January 24, 2006

Gumbleton's disclosure underscores differences between survivors, bishops



I’m a fan of Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. There isn’t much on which we disagree. His curriculum vitae reads like an encyclopedia of social justice.

When he broke with his brother bishops and supported the right of a clergy abuse survivor to a day in civil court, I joined fellow survivors’ advocates in saying “Hooray!”

When he disclosed that as a teenage seminary student, a priest had sexually abused him (NCR, Jan. 20), I admired his courage.

I nonetheless find aspects of his revelation disquieting.

It pains me to criticize how an abuse survivor handles his experience. Then again, this particular abuse survivor has been a priest for 50 years and a bishop for 38. He was at Dallas in 2002. In that light, it is my hope that both Bishop Gumbleton and my fellow advocates and survivors will indulge me. I acknowledge that young Tommy Gumbleton, and His Excellency Thomas Gumbleton, auxiliary of Detroit, are the same person but for time. The choices made by the public figure call for comment.

The bishop declined to name the deceased criminal.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2006 01:47 PM