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A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop Hardcover – June 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; 1ST edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802863825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802863829
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #684,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Weakland resigned as Milwaukee archbishop in 2002 after revelations of a past homosexual relationship and a confidential payout, it was seen as another stunning episode in the unfolding clergy abuse scandal. It was especially painful to liberal Catholics who viewed Weakland as their champion. Weakland was publicly penitent, but other events that year—chief among them the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston—made Weakland's drama a footnote. With this frank and well-told memoir, that's no longer the case. A Benedictine monk, Weakland is up front about his homosexuality in a church that preferred to ignore gays, and about his failures in overseeing pedophile priests. But this is really the poignant journey of a soul, not a mea culpa about sex, with chapters on his hardscrabble boyhood and fascinating, and sometimes sobering, insights into the life of a bishop and the tensions between the American Catholic Church and the Vatican. At points the narrative has more than enough detail on the life of a globe-trotting abbot. But overall this is an invaluable historical record and a moving personal confession. (June)
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About the Author

Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B., was elected Archabbot of St. Vincent Monastery, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1963, and Abbot Primate of the International Benedictine Confederation in 1967, and he served as Archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 to 2002. He is the author of many articles on medieval music and of frequently cited articles on religious subjects.

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Customer Reviews

His story is one of redemption and gives hopes to millions of people who have moral failings in their lives.
T. J. VanEtten
I have respected the intelligent leadership of Archbishop Weakland and his refusal to go along with the status quo at great risk to his career in the Church.
Julie Balamut
A Must Read for all Catholic Priests, Religious and Others interested in the Renewal of the Catholic church.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Ann Marie on June 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Archbishop Weakland is an extraordinary man who has lived a rich and interesting life. In the beginning of the book he states that he hopes that the good of his life can be judged along side his sin and failings, and in that I think he hits the right notes. I found the book exceedingly interesting as it followed the life of a man who was intimately involved in so much that has happened in the Church for the past 50 years. At times, I felt like a fly on the wall of events taking place in Rome, Washington, DC, Milwaukee, and around the world. Archbishop Weakland's outlines well how he came to believe what he believes, including his many "liberal" views. His explanation of how the Church changed during the papacy of John Paul II will anger some, but I found it provided insight for ways that I have experienced the Church changing over the years. I hope that the people who are choosing to comment on this book will read it cover to cover before continuing to comment on it. It probably won't make sense to those who have already decided that liberal is equal to bad, but for those who are interested in hearing the story of a Catholic struggling to serve his Church through a very interesting period of Church history, this book is for you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brad on August 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am saddened by so may that are just interested in an epic story with no interest in the lives impacted by someone that held such a high office. Many are castigated and compartmentalized as the religious right because we think Archbishop Weakland is not to be held up as any kind of hero or fascination figure because we care about the lives impacted. These are the lives of parishioners shocked by the scandal of their Bishop who not only practiced homosexuality but saw it propagate into a form of child abuse in his diocese by leaning on the advice of "experts" who said not to discipline or remove these priests. These are the same experts(Berlin) now advocating for the normalization of pedophilia [...] and who have always opposed sex offender notification laws. And we are only supposed to be fascinated by the story and not care about the lives of children? We are supposed to just see a liberal Catholic as someone with a different view than the Holy Father and not someone who can steer his relativistic mindset into a road of danger for his sheep - some who never recover. This is more than a story - it is about lives and souls and their eternal fate.
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33 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Leet on June 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Archbishop Rembert Weakland sets out to give his appraisal of the Catholic Church which has been his life since birth over eighty years ago. On outset he relates his 'fall from grace' and subsequent "Resurrection". Namely his relationship with an adult gay man. The ready admission of this fall reveals a man not afraid to ready to admit failure. Of greater import, Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church portrays a man imbued with the values of the Second Vatican Council and had the courage to carry them forward both as Benedictine Abbot Primate and as Archbishop of Milwaukee. He reveals a Church governed by men often captivated by power and other men motivated and inspired by Scripture. In his last pages his appraisal of Pope John Paul II is to the point, a good man but imprisoned by personal world view which did not admit dissent and as result encouraged the emasculation of John XIII's Council by Curial officialdom.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By madeupname on December 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't know why, but I had been under the impression that this whole book would be about Weakland's sexual scandal, from Weakland's point of view. I guess I thought that because when the scandal broke was the first time I'd heard his name. The scandal is only described in detail in the Prologue. The rest of the book is another kind of page turner - an inside look at the church hierarchy from someone who started as a normal Catholic, and after a stellar Catholic education, an appointment as abbot primate of the Benedictines, and appointment as Archbishop, had the opportunity to see a lot and meet a lot of influential people, and finally have some influence himself. It was really interesting to me to learn a little bit about how a monastery works and how they view their own mission. I was left wishing the whole church worked more like that with an "abbot" figure at the head supporting the individual members instead of a diocesan bishop who is mainly a representative of the Vatican's viewpoints. My favorite parts were when Weakland described what it was like to meet with various curial and papal officials. His perspective is one you don't get very often these days, with all the talk of "John Paul the Great" already, but for me it seemed fascinating, honest, and important. He pinpoints a lot of changes in the church. His bias is obvious, but again, it's a bias that you don't get to hear often these days. As a Catholic who has seen vicious words exchanged between "orthodox" Catholics and "dissenters" and who has wondered why so many Catholics these days are young radicals who ally themselves with the religious right, this book was very informative. Highly recommended!!!!!
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35 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Robert Badger on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Archbishop Weakland is one of the most polarising figures in American Catholic history. You either really like him or you really don't. I cannot admit to being a Weakland fan. However, he is one of those figures that you really cannot ignore, as much as you may like to.

He is hugely talented and very gifted as a writer. This book is very absorbing. It is a page-turner in other words. In reading his story, you just have to marvel at it. A young man from a poor family ends up in a monastery, goes to Rome, France, and Germany, is professed a monk, does graduate studies in New York, and ends up running the whole monastery as archabbot before he's even 40. He then went on to serve as Abbot Primate of the Order of St. Benedict, rubbing shoulders with Pope Paul VI and other very high churchmen. And then, at the age of 50, he ends up an archbishop.

Yes, Archbishop Weakland is talented. But I'm afraid that old habits do indeed die hard. The same contempt for those who do not share his point of view is still very much in evidence. His contempt for Pope John Paul II is frequently shown, despite some words of faint praise for the late Pontiff. Archbishop Weakland makes constant reference to his fear for authority, yet during his time as Archbishop of Milwaukee, he was quite authoritarian. He refused to listen to anyone to opposed his cathedral project. He complains bitterly about all those people, both clerical and lay, who wrote to the Holy Father to complain about him. Yet, they were only doing what the Second Vatican Council encouraged them to do, making known to the Church's pastors their concerns.

I'm not sure that the Archbishop Weakland who emerged following the scandals of 2002 is humbler. A number of passages in the book seem to indicate that not much has changed. If that is the case, then that is something to be lamented indeed.
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