Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fans upset that retired bishop Gumbleton not given OK to talk in Tucson

The Tucson Citizen reported today that:

Some were disappointed. Others were disgusted. One had to leave, she said, so she wouldn't get sick because she was so angry.
Those were just a few reactions from the more than 100 people who showed up at First Christian Church on Tuesday evening to hear retired Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit speak.

The strong reactions were not because of what Gumbleton said, but because he wasn't there.
Known for speaking about homosexuality and his own childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a priest, Gumbleton instead spoke via a recorded speech shown on a DVD after Bishop Gerald Kicanas of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson refused to give permission to Gumbleton to visit Tucson last month.

"It was a real bummer," said Tucsonan Kim Fortin, 23, about not being able to see Gumbleton in person, adding that she is a lesbian and had resigned from the military because she found it, like the church, stifling.

"They say you can be a good person," she said. "You just can't be yourself."
Gumbleton's speech was titled "Homosexuality and the Church" and, among other things, discussed how the church treats homosexuals, including its own homosexual priests.
Although Gumbleton was not on stage, Fortin said she still found his taped presentation invigorating.

After Gumbleton's speech, the audience was asked if it thought homosexuality was an important issue for the church.
Fortin, like most of the audience, raised both her arms.

Call to Action Tucson, a chapter of a national Roman Catholic reform group at odds with the Vatican over social justice issues and the ordination of women, married people and homosexuals, had invited Gumbleton to speak in Phoenix and Tucson. The archbishop of the Phoenix Diocese also denied Gumbleton permission to visit there.

According to Catholic Church protocol, visiting bishops must obtain permission from the diocese they wish to visit.

"In effect, Bishop Gumbleton was silenced," said Call to Action Tucson president Lynn Bagley.
She said the DVD presentation was arranged so his voice could still be heard.
Contacted Tuesday, Kicanas said he didn't tell Gumbleton outright not to come.
"He asked my permission, and I said I wouldn't give it to him," Kicanas said. "It was his choice not to come."

Kicanas said he did not extend his permission because Gumbleton was invited by Call to Action, which has ideals that are contrary to the Catholic Church's, he said.

The complete story may be found here:


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