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From “Rembert the Reconciler” To “Rembert the Unperson”?

In our New Oxford Notes section for May, we had a piece titled “‘Rembert the Reconciler.'” It was about how the Common Ground Initiative Award for 2002 was going to be given to Archbishop Rembert Weakland, and we cited an article in the quarterly newsletter of the Common Ground Initiative (March) which made the announcement. There was also an ad for the presentation of the Award, which we did not cite; it indicated that the Award would be presented to the Archbishop on June 21 at the Silver Spring Hilton in Maryland, at which Walter Cardinal Kasper would deliver a lecture.

Recently we received the next Common Ground Initiative quarterly newsletter (June). The same ad appears — in the exact same size and with exactly the same typeface — but with slight alterations that only a Kremlinologist would notice. The about-to-be sainted Archbishop Weakland is gone, and two additional bits of information are added: an i.d. for Cardinal Kasper and these words, “Free and Open to the Public.”

We searched through the June newsletter to find out why Archbishop Weakland was dropped from the program, why he wouldn’t get his Award. Not a word! How eerie!

We then did some research to find out if the Archbishop had died or was dreadfully ill. No, he’s alive and well.

We tentatively concluded that the Archbishop had suddenly been purged by the big-wigs at the Common Ground Initiative. If you’re familiar with Soviet history, you know that a comrade could go from being a decorated Hero of the Working Class to an Unperson in the twinkling of an eye. But surely, the Common Grounders don’t go in for Stalinist methods, do they?

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