Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bishop v. Bishop--Weakland in the Crosshairs

Gracious. THIS doesn't happen often.

It strikes me that critics of Archbishop Weakland should be at least a little restrained in their umbrage, for after all there are many redeeming qualities of the Archbishop’s life and ministry. He responded willingly to the Lord’s call to the consecrated life; he has served the Church generously in a variety of difficult leadership positions; he has shown a determined commitment to the progress of the Church and the implementation of the Second Vatican Council; and he has consistently reached-out to the poor, the weak and the disenfranchised members of the Church and society. If his service has been marred by human imperfections, so be it. So is mine, and so is yours.

OK. Points well-taken.

On the other hand, supporters of Archbishop Weakland should also be able to recognize the self-serving inconsistencies and contradictions contained in his story.

For example, although the Archbishop always took pride in his liberal theological tendencies and his public pronouncements on controversial issues, he seemed to be genuinely puzzled, even hurt, when others labeled him a dissident.

He passionately promoted the dignity of the laity and their role in the governance and ministry of the Church, but had little hesitation about quietly using their money to cover-up his egregious sexual offense.

[AND the sexual offenses of other priests of the Archdiocese...]

He disparaged the secrecy of the Holy See but for twenty years hid his own indiscretions behind the walls of the chancery, indiscretions that were not just a matter of personal behavior but also profoundly affected the reputation and welfare of the Church.

He railed against what he considered the authoritarian pontificate of Pope John Paul II, but clearly used his own persona and authority to impose his vision of the Church upon his own fiefdom in Milwaukee, easily dismissing those who opposed him as conservative, right-wing nuts.

[And he was inclined to use his power not just to 'dismiss' opponents, but to crush them, by the way.]

In short, like many dissidents in the Church, throughout his life Archbishop Weakland benefited generously from the support of the institutional Church, but never hesitated to criticize the Church whenever it served his own purposes to do so.

As mentioned at Insight, the "d" word is almost NEVER used when one Bishop describes another Bishop. Draw your own conclusions.


Neo-Con Tastic said...

I can think of a few "d" words to describe the ashamed Weakland.

What drives me totally mad are the priests that still recognize him during the Canon.

RAG said...

The problem with Weakland is that when you discuss him, you have to separate and segregate which Rembert you are talking about.

I remember meeting the generous, intellectual, common-sense guy when he first came (literally) to Milwaukee who turned into an insular, cranky and sometimes vindictive person along the way.

And I'm not talking about his theological views here -- people can debate them until the cows come home and dad and I are usually at the opposite ends on many of those issues. Weakland let so many people down I don't even know where to begin...