Father Tony

An 82 year old monk comes out of the closet and we....

Filed By Father Tony | May 13, 2009 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: paul marcoux, rembert weakland

An 82 year old monk comes out of the closet, and we cry applaud spit yawn.

Retired Milwaukee Archbishop and Benedictine monk Rembert Weakland has written his memoirs.

I will read his book for only these reasons: to see if he says he is sorry for the way he lived his life. To see if he says he should have come out decades ago. To see if he regrets the way he handled pedophile priests. To see if he says the Catholic church is wrong about Gay.

Thirty years ago (when he was 52) I got to know him slightly in Rome where he was the head of the Benedictine house, San Anselmo. I was several times his guest (nope, sorry, no sex to report). He was charming and intelligent. San Anselmo was full of delightful and brilliant gay Benedictines from around the world. Through his hospitality, I got to know two German Benedictines who were my own age, Rolf and Anselm. For Rolf's birthday, I gave him the scarlet cassock that Cardinal Spellman kept in Rome. It fit him perfectly, as it did me. After enough wine, he'd drag out that cassock and we'd pose for some outrageous photos. Because I don't know what became of Rolf and Anselm, I'll keep them unpublished.

Rembert Weakland was one of many who could have done so much to rid the church of its stupidity. Now he's 82. With nothing to lose. He can't rewrite his past but he has this one remaining opportunity for courage. I wonder if he's up to it. I suspect he is not. They say the leopard does not change its spots.

If he does not say that he feels ashamed of remaining in the closet for most of his life while acting as a shepherd of souls, I will be disappointed. Multiply his shame by many thousands and you have the sum of the Catholic clergy. If I were to meet Rolf and Anselm today, I wonder if they would also disappoint me. They were, afterall, sent to Rome, indicating that they were being groomed for leadership in the Benedictine order. They would now be at an age approaching the height of their church authority. Or maybe they left many years ago, as did I, having tossed Spellman's silks into the trash.

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