Gumbleton Disciplined After Speaking about Abuse Cases

From NCR: "Because he violated 'communio episcoporum' (the communion of bishops) and other canons by speaking in support of extending the statute of limitations for cases of sexual abuse by clergy, retired Detroit auxiliary bishop Thomas Gumbleton said he was forced to discontinue his role as pastor at a Detroit parish. Besides receiving the official notification that he had to resign as pastor, Gumbleton said none of his fellow bishops contacted him personally when he spoke in support of the bill and revealed at the bill's hearing that he was a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest."

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James Martin, SJ


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7 years 2 months ago
And then there's Bishop Morris in Australia.
Everyone must be on point.
Such is the state of leadership.
david power
7 years 2 months ago
Bishop Gumbleton is a genuine man of God.
I often read his homilies at that rag he works for and he is surprisingly free of ideology and his pastoral heart comes through time and time again.
The timeline here though is important.
Most of the Bishops in that year were following the lead of the late Pope John Paul which was to deny and cover-up what happened.Those bishops who did not call him were just following the modus operandi of the time.It may seem a heartless and thoroughly unchristian response to the uninformed outsider  but that is only because it is.
Gumbleton has a rich spirituality and a great focus on Jesus which is what makes him an outsider to the hierarchy. 
I know that many people will be disheartened on reading this and many will be angry and enraged at how pathetic the bishops are but what I feel is gratitude.The article has shown me the wheat from the chaff.
No doubt he has many personal failings but I say "Thank you Lord Jesus  for sending us men like Bishop Gumbleton". 
7 years 2 months ago
Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality
The bishop has written extensively on Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality. Gumbleton often draws from his personal experience of having a homosexual brother.[3] His brother Dan revealed to his family that he was a homosexual through a letter. Gumbleton has discussed how he had previously ignored the topic; however his brother's revelation, he said, forced him to consider the matter.
Bishop Gumbleton has consistently been a supporter of New Ways Ministry and has also called for homosexual priests and bishops to "come out" and be truthful to themselves and others. Gumbleton has also acted as a keynote speaker at Call to Action conferences.
During his time as bishop, Gumbleton wore a mitre at a church service on which were symbols of the cross, a rainbow and a pink triangle. The pink triangle caused particular complaints by some due to its history as a symbol of gay rights, after its use to identify homosexuals in NaziConcentration Camps.[4]
Ordination of homosexuals
Gumbleton also came into the public eye before the Vatican's Instruction with regard to the ordination of homosexual men was released, arguing against Fr. Baker's article on the issue in America.[5]
david power
7 years 2 months ago
Stand by my statement.
Maria,I am well aware that Bishop Gumbleton's brother is a homosexual and I had read the article myself a few years ago expecting what he said to be just some haughty selfregardiny pro-homosexual piece.
What I found was quite the contrary.
He opened me to the suffering of his brother and the human dynamics in play.He was a good brother. He showed love towards his brother and most memorably towards his mother.Is he going to hell?I think was the question she asked him about the child she had brought into the world.Bishop Gumbleton rose to the occasion.   
As for Bishops and Priests coming out ,I am all for it.Not so that they can swan around and well .... but so that we can have more honesty in the Church.
The Catholic Priesthood is becoming more and more populated by homosexuals precisely because of the secrecy involved sexual matters.
As for scandalous behaviou.
Bishop Gumbleton never kissed the Koran.What would we make of a Christian who did that?.I never said that he was a Saint but a man who discerns and tries to discern God in his life.   
David, Bishop Gumbleton is dead against pedophiles in the church and so that puts him into opposition with others (not naming names) who are not.As for the horse analogy ,my brother-in-law is a horse trainer but I couldn't make head nor tail of it.     
Jim McCrea
7 years 2 months ago
David Smith:  nice little bit of homoerotica, there.

Maria:  sic John Hardon on David ASAP!  John's name is a bit suspect, too.
Eugene Pagano
7 years 2 months ago
How did the subject change from a discussion of the hierarchy's response to Gumbleton's statement to a discussion of homosexuality?  Is it because the hierarchy's response is indefensible?
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Eugene (#9), thanks for bringing that up. I too was wondering what homosexuality had to do with the article -  which described one high-ranking cleric's courage (all too rare, sadly) in coming out in support of the victims of priest sex abuse instead of standing silent to protect the institution and the bishops.  There has been way too much of that and this church sadly needs more like Bishop Gumbleton and Bishop Morris and Bishop Robinson of Australia and Bishop Martin.  Four bishops that I can think of (out of how many thousands)? who have at least a bit of moral courage and backbone.  I'm sure there are a few more, but we need thousands more like them.
7 years 2 months ago
How did the subject change from a discussion of the hierarchy's response to Gumbleton's statement to a discussion of homosexuality?

"Bishop Gumbleton has spent his years of spiritual authority in the Catholic Church working to promote the homosexual lifestyle. He is affiliated with numerous gay activist organizations such as the Triangle Foundation, the Rainbow Sash Movement, and New Ways Ministry, SHARE, and Call to Action. In 1995 he received the Call to Action leadership award.
He has been a prolific speaker and writer on the subject of homosexual acceptance in the Church, openly challenging the Church’s teaching that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered.”

Carolyn Disco
7 years 2 months ago
In case there is any doubt about the viciousness of Detroit's Cardinal Maida and Cardinal Battista Re, former head of the Congregation for Clergy, here is how Gumbleton was railroaded immediately out of his parish and his residence, without even basic courtesies. 

Crush anyone ruthlessly and still claim to represent Christ? Maida was sure to rub it in with his gutless pandering to Rome. What a disgrace to his office.

Lawyers fighting the Holy See have a sharp example of direct authority exercised by Rome, even where it does not have legal power to do so under its own rules. 

Gumbleton shines above these excuses for shepherds, with a dignity all his own.
ed gleason
7 years 2 months ago
What lay person would ever guess that ALL bishops would be under orders ['communio episcoporum'] to ALL be on the same page on opinions that have such vague moral content  as CIVIL statute of limitation laws? How about term limits for dog licences? 
I suggest that communio episcoporum  has a twin edit called cover-uptus totalas
Vince Killoran
7 years 2 months ago
Bishop Gumbleton is a model bishop.  I'm from the Detroit archdiocese and know this to be true from his decades of faithful service to the People of God.

As for the other bishops from Detroit, I mostly remember them for their preening in their frocks and dining at the metro areas finer restaurants. . .  the good bishop didn't stand a chance among them.
David Pasinski
7 years 2 months ago
Apart from the issue of his forced change of assignment, what I find most distressing is that no other bishops contacted him after this disclosure! It is truly unfathomable to me that a colleague to all and a "friend" to many would not have been contacted after such a painful revelation.  Does this speak to the fear within the episcopacy or their entire lack of human compassion? My respect for the hierarchy has sunk lower than I ever thought it could...
Tom Maher
7 years 2 months ago
How can a Bishop publically testify against the public position of his fellow Bishop and not be removed?  Bishop is not a free agent that can ignore the public positons of his fellow Bishops and the interest of the Church that his fellow Bishops are looking out for and rashly promote his own private views.  Statues of limitation are needed for fairness sake,  otherwise the church would be an easy target for false and misleading accusations that would are impossible to disprove over time.  It is not fair for the Church to be uniquely burdened by overly zealous and unusual legal standards.  

Gumbleton was not doing his job as a Bishop and was powerfully acting against the interest and unity of the church.  Thank goodness the church is capable of taking decisive action to stop the Bishop Gumbleton from harming the church further. 
david power
7 years 2 months ago
"Thank goodness the church is capable of taking decisive action to stop the Bishop Gumbleton from harming the church further.".

Tom , do you realize how ridiculous that statement is?.Gumbleton was removed from his role as the Pastor of a parish because he spoke out on the need for justice in the Church.Gumbleton himself was sexually abused by a Priest. Cardinal Law was installed as the Pastor of one of the 4  basilicas of Rome after he moved pedophiles from one parish to another for a long time.
Who is doing the harm to the Church?.
Your basic position seems to be if you cover-up that is okay and we will pay lip service to the notions of truthfulness etc in the Church.On the other hand if you speak out we will close the doors on you.Your's is exactly the position that the Irish bishops now claim to repent.
Tom , you have to realize (but you probably never will) that being dishonest like Law,Rigali,Finn,Brady,Wojtyla and many others is not acting "in the interests and unity  of the Church".It may seem like madness to you but protecting children and being honest is "acting in the interests and unity of the Church".  
The Church is doomed if it's members keep acting without conscience of the suffering of children but think that by going to Mass and with a side-parting and a clean shave all is okay.
Kang Dole
7 years 2 months ago
"Thank goodness the church is capable of taking decisive action to stop the Bishop Gumbleton from harming the church further. "

My face and my palm just got very, very intimate.
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Thank you David Power and Abe.  It's hard to believe that some in the church STILL don't understand - they still don't get that the bishops and Rome under the current and previous papacy have done more harm to the church in the modern era than any ''anti-Catholic'' could hope to do.  By turning predator priests loose to prey on the young, by hiding their crimes, by putting the institution ahead of the children, the harm these men have done is almost unimaginable on the human level, and has also harmed the church at the instiutional level.

And yet some Catholics seem to believe, as David put it, that going to mass and a clean shave is what it's all about.  It isn't.  Maybe more Catholics need to read the gospels silently, by themselves, and learn what their years as Roman Catholics seems to have failed to teach them, prima facie evidence of how badly the church has failed at all levels.  The leadership of the last 35+ years has a lot to answer for.

Right now there are only a handful of bishops who have had the courage to speak up and do the right thing (Gumbleton, Martin of Dublin, Robinson of Australia, Schonborn, maybe a couple of others).  Those who protected sexual predators and the institution, like Law (see link in David Powers' post) and other bishops in the US who were rewarded with their own dioceses, presumably for their ''loyalty'' to the institutution (certainly not for their moral choices) caused thousands of young people to be molested and raped.  Those who speak out know that their ecclesial ''careers'' are dead.  They put their loyalty to truth and to God above loyalty to the institutional church and the papacy and they are willing to pay the price to do the right thing. They follow Christ and not men. Thank God there are a few such men in the church.

Does it not bother you a bit, Tom Maher, that dozens, maybe hundreds of bishops allowed sexual predators to continue to prey on the young rather than do the right thing and call the police?  Do you have children? Would you have been outraged to learn that your cardinal/bishop KNEW that a priest had molested and raped other children before being sent to your parish where YOUR children became his victim?

Would you sacrifice your own children to protect the institution?

The church desperately needs the insight and wisdom of married people and parents to inform its governance and doctrine at ALL levels. The only way this can ever happen is to begin ordaining married men and women. The institutional church has lost its way - it has forgotten what it means to be human.

Beth Cioffoletti
7 years 2 months ago
A week ago Sunday I heard Bishop Gumbleton speak at Lynn University in Boca Raton, FL.  (He was not allowed by the Miami Bishop to speak on a Catholic diocesan site).

I found him to be a simple, humble man with clear vision.  His attitude toward the controversy surrounding him was not to get excited or angry, but to tell the truth and to follow the teachings of Jesus. 

He was speaking on the immorality of war, and with this particular audience he was mostly preaching to the choir.  What inspired me, more than his words, was his person.  Hearing and seeing him in person fed me, showed me the way.  I could sense a central surety within in him, a strong and direct connection with God - a peace - that radiated to and fed those around him.  In a way, he reminded me of Dorothy Day. 
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
I’m late to the party so I’ll make a few brief comments.

He was allegedly forced to resign in 2007 and it’s news now – why?  Plus, to ensure that this is not about spin, faulty memory, etc., I’d like to see the actual document that states he is being “forced” to resign because “he violated 'communio episcoporum' (the communion of bishops) and other canons”.  Additionally, Ned McGrath, the director of communications for the Detroit archdiocese, contacted NCR with a few concerns and so we have a “he says / he says” situation.  The actual correspondence might clear things up.

Yes, it’s sad that none of his fellow bishops contacted him after he revealed that he was a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. 

Regarding Maria, give her a break.  There are plenty of people who post here who “follow” theologians, at least she picked one that’s faithful to the Magisterium.  

I agree with Anne that the Bishops protected sexual predators (for a variety of reasons, some stemming from advice given by experts at the time) and I agree that a recall to what it means to be human is absolutely needed.

But do we have to continue to offer the same tired assertions that the solution is that we ordain married men and ordain women?  BTW, the Catholic Church in the East has married clergy already so the Catholic Church does have married priests. 
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
Yes, Juan, the eastern rites have always had the benefit of married clergy (and has had to deal with the normal human problems in marriages and families also - which are "learning" experiences), except in the United States, where mandatory celibacy was imposed. The alleged reason for this (I haven't fact-checked this) was that Roman rite priests saw that the eastern rite priests weren't under this mandate and complained, so the eastern rite priests were also denied the opportunity to marry instead of Roman rite priests being given the option of marriage. Now apparently one of the eastern rite bishops in the US has announced that he will begin ordaining married men to the priesthood.  It will be interesting to see how Rome reacts.

The church NEEDS the insight and experiences of married people and parents. Until it finds a way to accomplish this - and having married priests, male and female, is the best way to accomplish it - it will continue to misunderstand itself as 'being expert in the human condition."  No, it is not, but is arrogant enough to believe that self-serving statement.

Glad to have you  back, Juan. 
Juan Lino
7 years 2 months ago
Hi Anne, glad to be back - thanks.

I believe the Ban regards the ordaining of married men in Eastern Catholic Churches outside their traditional territories and, if my recollection is correct, Bishops in the Eastern Church (both in union with Rome and not) must be unmarried men.  It will be interesting to see what develops between the Holy See and Bishop Nicholas Samra, the new Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop.  If you want to read a bit about it there’s a good post at Orthocath:

agree that the church NEEDS the insight and experiences of married people and parents and I believe that ways to accomplish this are already happening.  Of course, you know that I don’t agree that having “priestesses” is a viable option. ; )

If the Holy Spirit was not the soul of the Church – i.e., the People of God — I’d agree that the Church – our mother and teacher - is not an “expert in the human condition.”  Don’t forget though, there have been millions of men, women, and children – some canonized saints and other not – that have contributed to an understanding of the newness – a newness that includes a new way to be human - that entered into history through Christ.
Anne Chapman
7 years 2 months ago
I agree that the church NEEDS the insight and experiences of married people and parents and I believe that ways to accomplish this are already happening. 

Can you be specific - I do not see the hierarchy and those nameless, faceless men in Rome who create ''the teachings of the magisterium'' inviting married people, parents, and women in general to share their lived insights and understandings. 

Of course, you know that I don’t agree that having “priestesses” is a viable option. ; )

A gentle correction - the word ''priestess'' is meant as a deliberate insult to Christian women priests. Please use the proper term - out of common courtesy if nothing else, because otherwise what you say betrays ignorance and prejudice rather than real thought. Wicca has priestesses - Christianity does not.  Those who choose to use the term ''priestess'' to refer to Christian priests betray a petty small-mindedness and meanness that is not a bit ''christian.''


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