A Catholic Archbishop from Milwaukee is coming out, according to the Human Rights Campaign:
In religion news, a former Wisconsin Archbishop is coming out as a gay man in a new book. Archbishop Rembert Weakland says he wanted to be candid about his struggle understanding his sexual orientation, suppressing it and then finally accepting it. He is the former head of the Milwaukee archdiocese.
Weakland’s book, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop, will be released in June.
News that Weakland is gay is not new. In 2002, he admitted to a relationship with another man. From the National Catholic Reporter:
Most Catholics already know that Archbishop Rembert Weakland resigned in 2002 after it came to light that he had had an affair with a man and paid him to keep it quiet after the man made a sexual assault claim. Weakland publicly apologized for his indiscretions and received a standing ovation in Milwaukee, where he has continued to live.
The difference now is that we’ll be able to read Weakland’s own words. An advanced review of the book in Publishers Weekly called it “the poignant journey of a soul.” Here’s the complete review:
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. (June)
In 2002, the Catholic Church blamed gay priests for the clergy sex scandals, a scandalous lie in itself. Pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual. Gay Catholic priests have been run out of the ministry for years. In 1998, Rev. David Garrick, a theater professor at the University of Notre Dame, resigned, saying that the university has failed to embrace part of the broader Catholic family, those who are gay and lesbian.
Weakland has had his own issues in Milwaukee. Was he denied the red hat because he is gay? Who knows.
For years I have had professors tell me that upwards of 50% of all Catholic clergy are gay, and some of them are the most oppressive.
Weakland is a good man, and he has demonstrated compassion. Read his book and get to know him yourself.