Monday, June 22, 2009

Weakland's Book is Fantastic... and sad.

Rembert Weakland's A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church is a fantastic book. It is a must read for anyone who wants an understanding of the renewal that was called for at Vatican II regarding collegiality, liturgy, ecumenism, renewal in religious orders, etc. He seems to be very honest and accurate in his assessment of pluses and minuses of both Paul VI and John Paul II, obviously favoring Paul VI.

The work that Weakland has contributed to economic, liturgical, laity, women, and collegiality issues cannot be over-emphasized. In these issues, Weakland has left a tremendously positive mark.

His sections regarding John Paul II and JP's agenda of centralizaiton in the Chruch is very discouraging, but it is an accurate portrayal of our current Church. I am not sure how to read his writings on sexual abuse cases in Milwaukee. I do not feel competent enough to judge how valid his responses are. And for those who want to know about his "affair," he also seems to be very honest there. I could hear him still struggling with how to appropriately handle the situation after the fact.

While I wish Weakland could have been a stronger man when it came to his loneliness, I think this book is important in writing an honest history of our post-Vatican II Church.

A Faithful Catholic


Mark said...

I love the book. A great read. Thanks for calling my attention to it. I haven't finished, but my one criticism is that he--so far--has not dealth with the basic Catholic fallacy; that is that it is better to have NO sexuality. I'm not necessarily talking about 'getting married', but the idea that sexuality makes one less, which IS catholic teaching,must be considered perverse. Jack

Faithful Catholic said...

Weakland does touch a lot upon sexuality, but more on how it was a non-issue in the pre-Vatican II church. It was regarded as not important in the formation of priests.

And I think there are a couple parts of the book where he talks about sex being seen healthy now in referring to the exodus of priests. He states that the priests who didn't leave are now making a choice between two goods instead of a good and a bad. But you're right, the badness of sexuality before Vatican II is not stressed.

Virgil said...

Ciao, FC. I encourage you to write a proper review of the book, by which I mean something a little more lengthy than a couple paragraphs of post.

It seems that you are reacting to elements in the book that the mainstream commentators have left out of their reviews, thanks to thier obsession with ++Rembert's bedroom tell-all.

What is his contrast between PVI and JPII? They were two great pontificates, with very very different issues and styles, and in his time ++Rembert operated at the center of some of those issues and styles.

And what about his personal feelings on coming to Milwaukee? I knew him only during a short period, and he always struck me as sad and lonely, as if the burden of the Archdiocese was his penance, and he felt he was failing miserably.

Then there's the "liberal" - "conservative" labelling that he always hated. He was a poster child for liberal wings of the Church, and of dissenting people, but he always considered himself quite conservative, quite faithful, inclined to "dissent" only when he felt he had the weight of Tradition behind him.

Terrence Berres said...

F.C. posted "I am not sure how to read his writings on sexual abuse cases in Milwaukee."

How about reading them as disingenuous and self-serving? Here's a case I don't recall him discussing in the book. A teacher at Mother of Good Counsel parish wrote to him in 1984 concerned that Father Dennis Pecore was sexually abusing boys. The Archbishop's reply included the threat that “Any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers.” The teacher and two others continued to write to the Archdiocese about Fr. Pecore. They were ultimately fired. In 1987 Pecore was convicted of child sexual assault. Hardly fits the Archbishop's attempt to shift responsibility to ignorance of the ramifications of abuse, the slow process of laicization, or reluctant prosecutors.

Virgil commented "he always struck me as sad and lonely".

I never saw that when he had an audience, but did some years back when he was at our parish standing by himself while waiting for the next just-confirmed kid to come along for a picture with him.

I assume he's lonely because he's friendless. From what I've seen, anyone who claimed to be his friend actually cared about him as a means of advancing an agenda, or a career.

CatholicSoldier said...

Former Archbishop Weakland is desperate to be accepted back into the basking aura of the Leftist Intellectual Class. His book is an attempt to canonize his own battles with the "backwards" Catholic Church as he seeks to bring it enlightenment. He is someone who should be pitied, not celebrated, and not honored.

Anonymous said...

I read Weakland's book and found it most interesting. He needed however to write more about his sexuality and his clerical life. He talks about in facts, but not in what he was thinking. The contrast of leading two lives must have been difficult.

Of course, with 'people' like Terrence, the town tattle tale and coward, and CS who love their gay priests in closets, you realize Weakland is a hero now. Jack