By Gudrun Schultz

DETROIT, Michigan, January 26, 2006 ( – Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who is known as an activist for homosexuality in the Church, has handed in his resignation to the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce the resignation today.

Bishop Gumbleton resisted mandatory retirement last year when he reached the age of 75, asking to continue on as Auxiliary Bishop to Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida. His request, given to the head of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Giovanni Re, was denied.

“Some time ago he indicated that my request to defer my resignation was not acceptable,” Bishop Gumbleton said in an open letter to his parishioners at St. Leo’s Church.

Bishop Gumbleton has spent his years of spiritual authority in the Catholic Church working to promote the homosexual lifestyle. He is affiliated with numerous gay activist organizations such as the Triangle Foundation, the Rainbow Sash Movement, and New Ways Ministry, SHARE, and Call to Action. In 1995 he received the Call to Action leadership award.

He has been a prolific speaker and writer on the subject of homosexual acceptance in the Church, openly challenging the Church’s teaching that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered.”

Speaking to a conference for New Ways Ministry, a psuedo-Catholic movement that has been banned by the Church for openly promoting homosexual behavior, Bishop Gumbleton once outlined his position on homosexuality:

“âEUR¦homosexual people are not disordered people. They are psychologically healthy people. … Homosexuals are as healthy as anyone else.”

Bishop Gumbleton has recently been campaigning against the Vatican’s direction that homosexual men should not be admitted to the priesthood. Gumbleton revealed earlier this month that 60 years ago, as a teenager, he was sexually molested by a Catholic priest. He has called for legislative changes that would allow time-sensitive allegations of priestly abuse come to trial, a suggestion that has triggered intensive controversy.

Gumbleton maintains that his work as a Bishop will continue, despite having retirement forced on him. It is not clear, however, if Cardinal Maida will allow him to remain in his position as pastor to St. Leo’s Church. Archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath suggested Cardinal Maida would raise major questions over Bishop Gumbleton’s history of activism, according to the Detroit Free Press.