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Bishop stands up to Vatican on retirement requirement

Detroit auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has hinted that he may resist the demand of Church law to submit his resignation, because the Vatican response to resignations is "so arbitrary - some of them they ignore, but if you are the least bit progressive, they accept it immediately."

Bishop Gumbleton turned 75 on Wednesday. Bishops are required to request permission to retire, when they celebrate their 75th birthday.

Catholic World News reports that for years, Bishop Gumbleton has ranked among the most "progressive" bishops in the American hierarchy. A consistent critic of American foreign policy, he has been at the forefront of protests against nuclear weapons, support for governments fighting leftist rebels in Central America, and military intervention in Iraq.

In recent years, Bishop Gumbleton has also attracted public attention with his criticism of Church denigration of women and gays.

A protégé of Detroit's Cardinal John Dearden, Gumbleton became an auxiliary bishop when he was only 38 years old. Since that time he has remained thoroughly committed to his vision of a socially active Church.

Activist US bishop may refuse retirement (Catholic World News 26/1/05)

The Peace Pulpit: Homilies by Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton (National Catholic Reporter)
Bishop Thomas John Gumbleton (
Archdiocese of Detroit | Bishops
Thomas J. Gumbleton: Teaching Authentically (America 23/4/01)

Detroit's Bishop Tom not ready to step down (Toledo Blade 21/1/05)
Detroit cleric speaks up for peace (Toledo Blade 16/10/04)

28 Jan 2005