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Bishop contradicts archbishop, says same-sex marriage supporters should receive Communion

April 12, 2013

A retired auxiliary bishop in Detroit has told supporters of same-sex marriage that they should continue receiving Communion, directly contradicting a statement by Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

“Don’t stop going to Communion. You’re okay,” Bishop Thomas Gumbleton advised proponents of gay marriage. He was speaking just days after Archbishop Vigneron had said that Catholics who disagree with the Church on the definition of marriage should refrain from Communion. The archbishop had said that receiving Communion while being in fundamental disagreement with the Church “would result in publicly renouncing one's integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury."

Bishop Gumbleton frankly disagreed, emphasizing the need to reach out to homosexuals. For that purpose, he said, “the last thing you want to do is impose a penalty or make them feel like they have to impose a penalty upon themselves.”

Bishop Gumbleton, who reluctantly retired from active ministry in 2006 at the age of 76, has frequently spoken out in favor of gay rights and other liberal causes. In 2009, Bishop Alexander Sample of the neighboring Marquette diocese asked Gumbleton not to address a group there, citing “Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood.”


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  • Posted by: jacquebquique5708 - Apr. 15, 2013 10:46 AM ET USA

    Our Lady of Fatima in her visions stated that "bishop will contradict bishop" in the final days.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Apr. 14, 2013 11:58 PM ET USA

    So..., here we go... The devil uses situations like this to tempt laymen to pontificate, which they really shouldn't do... With catholic authority already seemingly divided...It would seem that with almost 2000 yrs of accumulated wisdom Catholic leadership should be able to deal with it... So why the delay? And in this Catholic's humble opinion it is not as if the answer is difficult.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2013 5:51 PM ET USA

    Frodo, the problem with delay is that it creates the impression that both opinions have merit. But we know with certitude that that is not the case. It doesn't take a panel of canon lawyers to know that Gumbleton is not only slightly in error, but in fact he is 100% in error. So the longer this goes on, the more trouble it causes.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Apr. 13, 2013 3:56 PM ET USA

    Lou, it's called subsidiarity. Take care of the issue at the lowest possible level. Bishops need to learn how to deal with these situations on there own instead of running to the pope immediately. If Gumbleton Isn't obedient to his archbishop why would he be obedient to the pope. We need bishops with a backbone and the only way you grow one is to exercise it.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 13, 2013 12:43 PM ET USA

    Yo, Frodo, since we live in the instant age of twitter, speed is a benefit that the Pope can and should use to keep the faithful informed. All it would take is a simple posting like "We welcome Bishop Gumbleton back into the fold just as soon as he possibly can." In fact, the Vatican should have that sentence ready to c&p for all the offending bishops, priests and politicians who need such a helping hand.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Apr. 13, 2013 10:39 AM ET USA

    Why are we appealing to the Pope here so quickly? This is Archbishop Vigneron's problem to deal with. Let's watch to see what his response is and see if he has the courage to take on this errant bishop. Protecting his flock is the archbishop's responsibility. Aealing to the pope should be a last resort.

  • Posted by: mcomstoc6740 - Apr. 13, 2013 4:43 AM ET USA

    Something needs to be done about Bishop Gumbleton. Public dissent in the Church should not be tolerated.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 12, 2013 8:49 PM ET USA

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this the kind of bruhaha that Jesus anticipated when he gave Rock the keys to the kingdom and instituted the office of what became the papacy, so the laity would know which way to turn for the right answer? I await Pope Francis's direction.

  • Posted by: florentine - Apr. 12, 2013 6:57 PM ET USA

    This constant perpetuation of allowing sins of all stripes, and those who support them publicly, to go undisciplined is like a malignancy in the Church, gradually eroding all respect, moral authority .... Praying our new pope will get tough, continue with all the good work Benedict started, and and clean up the ravaging apostasies.

  • Posted by: Joseph Paul - Apr. 12, 2013 6:49 PM ET USA

    I was surprised you bothered to report anything Bishop Gumbleton would say.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Apr. 12, 2013 6:11 PM ET USA

    Here is a test case for our new Pope Francis. When a retired bishop (Gumbleton) contradicts a sitting bishop (Vigneron) on faith and morals, one or the other is in the wrong. It is the duty of our Holy Father to make sure that a shepherd in wolf's clothing not be allowed to scatter the flock. Pope Francis, do your duty!

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - Apr. 12, 2013 6:03 PM ET USA

    The man should be laicized, or at least ordered to a monastery.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 12, 2013 5:33 PM ET USA

    While I am surprised to find that Gumbleton is still around -- I hadn't heard from or of him for many years -- I am even more surprised to learn that there are people who still take him seriously.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 12, 2013 4:49 PM ET USA

    Between Bishop Gumbleton and Cardinal Schornborn's recent statements, it seems it all doesn't matter anymore, not mortal sin, not the Sins that Cry to Heaven for Vengeance, and not scandal. No one corrects these clerics, so how is the laity to interpret this?