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(RNS) The former Catholic archbishop of Milwaukee, who resigned amid a sex scandal in 2002, reveals his struggles with homosexuality and the church in a forthcoming memoir, according to Publishers Weekly.
Archbishop Rembert Weakland headed the archdiocese of Milwaukee from
1977 until 2002, when a former Marquette University theology student disclosed that he was paid $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim against the archbishop.
Weakland denied the assault but took “responsibility for the inappropriate nature of my relationship. … I apologize for any harm done to him.”
In a memoir to be published in June called “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop,” Weakland “is up front about his homosexuality in a church that preferred to ignore gays, and about his failures in overseeing pedophile priests,” according to Publishers Weekly.
News of Weakland’s sexuality follows the disclosure of a popular Miami priest’s two-year-long relationship with a woman, prompting some to question whether the church should continue to mandate that priests remain celibate.
The archdiocese of Milwaukee released a statement last week about the upcoming book, saying it 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 Catholic Church calls homosexual acts “intrinsically disordered,” and the Vatican recently completed an examination of U.S. seminaries designed to remove men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the pro-gay Catholic group DignityUSA, said she sent an e-mail to Weakland on Tuesday “congratulating him and offering prayers of support.” Weakland thanked her and “said he’s getting a tremendous amount of support,” Duddy-Burke said.
“This is wonderful that Archbishop Weakland is taking this step now,” Duddy-Burke said, “and I think it will send a very positive message to a lot of people.”
By Daniel Burke
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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