is an “obscure” see is supposed to go — other than that some obviously agree with Bruskewitz’s opinions in re Notre Dame and others don’t.

    The diocese itself is, as MZ points out, rather small. However it is known for having consistently high numbers of vocations, and I’ve heard about Bruskewitz off and on in national Catholic publications like OSV for a good fifteen years. I imagine that if one did a citation count of National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, OSV, Commonweal, This Rock and America one would find significantly more mentions of Bruskewitz over the last 15 years than of anything going on in my own see of Austin, even though we have far more Catholics.

    So aside from not seeing the relevance of the “obscure” accusation, I don’t really see that it’s true either.

  • I doubt Mr. Karlson if most Catholics know the name of their local bishop, just as most Americans do not know the name of their representative in Congress. This fact does not necessarily make either the bishop or the representative obscure. Compared to the other bishops in this country Bishop Bruskewitz is not obscure as the length of this thread both condemning and supporting his letter indicates. That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.

  • A google search would quickly disabuse anyone that Bishop Bruskewitz has been obscure.

    I see. Because obscure persons and things tend not to show up on Google searches, right?

    Wasn’t Jerusalem likewise an obscure and insignificant province of the Roman Empire?

    Well, M.Z. and “e.”, I didn’t say anything about the man’s diocese being “obscure.” Most people have heard of Lincoln, Nebraska after all. But this bishop seems to be an angry, obscure one who is just looking for the latest “newsworthy” item to be outraged about so he can appear prophetic. I mean please; sending a priest that he doesn’t know a letter saying that he will pray for his conversion is pretty low. Who does he think he is? A combox participant at Vox Nova?

  • “That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.”

    I hate to break it to you, but that in itself doesn’t prove or pull the good bishop out of obscurity just because certain Vox Novan visitors happen to know him; unless, of course, such persons are representative of the entire Catholic population of the United States.

    (The fact that this isn’t actually the case is, quite frankly, a relief.)

  • That we have so many visitors in this thread from Vox Nova indicates quite clearly that you and your colleagues are well aware of who Bishop Bruskewitz is.

    Why? We simply saw the latest hateful letter by a u.s. bishop and wanted to comment. Doesn’t mean we have a clue who this guy is.

  • e., the fact that they are also the same individuals contending that he is obscure rather disproves their point by the vehemence with which they are arguing about the letter from an “obscure” bishop. Bishop Bruskewitz is well known by those who follow the actions of the bishops in this country, and the Vox Novniks are in that category.

  • Catholic Anarchist, disingenuousness does not become you. A google search of Iafrate and Bruskewitz reveals that you are quite familiar with Bishop Bruskewitz.

  • Mr. McClarey,

    “e., the fact that they are also the same individuals contending he is obscure rather disproves their point by the vehemence with which they are arguing about the letter from an ‘obscure’ bishop.”

    Well, that wouldn’t actually be the first time that certain Vox Novans happened to engage in arguments that were, in fact, self-refuting! ;^)

    Yet, to be fair though, although the Catholic crowds that roam around various Catholic foras may actually know of the good bishop doesn’t really give any actual indication that American Catholics in general would happen to know of him.

    (About your last comment though about Catholic Anarchist, are you really surprised?)

  • Donald,

    I have known of him for quite some time, but I am also not your average Catholic in what I know or do not know. If I judged how obscure something or someone was based upon what I know, I would say the debates about who and what the icchantikas are must not be obscure to anyone.

  • e., when we say that a bishop is obscure the only proper comparison is whether he is obscure in regard to other bishops. For example, I doubt if the general public knows who General “Pap” Thomas was, a Union general from the Civil War. However, no one who has a working knowledge of the Civil War would ever call the “Rock of Chickamauga” an obscure Union general. To people who pay attention to events pertaining to the Church in America, Fabian Bruskewitz is not obscure.

  • Fair point and duly noted.

  • A google search of Iafrate and Bruskewitz reveals that you are quite familiar with Bishop Bruskewitz.

    Haha. Good one. I can’t find it, though, so you must be lying, right?

    Or wait. is he my long lost uncle or something?

    Interesting, too, that you always fall back on war comparisons. Always.

  • The Cure d’Ars and his parish was quite obscure. As was Lourdes. Likewise Lisieux.

    What is amusing – because pointless – is a discussion about whether Bishop Bruskewitz and the Diocese of Lincoln are obscure, rather than the matter of his letter.

    Just as an oddity, Fr. Jenkins was born in Omaha. That is a city in Nebraska, just like Lincoln. Lincoln and Omaha are a but a few miles distant. Thus Bishop Bruskewitz was correct in referring to Fr. Jenkins’ Nebraskan roots.

  • “Obscurity” is relative. A person may be very well known in a particular field of endeavor (art, sports, law, finance, technology, etc.) but not be well known to people outside of those circles.

    Bishop Bruskewitz may be “obscure” to the average Catholic whose only exposure to Church teaching comes from a 10-minute weekly sermon and who does not carefully follow news or trends within the Church. He doesn’t get a lot of mention in the secular media. He is, however, definitely NOT obscure to other bishops, Catholic journalists, and others who regard him as a champion of orthodoxy/conservatism/traditionalism (whatever term you prefer to use). In those circles he is very well known.

Follow TAC by Clicking on the Buttons Below
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .