Archbishop’s Memoirs to Reveal Homosexual Affair

by Susan Brinkmann

Staff Writer

Archbishop Rembert Weakland, former head of the Milwauke archdiocese, is releasing his memoirs this June in which he reveals his struggles with being homosexual.

Bishop Weakland, who resigned in 2002 over a sex and financial scandal involving a man, said in recent interview with the Associated Press that he wrote about his sexual orientation because he wanted to be candid about “how this came to life in my own self, how I suppressed it, how it resurrected again.”

Called A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop, the book is set to be released in June.

“I was very careful and concerned that the book not become a ‘Jerry Springer’ to satisfy people’s prurient curiosity or anything of this sort,” Weakland said. “At the same time, I tried to be as honest as I can.”

Weakland resigned shortly after Paul Marcoux, a former Marquette University theology student, revealed in May 2002 that he was paid $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim he made against the archbishop more than two decades earlier. The money came from the archdiocese.

In an August 1980 letter that was obtained by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Weakland said he was in emotional turmoil over Marcoux and that he had “come back to the importance of celibacy in my life.” He signed the letter, “I love you.”

The archbishop, now 82, said he seriously considered the potential pain for the archdiocese of renewing attention to the scandal and thought about waiting “until I was dead” to have it published. But he decided to move ahead with the project.

“What I felt was that people who loved me as bishop here, when they read the book will continue to love me. The people who found it difficult, I hope will be helped a little bit by the book,” he said.

Weakland, a Benedictine monk, served in Rome as leader of the International Benedictine Confederation and also worked on a liturgy commission for the Second Vatican Council. He is planning to move from a retirement community near Milwaukee to St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey this summer.

“I refused to let myself become a victim and refused to let myself become angry,” he said. “I want to take responsibility but I want to move on.”

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has released a public statement alerting local Catholics to the upcoming book.

“The book will undoubtedly spark a variety of emotions in Catholics throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Some people will be angry about the book, others will support it,” the archdiocese said.

“The Archdiocese of Milwaukee continues to pray for the needs and intentions of all those who experienced this difficult time. “

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