Gumbleton to Pro-Marriage Equality Catholics: ‘Don’t Stop Going to Communion’

April 12, 2013
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, has told Catholics to ignore Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s recent statement discouraging pro-marriage equality Catholics from receiving communion.

Gumbleton, who is a long-time supporter of LGBT people, said in a MyFox2 interview:

“Don’t stop going to communion. You’re okay.”

Gumbleton explained his position from a pastoral point of view:

“If you look at it from a pastoral point of view where you’re trying to reach out to people, trying to draw them in, then the last thing you want to do is impose a penalty or make them feel like they have to impose a penalty upon themselves.”

His explanation also was based on the importance of Catholics using their own consciences to make decisions about receiving communion, something that Bondings 2.0 stressed in our reporting of Vigneron’s statement:

“Gumbleton says it’s a matter of conscience, which is deeply personal.

” ‘Not everybody’s going to come to the same conclusion at the same time, so we have to keep on working with people and trusting people that they’re trying to do the right thing,’ he remarked.

“Gumbleton read from a pastoral letter penned years ago at a bishop’s conference called ‘Always Our Children.’

“Judging the sinfulness of any particular act is a matter ultimately between God and the individual person.”

“He also says that an individual person must choose whether or not to receive communion.

” ‘Their conscience is the ultimate voice they have to follow,’ Gumbleton explained. ‘A person coming up to communion has a right to make their own decision about am I in a state of grace?… Am I ready to receive? Well, that’s for the person to decide not for the minister or not for any bishop.’ “

Bishop Gumbleton is the 1995 recipient of New Ways Ministry’s Bridge Building Award. He has served on New Ways Ministry’s Board, and has spoken at several of our national symposiums and other programs.

Kudos to Bishop Gumbleton for speaking so forthrightly about the role of conscience–something that too few bishops seem able to do.  Thanks to him, too,  for promoting good pastoral directives about who gets to decide about who will receive communion.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

 


Bishop Gumbleton Offers Words of Hope and Encouragement

January 20, 2012

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a longtime advocate for LGBT justice in the Catholic Church, spoke recently at a Michigan community dialogue sponsored by the state’s LGBT Faith Initiative.

PrideSource.com reports that Gumbleton offered words of hope to the interfaith meeting:

” ‘There was a piece in the paper I read recently about Joan of Arc, and it made me think. They condemned her and burned her at the stake, but later she was canonized. So the Catholic Church can change,’ said Gumbleton.”

Gumbleton also explained the Catholic teaching on conscience, stating:

“The saving factor in Catholic teaching is we have, above everything else, primacy of conscience. That means that I must understand my own heart. I make the decision, is it right for me? The church’s teaching does provide conflict, but it is solvable in this way.”

He also encouraged the attendees to remain steadfast in their struggle:

” ‘Jesus paid a terrible price for standing up for what he believed in. He paid with death,’ he said. ‘But most people don’t go that far. Most people back off. They get to a certain point and they just back off. Jesus didn’t do that.’ “

Other Catholics speaking at the conference were Linda Karle-Nelson and Thomas Nelson, whom the article described in this way:

“Each speaker on the panel had different approaches to the conflicts within their faiths. The Nelsons have kept a light hearted, loving attitude, while providing resources for other parents and loved ones of those who come out. In addition to starting PFLAG Manistee, they are part of Fortunate Families, a network of 140 Catholic parents in 29 states who are available to talk to other Catholics dealing with their children’s sexual orientation or gender expression.”

Like Joan of Arc,  folks like Bishop Gumbleton and the Nelsons who keep on advocating ardently and lovingly for LGBT equalitly will eventually win the day.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry


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