Cardinal von Galen Award – Fall 2013: Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz-Fall 2013On October 18, 2013, Human Life International awarded Most Reverend Fabian Bruskewitz the Cardinal von Galen Award for his courageous defense of human life. HLI President Father Shenan J. Boquet presented the award at a banquet preceding the Life, Dignity and Disability Conference HLI sponsored in conjunction with Nebraska’s bishops. Father Boquet made the following remarks when presenting the award:

Nebraska’s dioceses have been blessed with a succession of excellent bishops, and the fruits of their zealous apostolic ministry are clearly visible. The Most Reverend Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz served twenty full years as shepherd of the Diocese of Lincoln from 1992-2012. In those two decades his leadership embraced and enhanced many areas.

Pro-lifers, in particular, are immensely grateful for the encouragement and example he gave to us.

He once told a gathering hosted by Human Life International:

In a concluding thought, let me recount a narration which I’ve always found very moving: ‘A wise man once said that when we appear before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ, He will look at us very carefully and ask, `Where are your scars?’ If we respond we have no scars, He will then reproach us and say, `Was there nothing worth fighting for?’ I believe, my dear friends, there is something worth fighting for. The cause of life is worth fighting for, the cause of Christ is worth fighting for. Let us see to our duties and with resolution, determination, and defiance, go forward so that at the end, we can show to Christ our scars.

Bishop Bruskewitz undoubtedly has several meritorious scars from his conflicts with the Culture of Death.

Father Boquet presenting Bishop Bruskewitz with the award.
Father Boquet presenting Bishop Bruskewitz with the award.

As a “teaching bishop” with a “brilliant intellect” (to use some phrases his brother bishops have used to describe His Excellency), he always reminded the faithful of the need to resist and never to surrender to the disciples of the Father of Lies.

Using his full authority he condemned evil resolutely, and just as strongly fostered what was good and healthy. Bishop Bruskewitz has no time for those who are scientifically backward and blind enough to call a growing preborn child a “clump of cells.” He blasted the view that just because something is technologically possible, it is therefore morally permissible. The sometimes exaggerated American cultural advocacy of autonomy and its pernicious application to abortion and suicide was a danger he saw and wrote about.

Viewed as a “bellwether” among the bishops, his strong pastoral care included the excommunicating of Catholic members of Planned Parenthood. He instructed his priests to refuse to grant Holy Communion to public figures who openly support the grave evils of abortion and euthanasia. Most recently he was a leading voice in the unanimous rejection by the U.S. bishops of the federal government’s new requirement that employers provide health insurance covering birth control, female sterilization and “the morning after” pill. Here are his unequivocal concluding words that were read in every parish of the Diocese of Lincoln: “We cannot and will not comply with this unjust decree.”

Bishop Bruskewitz emphasized that we must be “unwearying and unflagging,” maintaining a constant vigil demanding respect for human life and overcome any discouragement or pessimism that can creep in among pro-lifers. He pointed us in the right supernatural direction to recognize in every human being, born or unborn, the image of God and the Face of Christ as the glory of the pro-life movement.

For these and many more reasons, Bishop Bruskewitz has earned the recognition and gratitude of pro-lifers and faithful Catholics around the world.

Thus, it is with profound gratitude that Human Life International bestows upon Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz the Cardinal von Galen Award.

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