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"Double Standard" Update

Bishop Weakland Appoints a Committee

by Christopher A. Ferrara

One of the most notorious liberals in the Church today is Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland. Take, for example, his defiant advocacy of women’s ordination. It is symptomatic of the current crisis in the Church that although Weakland has tendered his resignation (April 2, 2002) to the Vatican upon reaching the retirement age of 75, the Vatican has yet to accept it and thus rid the Church of this ecclesial pest. What are they waiting for? This man has been a thorn in the side of the Church for decades.

Meanwhile, Weakland continues to permit six priests facing serious allegations of sexual molestation to remain in active ministry in his diocese. As reported by Catholic News Service, Weakland’s failure to remove these priests has "raised questions and concerns." That’s putting it mildly.

Weakland’s response to the homo-priest scandal which has erupted in nearly every American diocese is not that of a bishop, concerned about the safety of his flock, but that of a corporate CEO, concerned about giving the appearance of doing something. Weakland has formed a committee to "study" the matter. As CNS reports, "Weakland has named a five-member commission to review the Milwaukee Archdiocese's policies for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse by priests. It will examine how the archdiocese has handled cases of abuse by priests, including criminal reporting, therapy and priestly assignments, according to an archdiocesan announcement."

The first question that arises is this: Why does Weakland need a five-member commission to examine the handling of cases involving sexual abuse by his priests? Exactly how many more cases does he expect to arise? Apparently, quite a few.

The CNS report notes that "Commission members will be ‘looking specifically at any assignments currently in place’", but Jerry Topczewski, Director of Communication for the archdiocese, added that "I don’t want to say it’s our top priority, but probably the first thing they will look at because of the timeliness of this issue." Why does Weakland need a commission to examine current assignments of priests accused of sexual molestation? How many such priests are there? Apparently, quite a few. But this is not a "top priority" for Weakland, you understand.

So, the presence of sexual predators among the priests of Weakland’s diocese is not a "top priority" but merely a "timely issue" that will now be "looked at" by a commission that may or may not do something about the "issue." This is not the language of the Catholic Church, but the language of corporate America. And that is what much of the Catholic apparatus has become in North America - a kind of ecclesial corporation, run by episcopal CEOs, who view the sexual misconduct of priests as an "issue" to be studied by a "commission." Even the Boy Scouts are tougher on sexual predators than the ecclesial corporation known as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the same Vatican apparatus which thus far (May 22, 2002) declines to accept Weakland’s resignation - despite decades of justified complaints from the faithful - also takes no action to end the crisis of the homosexual infiltration of the clergy over which prelates like Weakland have presided for nearly forty years. But the Vatican apparatus does announce to the world that Father Nicholas Gruner has been "suspended" - for nothing. And so it goes with the double-standard of justice in the postconciliar Church.