You got to love Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska. When you talk about how bishops should be strong leaders who know what is right and do it without pulling any punches, he’s the one who comes to mind. The National Review Board released its annual report this week and faulted the Lincoln diocese for failing to cooperate with them. Bruskewitz issued a press release telling them what he thinks of their demands:
Some woman named Patricia O’Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called “A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People”, has said that her Board “calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln.” The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.
Of course, he’s right. A bishop is sovereign in his own diocese and answers only to the Pope. The National Review Board has no standing within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and has no authority over him. Certainly it can function as advisors to the USCCBureaucracy, which created it, but they can’t make him do anything. And if he hasn’t broke any canon laws, then there’s nothing for them to say.
I’d like to see a canon lawyer weigh in with his take on the bishop’s statement. Is it true that the nothing in the norms of the Charter for the Protection of Youth and Children approved by the Vatican compel action from a bishop? In any case, make sure to read the whole thing.