Sep 23

Update from Brebeuf Jesuit President, Fr. Bill Verbryke, S.J.

Below is a message that was sent to the Brebeuf Jesuit community on Monday, September 23

Dear Brebeuf Jesuit Community,

Greetings and blessings as fall approaches; we are now well into the academic year. Thank you to everyone in the Brebeuf Jesuit community for helping us get the year off to a strong start.

I am writing to provide an update on the appeal process related to Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s June 21, 2019 decree, which rescinded his recognition of Brebeuf Jesuit as a Catholic institution within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

As I have previously communicated, an appeal process is being led by Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, Provincial of the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and his staff, with input and support from our school leadership. We have asked the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome to consider and address the issues at hand and, hopefully, rescind and permanently set aside the Archbishop’s decree.

I want to stress that this process is ongoing in an environment of not only deep love for our Church, but also, despite our differences on this matter, deep respect for the Archbishop.  Ultimately, our desire is to remain in full communion with the Catholic Church, without restrictions on our celebration of the Eucharist, and that our identity as a Catholic school be fully recognized and supported by the Archdiocese, as had been the case for our first 57 years. 

We have just learned that the Congregation for Catholic Education has decided to suspend the Archbishop’s decree on an interim basis, pending its final resolution of our appeal. The Archbishop very kindly informed me that, as a result of this temporary suspension of his decree, Brebeuf is free to resume our normal sacramental celebrations of the Eucharist.  Most happily, this means that we will be able to celebrate the Mass for the Feast Day of St. Jean de Brebeuf on October 24.

It is very important to understand, however, what this temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree does NOT mean. It does not mean that the matter has been resolved, or that any permanent decision has been made. It also does not mean that anyone should infer that the Congregation for Catholic Education is leaning one way or the other on any of the issues at hand.  The Congregation has simply granted a temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree until it makes a final decision.

We still do not have a specific timeline for how long the appeal process will take, but please be assured that we are sincere in our desire to resolve our disagreement with the Archbishop and resume the strong relationship we had always enjoyed with the Archdiocese since our founding in 1962.

Please continue to include Brebeuf Jesuit, Archbishop Thompson, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and the Congregation for Catholic Education in your prayers.

God’s blessings,

Fr. Bill Verbryke, S.J.