...It now appears Brundage's account may be significantly flawed.
Brundage had taken issue with an Aug. 19, 1998, letter from Weakland to the deputy at the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI - in which Weakland said he had instructed Brundage to end the trial and would instead move to suspend Murphy's priestly duties.
"This sort of thing would have stuck in my memory, because I would have been furious that Weakland would want me to stop the case," Brundage said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel on Thursday.
He speculated that Weakland might have written the Aug. 19 letter to the deputy, then Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, but never told Brundage to end the trial because Murphy died two days later.
But on Friday, the Journal Sentinel learned that a letter seemingly written by Brundage to Weakland on Aug. 15, 1998, shows Brundage actually drafted Weakland's letter to Bertone.
It addresses Weakland, saying: "As you have requested I put together what might be a response to Archbishop Bertone's document regarding Fr. Murphy that he recently sent us. Here is a suggested response:"The central part of the letter is virtually identical to Weakland's later letter to Bertone
In the Catholic Church, a priest takes a vow of obedience to his Bishop. With the usual exceptions, a priest WILL do what his Bishop asks him to do.
So Brundage--who was NOT independent of this vow, nor of Weakland--simply did what he was told. The fact that Brundage disagreed with the proposed course of action is irrelevant; he could file his objection later if Rome agreed with Weakland's position. In fact, Fr. Brundage specifically SAID that he would object to a decision to cease the trial.
But to the mind of Pete Isely--and the much less-sophisticated reporterette at the JS, this is surely a sign of Brundage's duplicity. In fact, it's a sure sign that Brundage took his vow of obedience very seriously.
At some point in time, Fr. Brundage may tell the whole story on this and other Weakland actions, and a bit about Fr. Brundage's personal history.
Of particular interest: what inspired Fr. Brundage to leave Milwaukee and journey to Alaska?
Could "disgust" be an answer???