Thomas Gumbleton

Thomas Gumbleton

: Photo from Creative Commons / Author of Photo: mike.benedetti


* Catholic Bishop
* Founder of Pax Christi USA
* Calls the U.S. an evil empire that engages in genocidal campaigns, comparing it to the ancient Roman Empire

Ordained to the priesthood in 1956, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is the pastor of St. Leo’s parish in Detroit, Michigan. In 1964 he graduated from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, Italy, as a Doctor of Canon Law. Four years later he became a bishop of the Catholic Church.

Gumbleton is the founder of a Catholic peace organization called Pax Christi USA. He was also on the advisory board of Witness for Peace. He is also a former president of Bread for the World (1976-84) and co-founder of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (1980). He has been a board member of the MK Gandhi institute of Non-violence, New Ways Ministry, Witness for Peace, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He writes a weekly column, titled “The Peace Pulpit,” which appears on the website of the National Catholic Reporter.

In July 2002, Gumbleton gave the keynote speech at the National Assembly of Pax Christi USA. His speech featured many of the same condemnations usually found in similar speeches made by pacifists and communists. He said that the United States of America is an evil empire, that President Bush is an evil capitalist, that the United States engages in genocidal campaigns, et cetera. Gumbleton even attempted to compare the U.S. to the Roman Empire. He alluded to ancient Rome’s Pax Romana, saying the world today is ruled by the doctrine of Pax Americana; the implication was that America is an imperialist nation.

Yet Gumbleton does not cite the concentration camps liberated by Americans. He fails to mention the Russians whom America saved from extermination by the Germans, or the Chinese whom Americans rescued from enslavement by the Japanese. He does not include the Koreans saved from communist reeducation centers and killing fields because of American military intervention. He does not reference the Muslims in the Balkans saved from ethnic cleansing because of America. And he neglects to point out the Americans who sacrificed their lives to save people around the world by virtue of either their humanitarian, financial, technological, or military efforts.

Misinformation, deceit, invective, and sophistry the hallmarks of Gumbleton. He and his disciples believe that if there is injustice anywhere in the world, if there is hunger somewhere on the globe, if there pestilence, famine, war, or plague anywhere in this global village we call Earth, it is the fault of the people and the government of the United States of America.

Gumbleton maintains a visceral hatred of the United States. His diatribes cite data of U.S. military actions without mentioning the reason for those military activities. Gumbleton joins other clerics and laymen in issuing statements, publishing declarations, and organizing civil disobedience against the U.S., all in the name of God, justice, and peace.

However, as is often the case with pacifists, their facts and figures are not correct. Their declarations are mere diatribes. Their statements state nothing except platitudes. Examples of Gumbleton’s disinformation, deception, and factual errors are legion.

In 1984, Catholic bishops who participated in writing a pastoral letter (of which Gumbleton was the principle author) about nuclear weapons testified before a House Foreign Affairs committee about nuclear weapons and defense issues. The bishops disapproved of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the MX missile. The bishops stated that the MX and the SDI would not work. How and where they obtained this knowledge of sophisticated defense technology is unknown.

In March 1986, Gumbleton was a signer of a letter issued by Witness for Peace, a pro-Sandinista organization. The letter stated that the Sandinistas were not exterminating the Miskito Indian tribe and there was no religious persecution by the Sandinistas. However, Russell Means, certainly no conservative ideologue, and the Anti-Defamation League knew differently. Means publicly condemned the Sandinistas for their genocide of the Miskitos. The ADL complained about Sandinista anti-Semitism.

In a 1994 speech at Creighton University, Gumbleton said that North Korea was part of the nuclear club. Yet, in his 2002 speech to the Pax Christi USA National Assembly he said that Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were non-nuclear nations and were parties to the non-proliferation treaty.

Gumbleton’s credibility about these issues is questionable. However, his reasoning is even more problematic. He is a liberation theologist (liberation theology is a philosophy that could be characterized as Communists for Christ). He has protested American foreign policy from Viet Nam, to Angola, to Central America, to SDI, to the Gulf War, to the Balkans, to the present.

Shortly after 9/11, Gumbleton was a principal organizer of a rally in Los Angeles protesting military action in Afghanistan. Gumbleton joined with the International Action Center (an organization affiliated with a Kimist domestic terrorist organization), the National Lawyers Guild (the Stalinist-created lawyers’ group), and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (apologists for Islamic terrorists) to convene this rally.

Gumbleton was one of the few bishops to dissent from the American Catholic Bishops’ statement endorsing the Afghan intervention.

In their 1986 book Betrayal of the Church, Edmund and Julia Robb quote Gumbleton as saying, “The use of force, in self-defense or in the defense of others, is ‘unChristlike. . . . We must defend against evil by goodness . . . if that seems contrary to human reasoning, reasoning has to go by the boards.’” Gumbleton was also quoted as saying that “war is unwarranted in any circumstances.”

Gumbleton and Ramsey Clark led a delegation to Iraq in May 1998 that delivered food and medicine, in violation of UN sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s regime. In 2000, Gumbleton was part of a Peoples’ Tribunal in Chicago investigating the human rights abuses of the US allied Colombian government.

These are just a few examples of Gumbleton’s activism, which reveal his anti-Americanism and anti-capitalism. Gumbelton, for his entire career, has consistently allied himself with – and advocated for – dictators, corrupt and brutal totalitarian governments, and genocidal despots.
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Gumbleton once told an audience that they should “surrender to the invader. Let yourself be dominated.” He explained that the use of force, even in self-defense or in the defense of others, was “unChristlike. . . . We must defend against evil by goodness . . . if that seems contrary to human reasoning, reasoning has to go by the boards.”

This profile is adapted from the article “Fifth Column  Bishop,” written by Michael Tremoglie and published by on February 17, 2003.

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