Monday, November 30, 2009

Bishop of the Week: Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Michigan

When I began my Bishop of the Week posts, Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette was one of the first Bishops that came to mind. Bishop Sample is the perfect example of a Bishop who speaks out against evil and who faithfully fulfills his job as a shepherd of the faithful. He doesn't allow Church teachings in his diocese to be replaced with whatever is politically popular at the moment.

The Bishop was again thrust into the media spotlight this October when he took appropriate steps to keep Bishop Gumbleton from speaking in his diocese. He explained in a letter that can be found on the diocese website, that is definitely worth reading. Here's a highlight:

"As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility.

I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion. In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines." (emphasis mine)

It's hardly surprising that those involved who attempted to bring Bishop Gumbleton to Marquette responded in a less than gracious manner to this action claiming that it was a violation of "civil rights." And then there was this rather trashy blog, which accused the Bishop of running a "Catholic gestapo." It's never really popular to do the right thing, especially with our skewed secular culture's way of looking at "right" and "wrong" through morally relativistic lenses.

Thank God that there are still good Bishops in this world who are loyal to the Church's teachings AND willing to stand up for those teachings!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting & worthwhile post. I wasn't even aware bishops would need permission to speak/preach in another's diocese.


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