Pope Benedict has accepted the resignation of the Bishop of Lincoln, Fabian Bruskewitz. Given Bruskewitz’s actions over the past decade, we are grateful that he is no longer in his position.
For yrs, Bruskewitz has violated the weak, vague and largely unenforced sex abuse policy. He has publicly admonished the church hierarchy for trying to force bishops to obey it; something Bruskewitz believes is not in its power to do. He has also repeatedly balked at allowing outsiders into his diocese to even look at his abuse policies.
Bruskewitz has also been particularly stubborn on releasing the names of predator priests publicly, and has refused multiple requests to make a list available on his diocesan website of priests who have credible accusations of abuse against them.
In Bruskewitz’s place, the Vatican has elevated Fr. James Conley to become Lincoln’s next bishop. For the past four years, Fr. Conley has been an auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Denver.
We hope that now-Bishop Conley will reverse course on Bruskewitz’s approach to child sex crimes, and will actually live up to the USCCB Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People instead of openly and repeatedly defying it as his predecessor did. Children need proactive leaders to help protect them, not obstinacy. We hope that Bishop Conley will be a friend to victims and children instead of an ally to predators and secrecy.
However, we are not hopeful. Conley comes from a diocese that has been brutal to many abuse victims and that has fought tooth and nail to keep clergy sex crimes covered up by narrowing the statute of limitations.
So we urge Nebraska citizens and Catholics who see suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes to call police and prosecutors, not church officials.