Bishop Gumbleton Offers Words of Hope and Encouragement

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. 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

0 replies
  1. David J Martin
    David J Martin says:

    Bishop Gumbleton’s words echoed those of my spiritual director/confessor at Christmas penance service as I stood before him – hand in hand – and questioned – as a gay, married 38 yrs with five children, partnered man who still loves and supports his wife and children – how do I reconcile the teachings of my institutional Church which would condemn me (as an adulterer,,. inherently flawed in my homosexual or bisexual orientation), who lives apart from family because of exclusion by an adult son’s homophobic hatred when my heart is at peace…I am truly happy for the first time in my life and believe I am where the Holy Spirit has lead me in my heart – how do I reconcile those teachings with my sincere belief in the latter ? His counsel – you have followed your heart which has/is true – conscience is a wonderful gift of the Spirit – it trumps Church teachings in your situation. Be happy. Namaste

  2. Brother Benilde Montgomery, O.S.F.
    Brother Benilde Montgomery, O.S.F. says:

    Every blessing of God on Bishop Gumbleton. He kept us going during the Viet Nam War and on every day for the rest of his life. He is one of the few real bishops who make sense to me. He has that great combination of depth and simplicity, plus a totally generous pastoral view which intensifies my faith as often as I hear his name. Let us every day offer a Te Deum for his very existance

  3. Paula Mattras
    Paula Mattras says:

    Yes, thank God for Bishop Gumbleton. What a brave and courageous man of God he is. He has the courage and veracity that everyone should have. When certain things do not make sense and one prays for God’s guidance, a clearer picture forms in one’s conscience. Conscience is prime. What a freeing thought that is. Joy and gentle blessings, Paula Mattras


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