Rembert Weakland, the retired/disgraced former Catholic Archbishop of Milwaukee, has written a soon-to-be published memoir in which he deals with, among other things, the clergy sex abuse scandals in his own jurisdiction back in the day. It would seem that he demonstrates the adage that there are some people too stupid to be trusted with spiritual authority, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
In the early years of the sex abuse scandal in Milwaukee, retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland says in his soon-to-be released memoir, he did not comprehend the potential harm to victims or understand that what the priests had done constituted a crime.
“We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature,” Weakland says in the book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church,” due out in June.
Weakland said he initially “accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it.'”
I’m not sure what circles Weakland must have traveled in for him to think it a “common view” that molested children and teens either won’t remember or would “grow out of it.” Of course, this is a man who once said, “Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise.” Nice rationalization, eh?
But for him not to have known that sexual abuse of “minors” was not only evil (if it was evil, why continue to emply priests who’d engaged in such conduct?) but also illegal requires that an observer conclude one of two things about the archbishop: that he either is a brazen liar, or that he was so stupid as to not know something that anyone who has ever looked at a newspaper knows. Given Weakland’s long history of liberal political activism, it’s unlikely that his profession as a Benedictine monk kept him so sheltered that he never looked at a paper. I guess he just didn’t express much interest in news regarding sexual crime against minors.
The moral of this story: always make sure that the leaders of your spiritual community have some clue regarding what the law says about heinous conduct on their part or that of their subordinates before consecrating them. And that they can recognize the truth when it comes up and bites them on the backside. And that they have a moral sense somewhat higher than a hyena.
(Via Five Feet of Fury.)