January 11, 2006

Testimony of Bishop Gumberton toOhio House of Representatives

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

I am Thomas Gumbleton, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you regarding Senate Bill 17.

From the outset I wish to make it very clear that I do not speak in any official capacity on behalf of the Archdiocese of Detroit, nor any regional nor national group of bishops. However, I come before you as a priest of the Catholic church for almost 50 years and a bishop for almost 38 years. I have had many years of pastoral and administrative experience at both the parish and diocesan levels.

I also speak from my experience of listening and attempting to be responsive to the tragic stories of victims of sexual abuse. Finally, I speak out of my own experience of being exploited as a teenager through inappropriate touching by a priest.

I know you have listened for hours to the grim stories of many victims and their family members of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. I thank you for doing this. And, if I may, I extend a very sincere apology to the men and women in this room who were sexually assaulted by Catholic priests and other church leaders. I also apologize to the parents, spouses, siblings and other family members and friends of the victims. I know you, too, have suffered. I am so sorry for what each of you has endured. I know that there is no way to repair shattered innocence or to restore stolen childhoods. But I do offer my sincere apologies to all of you for what you have suffered.

Posted by kshaw at January 11, 2006 12:35 PM