Weakland’s Way

We haven’t reported on the recently released memoir of Archbishop Robert Weakland, who retired in disgrace in 2002 following revelations of sexual and financial misconduct while serving as archbishop of Milwaukee.

The sexual misconduct involved a homosexual relationship the archbishop had with a young male graduate student in 1979. The financial misconduct involved the hush-money payment of $450,000 in archdiocesan funds to the man in 1998, after he claimed through a lawyer that he was a victim of “sexual abuse” at the hands of Archbishop Weakland.

But Archbishop Weakland’s memoir apparently compounds the scandal caused by his scandalous actions. Here’s an excerpt of a scathing assessment of the memoir, from this editorial written by George Neumayr for the July 2009 issue of Catholic World Report:

Weakland also has the gall to blame Pope John Paul II’s Vatican in part for his payout to the grad student. You see, if only Weakland could have been open about his homosexuality (and the Vatican hadn’t been so secretive), the payout wouldn’t have been necessary, he suggested to the Times:

Archbishop Weakland said he probably should have gone to Rome and explained that he had had a relationship with Mr. Marcoux, that he had ended it by writing an emotional letter that Mr. Marcoux still had and that the archbishop’s lawyers regarded Mr. Marcoux’s threats as blackmail.

But, the archbishop said, a highly placed friend in Rome advised him that Church officials preferred that such things be hushed up, which is “the Roman way.”

“I suppose, also, being frank, I wouldn’t have wanted to be labeled in Rome at that point as gay,” Archbishop Weakland said. “Rome is a little village.”

The Roman way? Try the Weakland way. Notice he doesn’t mention the most obvious consequence of coming clean to Rome: He would have had to resign.

Weakland’s dishonesty is sickening. Here is a bishop who violated his vows grossly, then plundered the hard-earned dollars of Catholic families to conceal his fraud, all so that he could avoid resignation and preserve his power, which he then used to liberalize and corrupt the Church in America for over a generation.