A Vatican official has upheld the wholesale excommunication of hundreds of lay Catholics affiliated with dissident and reform groups by a Nebraska bishop 11 years ago. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln issued the excommunication order in 1996. It was confirmed in a letter late last year to Bruskewitz from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Vatican’s office in charge of bishops. Bruskewitz decreed that membership in the Catholic reform movement Call to Action, Planned Parenthood and nine other groups was “always perilous to the Catholic faith.” Some members of Call to Action had appealed the excommunication, which led to Re’s letter. Founded in 1978, Call to Action has 53 U.S. chapters and approximately 25,000 members, according to spokesperson Nicole Sotelo. The group advocates changes in the church, including the ordination of women and the removal of celibacy requirements for priests.