Ex-Roman Catholic Archbishop Memoir on Catholic Church and Homosexuality ~ Praxis Habitus - On Race Religion & Culture

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ex-Roman Catholic Archbishop Memoir on Catholic Church and Homosexuality

Quick post: Today, the New York Times profiled 82 year old Roman Archbishop and Vatican II reformer Rembert Weakland about his gay affair and the $450,000 spent to keep it quiet. His memoir “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop” will be published by Eerdmans.

Rembert Weakland was elected as the worldwide leader of the Benedictine Order before his appointment by Pope Paul VI to the archbishop’s seat in Milwaukee, where he served for 25 years.

Weakland's background as church reformer and homosexual makes his story compelling and relevant to the future of the Roman Church.

From the article:
In 2002...on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the archbishop watched a man he had fallen in love with 23 years earlier say in an interview that the Milwaukee archdiocese paid him $450,000 years before to keep quiet about his affair with the archbishop — an affair the man was now calling date rape.

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning Photo wa...Image via Wikipedia

He said his lawyers recommended paying Mr. Marcoux the $450,000 settlement, which came from church funds. Asked if he had regrets, Archbishop Weakland said, “I certainly worry about the sum.”

Many Catholics in Milwaukee said they were angrier about the secret settlement with Mr. Marcoux than with the sexual liaison.

Archbishop Weakland, who had been the intellectual touchstone for church reformers, has said little publicly since then.

Now, in an interview and in a memoir scheduled for release next month, he is speaking out about how internal church politics affected his response to the fallout from his romantic affair; how bishops and the Vatican cared more about the rights of abusive priests than about their victims; and why Catholic teaching on homosexuality is wrong.

“If we say our God is an all-loving god,” he said, “how do you explain that at any given time probably 400 million living on the planet at one time would be gay? Are the religions of the world, as does Catholicism, saying to those hundreds of millions of people, you have to pass your whole life without any physical, genital expression of that love?”

He said he had been aware of his homosexual orientation since he was a teenager and suppressed it until he became archbishop, when he had relationships with several men because of “loneliness that became very strong.”

"God is love." Image via Wikipedia

Archbishop Weakland was among those who publicly questioned the need for a male-only celibate priesthood. He also led the American bishops in a two-year process of writing a pastoral letter on economic justice, holding hearings on the subject around the country.

“He was one of the most gifted leaders in the post-Vatican II church in America,” said the Rev. Jim Martin, a Jesuit priest, author and associate editor of America, a Catholic magazine, “and certainly beloved by the left, and sadly that gave his critics more ammunition.”
More on Weakland's ministry and the scandal can be found at the New York Times website. His book A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop comes out next week.

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