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

4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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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 au
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802863825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802863829
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,135,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a fellow liturgical musician I have always had a warm spot in my heart for Weakland; a music degree from Julliard is an honor.

On the main biography, my opinion was that he gave a good account of his upbringing and church career.
In a few sections it became a little dry (e.g. as he related his visits to different Benedictine houses) but
he kept this material concise .. and noted parenthetically that "yes, some of this may be tedious!"

I was particularly taken by the many situations of misunderstandings and conflicts with the Church hierarchy.
I found myself torn between two sentiments -

-- first, sympathetic; as a Catholic who has struggled with a number of the Church's shortcomings (including
participation in lay reform organizations), it was good to see that some even at the Archbishop level were
working toward those same goals...

-- second, frustrated; thinking that if an Archbishop has so little actual influence in solving these problems
how will an individual lay Catholic accomplish anything!

Many know that sadly, Weakland resigned in disgrace after a quiet settlement to a purported gay contact
became public.

I have not followed the details of his case in other sources so I am taking his account at face value; perhaps
there is "more to the story" but it is unfortunate that this incident brought him down. In any case given the
egregious incidents that other bishops have been involved with, it seems likely that he would have been
kept on had he not run afoul of Vatican conservatives.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in the real operation of the Church hierarchy over the time of
Weakland's life - Vatican II to the 2000's.
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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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Format: Hardcover
BROKEBACK MILWAUKEE
(Review)
[A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church - Memoirs of a
Catholic Archbishop Rembert G Weakland, OSB.
Forward by Margaret O'Brien Steinfels. Wiliam B
Eerdmans, 2009. Pp. Vii - 429. Hard cover. $35.00.
ISBN 978-0-8028-6382-9]
You can tell a lot about a book by its title. No
doubt, some wag will come along and
compare this effort to the Confessions of St
Augustine, or at least to Thomas Merton's Seven
Storey Mountain. One can imagine a movie version,
in the genre of the recent homophilic masterpiece
Brokeback Mountain, with its complex web of human
relationships--mysterious, undefinable, and
unexpected.
This effort is divided into three parts. The third and
last being the hardest going, dealing with as it does
the obligations and vicissitudes of running a diocese,
being a member of a bishops' conference, and all the
ins and outs of a complex ecclesiastical structure. All
this data will serve as a window into the machinations
of a church gone haywire at the end of the 20th
century. Well enough then to leave this to the
scholars and historians who will find here a treasure
to be mined for generations to come.
The second part, and one feels the author's favorite
period, deals with his career in Rome, and his
ascendancy as a major player in the life of the
Catholic church during a time of reform, renewal, and
upheaval. Weakland shares the details of being an
abbot primate, the palace intrigues of the upper
hierarchy, the burdens and joys of friendship with a
pope, and the demands and rewards of world travel.
Read more ›
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