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Archbishop Weakland to publish memoir, Admits Homosexual Orientation

May 13th, 2009
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

The former Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland, is considered to be one of the most liberal bishops in the United States. His new book will bring even further revelations concerning his life and tenure as a prelate in the Church.

Milwaukee, Wis (CNA) - Former Archbishop of Milwaukee Rembert Weakland, who resigned after revelations that his archdiocese paid $450,000 to a man who alleged the archbishop had sexually assaulted him, will soon publish a memoir describing his work in the Church and his sexual orientation.

His book "A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop" will be released in June.

On Monday the archbishop told the Associated Press he was "very careful and concerned that the book not become a Jerry Springer" to satisfy a "prurient curiosity."

"At the same time, I tried to be as honest as I can."

He said he wrote about his sexual orientation because he wanted to be candid about "how this came to life in my own self, how I suppressed it, how it resurrected again."

In May 2002 Paul Marcoux, a former Marquette University theology student, revealed that the archdiocese paid him $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim he had made against Archbishop Weakland, the Milwaukee Ledger-Enquirer reports.

In an August 1980 letter obtained by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Archbishop Weakland said he was conflicted over Marcoux and had "come back to the importance of celibacy in my life."

The archbishop stepped down soon after the revelation but denied assaulting anyone. He apologized for concealing the payment, but the news disturbed those in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which Archbishop Weakland had headed since 1977.

According to the Milwaukee Ledger-Enquirer, the archbishop was a hero for liberal Catholics because of his work on social justice and other issues.

Archbishop Weakland, who is now 82, said he seriously considered the pain he could cause by returning attention to the scandal and thought about waiting until after his death to publish the memoir.

However, he decided to move ahead.

"What I felt was that people who loved me as bishop here, when they read the book will continue to love me. The people who found it difficult, I hope will be helped a little bit by the book," he told the Associated Press.

In a May 7 statement published on its website, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee reported that the book recounts Archbishop Weakland’s relationship with Paul Marcou and the events surrounding his 2002 retirement.

"The book will undoubtedly spark a variety of emotions in Catholics throughout southeastern Wisconsin. Some people will be angry about the book, others will support it," the statement said.

"The Archdiocese of Milwaukee continues to pray for the needs and intentions of all those who experienced this difficult time."

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