Pope Benedict XVI
has accepted the resignation of an auxiliary bishop of
Detroit, Thomas Gumbleton, a liberal voice in the U.S.
church who recently revealed that a priest abused him
60 years ago. The Vatican's brief announcement
Thursday said the pope accepted the resignation for
reasons of age. Gumbleton turned 76 last week, a year past
the normal retirement age for bishops.
Gumbleton said in an interview published last
month that he was abused in 1945 when he was a
ninth-grader at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He
is believed to be the first U.S. bishop to disclose that he
was a victim of sexual abuse by clergy. He has spoken
out in favor of extending the statute of limitations
on lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests and has
said he revealed his own abuse now because he thought it
might help other victims.
Gumbleton has also written that gay men should
be ordained, a stance that puts him at odds with
a recent Vatican document that said most gay men
should not be admitted to the priesthood.
In a 2002 article in the Jesuit magazine
America, Gumbleton denounced what he called the
scapegoating of gay priests for the clergy sex abuse crisis
battering the U.S. church and said many gay priests he
knew were carrying out their vocations admirably,
often offering a "depth of compassion not always
shared in a comparable way by heterosexual priests."
Gumbleton also writes a regular column for the
National CatholicReporter, an independent newsweekly. (AP)