The Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz Prayer Club

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bp. Bruskewitz translates the Compendium

Bishop Bruskewitz Honored for Work on Compendium

LINCOLN (SNR) - On the wall outside the office of Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz is a framed portrait and letter from Pope Benedict XVI, in which the Holy Father confers his Apostolic Blessing and personal thanks to the bishop for his contributions to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Compendium is an easy-to-read summary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope John Paul II commissioned in February 2003. Describing the “urgent need to have a brief Catechism for the faithful,” he asked Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, to serve as president of the commission that would create the Compendium.

Originally written in Italian, the Compendium was completed right at the time Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005. He presented the 200-page work to the Church in June 2005.

“It is not a new catechism, but a compendium which faithfully reflects the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” the Holy Father said as he introduced the volume during a prayer service in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall. Indeed, the Compendium follows the structure of the Catechism very closely.

Pope Benedict XVI also said that the work is “destined for the whole church.” With that goal in mind, he had already asked several bishops to provide translations of the Compendium into other languages some time earlier.

Then-Archbishop William J. Levada of San Francisco and Bishop Bruskewitz had been asked to collaborate on a translation for all English-speaking countries of the world.

Archbishop Levada had completed roughly a fourth of the translation work before he was named Prefect of the Doctrine of Faith in May 2005. Bishop Bruskewitz was thereafter responsible for the bulk of the work.

“With the permission of the Holy See,” the bishop said, “I was able to use several religious sisters and priests to polish and edit the work I did.”

The task involved taking the Italian text and translating it into conversational English, staying within the original conversational question-and-answer format. For that aspect of the work, the bishop’s 18 years of living in Italy was useful.

It took several months to complete the translation. “What was somewhat challenging,” Bishop Bruskewitz explained, “was the direction of the Holy See that the vocabulary be as close to Catechism as possible.”

After a round of editing and polishing with his team, Bishop Bruskewitz sent the translation to the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. Another round of refinements were made by the Holy See before the English version was made available for publication by bishops’ conferences.

It was published in both hardcover and paperback by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and made available for sale last March. Since then, the Compendium has been selling briskly. The first paperback edition was all but sold out just days after its release, according to the USCCB’s Office of Media Relations. Additional editions have kept stores supplied with copies.

Bishop Bruskewitz anticipated that the Compendium will “stimulate interest in picking up the entire Catechism. It’s very user-friendly, more convenient to use and covers all the bases quite adequately.”

Acknowledging that the Catechism is “a formidable document,” the bishop stressed that catechists and others who will use the Compendium will also want to use the Catechism as they instruct others about the Catholic faith.

“The Compendium summarizes the Catechism and basic points, but does not have the completeness or thoroughness of the Catechism,” he stated.

He sees various potential uses for the Compendium, such as serving as a helpful reference for parents as they instruct their children or any Catholic who is fielding questions about the faith in casual conversations with friends or family.

“I’d recommend it to all Catholics and certainly everyone involved in catechesis,” the bishop said.

The Compendium also includes 15 reproductions of religious art that help illustrate its doctrinal content. “Works of art always ‘speak,’ at least implicitly, of the divine, of the infinity beauty of God,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote.

One appendix addresses traditional catechetical formulas, such as the three theological virtues or the seven deadly sins. The other includes the texts of traditional prayers in both English and Latin.

Upon the Compendium’s presentation last June, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged all Catholics to learn these prayers in Latin, because it would “help Christian faithful of different languages pray together, especially when they gather for special circumstances.”

Bishop Bruskewitz welcomed the invitation. “It’s part of our heritage,” he said. “We live in a global village, and as a result, we find ourselves more frequently than we expect in international gatherings. So a common language of prayer is helpful to us.”

The Compendium is available for purchase at many Catholic retailers, non-Catholic bookstores and on-line booksellers. The French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish translations are now available at the Vatican web site ( Bishop Bruskewitz assumes that the English version will also be found there at some point.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada

Here's an article and interview from late last year with Bishops Bruskewitz and Corrada.

Q. Your Excellencies, Pope Benedict XVI's pre-Christmas Roman Curia address had a theme of the competing claims, and subsequent struggle, for the true Second Vatican Council. Do you have any comments?

Bishop Corrada: The Holy Father has been following this theme, and he picked it up from Pope John Paul II, but has emphasized it more. I think that Pope Benedict XVI has a very deep insight because of his philosophical and theological formation that the authentic teachings of the Church have to be followed, and that the Church has to come back to certain disciplines that some bishops and many of the faithful and priests have gotten away from.

And that discipline is the discipline of the sacraments, the discipline of the liturgy, and even the discipline of the Latin language. I think that is what he is making reference to, and I think it is wonderful that he is making that emphasis.

I think, of course, that John Paul II [intended that as well]. But this is something that will take a long time. I think this is the battle for the legitimate and genuine Second Vatican Council teachings to be known by bishops and priests and to put it into action. There have been some tendencies that have vitiated the Second Vatican Council with some of the thinking of bishops and theologians.

And it is more than that. It is secularism as an ideology. The Catholic Church sees the secular world as the place of the kingdom. But when secularism as an ideology comes and turns the world into a place where there is no transcendental relationship to God, where there is no respect for the dignity of the human person, with abortion and the whole culture of death, that is where I think this Holy Father is asking us to go back to the culture of life. And the evangelization of the Church needs to be directed in that internal reform if we are going to be effective in the world against the ideology of secularism.

Bishop Bruskewitz: The majority of the Second Vatican Council fathers and the Popes never saw the council as discontinuous and as a rupture with the past. The emphasis was always in accord with the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council — the unbroken continuity of Catholic Tradition, both in doctrine and in many other areas. There are those who understood, and still understand, the Second Vatican Council as some sort of revolutionary destruction of the past — a sort of French Revolution — that we are destroying everything in the past and starting new all over again, with a whole new [liturgical] calendar and everything.

It is not at all what the Second Vatican Council [fathers] understood themselves as doing.

What happened, however, is there was a para-council of periti, of experts, who all dominated through the whole matrix of media representation of what was going on at the council. Because of that, there were horrible distortions in the popular imagination, including the clerical imagination, including the priests. Even they saw this as a complete rupture. Emotionally and psychologically, people who intellectually might understand that the Mass is the same if you offer it in English or in Latin, [nonetheless] thought, "We have a whole new world here, and this doesn't really mean what it said."

We had this whole rising expectation, this para-council that gave this impression to the world that there was this big revolution. So, when this revolution hit some blank walls like "no women priests" and "no married priests," I think what happened was that then these expectations were frustrated. Then, people got all upset and more in a dissenting and rebellious mood.

When the history of the council is explained, it will be clear that Pope John XXIII never thought he was going make a tabula rasa by throwing away everything in the past and starting all anew, that this wasn't his idea at all. In fact, Pope John XXIII was super-traditional in many of the things he said and did.

Q. Like Veterum Sapientia [On the Promotion and Study of Latin, promulgated by Pope John XXIII February 22, 1962]?

Bishop Bruskewitz: Veterum Sapientia means "the wisdom of the ancients."

I don't think John XXIII intended the destruction of everything. That was not his intention at all. Things maybe ran away from him. He was very sick and died, of course, when the council began.

However, there was, and continues to be, a very serious misreading of what was going on. I think when he beatified John XXIII, along with Pius IX, John Paul II had a grasp of that. He was at the council. He understood that this was not what the council said, nor what the intention was.

There are horror stories. For instance, Gregory Baum and some of these left-wing people who left the Church and dissented, they were going around [Rome] on motorcycles with Latin speeches in their saddlebags trying to find bishops who would say them.

And then some bishop would read them [publicly], they were in Latin, so he probably didn't even know what they said, and then they would blast them all over the newspapers: Things like 'The council says no more Purgatory,' among others. There was that sort of outrage that was going on. And in the area of the media, the left-wing liberal dissenting branch took over and prevailed.

Q. Do you think part of the Holy Father's message might encompass a clarifying of what makes up true ecumenism?

Bishop Corrada: The question is well placed. Many bishops and in many parts of the Church in the United States, we have allowed the Church to have "unity" that comes from political tendencies or other religious traditions' tendencies — even Protestantism. [We have allowed that] to direct the dialogue, instead of that dialogue that comes out of the true ecumenism that only the Church can present. True ecumenism is built by the Church itself. It is what the Church does. That is ecumenism.

It does not come from the directions from which so many other groups go on. You will find so many political parties trying to call ecumenical prayer groups and things like that. I think that is totally wrong. I think we need to re-center into true ecumenism, which is what the Church does, and not what other people do. We try to attract them to the fullness of truth. We try not to push them further away from the truth that they might still have either by natural revelation or by religious tradition. We try to bring them closer. I think that is what the Council was trying to emphasize.

We try not to push them further away, but we should try to bring them closer, or at least for them to stay where they are, so that unity and growth can happen so that truth can work itself. But we know this is in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is not this activism that you have seen in some people, and which has been unfortunate.

Ecumenism is what the Church does by bringing the truth to people through the aid of the Holy Spirit — the mission — so that those who are closer to the Truth come closer and that those farther away are not moving farther by our example or by our way of presenting the Truth.

But the Truth is only one, and it is in the Catholic Church. We have to accept that.

Q. Both the Pope and you mentioned the effect the media had on its representation of the council as a revolution. Does the secular media even understand the Church? Do you believe the misrepresentation of the Church is intentional? Or is it out of naivete and ignorance of the Church?

Bishop Bruskewitz: It is ignorance. They are looking for sensationalism. And sometimes the reporters aren't responsible [for what happens]. It is oftentimes the editors. They like to see conflict and this is what sells their product. Of course, sex and religion are explosive issues, and the more you can put that on the pages, the better it is.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

From 1996

Back in 1996, Bishop Bruskewitz issued a big excommunication of twelve groups. Notice that the groups up there are mostly radically liberal, yet at the same time he also excommunicated adherents of the radically conservative Society of Saint Pius X. I've always said with dissident, heterodox groups like Call to Action (for example), all you need to do is switch aroung the political ideologies and you have the SSPX. It doesn't matter how much liturgical dancing and moving with the spirit there is or how much solemn ringing of bells and swinging of thuribles there is, it has to do with the obedience Christ intended us to have to the heirarchy in the body of Christ. Thank God for Bishop Bruskewitz for having such wisdom as displayed here...

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

Statement issued by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (published in Southern Nebraska Register, March 22, 1996)
All Catholics in and of the Diocese of Lincoln are forbidden to be members of the organizations and groups listed below. Membership in these organizations or groups is always perilous to the Catholic Faith and most often is totally incompatible with the Catholic Faith.

Planned Parenthood
Society of Saint Pius X (Lefebvre Group)
Hemlock Society
Call to Action
Call to Action Nebraska
Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel
Job's Daughters
Eastern Star
Rainbow Girls
Catholics for a Free Choice

Any Catholics in and of the Diocese of Lincoln who attain or retain membership in any of the above listed organizations or groups after April 15, 1996, are by that very fact (ipso facto latae sententiae) under interdict and are absolutely forbidden to receive Holy Communion. Contumacious persistence in such membership for one month following the interdict on part of any such Catholics will by that very fact (ipso facto latae sententiae) cause them to be excommunicated. Absolution from these ecclesial censures is "reserved to the Bishop."

This notice, when published in the Southern Nebraska Register, is a formal canonical warning.

By mandate of the Most Reverend Bishop of Lincoln.

Reverend Monsignor Timothy Thorburn, Chancellor March 19, 1996

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


At the encouragement I got in this comment box, I sent a letter to Bishop Bruskewitz. He replied very quickly with a very nice letter back. I told him that I wouldn't reveal anything from the letter on the internet, so I won't do that. However in light of his letter to me, I've changed this blog's title to the Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz Prayer Club. This is, after all, a place to post news articles concerning the good bishop, and to offer prayers for him and for the courage of all bishops, and to remind and encourage others to do the same.

It will only take a second to change that one word in your template. I'll change around the images sometime, but not this minute.

I'm so happy that I got a letter from him! I'll be keeping it around for a long time!