Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, has long served as an outstanding voice and witness for peace and justice in the Catholic Church. From his early opposition to the Vietnam War, his work on the U.S. Bishops’ historic pastoral on nuclear weapons, his peacemaking missions and solidarity with marginalized communities around the globe, and the promotion of reform and renewal in the church, he has offered a prophetic model of faithful discipleship.
Now his story is now told in an inspiring new biography: No Guilty Bystander: The Extraordinary Life of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton by Frank Fromherz and Suzanne Sattler, IHM. Once the youngest bishop in the United States, Gumbleton, now 93, continues to set an extraordinary example of faithfulness and leadership for the church today.
Fifteen years ago, Richard R. Gaillardetz, an outstanding lay theologian, wrote his landmark book, Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent. Steven Bevans called it “a breakthrough in ecclesiology, a fresh and profound theology that recognizes both the radical missionary nature of the church and its new global reality, rooted in its local identity.” Now, in a revised edition, Gaillardetz applies developments from the “Francis era” that confirm his book’s original vision and brings it up to date.
This fall marks the 50th anniversary of the CIA-assisted military coup in Chile. I Surrender: A Memoir of Chile’s Dictatorship, 1975, takes up the story two years later, when Kathy Osberger, a recent Notre Dame graduate and lay volunteer traveled to Santiago to teach in a Catholic grade school. Upon arrival she was told a secret: the religious women she would live with sheltered dissidents in the cross-hairs of Pinochet’s secret police. Soon, she too would find herself caught in a web of intrigue and terror. As Kathleen O’Connor notes, “I Surrender witnesses to the suffering and resilience of the Chilean people, the heroic lives of her companions, and most movingly, of her encounter with the divine in the midst of life-threatening perils.”
Finally, two new books reflect the wisdom and power of African American spirituality and culture. In Down Deep in My Soul: An African American Catholic Theology of Preaching, Redemptorist Father Maurice J. Nutt offers a comprehensive treatment of preaching in the Black Catholic tradition. timone a davis calls it “a preaching masterpiece,” providing a prophetic word to awaken people from the numbness of despair to the vitality of joy in hope.”
Arthur C. Jones, in a revised edition of his classic, Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals, celebrates the spirituals both as art form and as unique and powerful cultural expression. Born out of sorrow and suffering, the spirituals continue to transmit a message of hope, faith, and liberation. As Andrew Billingsly notes, “Once in a while a book comes along that literally sings… Such is Wade in the Water. Arthur Jones has done us all a service by creating the very fiber of African-American culture.”
Robert Ellsberg, Publisher