Dear members and supporters of Pax Christi USA,
I am pleased to announce on behalf of the National Council that Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has been named Bishop President Emeritus of Pax Christi USA in honor of his decades-long commitment to the Catholic peace movement.
Bishop Gumbleton’s involvement with Pax Christi USA dates back to his crucial role as a co-founder in 1972. He was one of the few U.S. bishops willing to condemn the Vietnam War at the time. In the intervening years, Bishop Gumbleton has advocated courageously for the cause of peace with justice, work rooted deeply in nonviolence. He has traveled the world to accompany peoples mired in conflict and violence, all the while condemning publicly the militarism behind so much of their suffering. He was instrumental in the U.S. bishops’ 1983 peace pastoral.
Beyond the cause of peace, Bishop Gumbleton has been an advocate for many other justice issues. He stood against his own archbishop’s decision to close parishes attended predominantly by communities of color, and has been a strong advocate for racial justice in his hometown of Detroit and elsewhere. He has been a healing presence to people harmed by the institutional Catholic Church, including to LGBTQ people and their families and to survivors of sexual abuse by clergy.
Pope Francis has expressed a need for more “credible witnesses” in our world, people who refuse to be indifferent and who choose to risk for the Gospel. I wrote recently, “Few Christians living today offer as credible a witness as Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, his life a masterclass in how to pursue justice even when it hurts … in the wounded church and the troubled world we inhabit, studying the credible witness of one who refused to be indifferent and risked so much for the Gospel is precisely what we need to be people of hope and action.”
We will be honoring Bishop Gumbleton during Pax Christi Michigan’s annual assembly on April 18, 2020. More information on that event and ways you can help honor Bishop Gumbleton will be forthcoming. For now, join me in a prayer of gratitude for Bishop Gumbleton and all that he has given to Pax Christi USA for nearly fifty years.
In Christ’s peace,
National Council Chair