Monday, July 22, 1991

The Education of an Archbishop, by Paul Wilkes, in The New Yorker

Published in two parts, July 15, 1991
ABSTRACT: PROFILE of Rembert George Weakland, 64, Archbishop of Milwaukee. Writer spoke with him last Sept. just after he came back from a monthlong vacation. He visited Siberia, Poland & the Ukraine where he saw a Catholic Church emerging from the oppression of the recently defunct Dommunist regimes. He was eager to resume work in his own archdiocese, where he is the spiritual leader of more than 600,000 Catholics. He is one of a decreasing number of prelates appointed before 1978 when the current Pope, John Paul II, was elected. The newer members of the hierarchy are more comfortable with the doctrinal orthodoxy that John Paul II espouses than with the more open & pastoral spirit of his recent predecessors, one of whom, Pope Paul VI, appointed Weakland archbishop in 1977. He never served as a parish priest. He is a Benedictine monk. Weakland enjoys what he does and has avoided being typecast either as an extreme liberal or conservative. If he is not the most vocal or widely recognized bishop in America he is probably one of the most effective. He was the principal architect of a letter commissioned by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops which called for govt. intervention to reduce economic disparities in the U.S. The letter was approved at the 1986 NCCB. Tells about his early life in Pennsylvania & his career. He found his early days in Milwaukee difficult & confining. After a year in office he signalled that his romance with the new Pope was over. Tells about the good things he did & the enemies he made on the New Right. He thought the role of women should be enlarged but the Vatican disagreed. Tells how he disagrees with the ugly tactics of the pro-life movement, which has been misinterpreted."

and July 22, 1991
ABSTRACT: PROFILE of Rembert George Weakland, Archbishop of Milwaukee. Writer went with him last Nov. to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops which holds it annual meeting every Nov. in Washington. The organization arose from the Second Vatican Council-1962-1965, These conference were to be the means of carrying out Vatican II reforms & were also meant to provide a forum for bishops to present what people in the pews were saying about current Church practice. Many prelates, Weakland among them, consider the conferences an authentic teaching voice. Cardinal Ratzinger, whose view is shared by the Pope thinks the role of the conferences is simply to fine-tune & promulgate policy, not make it. Tells what went on at the 1990 meeting. After it was over Weakland visited El Salvador. He was the senior prelate heading up a 10-person delegation. This is a crucial time in the 10-year-old war between the Salvadoran gov & the F.M.L.N. Negotations between them stalled & both sides resorted to their old violent tactics. Weakland & his delegation hoped to impart to each side the urgent need to resume peace negotiations. Tells about meeting with dignitaries in the capital city of San Salvador and then their trip north to Chalatenango province to see Father Jon de Cortina. Weakland had a meeting in an unnamed village with and F.M.L.N. commandante. It was later learned that 4 hours after they left Chalate the barracks was attacked by F.M.L.N. mortar fire. The attack was followed by a pitched street battle in which 11 civilians were reported killed.