Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Weakland and Cutié: Making the Connections

In her recent post, “Clerical Pilgrims in a Pilgrim Church,” the always informed and insightful Colleen Kochivar-Baker draws parallels between Archbishop Rembert Weakland (set to release a memoir, A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church, in which he writes openly about his homosexuality and his failure to oversee pedophile priests) and Fr. Alberto Cutié (the popular Miami priest who was caught in tabloid photographs kissing the woman with whom he says he is in love).

Kochivar-Baker also shares the full text of “The Witch Hunt Against Archbishop Weakland,” a 2002 Salon article by Margaret Spillane and Bruce Shapiro. It’s an article that deals in great detail with the Archbishop’s “abuse” victim, Paul Marcoux, and is definitely worth investigating – if for no other reason than to balance the homo-negative rhetoric of those Catholics who, you can be sure, will be quick to attempt to use the Archbishop’s story to denigrate all gay men (in particular with regards their suitability for the priesthood) in ways that they would never do for all straight men in light of the unfolding Cutié “scandal.”

Anyway, here’s how the astute Colleen Kochivar-Baker makes the connections.


Archbishop Weakland [pictured at left] was essentially the gay version of Fr. Cutié, and unlike some other bishops I could name, say Fabian Bruskewitz, Weakland has at least given a sworn deposition for trial lawyers in the diocese of Milwaukee, in which he admitted he failed in his pastoral duties when it came to abusive priests. Whatever else one might say about Rembert Weakland, he does take his lumps without equivocating.

. . . A lot of reasons have been put forth for the number of gays in the clergy. I wish someone would do a study on just why gay men are attracted to the priesthood. Most of the gay priests I’ve known did not enter the priesthood as some kind of perfect closet or for the oft cited reasons of gaining access to the mythical “lavender mafia.” They entered the priesthood because they felt called to service. A number of them saw in the person of Jesus a man who exhibited the same kinds of compassionate qualities they saw in themselves. Archbishop Weakland’s letter to Paul Marcoux eloquently expresses this compassion.

In this sexually hyped up competitive society, Jesus would not pass muster as a gung ho male. That’s why I find it interesting that the American Church is actively promoting and seeking red blooded American gung ho males.

Ultimately this is all about keeping the feminine out of Roman Catholicism, and one should never forget, that it’s about keeping the male determined mostly enculturated feminine out of the church. Or as I wrote yesterday, it’s about maintaining a rather Old Covenant view of masculinity as the Sacramental sign of the more feminine New Covenant. Males ranting and raving is not terribly convincing when one is attempting to portray the forgiving, compassionate, and loving Christ.

Fr. Cutié [pictured at right] is a great physical example of this greatly desired type of priest, but he at heart, is a Jesus priest. He is doing his best to be honest and compassionate towards his romantic interest and his Church. He may come to the same conclusion that Archbishop Weakland did and “make the greatest renunciation” of his life. It’s kind of a paradox I guess, that in the name of the God of love, you must renounce love. That's the issue people miss when it comes to celibacy and/or gays, it's not about renouncing sex, it’s the anguish of renouncing love.

Archbishop Rembert Weakland meant a great deal to the progressive social justice wing of the Church. Very much in the same way Fr. Cutié has meant a great deal to the under served Hispanic population. There are parallels in their two stories. They are and were great gifts to the ordained clergy and the Church as a whole. In the final analysis they are both pilgrims in a pilgrim church. To forget that about our clergy, whether gay or straight, is a grave error. It may be time we let priests be fully human so they can more easily grow into what it means to be Christ like.

To read Kochivar-Baker’s commentary in its entirety, click here.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Homosexuality and the Priesthood
Vatican Stance on Gay Priests Signals Urgent Need for Renewal and Reform
Toby Johnson on the Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

Recommended Off-site Links:
The Truth Shall Set You Free – Fr. Geoff Farrow (May 11, 2009).
“Spiritual Paternity”: Why Homosexual Men Cannot Be Ordained Roman Catholic Priests – Paula Ruddy (Progressive Catholic Voice, January 13, 2009).
Homosexual Priests and Spiritual Paternity – Ed Kohler (Progressive Catholic Voice, January 26, 2009).

Priests in pick-up truck image: St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee.

1 comment:

Fran said...

Her blog is great, I go there often but in my other blog identity.