Pope accepts resignation of US peace bishop

A year late and under some pressure from the Vatican Congregation for Bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit has submitted his resignation "from the office of auxiliary bishop to Cardinal [Adam] Maida."

The National Catholic Reporter reports that Gumbleton turned 75 in January last year and should have submitted a letter of resignation at that time. Catholic World News reported then that he took a stand against the requirement 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."

He wrote the Congregation for Bishops asking that he be allowed to serve as long as he was healthy. The congregation deemed the request unacceptable, and on 21 January 2006, after a year of correspondence with the Congregation, Gumbleton submitted his resignation.

Conservative blogger Domenico Bettinelli expressed alarm at the decision, commenting that retirement "probably frees him up to do more of his heterodoxy touring, going from place to place and preaching error".

Gumbleton has in fact pledged to "continue to exercise my ordained ministry as a bishop as long as I am physically capable of doing so. This means that I will continue to teach, preach, celebrate sacraments and carry on my work for justice and peace wherever I am called to do so."

He is the longest-serving active Catholic bishop in the United States, elevated by Pope Paul VI in 1968 as the youngest American priest ever to hold the title. He is longtime activist in peace and justice issues and a frequent critic of US policy, especially on war and nuclear weapons.

Gumbleton resigns as Detroit auxiliary bishop (National Catholic Reporter 2/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Archdiocese of Detroit - PDF)

Bishop reveals he was sexually abused by a priest (CathNews 12/1/06)
Bishop stands up to Vatican on retirement requirement (CathNews 28/1/05)

Pope Benedict accepts resignation of Bishop Gumbleton (Holy See 2/2/06)
Gumbleton retirement accepted (Bettnet.com 2/2/06)
The Gumbleton saga is over (Catholic Outsider 2/2/06)
Pope accepts Bishop Gumbleton's resignation (Catholic News Agency 2/2/06)
Pope Accepts Resignation of Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Gumbleton (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 2/2/06)

3 Feb 2006