Only slowly moving out of the spotlight

Only slowly moving out of the spotlight

Isn’t this old news or is Gumbleton still taking advantage of a sympathetic media?“Outspoken Catholic Pastor Replaced; He Says It’s Retaliation”

In his last Mass as pastor at the inner-city parish in Detroit where he had served for 23 years, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton told his parishioners that he was forced to step down as pastor because of his lobbying efforts on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, a stance that put him in opposition to his fellow bishops.

Yeah, it’s not the fact that Gumbleton is 77 and retired, that it’s highly unusual for a bishop to be pastor of a parish anyway, that it’s highly unusual for one parish to have one pastor for so long, and oh let’s see, that he’s so emphatically heterodox on so many issues that he takes the prize as the most dissenting Catholic bishop in the US.

Bishop Gumbleton, how can we miss you when you won’t go away?

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  • It isn’t uncommon for auxiliary bishops to be pastors of parishes.  It isn’t that uncommon for a pastor not to move—some dioceses rarely move a pastor.  And in any case, a pastor can’t be forced to move against his will except in rare circumstances, so if a pastor refuses to move, there’s not much a bishop can do.

    So none of those points are particularly germane.  However, he is past mandatory retirement age.

  • JW,

    You skipped over the heterodox part.

    What logical reason would Gumbleton have for refusing to leave?  He’s the one making a federal case. 

    Seems he’s settled into the crotchety routine of rebelling against anything and everything.

  • Unlike some posters here, I am always pretty relucant to second guess any bishop (I’m hoping in the years to come we can keep some semblance of respect for authority in the Church).
      But in Bishop Gumbelton’s case, I think everybody has quickly forgotten one key element.  Just a few months ago, he revealed that earlier in his career, he was abused by another priest, and said nothing to anyone, even though the abusing cleric continued in ministry.
      He continued to say nothing after becoming a bishop.  He continued to say nothing during the revelations of the 90s, and continued to say nothing after the Dallas accords, which at least in spirit, required all of us to report what we knew about even long-ago abuse.  Bishop Gumbleton justified his silence until now by noting that his abuser is now dead—- an argument that has been consistently rejected from victims’ groups when other priests and bishops have used it.
      What about reporting to civil authorities and the church’s internal investigative system to see if there were other victims of this priest?  If we truly believe that a prominent victim remaining silent will impede others from coming forward to receive the help they need, we need to ask these questions of Bishop Gumbleton.
      If any other priest who had risen into the hierarchy had been found by the media to have done nothing about an abusing cleric, he would likely be treated as a villan, not a hero, in the media!
      I know that it is extremely difficult for any victim, including a bishop, to come forward with the facts of his or her abuse. But given the circumstances, having the bishop retire from his pastorate seems appropriate.

  • I didn’t know that Bishop G had been abused. Considering what we know to be the psychological impact of such an incident, is it fair to judge someone on NOT reporting it publicly earlier? We know that many people may take that secret to their deathbed. I’m more inclined to pray for him in this case.