Saturday, September 15, 2018

Speak of the Devil: The Weakland Memoir


I cam across the 2009 NYTimes interview with Archbishop Weakland, evidently updated.  I was thinking of him in connection to the McCarrick scandal.  McCarrick was acting out as a young priest, Weakland, being a monk, didn't act out until he became Archbishop.

If for no other reason, the following statement seems to me reason enough why the Church should not ordain gay men:

[Weakland] "He said he had been aware of his homosexual orientation since he was a teenager and suppressed it until he became archbishop, when he had relationships with several men because of “loneliness that became very strong.” - NYT


It's all about language and always has been.  Weakland says gay - I know the arguments for and against it.  I don't care.  The very real problem is how dissidents really want to change Catholic teaching.  Weakland says the Church is wrong, and that 'objectively disordered' is a pejorative term.  Fr. Martin praises Weakland as gifted and brilliant, and so on.  Really?  When an Archbishop tells people he thinks a term from moral theology to express  objective immoral behavior as objectively disordered is pejorative?  We are in big trouble.
Archbishop Weakland, 82, said he was probably the first bishop to come out of the closet voluntarily. He said he was doing so not to excuse his actions but to give an honest account of why it happened and to raise questions about the church’s teaching that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.” 
“Those are bad words because they are pejorative,” he said. - NYT
Actually, the Archbishop does speak to excuse his actions, because as he states in the interview after saying the Church is wrong, he explains:

“If we say our God is an all-loving god,” he said, “how do you explain that at any given time probably 400 million living on the planet at one time would be gay? Are the religions of the world, as does Catholicism, saying to those hundreds of millions of people, you have to pass your whole life without any physical, genital expression of that love?” - Weakland
Clerical change agents.

One thing useful about the Weakland interview is that he also speaks to the difference of peadophilia and abuser priests and the issue of homosexuality. "Archbishop Weakland is still pained that his scandal, involving a man in his 30s, became intertwined with the larger church scandal over child sexual abuse." As we all know everyone freaks out if one even suggests that just being gay disposes one to seek out teens for sex, and or, prepubescent boys for sex.  Weakland speaks disparagingly about how bishops trusted therapists advice and were more concerned for the priests than the victims:
In the interview, he blamed psychologists for advising bishops that perpetrators could be treated and returned to work, and he blamed the Vatican’s tribunals for spending years debating whether to remove abusers from the priesthood. - Weakland
As one friend remarked, "This idea that homosexuality has nothing to do with it... or that people are saying all gay people or all gay priests are potential pedophiles - it’s deliberately glossing over things and conflating things to hide an agenda.  It also makes the assumption that it is wrong according to Catholic teaching, research, and common sense that homosexual sexuality is the same as heterosexuality."

Gay clericalism.

That's what Weakland and Fr. Martin are saying.  So if you spend a lot of time correcting language, just be aware of how much you are doing exactly what the apostles of equality want you to do. Talk about ontological terms all you want,  Weakland already considered himself as gay and was instructed by Rome not to say that.  It didn't stop him from advocating for change in Catholic teaching.  The real language they are concerned about is telling people homosexual acts are sinful, and the disposition towards same sex activity is objectively disordered.  You know what I'm saying.

As my friend noted: "This refusal though to see that there really is an effort to overturn church teaching on sexual issues - especially gay sexual issues - and that it is in some way related to clericalism and the abuse crisis is bonkers."

Unless McCarrick himself speaks,
we may never know how and why
he ascended the ranks despite his sexual misconduct.
As in Weakland's case it may be deemed to be
more “of a private order,” 
And strictly an “administrative affair."


  1. Anonymous1:39 PM

    The current term the Pope and the hierarchy are using is "clericalism", which they contend is to blame for the horrors we are experiencing now.

    I think we need clear, no-nonsense, faithful guidance from our leadership. We are not stupid. The facts do not lie. It is a dreadful shame that we had to hear it from our civil authorities, who thankfully have not minced words about the crimes committed in PA and by Archbishop McCarrick and others like him, against children, seminarians, and lay men and women - overwhelmingly male-on-male.

    Clericalism is only a by-product of the moral crimes of homosexuality and pedophilia committed by the guilty, and condoned and rewarded by their superiors (an equal crime, IMHO). It is not the whole picture. And I do not believe the faithful will fall for this, at least those who are not willing to excuse these sins, crimes, and the rejection of the life-long, binding promises made during the sacrament of Holy Orders at ordination.

    On Thursday of this week I completed Virtus training, which was conducted by an Ursuline sister of the Diocese, who is a retired grade school principal. It was grueling, but I did it because I had to, for my protection, the Church's protection, and because I wish to volunteer at our sister parish's school.

    I asked Sister if the clergy were required to take these classes. She quickly replied, certainly they do. I asked, why then, when clergy and faithful informed the proper Church authorities, they were ignored. She grew flustered, and said that all happened before 2002. I said, "Respectfully, Sister, that is not entirely true, is it?" She said, well, yes, but the Diocese is being proactive.

    We were told if we even suspect anything out of line is going on, to *first* notify the civil authorities. And then Church authorities - pastor, bishop, etc. I think this is proper for everyone to remember.

    We are *all* responsible for one another now. We cannot depend on others to take care of business. This is what it has come to, for good or bad.

    God bless you, my dear Terry, and all here. And don't stop praying for the spiritual protection of our entire Church, both laity and clergy. This isn't nearly over.

    Susan, OFS

  2. I'm very disappointed that Pope Francis named Cardinal Cupich, Cardinal Tobin, Father Antonio Spadaro and Archbishop Paglia to the upcoming Youth Synod.

    The USCCB elected the following prelates to represent the U.S. at the Youth Synod:

    — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
    — Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the USCCB.
    — Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
    — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.
    — Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis.

    Cupich and Tobin were not elected. The American bishops made a wise choice in bypassing them. So much for respecting national conferences of Bishops. And why was Paglia with his dreadful mural selected? Father Spadaro has written several times about "conservative" Catholics and Evangelicals as if they were the greatest danger to the Faith today. He is every bit as much a culture warrior as anyone he criticizes.

  3. You - As my friend noted: "This refusal though to see that there really is an effort to overturn church teaching on sexual issues - especially gay sexual issues - and that it is in some way related to clericalism and the abuse crisis is bonkers."

    Pope Francis - Clericalism, whether fostered by priests themselves or by lay persons, leads to an excision in the ecclesial body that supports and helps to perpetuate many of the evils that we are condemning today. To say “no” to abuse is to say an emphatic “no” to all forms of clericalism.

    I guess this makes Pope Francis bonkers?

    1. On second look at this, are you saying that there is an effort overturn church teaching on homosexuality apart from the clerical abuse? I surely can't disagree with that, but at the same time, I don't believe that Weakland and other priests who engage in homosexuality and abuse are really at all interested in overturning church teaching. They just want to do their thing no matter what the Church teaches.

    2. I don't think the Holy Father is bonkers, neither does my friend. Maradiaga seems to have a clericalist attitude, esp. when he suggested the McCarrick problems were private and only an administration concern. It's very difficult to separate the abuse of minors from the homosexual-political problems. (But it is necessary to do so, which is why when the McCarrick thing broke I said, "This changes everything.") It's so very complex to discuss in a combox. That said, when speaking of efforts to change Church teaching there are plenty of personalities intent upon that: New Ways Ministry and their supporters, Bishops like Gumbleton and others, as well as our beloved Fr. Martin. (I really do love him.) Weakland stated he believed the Church was wrong - so he's pretty much on record. Likewise, McCarrick, by his conduct, obviously thought nothing was wrong with sleeping with seminarians and young priests. (How else could someone plan weekends and continue relationships and continue to minister as a priest?) So that's where I'm coming from. On the other hand, conservative 'ssa' bishops would not be interested in changing Catholic teaching, although they see no problem with ordaining 'gay-ssa' men who convince them they are no longer gay or unchaste. My point in highlighting the Weakland story is to demonstrate that he knew he was gay, he lived celibately until a crisis of loneliness as bishop led him to seek consolation in sexual relationships with men. This can happen to straight men as well, however, with gay men it's much easier to cruise a park for anonymous sex - and to 'fall in love' with a stranger one met. This is where I like to repeat what P. Francis pointed out. One encounter, may be a sin of weakness, but when it is somehow justified or rationalized, and becomes habitual, it leads to corruption. Corruption wants to approve same sex partnerships, it wants to assure people same sex genital relationships are not disordered, that sometimes, in some cases it is an expression of love, and so on. I can only conclude that Weakland and those like him want to change Catholic teaching. They can't. Gotta run and won't be online this PM.

    3. Certainly there is no doubt that there are people who want to change Church teaching. And it is not just homosexuality. There have been people trying to change doctrine since the inception of the Church. That is the reason for most of Councils in the Church. One of the biggest movements in our time was and remains the rejection of Humane Vitae.

      It is interesting that Weakland actually did live a celibate life until becoming bishop. According to the article you quote, he "suppressed" his homosexuality. I can only imagine the torture he must have suffered each and every day living with this secret. I wonder if he had been able to talk to someone about his sexual orientation instead of suppressing it and pretending to the world it didn't exist, maybe things might have been different for him. The Church actually failed Weakland, and as a result, he failed the Church.

      Homosexuality is not the only sin among priests. We have priests who embezzle, priests who have affairs with women, alcoholic priests, gamblers - every kind of sin there is. And how many priests do not bother to read their Breviary? That is a mortal sin for a priest.

      The second reading in the Office of Readings today is actually about clericalism. It concerns the Apostle Paul who said it was much more important for him to feed the sheep than for him to be fed. Clericalism says the opposite.

      From a Sermon on Pastors by St. Augustine: "Why then are they rebuked? Why are they accused? Because, when they took the milk and covered themselves with the wool, they neglected the sheep. They sought only to serve their own cause and not Christ’s." Can't this be said about all who want to change Church teaching?

      I believe Pope Francis is correct when he says the root cause of the crisis in our clergy today is clericalism. It is priests and bishops who are more interested in feeding themselves than in feeding the sheep. They are in direct disobedience to the command given by Jesus Christ to St. Peter.

    4. Caeteris paribus. ;)


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