Episcopal Spine Alert in Michigan

Bishop Gumbleton asked not to speak in Michigan diocese

A controversial liberal bishop has cancelled a planned speaking engagement in Michigan at the request of the local bishop. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton had been scheduled to speak at a conference organized by Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice. But he withdrew after Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette asked him not to make the appearance.

In a public explanation of his request, Bishop Sample said: “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.” He added this his decision to bar an appearance by Bishop Gumbleton had “absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak.”

Bishop Sample pointed out that it is “common courtesy” for any bishop who plans a public appearance in another diocese to alert the resident bishop well in advance. He indicated that Bishop Gumbleton had not given him notice until shortly before the planned event– thus leaving him with no option but to disrupte the schedule. “It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption,” Bishop Sample said.

Bishop Gumbleton, a retired auxiliary of the Detroit archdiocese, has spoken frequently for anti-war groups. He has also shown sympathy for proponents of same-sex marriage and the ordination of women. Bishop Sample emphasized that it was Bishop Gumbleton’s positions on these latter issues that prompted his action. He acknowledged that the older bishop would not have been speaking directly on these issues during his appearance in Marquette, but said that it was likely the questions of homosexuality or women’s ordination would have arisen in discussions. (Source)

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