Archbishop Rembert Weakland was one of the more loathsome bishops who shuffled abusive priests from one parish to another without warning anyone. The history and details are at BishopAccountability and videos of his depositions can be seen here, here, here, and here.
In his 1994 interview with the Milwaukee Journal, the archbishop was more effusive and less restrained in his speculations.
An ephebophile’s sexual interest in an individual, explained the archbishop, “usually begins at puberty—say 12 or 13…What happens so often in those cases is that they go on for a few years and then the boy gets a little older and the perpetrator loses interest. Then is when the squealing starts and you have to deal it.”
“Squealing” – that’s how Weakland regarded the accusations of victims of sexual abuse.
Charles Sykes describes how Weakland handled the case of one victim:
He was lying in bed, the bed of a Catholic priest. The priest, Father Dennis Pecore, had gotten up and answered the knock at his door. He stood in the doorway in his bathrobe, talking with another priest, who had come to his room. The visitor could see the boy lying in the bed. “Hi, Greg,” he said to the boy.
“Nothing else was said or asked of me,” recalls Greg. He was 14 years old.
Greg is just one of hundreds of young men who were sexually abused by priests they trusted. But his case casts a shadow over the Milwaukee archdiocese and the legacy of Archbishop Rembert Weakland.
It should. Because Weakland’s handling of this case stands as his most shameful moment.
By the mid-1980s, it was an open secret that Pecore was using Greg, a student at the Mother of Good Counsel School, as a sex toy. Greg says that other priests knew, as well as teachers and school officials. “My mother used to call up at the rectory and they would say that I was not there, and she would ride by and see my bike out front and know I was at the rectory.”
In July 1984, one of the school’s teachers had become so alarmed that he wrote a letter informing Archbishop Weakland that a priest at the school was taking young boys to his private bedroom, one at a time, suggesting that he was abusing the youngsters. He urged Weakland to do something “before it goes public.”
Weakland’s response: a threat. He wrote that “any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers.”
Frustrated, the teacher and two others continued to warn about Pecore’s behavior. All three teachers were fired. In a lawsuit filed several years later, the three teachers say they were fired because they had tried to warn Weakland about what was happening at their school.
Weakland didn’t like people trying to protect boys who might squeal.
Weakland, it turned out, had a homosexual affair with a 31-year-old man, who blackmailed him. Weakland used a half-million of the archdiocese’s money to keep his lover silent.
And now Weakland has written a book about his homosexuality and his handling of sexual abuse in his archdiocese – we shall see whom he regards as the real victim – himself or the abused children. I can make a fair guess.
Freud thought that narcissism was the source of homosexuality. Whether this is universally true I do not know, but in the case of clerical homosexuals the two go together very, very often.
Americans have short memories, and no has brought up the memory of Robert Sanchez, the former archbishop of Santa Fe, who presided over an endless orgy of abuse fueled by the pedophiles at the Paraclete center at Jemez Springs.
Sachez was heterosexual. In his deposition he talked about his girlfriends A, B, C, D, E etc. He had to resign when the girlfriends started squealing.
He was equally hard-hearted about the suffering of children. At one Catholic institution, La Hacienda de los Muchachos, a boy ran away in mid-winter to escape abuse by the Rev. Ed Donelan, and froze to death in the mountains.
In case after case, people pled with him to end the abuse, and he did not act. He was much too busy enjoying his girlfriends, sometimes in his private chapel.
At his deposition, Sanchez was asked if had tried to fond out what the effect of abuse was on children.
- When allegations of child molestation by priests
9 first started coming in to you —
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. — did you make any effort to learn about it?
12 I’ve asked if you asked any psychologists or
13 psychiatrists. But did you go to a library, call up a
14 cardinal, call up the Vatican, get a book, read a
15 magazine, do anything to develop an understanding
16 what literature or information there was about the
17 consequences of childhood sexual abuse?
18 A. No, sir, I did not make that effort.
Narcissists come in both homo- and heterosexual versions. They are attracted to the clergy, because they can be the center of attention and manipulate other people. Within the clergy, they tend to rise to the top, because they want more attention and more opportunity to manipulate people.
And so the People of God get archbishops like Weakland and Sanchez. And children are abused and die.