Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Conservative or Liberal: Two sides of the same coin.

Archbishop Dolan on Archbishop Weakland.

I found the following narrative on Vox Nova.  Some of you may find it rather moving...  I was troubled of course, in view of all the critical things I've ever written about Archbishop Weakland.
On June 24, 2002, I arrived in Milwaukee on the day before the public announcement that I had been appointed as tenth archbishop of Milwaukee. I was a nervous wreck. I had a big job ahead of me, in an archdiocese I knew little about, in the midst of a time of national scandal, to follow a very prominent and long-serving Archbishop.
But what made me most apprehensive with the prospect of meeting my predecessor. Archbishop Rembert Weakland had a national, actually international, stature; he had just resigned after acknowledging and apologizing for past sins; and, although I hardly knew him, word on the street was that we came from different “theological backgrounds,” which is a euphemistic way of saying that he was looked upon as a “liberal,” I as a “conservative.”
His gracious hospitality that evening, substantive conversation, candid assessment of the challenges awaiting me, and his assurances of ongoing support, made me feel very welcome, and softened considerably the nervousness I was experiencing. But, what really gave me peace and confidence came early the next morning.
I couldn’t sleep, and I was anticipating controversial questions at the press conference. Plus, I was still unsure about how my predecessor and I would get along. By 4:00 a.m. I gave up on sleep. I got out of bed, showered, dressed, grabbed my breviary, and made my way, at about 4:45 in the morning, to the little chapel downstairs… and there sat Rembert Weakland, with his breviary, before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. My fears evaporated. Between the two of us was a difference in age of about twenty-five years, in weight of about sixty pounds, a variation of theological outlook probably. But it was suddenly and dramatically evident to me that we were one in our faith, our priestly vocation, our apostolic bond, our prayer, and our trust in Jesus, really and truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. - Vox Nova

"Charity believes all things." - 1 Corinthians 13:7
Photo:  Archbishop Dolan


  1. I, too, feel the sting of guilt in reading that. Castigans castagavit me Dominus.

    TURN your attention upon yourself and beware of judging the deeds of other men, for in judging others a man labors vainly, often makes mistakes, and easily sins; whereas, in judging and taking stock of himself he does something that is always profitable. (The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 14)

  2. Anonymous5:54 PM

    I don't think I've blogged much about Weakland, but I would remind folks, before feeling too guilty, that the man did completely wreck a gorgeous cathedral, spend $450,000 in diocesan funds, given by the faithful in charity and hope to pay off a scandalous lover, and in general contributed actions and thoughts that severely weakened the practice of the faith among many.

    "My child, some people have Me on their lips, but not in their hearts. Some express their devotion to Me with prayer books; some do it with holy pictures, some do it with holy images or external signs. Now all of these things are good, but they are no proof of true devotion to Me."

    I'm sure Archbishop Weakland may have prayed with great devotion, but he also publicly caused scandal and publicly undermined the Doctrine and Authority of the Church. Those actions were worthy of criticism. I would not feel badly if one did criticise him for any number of his actions.

    Sentimentality can be dangerous. And I think I know where you're going, TN, with your emphasis on aplogizing for perhaps going too far in some past comments, trying to be humble and obedient. Sometimes, that is necessary, but there are times when fraternal correction is strongly warranted, when it is actually more of a sin not to say anything than to try to be meekly humble and quiet.

  3. Anonymous6:00 PM

    Just so it's clear, I did not mean that people gave money in charity and hope in order to pay off Weakland's lover, but that they gave it for the good of the Church, and it wound up getting spent for what many would consider a rather sleazy, nefarious use.

  4. I am not moved. Nor am I troubled.
    (Should I be?)
    Crimes, such as those of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, are horrible. Period. He prays in front of the Blessed Sacrament before 5am. That's a fact. Period. If we judge the sincerity of criminals and sinners' prayers, nobody should be praying (Latin or otherwise, EF or OF...). Read the Gospel about the prayer of the publican.

  5. It's a reminder that God isn't finished with any of us yet; not that sin is okay; but that His grace is stronger.

  6. Thanks all - I'm just examining my tendency to pass judgement, as well as questioning my place in any discussion regarding the hierarchy. I'm of no account here - I read Weakland's book - I know what he did - I don't like it or him. Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of any bishop. That said, I do appreciate priests who give me absolution and the Blessed Sacrament. Worse priests than Weakland have heard my confession and celebrated Mass for me.

  7. Anonymous10:34 PM

    He got up early the day the new bishop was there...I would be on my best behavior too.

    I do have to wonder, on most days, if he didn't just roll over and ask his lover to hit the snooze button one more time for him.

    Of course we have no way of knowing, but as His Excellency points out, the speculation makes me feel "one in faith" with former Archbishop Weakland.

    Oooooooo....I've got goose bumps now.

    So easily swayed some of you.

  8. I like to read your introspective posts, Terry.
    I see kind of an analogy here. Someone goes for a walk in the park. We all know there's dog poo on the ground. But today the person is focusing on the blue sky and autumn leaves, and points out those things. And some others chime in and chide him for wimping out and getting sentimental; because it's his dooty to talk about the other stuff and stay grounded in reality.

  9. "That said, I do appreciate priests who give me absolution and the Blessed Sacrament"

    Exactly the right spirit. St Francis of Assisi thought this as well.

  10. Anonymous10:14 AM

    You can drive yourself insane constantly second guessing your motives. Do your best, trust in Mercy.

  11. veneremurcernui - Thanks - I know. Sometimes I think it is necessary however to recollect ourselves, examine our conscience and motivations carefully and hold ourselves accountable. That is all I'm really doing.

    "Justice and mercy have embraced."

  12. As someone who grew up under Weakland - and who read the book - and who has no great love for Weakland, I understand what you're saying Terry.

    Every once in awhile at a mass here in the Milwaukee archdiocese, you'll hear a prayer tag on "Bishop Weakland" in the prayers. I usually get mad and assume that it's a priest who still wishes Weakland was the bishop and loves liberalism in the Church. But then I remember that Weakland is in need of prayers just as much as any of us.

  13. I have absolutely no compassion for the Archbishop Weakland.
    I'm sorry.
    I do commend him to God, but he, of all people, should know better for all of the damage, neglect and abuse that he either allowed or actively commissioned.
    He is no lover of holy Tradition, nor of the Holy Catholic Faith, as understood by the Popes.
    That being said.
    Archbishop Dolan has written a very moving portrayal; however...as we always have to keep in focus: piety does NOT allow for dereliction nor abuse of power.
    I don't care how "pious" Archbishop Weakland may seem; he did irreparable damage to the Church in Milwaukee, even in our Nation;
    and the book that he published is just insane and horrid.
    Sorry to be "sour grapes".
    A moment of Adoration in a chapel is not enough to convince me that this man, entrusted with the care of thousands of souls, is not accountable for the scandal, damage and harm done to so many through his "reign".
    Sorry to sound like such a nasty priest.

  14. To be clear, I was more impressed with Dolan's magnanimity than Weakland's piety. "Fruit is better than foliage" as St. Francis de Sales put it.

    But in my life, I often just assume that those not of my theological outlook simply have nothing to teach me or that we have nothing in common. It's an ongoing problem with me.

    Besides, I somehow doubt that, on Judgement Day, I will be held accountable to failing to sufficiently rebuke an archbishop in the blogosphere... whereas the danger in doing so seems very grave.


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