Why not vilify this villain?

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A reminder that there is a court date tomorrow for Father John Sullivan in North Bay, Ontario:

09:30 am,  Tuesday 05  February 2013, courtroom  # 101, “to be spoken to,” North Bay, Ontario court house (360 Plouffe Street)

As I said yesterday, I doubt again that Father Sullivan will be making the trip from Montreal to North Bay for this courtdate, but, one never knows!

Please keep the complainant in your prayers.  If you are free to attend please do pop into the courthouse to see what happens and give us an update.


I have heard nothing as yet on the Father Linus Bastien courtdate of today in Chatham, Ontario.  If there is no news by tomorrow I will check  for the next date.


Earlier today I posted the following:

04 February 2013: Alex Gibney’s ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’: Sex, Lies, and the Catholic Church

I was writing a comment, and had been at it for some time (lengthy comment :)) when it all disappeared.  Poof!  Gone. I have not a clue what happened, I only know it was gone.

Initially I was going to let it go, but then decided to start all over again, and since the comment is lengthy I will post it as a blog.

I have not seen the documentary, but am troubled by Gibney’s own words int he above interview.

So, here goes.

I wanted to address two issues:  (1) Gibney bringing the issue of celibacy into his documentary, and (2) Gibney’s desire not to “villify” the former Archbishop of  Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland.

(1) Gibney claims that “What’s peculiar about the Roman Catholic Church is that at the heart of its doctrine is a lie—the lie of forced celibacy.”

Celibacy is a discipline, and it’s not forced.  No man is forced to be a priest.  If he feels incapable of living a life without a wife he should opt to pursue a career rather than a vocation to the priesthood.

The celibacy issue is a red herring and truly an insult to every man on the face of the earth in that the implication is that if a man is unable to marry he will satisfy his sexual desires by molesting children.  Most men know that a child is not put on the face of the earth to satisfy the lust of any man.   Most men would not for a moment even consider satiating their sex drive by going after a child.


(2) Gibney’s desire not to “villify” the former Archbishop of  Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland.

As for not vilifying Weakland, well, this is what really bothered me and prompted me to comment.

If there is anyone who warrants vilification in this sordid scandal of clerical sexual abuse and cover-up it is Rembert Weakland.  He is not the only one, but he certainly warrants vilification..

Speaking as A Roman Catholic I will say first that there was hardly a Catholic bone in Archbishop Weakland’s body.  He consistently undermined or misrepresented the moral teachings of the Church which he claimed to serve, and sad to say, without public sanction.

I recall when the bishops of Canada chose Archbishop Weakland to give the keynote address at their 1994 plenary at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa, Ontario.  His topic was “How clergy can invigorate their own religious lives.”

When it comes to the sex abuse scandals in the Church, Weakland harbour and recycled more than a few.

If numbers are the name of the game, well, there was Father William Effinger.  There are in the order of 150 Effinger victims, both male and female, but predominantly male.

In 1979 Weakland was told that Effinger had molested13-year-old Joseph Cernigilia.  Effinger admitted the abue.  He was sent off for “treatment.”  Weakland told Joseph’s parents that the abuse should be kept quiet for the boy’s sake and promised that Effinger would never be put in a position where he could harm another boy.  Around the same time another victim reported abuse.

For the next 13 years Effinger was allowed to serve in the diocese, with ready access to children and claiming new victims along the way. –He was finally convicted in the early 90s, and that only because a victim went to talk to him armed with a concealed tape recorder.

Some time in the early 90s Joseph Cernigilia launched a lawsuit against the archdiocese.  The suit was thrown out because the statute of limitations had expired.  Believe it or not, Weakland sicced his diocesan lawyers on Cernigilia’s family to recover $4,000 in court cots. I believe he got it, but not 100% certain of the outcome.

That was Effinger.

A lot of victims.

The numbers of victims aren’t as high with Father Dennis Pecore, but the manner in which Wekaland dealt with the allegations was no less fitting:  those who complained about Father Pecore were sacked.  First the principal of the local school was gone.  Then, three teachers from the same school wrote to Weakland expressing their concerns about Pecore.  Weakland replied that “any libelous material found in your letter will be scrutinized carefully by our lawyers.”  In fairly short order, all three teachers lost their jobs.  As for Pecore, he was eventually charged and convicted.

I will leave it at that.  There were many predatory priest in the Milwaukee Archdiocese during Weakland’s tenure.

But, take a look at how the archbishop viewed the victims:

“Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be very sexually active and aggressive and often quite streetwise.”

“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…That is when the squealing comes in and you have to deal with it.”

And then, of course, there were the sex abuse allegations of Paul Marcoux against Rembrandt Weakland himself, and word of the first $14,000 pay-off.  And then there was the $450,000 Weakland gave Marcoux in 1998 in exchange for silence, return of all correspondence between the pair, and an agreement not to sue the Archdiocese or Benedictines (Weakland was a Benedictine monk).  The letters included Weakland’s profession of love for Marcoux.  That was  $459,000 hush money.

The $459,000 was taken from diocesan funds.  When word got out about the pay-off Weakland initially said he had brought that much into the diocese over the past 25 years in speaking fees, gifts and honorariums.   He later admitted that he had erred.  The archdiocese released a statement saying that Weakland’s work over the years had brought in a total of $196,723, including money it earned in an interest bearing account.

That’s just a little bird’s-eye view of the former Archbishop of Milwaukee, Rembert Weakland.  There’s much much more, but that’s perhaps enough.

Now why did Gibney opt not to ‘villify’ this villainous disgrace to the priesthood?  Why the kid gloves?  I have yet to see the documentary and was looking forward to seeing it  but am now having  serious questions.

Enough for now,


This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Administrative, Canada, CCCB, recycled, Scandal, Treatment centres and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why not vilify this villain?

  1. Leona says:

    I have seen the movie Sylvia, and Gibney doesn’t let Weakland off the hook, however, Weakland is one of the only clergy who would talk. If the other ‘celibate’ priests are so holy then why aren’t they yelling and screaming to end these atrocities towards children. Their silence makes their celibate sacrifice meaningless!

  2. Sylvia says:

    Best I wait to see the documentary, but, I am going by Gibney’s words on how he dealt with Weakland. A lot of people suffered needlessly under the Weakland regime.

    I hope and pray he (Weakland) is not now portrayed by Gibney as some sort of hero.

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