Former Milwaukee Archbishop Writes About Struggle of Being Gay

Weakland Leaving Milwaukee For New Jersey

NEW YORK — A former Roman Catholic archbishop of Milwaukee who resigned in 2002 over a sex and financial scandal involving a man has written a memoir that describes how he struggled with being gay.

Publisher’s Weekly notes in a review Monday that Archbishop Rembert Weakland “is up front about his homosexuality in a church that preferred to ignore gays, and about his failures in overseeing pedophile priests.”

The Vatican said that men with “deep-seated” attraction to other men should not be ordained.

The book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop,” is set to be released in June. It’s described by the publisher as a self-examination by Weakland of his “psychological, spiritual and sexual growth.”

There is no word on what Weakland was paid for the book or who will receive the proceeds from book sales.

Weakland stepped down as archbishop quickly after former Marquette University theology student Paul Marcoux 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.

“He was sitting next to me, and then started to try to kiss me and continued to force himself on me and pulled down my trousers… and attempted to fondle me. Think of it in terms of date rape,” Weakland?s accuser Paul Marcoux said in 2002.

Weakland denied ever assaulting anyone. He apologized for concealing the payment. Within the month, Weakland’s resignation was accepted by the Vatican and he made a public farewell.

“I come before you today to apologize and beg forgiveness,” Weakland said. “I worry about those whose faith may be shaken by my acts. I acknowledge and fully accept my responsibility for the inappropriate nature of my relationship with Mr. Paul Marcoux.”

While many in attendance that day applauded, others were outraged.

“We’re all sinners, but we don’t steal the people’s money to pay hush money… and we certainly don’t I mean… I just expect more from an archbishop than the inappropriate relations that he had,” critic Patricia Nuyttens said in 2002.

It’s unclear if Weakland writes about any of that in his book.

“Being gay is no excuse for covering up crimes,” Peater Isley of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said.

Isley worries the book will turn attention away from Weakland’s role in moving pedophile priests to new parishes instead of turning them in.

“I’m much more interested in what Archbishop Weakland has to say under oath than what him and his editor have to spin out in a book,” Isley said.

In a deposition last June, Weakland explained that when reassigning a priest he suspected of abuse, he didn’t notify the parishes where the offenders were being sent, in part because he knew they wouldn’t have taken him.

“No parish would’ve 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 said.

The Milwaukee Archdiocese released a statement Monday night stating the following:

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

Last week, Weakland announced he was leaving Milwaukee for a move to St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, N.J.