The following story appeared September 14 on LifeSiteNews.com.
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed a strong pro-life bishop to succeed Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who is considered by many as a hero in defense of Catholic orthodoxy and tradition amidst the upheavals in the Church in recent decades.
Bishop James Conley, auxiliary bishop of Denver since 2008, told a press conference in Lincoln today that he has admired the Lincoln diocese under Bruskewitz and has no intention of altering course. “I have held the diocese of Lincoln in high esteem, it is rich with vocation, Catholic education and family life. I am not going to mess around with that,” he said, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I plan to continue to build that up and encourage it.”
A convert from Presbyterianism who was ordained a priest for the diocese of Wichita in 1985, Conley is known as a defender of the Church’s teachings on life and family and a proponent of traditional liturgy.
At the press conference, he called Bishop Bruskewitz a “true champion of the Catholic faith” and a “personal hero of mine for many years.”
Bruskewitz, who retires after 20 years in Lincoln, made national headlines in 1996 when he announced the excommunication of all Catholics who maintain membership in Planned Parenthood, as well as Masonic groups, the dissident Catholic group Call to Action, and the Society of St. Pius X.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews last year, the prelate insisted that Catholic politicians who support Planned Parenthood, in addition to those who support abortion, should be denied Communion in accord with Canon 915.
“In this diocese, the priests and everyone who distributes Holy Communion would be instructed not to give Holy Communion to such people,” he explained. Advocates for abortion or euthanasia are “placing themselves in a position where they are not to receive Holy Communion because they’ve defected from the Church’s faith,” he added.
In the same interview he insisted that the current cultural climate demands priests speak boldly about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, and not use concerns about “prudence” as an excuse to avoid the topic. “Caution and prudence are important, but I don’t think they should be excuses for not properly speaking when speaking is necessary or extremely important pastorally,” he said.
He was one of around a dozen bishops who had dropped funding for the controversial Catholic Campaign for Human Development because of its sponsorships of groups that advocate activities contrary to Church teaching.
He has also been a notable opponent of “brain death” as a criterion for organ donation.
On the sex abuse crisis, Bishop Bruskewitz has been a leading advocate of top-to-bottom reform. At the U.S. Bishops’ famous Dallas meeting in 2002 where they adopted the “Dallas Charter”, he stood as a lone voice in opposition because the only people it did not hold accountable were the bishops themselves.
As a result, he refused to comply with annual audits of compliance with the bishops’ guidelines on sex-abuse programs, noting that many members of the board responsible for them were opponents of fundamental Church teachings on issues such as abortion and human cloning.
His refusal resulted in a call from the U.S. bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection that the other bishops issue a “strong fraternal correction” against him. This despite the fact that his diocese had one of the lowest rates of sex abuse by clergy in the nation, and other bishops were known to have protected abusive priests and paid off plaintiffs with exorbitant settlements rather than face trial.
In a 2002 interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, Bruskewitz attributed the abuse crisis in the Church to “dissent” on sexual morality.
Bishop Bruskewitz has also been revered by many as a strong advocate for a devout celebration of the liturgy, including the promotion of the Traditional Latin Mass, known also since 2007 as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Notably, thanks to the prelate, the Diocese of Lincoln is home to the American seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, an order of priests dedicated to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form.
Under his leadership, Lincoln has remained the only diocese in America to reserve altar service to boys. It has also consistently had the highest number of seminarians per Catholics in the country. According to the diocesan website, they have 44 seminarians for 96,625 Catholics. For comparison, the Archdiocese of Boston – with about 1.8 million Catholics – listed 68 seminarians for the 2011-2012 year.
Bishop Conley, who served for a short time as Apostolic Administrator in Denver, worked in the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops before being appointed as auxiliary bishop of Denver under Archbishop Charles Chaput in 2008.
In 2011, he warned Catholics that the Girl Scouts could make girls more receptive to the pro-abortion agenda because of their relationship with Planned Parenthood and their overall approach to sexuality.
In March of this year, while serving as Apostolic Administrator, he got Denver’s Theology on Tap booted from a local bar because of his strong denunciation of “atheocracy” and attacks on religious freedom in America.
For original story, click here.
Do you remember when you went to great lengths to post that there was no evidence of the Girl Scouts being connected to Planned Parenthood?
That was very troublesome. What are your thoughts now after reading Bishop Conley’s warning to Catholics about the Girl Scouts.
I looked it up. I did not say that. You accused me of it on that article and I corrected you. It was back when you were posting under the name “The Truth Hurts.” I read the article linked here to Bishop Conley’s statements and my thoughts are that it is fine-although the article does mention the UN thing which was explained as belonging to the group that used the room before they did. Once again, Catherine, if I had a girl she would not be in Girl Scouts because of this connection. I don’t buy their cookies, either.
It’s rather sad how some view Fabian Bruskewitz as a demigod. He did a good job as the bishop of a very small and fairly homogeneous diocese. Never did he have the responsibility or challenges that have faced and face metropolitans of large archdioceses. In all sincerity I suspect the Holy See knew that leading a small diocese was the limit for Bp. Bruskewitz’s abilities.
I wish Bp. Conley godspeed in his new appointment.
Size matters? I don’t think so. A good bishop can handle any size diocese, and when we consider how many good vocations have come from Lincoln, it would be a stretch to say that they have a “few good men”.
That’s laughable. There is a reason that Bp. Bruskewitz remained as a bishop of a very small diocese. To suggest he would have been successful in Los Angeles or Chicago or even San Francisco is ludicrous.
What’s success? He could institute the same policies. He doesn;t seem like the type who would care how controversial they were. He was controversial in Nebraska.
Rodda: you clearly don’t know or understand the man or the priests and now Bishops that have emerged from his diocese. They are strengthening the Church throuhgout this country! Some might be coming to diocese near you!
Rodda writes…It’s rather “SAD” how some view Fabian Bruskewitz as a demigod.”
Well Rodda, you certainly gave yourself away. That is quite a talon’s grip of envy that has you spewing such hatred.
Please read what Father John Hardon SJ wrote on the subject of ENVY.
“The most serious sin of envy is *SADNESS* that the supernatural gifts or graces that another person has received from God, in other words, the most grievous sin of envy is the envy of sanctity.”
Rodda, Get ahold of yourself! Your SADNESS is showing!
All sadness is not envy.
Rodda, what an ignorant or meanspirited comment about Bishop Bruskewitz. He is truly one of the best of the few!
Rodda repent and pray…..as we all need to do as well.
Rodda: hang in there. You are one of the VERY FEW voices of reason and sanity on this website.
I’m not sure what you are requested to repent about, but if it’s using critical thinking and the brains that God gave you, don’t worry: you don’t need to.
Rodda does need to reply if at least she even knows the man!
“Hang in there!” says Jim McCrea. Well stated Jim! Give an apostate enough rope and that’s exactly what happens.
Jim wow now I know the condition of your will.
False and defective reasoning attempt by Rodda, per usual: Her phony argument that large dioceses make it impossible for bishops to carry on the Catholic torch is disgusting. How can someone actually believe such stupidity?
I’m so sorry to hear that Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is retiring. He was a true shepherd for the Lord leading his flock in truth and righteousness. Regardless if you are coservative or liberal, when you look as accomplishments, you can see he has done a wonderful job. As Our Lord said, “A bad tree does not produce good fruit.” I am a big fan of Bishop Bruskewitz. He is a true Catholic Hero. May God continue to bless him and the diocese of Lincoln.
Lovely post, Hugh. It’s great that we’re able to share our views with one another and offer support against the tyranny of heterodoxy and heresy. Apparently one can’t reason with those that see the Church as a big, ever changing belief system that can be suited to every age and taste. Truth that only comes from the Holy Spirit is eternal and never changes. Bishop Bruskewitz understands this. Unfortunately, too many cardinals and bishops think that it’s their call, not God’s.
Bishop Bruskewitz is a great bishop in today’s Church. Of course, a mere few decades ago, almost all bishops were like him, but now, most American bishops are only shadow Catholics, if that. Too bad Bishop Bruskewitz’s resignation was accepted, or that he was not elevated to something at the Vatican, like Cardinal Burke. We shall see how Bishop Conley works out; he greatly deserves our prayers. And, Bishop Bruskewitz deserves our thanks, and hopes for a good number of productive years of service left to the Church.
The new evangelization will come from reforming the seminaries. Without it, all this talk of ‘new evangelization’ is just that, talk
Reading the Gospel, it Christ clearly says He came to cure the sick not the healthy. Doesn’t a man like this need to be in a large diocese with lackluster mass attendance, heretic clergy and very limited vocations?
You can’t make a good omelet without smashing some eggs.
Catholic Joe, not to quibble, but I loathe that expression, since that was used by Lenin in referring to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of Russians, Ukranians, Poles, etc. Perhaps a better expression would be ‘the world will hate you because it first hated me’. Anyone that is true to Jesus is going to have enemies and encounter mean-spirited and vicious attacks, as some of the posts on this website will attest___such as accusing those who admire Bishop Bruskewitz of demagoguery. Oh, brother! Now that was a stretch. Also, I originally thought rodda was a female, as the name reminded me of Rhoda, but on furthering the acquaitance, I’m sensing someone using a last name, perhaps, or an amalgamation of names or initials, such as__ RudeOrDeliberatelyDissingAnyonephobe ? Usually I love a puzzle, but this time not so much.
Catholic Joe, then Archbishop Burke had a difficult time in St. Louis. The media set itself against him and the Catholics followed the media. All I could do was watch and pray and realized that God was preparing him for something bigger.
Let us rejoice in the light of living Catholicism wherever we see it, in gatherings large and small, in people great or humble, in the hand of God clearly at work in man and in nature.
I personally know Bishop Bruskewitz.
I really got to know him at the Bishop’s conference in Lost Angels (Los Angeles). He is a very warm and kind person, but when he needs to be, he can be like a Lion!
Guess who Bishop Bruskewitz was with when I met him in Los Angeles. If you guessed then Archbishop now Cardinal Burke, go to the head of the class.
I hope and pray that the new Bishop Conley truly carries on his legacy, especially his enforcement of Canon 915!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
I hope they appoint FSSP priests to be Bishops
Me too, only the good ones of course…
Yes, they would make great bishops, and God bless and help Bishop Conley in his new diocese.