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“Rembert the Reconciler”

Speaking of the Common Ground Initiative (see the preceding New Oxford Note), we were amused to read in the official newsletter of the Common Ground Initiative (Initiative Report [March]) that the Common Ground Initiative Award for 2002 is being given to Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee. The newsletter says the Award is given to a person who has “furthered reconciliation and/or dialogue on important issues within the church.” The newsletter hails Weakland for “urging open discussion and more compassion on the issue [of abortion],” for “fostering good communication,” and for his skills in “dispute resolution.”

Ah yes, Rembert the Compassionate. Rembert the Great Communicator. Rembert the Reconciler.

Yeah, right. Tell all that to:

· Fr. Fessio. Weakland tried to keep Fessio’s Catholic Family Radio out of his Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

· Mother Angelica. Weakland called her “offensive.”

· Prolifers. Weakland derided them as “unloving.”

· Pope John Paul II. Weakland called him a “ham actor.”

· Paul Likoudis, News Editor of The Wanderer. Weakland wrote a letter to Likoudis, reproduced in full on the Archbishop’s letterhead in The Wanderer (Sept. 24, 1998), saying that “you are not welcome to speak here in the Archdiocese” and calling Likoudis “as close to being a truly evil person as I expect to meet in my lifetime.” In the same issue of The Wanderer, A.J. Matt Jr. noted that Weakland “has a record of writing mean-spirited and contemptuous letters to others since his term in Milwaukee began [in 1977].”

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