Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bishop Vs. Bishop

Here's something you don't see every day. Bishop Sample of Marquette, a young prelate we've mentioned before, has told Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, an older retired prelate with a reputation for whackjobbery and dissent, to stay out of his diocese.

LifeSiteNews with the story:

Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample, 49-years-old and one of the youngest US Catholic bishops, recently banned Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, 79, a retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and notorious promoter of homosexuality, contraception, and homosexual and women's ordination, from entering and speaking in his diocese, citing his pastoral duty to defend the "faith and morals" of the Catholic Church. The controversial bishop was set to address the group Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice.

This is pretty huge, I think. Public confrontation is probably not the best of all worlds, and indications are that Sample tried to keep the situation quiet, it's high time that our shepherds take responsibility for their flocks and put the cuffs on those who would injure the unity of the Church. That's what His Excellency is doing here.

"Given 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, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility."

The elder prelate, who once held the title of Vicar General of Detroit, counts himself as a member of radical heterodox groups such as New Ways Ministry and Call to Action, both of which have been censured by the Vatican for moral and doctrinal reasons, especially over the promotion of homosexual behavior as a valid normative lifestyle. Members of Call to Action are also excommunicated in one US diocese and the group agitates for contraception, abortion, divorce and remarriage, and change in the governmental structure of the Church.

Not only that, but this isn't +Gumbleton's first rodeo with exclusion:

In 2007, bishop Gerald F. Kicanas banned Gumbleton from entering his jurisdiction after he discovered that Call to Action had arranged for him to speak at Catholic churches and schools in the diocese.

I wonder how many other cases like this I've missed out on. Given the hierarchical demographics in the US, another decade or so might see guys like +Sample as the rule. The USCCB might become an arm of orthodoxy. What a weird situation that would be to see our shepherds united for the good of the Church, rather than scattered by the winds of political correctness. More than a few folks tagged the Obama situation as a turning point. Maybe that's emboldened guys to speak out more. I don't know.

Whatever it is, let's hope it is contagious.

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