Thursday, January 07, 2010

Does SNAP Push the Envelope?

A group which is famous for making noise makes more noise, but misses the Christian thing.

Victims of clergy sex abuse on Wednesday called on newly installed Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki to explain why two retired archbishops who've played prominently in the sex abuse scandal nationally - Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee and Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati - will lead liturgies next week at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

At the same time, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests are asking the archdiocese to remove from the historic church a bronze image in bas relief that depicts Weakland alongside children. He has admitted in a memoir and court depositions that he shielded abusive priests.

We'll grant this: Weakland and Pilarczyk have covered themselves with shame. They're not the only ones, but they were prominent offenders against public sensibilities.

However, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Abp. Listecki are not "approving" their actions by allowing them to make appearances. It's one thing to let Weakland and Pilarczyk show up and celebrate Mass. It would be another thing entirely for Listecki (or Dolan) to directly approve of their activity during the scandals. They haven't, and they won't. Ever.

Milwaukeeans, especially Catholic Milwaukeeans, know the score. We didn't like what we saw and made it clear. But like any other Christians, they are able to forgive.

Forgetting might take a while longer.

But Pete Isely and SNAP should think about Christian forgiveness for a change. It beats bleating and sniveling.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forgiveness? Sure, when the depth what needs to be forgiven is revealed.

Regretfully, that revelation is being prompted by a sucession of lawsuits, rather than the conscience of our Spiritual leaders, some of whom apparently have degrees in 'moral theology. which makes me wonder about bthe value of that degree.

We may yet find that SNAP's "Noise" is justified. In too, too discreet.

I'm cautiously optimistic about Bp. Listecki, and pray for him. Milwaukee is long overdue for an Archbishop with a coherent and orthodox vision. But he needs to address this in a forthright manner.

Dad29 said...

Exactly what should List'i SAY?

There are serious legal consequences to any statement he may make, you know.

Since the lawyers got in, it's no longer possible for a Bishop to say whatever he thinks, right/wrong/otherwise.

Too bad, eh?

GOR said...

Who’s really ‘pushing the envelope’ Dad…? I don’t have a lot of time for SNAP, but they have a point especially as regards Ab. Weakland and this Archdiocese. I know it is unfair to lay this at Ab. Listecki’s feet, as he has barely gotten here. But one of my knocks on Ab. Dolan was that he never put Weakland in his place – and he should have.

Weakland should have no public ‘face’ in this Archdiocese – ever again! If the man had any real humility or remorse he would see that for himself. If he can’t or won’t (and obviously won’t, as he keeps inserting himself into archdiocesan matters), then the incumbent archbishop should tell him in no uncertain terms that he is persona non grata here.

His continued public presence here is a slap in the face to the people of this Archdiocese and will be as long as he and his clerical enablers continue to foist him on the people as if nothing happened and everything is hunky dory. Judas was sent packing at The Last Supper and Our Lord didn’t invite him back, either.

Dad29 said...

I'm VERY sympathetic to your position, GOR (note that I did not comment on the bronzes in the Cathedral....yet).

However, I think it's possible that you're declaring a "right to be offended" in your position---that is, since you (and I, too) are offended at Weakland's presence, he should be banned.

I don't think that's the right viewpoint.

At the same time, you put the shoe on the correct foot: Weakland, himself (and Sklba, too, btw) should simply disappear from public view. If his sycophants must see him, let them find him--wherever he is.

That's why Dolan reportedly tried to get Weakland a spot in New Jersey just before D. went to NYC. Give Dolan credit...

It's just that nobody WANTS the guy around, any more than we do...

Terrence Berres said...

To take one example, does our Archdioces consider the Marcoux payment proper or not.

(a) If it was, then a similar payment will be deemed proper if a similar situation arises.

(b) If it was not, there would have been some visible sanction, beyond embarrassment, for Weakland, Sklba, and Schneider.

Since we did not see (b), we can assume (a) is still Archdiocesan policy.

Put shuffling priest-molesters around to this analysis. There being no visible sanction for Weakland, as SNAP points out, we should assume it's still Archdiocesan policy. Only victims' lawyers thwart its implementation.

Tom Banks said...

GOR,

I don't think many Catholics in Milwaukee particularly care for Weakland, but I don't think it would have been right for Archbishop Dolan to have totally banished the guy from the city.

I actually don't think Rembert has been too overtly out in the open pushing his strange agenda since his retirement. Sure, Rembert's new book came out, but I don't see him out making speeches all over Milwaukee calling for the ordination of women or for the Church to change Her position on homosexual acts.

I also never really saw Archbishop Weakland come out and criticize Archbishop Dolan openly in a speech or article, which I'm glad never happened.

Rembert has been tough to take, but I think we have to allow some room for Christian charity towards him. God will deal with all of us someday. Let's pray for God's mercy. (I know I need it, too!)

Anonymous said...

Imagine if you and two or three or four of your siblings might feel if you were molested by a known predator priest who was quietly and deceptively shuffled to parish after unsuspecting parish by Weakland. Imagine how you might feel seeing Weakland being given positions of prominence and honor in the archdiocese even now.

Speaking up about such callousness isn't 'sniveling.' It's compassion and common sense.

David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143, 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

Dad29 said...

Thanks, Dave.

Perhaps we don't have to "imagine." Ever think of that?

By the way, you're still sniveling. We've all been screwed, one way or the other, several times during our lives.

Move on.

GOR said...

I agree Dad that Sklba should be gone too. As to whether Dolan was behind the attempted move of Weakland to New Jersey, I hadn’t heard that and you’re probably more informed than me. If he did, good for him - but he should have acted years before. Too little, too late.

Tom, the issue of charity towards all is difficult for all of us – and yes, we’re all sinners and in need of forgiveness. But where is the charity for Weakland’s victims? And all of us in this archdiocese are his victims – some more than others. To see him parade around in all his episcopal regalia as if nothing happened is offensive to a lot of people.

Charity doesn’t obviate justice. Where is the justice in someone who has betrayed his flock being allowed to continue in public without any repercussions? As we saw with the Dallas Charter, there is one law for priests who offend and another for bishops who offend. What priest who had done what Weakland did would still be involved in the parish he had betrayed? The hierarchy protects their own – and their actions have been a scandal too.

Terrence Berres said...

If Weakland oversaw a sheep ranch, and it was learned he shuffled around shepherds who sexually abused sheep, wouldn't he have paid a higher price? Or if he oversaw an aviary and likewise kept on abusers of many sparrows? And in either case, would his successors treat him as we're seeing him being treated?

Dad29 said...

First, Terry, we do not KNOW 'what price' Rembert paid, do we? And all we know about the treatment afforded him by his successors is that he's allowed to appear in public at A'd'c'n functions.

We can concur that W'land should not be appearing. Perhaps List'ki will do something about that.

As to the 'charity/justice' question, GOR, what would you suggest? W'nd took a vow of poverty; there are likely no assets. He's not technically a criminal, so he can't be jailed.

Yes, the Dallas Charter covers the Bishops. That's b/c they WROTE the silly thing. No different from Congress exempting itself from a lot of legislation.

Now that's a scary thought, eh?

Terrence Berres said...

"First, Terry, we do not KNOW 'what price' Rembert paid, do we?"

Yep, to all appearances, it's none. As I said, no visible sanction. Unlike, say, a lay person caught with their hand in the parish till.

I long ago suggested he at least be sent on the rounds of parish festival dunk tanks, but I suppose he's gotten too old for that.

Dad29 said...

Yah.

But some punishments are administered privately, no?

Tom Banks said...

GOR,

I think Weakland has already received a good amount of justice. The guy had to resign in total humiliation! The guy's vision for the Church that he worked for his whole life has been basically reduced to ashes! The guy can't even go to a parish in his Archdiocese to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation without a huge uproar and outrage!

I would rather not see Weakland at Archdiocesan functions either, but he still has a right as a bishop and as a baptized Catholic to show up and worship at Mass. Weakland still possesses the indelible mark of Holy Orders. I hardly think Weakland walking in for Mass with the other bishops at Listecki's
Installation Mass could be considered "parading around."

Also, at what point do we say a priest or bishop has sinned so much that we won't even allow him to show up at Mass or basic church functions? Should ushers at Mass also stop the grave sinners among the ordinary faithful from entering a church? Christ ate with sinners, and I don't think we should be so quick to totally banish a sinner from our midst, even one like Rembert.

Let's say that Listecki bans Weakland from Archdiocesan functions. If people find out about that, it could draw even more attention to Weakland and make him look like the poor victim. I could see the liberal press having a field day with that one.

(I realize others may reasonably come to another point of view on this matter.)

GOR said...

Tom, I understand you are attempting fairness to all, but in my view misguided. No one is denying Weakland the right to participate in the Sacraments as a private citizen or celebrating Mass privately. It is when he inserts himself into public celebrations, as at the installations of Dolan and Listecki, that I view him as ‘parading around’ and thumbing his nose at the faithful. Same for the aborted attempt to confer Confirmation at St. John Vianney some years ago – which, incidentally, was only prevented when the parishioners objected - not pre-empted, as it should have been, by Ab. Dolan.

It is all of a piece. A man of true humility and remorse would not feel himself worthy of such participation and, if invited, would refuse. As with Fr. Maciel of the Legionaries of Christ I believe he should have been directed to not engage in any public appearances and spend his remaining days in prayer and private reflection for the travesty of his administration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He betrayed the trust of his flock, dragged the Archdiocese through the mud and we’re still suffering the effects of that in the dissent and liturgical aberrations of his clerical followers.

So he has the indelible mark of Holy Orders? True, and Judas was one of The Twelve personally chosen by Our Lord also.

Albert said...

Dad29: You are forgiven.

Anonymous said...

dad29, seems obvious you are unclear about the whole issue. Do you recall the hush money in the amount of $450k that Weakland spent - diocese money that you most likely contributed to? Weakland is a fraud, nothing more- as for Listecki, well you have us there, what's better than a politician with a collar? Consider the big picture here- the church continually turns its back on the abuse issue, but asks people to remain faithful and good-hypocrites all around. I no longer attend or contribute-I hold my position with honesty- do you ?

Terrence Berres said...

"But some punishments are administered privately, no?"

That wouldn't even rise to the level of the assurances to parents that, if they don't go to the cops, something will be done privately about a priest who molested their kid.

Anonymous said...

Dad: referencing your 2nd comment, "What exactly should Bp. Listecki say?"

Well, gee, it would be more than refreshing and in fact damn appropriate for him to start with the truth. One thing that made me uncomfortable in his homily was the infamous 'mistakes were made' phrase. That passive shrugging off any any responsibility should offend you intellectually, if not morally.

So, have the Bishops backed themselevs into such a legal corner that THEY CAN NO LONGER TELL THE TRUTH? And essentially perjure themselves by pleading they don't remember. or they 'didn't understand' abuse of children was wrong. Then how will this all end? And can you really blame SNAP for its noisy response?

I don't really care about what happens to Weakland at this point. I do care if Bp. Listecki continues the subterfuge and fails to clean house.

Look at the balance sheet. The legal nonsense hasn't worked anyways, and has visited more pain and suffering on victims (remember the Defense attorney's high-five?)


BTW, is the 73 mil 'Archdiocesan Supporting Fund' exempt from bancruptcy court?

GOR said...

Anon 8:10 - Please don’t let what has happened here and in the Church in general turn you away from your Faith. I am as angry and disappointed at what has happened in the Catholic Church over the past 40 years as anyone (and perhaps I have more reasons than most for this…). Even though I have to grit my teeth frequently at what I see and hear, I would not let that turn me away from the Church.

We’re none of us perfect and we only have to render an account for our own lives and transgressions – thank God! The Church has weathered many storms in the past 2000+ years and will weather more in the future. Individuals may fail - and fail Her - but we know She will endure as we have Our Lord’s word on that. But our endurance is not assured and we have to work at it every day.

Justice will be served - if not in this life, then in the next – for all of us. Which is why we are all in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

Hello GOR - I do appreciate your input and mean no disrespect, it is just so difficult to trust on that level. I find the help I am getting does some good, but memories don't fade very easily. On the outside now, I watch the church's population decline year by year. I don't wish for this, but doesn't that seem to be a strong indicator of what is going on ?

Anonymous said...

GOR,

I think you have persuaded me to change my mind. Perhaps it would have been better for the Holy See to have directed Archbishop Weakland, like Father Maciel of the Legion, to refrain from all public ministry and appearances and focus on a life of private penance and prayer. After all, using $450,000 of Archdiocesan funds for hush money is a pretty grave offense. Shuffling around pedophiles is a serious offense.

Another problem with Weakland is that his new book also continues to cause tremendous scandal because in it, Weakland basically argues that homosexual acts can be loving, etc. When an archbishop publically comes out and endorses homsexual acts, it is serious.

I suppose even if the Holy See were not to rebuke Rembert, Archbishop Listecki, as the Ordinary of this Archdiocese, could order Rembert to refrain from all public ministry and public appearances at events here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I wonder if any Ordinary would have the courage to take such a bold step, actually rebuking and restricting his episcopal predecessor from public ministry in the same Archdiocese he once headed. (Talk about controversial.)

I changed my mind because earlier I did not take enough into account the public scandal that Weakland gives. He really has not been formally rebuked by the Church for his beliefs on homosexual acts nor has he apologized and changed his views. Weakland never was formally punished for the scandal caused by the $450,000 pay out.

The most charitable way to act towards Rembert might be to restrict him from public ministry, so that he can realize the gravity of his actions and repent (especially regarding his current heretical views on homosexual acts.)

If Rembert were to show signs of real repentance and remorse regarding his views on homosexual acts and past actions, I might be more inclined to let him continue in public ministry.

Dad29 said...

Anony 8:10: Please. I asked "what should L. SAY?" given the legal situation and you come back with the $450K story and some less-than-coherent remarks about 'policicians with collars'?

Dad29 said...

Don't misunderstand me.

Rembert and MANY other Bishops were complete jerks; they lied, they attacked the innocent (directly or indirectly), they covered the Homosexual Network of ordained priest/predators--and used money for those purposes which SHOULD have been used to support parish schools, high-schools, and relief services (among other things.)

I do NOT DEFEND them, in any way, shape, or form. I think that the perps should ALL be in prison.

But that's yesterday's news, folks.

I agree with those who think Rembert should be in a monestary, confined to his quarters. Same with Sklba, by the way.

Listecki may very well request that from Rembert (I do not know that he can "order" him to comply.)

Further, I think Listecki should tear out the bas-relief AND the bust of Rembert and put them in the basement.

But I do NOT think that Listecki should publicly humiliate Rembert (other than those removals...)

We live with our own sins and among other sinners. All of us should be forgiven. Rembert DID apologize, IIRC, publicly.

However, Listecki has another obligation: he cannot "give away the game" and facilitate the Chapter VII of the Archdiocese.

Bear that in mind as you demand 'statements.'

GOR said...

Anon: I know very well how hard it is to forgive or forget and that trust once betrayed, is hard to recover. We’re human and when struck we hurt and the hurt doesn’t go away easily, sometimes only by the grace of God - and in His time, not ours. I pray you find your way back. There’s a lot more good in the Church than bad and we all hope to remain on the side of the good.

Anonymous said...

GOR, I trully respect your input,,, you have a way putting things in perspective. Thank you. As for Dad29, I only ask...."less coherent comments"? Get with the times and out of the dark ages man. Please,, haven't we wasted enough time on close minded people ?

Judy Jones said...

Your comment:

"Thanks, Dave. Perhaps we don't have to "imagine." Ever think of that?
By the way, you're still sniveling. We've all been screwed, one way or the other, several times during our lives.
Move on."

So Dad29, If your statement is true, and you are saying that you too have been sexually abused as a child,.... then why the heck aren't you out on the streets handing out child protection leaflets, doing press events, helping to change archaic 'statute of limitations'
on child sex crimes, and working to get these priests and bishops (who have committed crimes of sex abuse and cover ups against innocent kids) in jail?

Talk about sniveling, it sounds to me like you just don't have the GUTS or the INTEGRITY !!!!

Sincerely, JJ

Dad29 said...

helping to change archaic 'statute of limitations'
on child sex crimes


B/C I think PI lawyers are even a worse plague than the Bishops.

More seriously, the laws are reasonable. You are not 'campaigning' to remove ALL S-O-L laws, are you? Nope.

Only those pertinent to the Church.

My Church, too, Judy. And frankly, the Church is the greater good in this equasion.

Judy Jones said...

"Only those pertinent to the Church."...

WRONG... I work to eliminate all 'statute of limitations' of sex crimes against kids.

btw, are you a victim of child sex abuse?

tks, Judy

Dad29 said...

Well, at least you're fair about it. PI lawyers will be very happy to know you're out there.

My personal life is none of your business, by the way.

Some of it is available on this blog.

Judy Jones said...

Hi Dad29, the only reason I asked if you were a victim of sex abuse, is because of your response to David Clohessy...

"Dad29 said...
Thanks, Dave.
Perhaps we don't have to "imagine." Ever think of that?
By the way, you're still sniveling. We've all been screwed, one way or the other, several times during our lives.
Move on."

I sure hope that you were able to avoid the pain of being sexually abused, no kid ever deserves it!!!

Kathleen said...

Dad29,

What does Listecki have to say? Worried about the legal ramifications? ACTIONS speak louder than words. He doesn't have to SAY anything, just take all the statues down. No public humiliation for Weakland, yet a huge step in the right direction for victims.