The Vatican has silenced an outspoken Catholic bishop, forcing him to cancel two planned talks in Arizona.
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit must seek permission from local bishops anywhere he wishes to speak, by order of the papal nuncio, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, according to local leaders of Call to Action. The group has taken a variety of positions at odds with church policy.
Normally, Catholic clergy need permission only to conduct religious services. The Vatican has penalized dissident theologians in the past, but Robert Blair Kaiser, a Phoenix author who has covered the Vatican since 1962, said he had never heard of a nuncio restricting a bishop.
A source close to Gumbleton in Detroit confirmed the nuncio’s action. A man who declined to identify himself at the nuncio’s office in Washington, D.C., said the office would not talk about any such order.
Call to Action leaders said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio, laid down the requirement to Gumbleton several months ago, reportedly as a result of testimony Gumbleton gave a year ago to the Ohio Legislature in favor of expanded time frames for abuse victims to file lawsuits.
Bishops Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix and Gerald Kicanas of Tucson refused to grant the permission.
[Via Jay Anderson]
Of course everybody knows that if the Vatican really wanted to silence Bishop Gumbelton they would have sent Silas the albino monk assassin.