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Public Appearances by Sex Abuse Scandal Bishops Spark Uproar in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, January 8, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee is facing outrage from a victim advocacy group after it allowed retired Archbishops Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee and Daniel E. Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, both prominent figures in the priest sex abuse scandal, to speak at a prayer service and concelebrate Mass at St. John's Basilica.
Weakland was invited to give the keynote address at the seventh biennial Cathedral Ministry Conference concerning the building's renovation, and concelebrate alongside Pilarczyk at Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki's installation Mass. Weakland was also expected to lead a prayer service at the conference, where Pilarczyk was also scheduled to speak.
Weakland, who admitted praciticing homosexuality in a recent memoir, said in a video deposition in May that he transferred priests with a history of sexual misconduct back into churches without alerting parishioners because "no parish would have accepted a priest unless you could say that he has gone through the kind of psychological examination and that he's not a risk to the parish."
Weakland retired in 2002 after it was revealed he paid hundreds of thousands of church dollars to a former homosexual lover who threatened to publicly accuse Weakland of sexually assaulting him. He has since admitted carrying on several homosexual affairs while serving as Archbishop of Milwaukee.
A BRONZE FOR WEAKLAND?
It is hard to image a less appropriate image than Archbishop Weakland depicted as a protector of children....Here is a link to my column on "The Shame of Remembert Weakland."
why, as part of that renovation, Weakland commissioned charitable money to be used to create a bronze relief of himself pictured in the biblical scene of Jesus protecting the little children (the relief is on the pedestal of the Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine, which is on the east side altar of the cathedral)
FLASHBACK: THE SHAME OF REMBERT WEAKLAND
Even years later, he's haunted by the casual greeting: "Hi, Greg."
He was lying in bed, the bed of a Catholic priest. The priest, Father Dennis Pecore, had gotten up and answered the knock at his door. He stood in the doorway in his bathrobe, talking with another priest, who had come to his room. The visitor could see the boy lying in the bed. "Hi, Greg," he said to the boy.
"Nothing else was said or asked of me," recalls Greg. He was 14 years old.
Greg is just one of hundreds of young men who were sexually abused by priests they trusted. But his case casts a shadow over the Milwaukee archdiocese and the legacy of Archbishop Rembert Weakland.
It should. Because Weakland's handling of this case stands as his most shameful moment.
By the mid-1980s, it was an open secret that Pecore was using Greg, a student at the Mother of Good Counsel School, as a sex toy. Greg says that other priests knew, as well as teachers and school officials. "My mother used to call up at the rectory and they would say that I was not there, and she would ride by and see my bike out front and know I was at the rectory."
In July 1984, one of the school's teachers had become so alarmed that he wrote a letter informing Archbishop Weakland that a priest at the school was taking young boys to his private bedroom, one at a time, suggesting that he was abusing the youngsters. He urged Weakland to do something "before it goes public."
Weakland's response: a threat. He wrote that "any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers."
And then there's Weakland's famous "blame the victim" mentality as printed in May of 1988 by Milwaukee's own diocesan newspaper. When discussing the topic of sexual abuse of children, Weakland asserted that:
"Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise. We frequently try such adolescents for crimes as adults at that age." 10
Along with Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, Archbishop Weakland has led the push for a far more distinctively "American Church", as independent as possible from Rome. Associated with this 'push' have been Weakland's highly controversial policies and views on abortion, homosexuality, AIDS education, sex education, clerical pedophilia and feminism. Presumably these developments would make the American Church more American. That it would also be less Catholic is equally clear. Whether it would be Catholic at all remains an open question.