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

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


16 replies
    • J. Jogan
      J. Jogan says:

      If Peter and Paul and the other apostles and disciples took a while to get straight what Jesus wanted, and argued with each other about it, it isn’t too surprising that two bishops would disagree today.

  1. Charles
    Charles says:

    How anyone in the ministry can deign to place an obstacle between a person and their creator is beyond my comprehension. Wasn’t the priesthood, beginning with the call of Peter, to bring people TO God? Since when was keeping people away from God part of the instructions? I think clerics have made that up to justify their office.

  2. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Jesus did not deny any of the Apostles at the Last Supper, even Judas, whom Jesus knew of his actions that evening. If Vigerneron’s warped policy holds any truth, there should be NO ONE receiving communion since ALL are sinners!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] outcry from Catholic parents in Michigan, and from Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (links here and here) and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. He also banned Fortunate Families from using church […]

  2. […] who support marriage equality should deny themselves Communion. Catholic parents and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton strongly criticized that statement, encouraging all to keep receiving […]

  3. […] equality Catholics should not receive Communion (though his auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton thought otherwise) and is on record saying Pope Francis “didn’t say anything different” on […]

  4. […] outcry from Catholic parents in Michigan, and from Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (links here and here) and Episcopal Bishop Gene […]

  5. […] Mass was presided over by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who recently said all are welcome in the Catholic community in response to the archbishop’s exclusionary statements, along with other priests who […]

  6. […] Thomas Gumbleton.  You can read Bishop Gumbleton’s responses, which contradict Vigneron, here and […]

  7. […]  refrain from  Communion, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton instead told Catholics last week, “Don’t stop coming to Communion.” He expanded that message of inclusivity in his weekly National Catholic Reporter column, […]

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