Monday, December 18, 2006


Earlier in the day, a query came from Rome seeking confirmation that something was afoot involving the retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton amid reports of his "removal" as pastor of St Leo's in the Motor City, where he's served since 1983.

The bishop, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and hero to the church's liberal wing (and, ergo, conservative bete noire #1), retired from active episcopal ministry last February, when his resignation for reasons due to age was accepted by Pope Benedict shortly after Gumbleton's 76th birthday.

Quickly on the heels of the tip, the following was passed along, written by a St Leo's parishioner:
This morning [Sunday, 16 December] at Mass at St. Leo's Bishop Gumbleton shared with us the news that he is being "removed" from St. Leo's. It will appear in the Peace Pulpit Homilies from NCR later this week. That means these homilies will cease also.

Several of us talked with him after Mass and learned that the order came from "Rome" and was a result of the Bishop speaking out on the "priest abuse" situation. Of course "Rome" doesn't like his call for acceptance of gay and lesbian persons or his position on women priests and deacons, or his suggestions that the Church should speak out against War and Torture etc. etc.

He will be gone soon............and our parish is already in mourning. It is a loss for the whole Church in my opinion but the thought of not seeing his smiling face on Sunday mornings is almost unbearable for some of us.

Please keep us all in prayer.
SVILUPPO: NCR: Gumbleton "asked to leave" St Leo's; "expects to continue" Peace Pulpit column....
He said that the move has been in the works for six to eight months as part of the archdiocese’s plan to restructure parishes in Detroit. St. Leo’s will be “clustered” with a nearby parish and the pastor of the other parish, which has not been named yet, will become pastor of St. Leo’s. Gumbleton left administrative positions with the archdiocese to take over as full time pastor of the inner city parish in 1994.

He told NCR in a telephone interview Dec. 19, “Once it became clear that our parish was going to be clustered then it was also quite clear that I would not be pastor of the cluster because I am already past retirement age.” Gumbleton will be 77 next month.

Gumbleton said that he had hoped to continue to live at St. Leo’s but the request had been denied. “I suppose it’s so that the new pastor has a chance to take over and be seen as the pastor,” he said.

“If I’m hanging around too much, it could make it more difficult for him, and I don’t want that. My main concern is that the parish keeps going, so I don’t want to do something that would be divisive,” he said.

He said he was to take up residence “at a couple nearby places.” He said, “I will not be pastor here, but I will still be functioning as a bishop. I will be doing confirmations and I will still be celebrating Mass publicly, but it will be at various places not one place.”...

Gumbleton also said he was anxious that his last days at St. Leo’s not be turned into “a media circus.”

“I would just as soon not have Sunday liturgy become something that is about me. I want to keep the parish going as a parish as we have for 20 some years,” he said.

“I don’t see any point in people coming to demonstrate or anything of the sort. It’s not like it’s my funeral Mass or something like that. I just want everything to continue to be as much for the parish as possible and not be flooded with outsiders.

“Christmas celebrations and Sunday liturgies should continue to be parish liturgies and not liturgies that are all about me. We have a very vibrant parish community and I want it to be that way.”