Archbishop Weakland has shown tremendous courage to come out as a gay man. He is the first US Catholic bishop to do so.
It is time for the whole Catholic Church to be honest and open about what everyone knows. There are gay priests and bishops in the church.
We hope that Archbishop Weakland’s courageous action will be a big step towards creating a climate in which other gay bishops, priests, women religious and church workers will feel safe in living honestly and openly.
Millions of gay Catholics and their families in the United States and around the world will find hope in Archbishop Weakland’s openness and honesty.
As Catholics debate celibacy, we know that we all need to be honest about God’s gift of human sexuality.
God’s call to priesthood transcends gender, sexual orientation, relationship status and other human constraints. All should be able to use their gifts in the service of the church.
Archbishop Weakland’s lifelong record of distinguished service to the Church shows that being gay does not prevent him from being effective as a priest and bishop.
Archbishop Weakland’s frank discussion of his shortcomings in handling the sexual abuse crisis shows that secrets create problems. Secrecy was the source of the church’s failure to recognize the dysfunction of abusive priests and to take immediate, strong steps to protect all church members from abuse.
Secrecy was also the problem when Archbishop Weakland was sued for creating a bond with a young adult seminarian. To keep the accusation a secret, a confidential settlement was reached. Despite the agreement, it became public and Archbishop Weakland resigned to avoid a public battle. Unfortunately, this is another sad case in which secrecy about sexual orientation impeded honest, open, and healthy relationships within the Church.
Recommended Off-site Link:
Ex-Archbishop Speaks About Catholic Church and Homosexuality - Laurie Goodstein (New York Times, May 14, 2009).