Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Abp Weakland will not stop his attacks on Church teaching, so Rome must finally act

If, as George Neumayr writes in the July 2009 Catholic World Report, Abp. Rembert Weakland's autobiography really is, among other things, a "memoir in praise of homosexual behavior" in which the prominent prelate admits "several affairs with men" and "argues that the Church should endorse the 'physical, genital expression' of homosexuality", then Rome has, as I see it, no defensible choice but, in accord with canons 1405.1.3 and 1717, to launch an investigation into the allegation that Weakland has, in violation of Canon 1369, used "published writings or other . . . instruments of social communication . . . to gravely injure good morals" and visit upon him a fitting penalty. That Weakland is an archbishop should not shield him from canonical investigation and punishment, but rather serves to underscore the need for his correction under c. 1326.1.2. Moreover, the Order of St. Benedict should, I think, signal its willingness to participate in the process in accord with law (esp. cc. 696.1 and 705).

It's obvious that Weakland has no intention of stopping his attacks on various Church teachings or of refraining from giving protracted scandal to the faithful. The damage he has done, especially to the Church of Milwaukee, but to the Church Universal as well, is incalculable. What Rome should have done during the decades of defiance shown it by Weakland is a matter for historians to debate. The only question today, as I see it, is what, if anything, will Rome finally do to vindicate the faithful against the appalling and on-going scandal of Abp. Rembert Weakland?