Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, has told Catholics to ignore Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s recent statementdiscouraging pro-marriage equality Catholics from receiving communion.
Gumbleton, who is a long-time supporter of LGBT people, said in a MyFox2interview:
“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