Bishop Gumbleton’s Resignation Predictable

In spite of the fact that Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton submitted his letter of resignation on January 21, 2006-nearly a year after his 75th birthday, I can’t help but wonder if Gumbleton was forced out by the circumstances surrounding his public revelation of abuse as well as his courageous stand with victims of priest abuse. Bishop Gumbleton denied that he was forced out but it seems very coincidental that this comes on the heels of his public statements. According to Canon Law, the law which governs all church activity, a bishop must submit his resignation to the Pope upon his 75th birthday. Gumbleton did not do that. Instead, he wrote a letter to the cardinal in charge of bishops asking that he continue since his health was good. Cardinal Giovanni Re, Secretary for the Congregation of Bishops, wrote back stating that such a request was “unacceptable”. So the country loses a prophetic voice in the office of bishop. However, as Bishop Gumbleton himself pointed out, he is still a bishop and will continue to fight for peace and justice. Let’s hope we have one hundred more Bishop Gumbletons.