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CATHOLICS IN 12 GROUPS EXCOMMUNICATED IN NEBRASKA.

Byline: Associated Press

As of Wednesday, a former priest and nun and perhaps hundreds of other Roman Catholics in the Lincoln Diocese can consider themselves excommunicated.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz ordered Catholics to quit 12 proscribed groups, including Planned Parenthood, Call to Action and Catholics for a Free Choice, by Wednesday or face the spiritual equivalent of the death penalty.

Bruskewitz, who announced the order in the diocese newspaper in March, is the first U.S. bishop in recent church history to threaten mass excommunication.

Under excommunication, Catholics may attend Mass but are forbidden to receive Holy Communion or other sacraments, such as marriage in the church.

The bishop won't formally record who is excommunicated or notify them individually, and has said he has no way of knowing whether someone is heeding the ban on receiving the sacraments. That will be left to the person's conscience, he said.

John Krejci, the former priest, and his wife, Jean, a former nun, said they will defy the order.

``We will be receiving communion. We don't intend to change our style,'' Krejci said. The couple belongs to Call to Action, a group that wants the church to discuss allowing women and married men to become priests - issues that Pope John Paul II has said are closed.

Another Call to Action member, Jim McShane, said he wouldn't quit the group, but he refused to say whether he would defy the bishop and still take the sacraments. ``I think he's shot his cannon and he's waiting for us to fall down,'' McShane said.

The Lincoln Diocese has about 85,000 members. It is considered a conservative diocese; it does not allow girls to serve at the altar. Although there is no exact number of people affected by the excommunication order, hundreds of Catholics are estimated to belong to the banned groups.

With the arrival of the deadline Wednesday, Monsignor Timothy Thorburn, chancellor of the Lincoln Diocese, said of the bishop's order: ``The legislation still is in its full effect. It's well known.''

A person who is excommunicated can return to good standing in the church by obeying the bishop's order, confessing and receiving forgiveness through penance.

Bruskewitz said earlier this week that his order succeeded in ``unmasking some people who previously had a very questionable relationship with the Catholic Church.''

``They may have been in their heart anti-Catholic, though they externally professed to be Catholic,'' he said.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 16, 1996
Words:401
Previous Article:U.S. CALLS CLUBS IN MANHATTAN DRUG BAZAARS.
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