Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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

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 Because I don’t know what became of Rolf and Anselm, I’ll keep them unpublished.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.

8 comments:

Blindman said...

With the rush to beatify postitively EVERYONE, you will be kicking yourself when Spellman attains the "status." The market for secondary relics being what it is.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Blindman,
Well I still have the key to his desk drawer with the metal tag that has his name stamped into it. Problem is I don't know where that desk is.

David said...

I was hoping you would weigh in on this. I thought of you the moment I read this story. Eager to hear your review of the memoir.

Mark said...

Lets how he does say sorry for all those things although we shouldn't hold our breaths! Lets face it the Vatican SS hardmen are probably already on his case.

Stash said...

*popcorn*

Hawk Mountain said...

A person can't mythologize him/herself. Myths, perpetuity, a lasting impact beyond the grave, a memory of a great or special person: these things are the job of others. Not one's own self. Know what I mean, jelly bean?

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

I know what you mean, Hawk Mountain, but I don't know if I agree that a legacy is beyond everyone's reach. Consider Doris Duke.

I do think that forgiveness is beyond our reach in this world and the next. It must be offered to us as a gift in both worlds.

TED said...

Harrumph. Surely you can put a rectangle over the eyes and make the pictures anonymous.