Monday, May 11, 2009

The truth will set you free.

There is an old joke in the Church that, if all the gays were to leave tomorrow, there would be no Mass and no music on Sunday morning. The genius of all humor is that it contains a kernel of truth stated bluntly. Estimates vary between 25% and 50%, according to a review of research on the issue by Father Donald Cozzens, a psychologist, the rector of a major Catholic seminary and the author of “The Changing Face of the Priesthood.” This book exposes all of this to the light of day.

That is most certainly what Archbishop Rembert Weakland has just done. He has written a book entitled: “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop.” In the book, which will be released in June, the Archbishop candidly admits that he is gay. He speaks forthrightly about his love with another man. Sadly, he also discusses his complicity in the cover up surrounding the pedophilia scandals in the Catholic Church.

At 82 years of age, such a book is tantamount to a deathbed confession, but it appears to be far more than simply that. It is an honest admission of something, which many in the Church, and especially its hierarchy, already know. Most Catholic priests and bishops are gay.

Harvey Milk once stated that if every gay person came out, it would be the end of the marginalization of gay people. Whatever else people may say about Archbishop Weakland the simple truth still stands that he spoke the truth and he did so freely.
He could have simply remained silent and taken this to his grave.

If he had done so, he would have sparred himself any more turmoil and could have quietly lived out the balance of his life. Many others would have taken that option. Many others, some of them in white, red and purple cassocks do.

If every priest and bishop in America who is gay were to stand in the pulpit this Sunday and state that in so many words to their congregations, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for Rome to continue to attempt to oppress LGBT people.

It would also force the hierarchy to take seriously its responsibility to offer practical spiritual guidance to its lesbian and gay members. It would mark the beginning of the end for hate crimes that victimize both LGBT people and their loved ones. Will this happen anytime soon? It is happening, one priest, and one archbishop at a time and it scares the hell out of Rome.


Марко Фризия said...

Archbishop Weakland said that anyone thinking about leaving the Church should, for one year, work in a soup kitchen and try to attend Eucharist with the same congregation every week. This is great advice. When I get frustrated about the Church, I reflect on what he advised. I am excited to learn about the release of his book.

Kevin said...

I too am looking forward to this book. Rome is most likley scared to death because it knows the power they have held for CENTURIES is slipping thru their fingers and fear seems the best way to keep that power in place. I know it works on me, which is sad, because I should know better by this time. Like they say in day at a time..


Crescens said...

Rembert Weakland is a human being-- and one of the truly great characters of the 20th century church.

He screwed up on paying off his accuser (God, we priests are so vulnerable!) and on the re-assignment of pedophile clergy (but we should also remember that most creditable psychological professionals believed pedophilia to be "curable" in those days). The honesty, humility, and sincerity of his book is witness to his character.

Archbishop Weakland has what I can only call a "Christ mind and a Christ heart", always looking at the world from the point of view of the oppressed, and with a wide-open heart. I would follow him anywhere!

Anonymous said...

This brings a tear to my eye. A bishop revealing his heart and soul, admitting to feet of clay. Incredible. I look forward to reading his book book. I am recently coming out and this gives me courage to talk with my pastor about it. Thanks Bishop Weakland and thanks Fr Geoff for your bravery. It makes me stronger.

Edward said...

Bravo to Archbishop Weakland. He should be commended for his humility and honesty. We can only hope and pray that this work contributes to the full acceptance of LGBT people within the Bosom of the Church. Ad Multos Annos!

Anonymous said...

I doubt many priests, bishops, etc. will come out of the closet. They know what the reaction will be from the Church hierarchy. Sadly, the majority aren't brave enough to stand up against right wing zealots.

TiamoDi said...

I very much enjoy reading your blog. I miss your homilies at St. Paul Newman Center. Every week I would leave with something new to reflect on. I am glad that I now have now discovered a source to view your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

"If every priest and bishop in America who is gay were to stand in the pulpit this Sunday and state that in so many words to their congregations, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for Rome to continue to attempt to oppress LGBT people." That is a great statement and, I believe, a true statement.