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Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland in Memoir: I'm Gay

In a forthcoming memoir, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop, former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, acknowledges he is gay and details his struggles with his homosexuality and the Catholic church.

Weakland The AP reports: "Weakland stepped down quickly after Paul Marcoux, a former Marquette University theology student, revealed in May 2002 that he was paid $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim he made against the archbishop more than two decades earlier. The money came from the archdiocese. Marcoux went public at the height of anger over the clergy sex abuse crisis, when Catholics and others were demanding that dioceses reveal the extent of molestation by clergy and how much had been confidentially spent to settle claims. Weakland denied ever assaulting anyone. He apologized for concealing the payment...The revelations rocked the Milwaukee archdiocese, which Weakland had led since 1977. But when he publicly read a letter of apology for the scandal, Milwaukee parishioners gave him a a standing ovation...Weakland, who has been a hero for liberal Catholics because of his work on social justice and other issues, will also address in the memoirs his failures to stop abusive priests. In a videotaped deposition released last November, Weakland admitted returning guilty priests to active ministry without alerting parishioners or police. Advocates for abuse victims said that Weakland's cover up of his own sexual activity was part of a pattern of secrecy that included concealing the criminal behavior of child molesters."

The Publishers Weekly review and a report from Wisconsin's WLUK, AFTER THE JUMP...

Via Publishers Weekly: "When Weakland resigned as Milwaukee archbishop in 2002 after revelations of a past homosexual relationship and a confidential payout, it was seen as another stunning episode in the unfolding clergy abuse scandal. It was especially painful to liberal Catholics who viewed Weakland as their champion. Weakland was publicly penitent, but other events that year—chief among them the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston—made Weakland's drama a footnote. With this frank and well-told memoir, that's no longer the case. A Benedictine monk, Weakland is up front about his homosexuality in a church that preferred to ignore gays, and about his failures in overseeing pedophile priests. But this is really the poignant journey of a soul, not a mea culpa about sex, with chapters on his hardscrabble boyhood and fascinating, and sometimes sobering, insights into the life of a bishop and the tensions between the American Catholic Church and the Vatican. At points the narrative has more than enough detail on the life of a globe-trotting abbot. But overall this is an invaluable historical record and a moving personal confession."

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  1. Weakland is not gay... he is a child molester. The catholic church continues to give the gays a bad name. No wonder they think we are all perverts. I think priests should replace the scary clown in the childhood nightmare realm.

    Posted by: Mike | May 12, 2009 9:36:12 AM

  2. Why isn't Weakland in prison? By Weakland's own admission, didn't he participate in a conspiracy to obstruct justice?

    Posted by: noah | May 12, 2009 9:56:07 AM

  3. Mike-

    Watch your accusations without knowledge of the facts. Weakland may have been a hypocrite, and he may have help to shield others during the sex abuse scandal, but he himself was involved in an adult, gay relationship.

    I realize Weakland will find little sympathy on these discussion boards, but as someone raised with a strong religious identity, the gay community too often and easily dismisses the challenge those in the church face to either separate or integrate to halves of one's self, particularly when they are so often told the two are incongruous. Weakland has taken a huge step that will challenge the Church's teachings and hypocrisy, and will allow other Catholics to begin to question whether their faith and their sexual identity can live in unison, or whether they must be forced to choose between two sides of themselves.

    Posted by: Deepak | May 12, 2009 10:13:35 AM

  4. Wow, a gay member of the catholic clergy, who woulda thunk it? Next thing you know there will be child molesting priests and sadistic, abusive nuns.

    Posted by: shane | May 12, 2009 10:35:02 AM

  5. Louis CK explains it all for you:

    Posted by: dean morris | May 12, 2009 12:12:27 PM

  6. Pedophilia is the attraction to pre-pubescent children. Most of the priests molested teenage adolescent males. We in the gay community need to stop passing the buck on to pedophiles. This was not a pedophile priest scandal. It was a gay priest scandal. Back in the 1950's many gay Catholic men sought refuge in the priesthood because they felt they could not be true to themselves. This led to a life of lies and a repressed sexuality that manifested itself in the sexual abuse of the young males in their charge. There is an old saying that "you are only as sick as your secrets." It is no coincidence that corresponding with the evaporating need to keep one's homosexuality a secret, the Catholic Church is suffering a shortage of priests at crisis levels. These men were both offenders that need to be punished and victims of the sad legacy of the closet. Like it or not, they are our brothers.

    Posted by: Jim | May 12, 2009 12:17:34 PM

  7. Gay men entering the priesthood in order to get out of getting married didn't begin in the 1950's. This has been going on ever since the celibacy mandate in the 11th century. In my tortured youth, I considered the priesthood, and in all the time I spent at monasteries and seminaries, I never once met a straight priest.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 7, 2009 5:01:00 AM

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