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Funeral announced for Rembert Weakland, former Milwaukee Archbishop

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for Weakland is scheduled at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Rembert G. Weakland
Posted at 6:22 AM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 08:51:48-04

MILWAUKEE — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced on Monday the details of the funeral for Milwaukee Archbishop Emeritus Rembert Weakland, who died last week.

A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for Weakland is scheduled at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist located at 812 N. Jackson St. in Milwaukee on Aug. 30, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. Priests are invited to concelebrate, the archdiocese said.

Visitation will be held at the cathedral on Aug. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. Burial will be at St. Vincent Archabbey Cemetery in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

Rembert G. Weakland
FILE - In this Aug, 28, 2002, file photo is retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, Wis. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee plans to make dozens of priests' personnel files public by July 1, 2013, as part of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud. Archdiocese officials have long acknowledged that abusive priests were transferred to new churches with no warning to parishioners. Weakland publicly apologized for transferring one priest in 1992. (AP Photo/Dale Guldan, Pool, File)

The archbishop, who spoke publicly about his struggles with being gay, stepped down after a former Marquette University theology student revealed he had been paid $450,000 in 1997 to settle a sexual assault claim against Weakland two decades earlier. The money came from the archdiocese, though Weakland maintained the contact was consensual.

The settlement came to light as the church was dealing with a national scandal that erupted when the Boston Globe published a series of articles about child sexual abuse by priests. Victims in Milwaukee and other cities began coming forward with claims of their own.

Born in 1927 in a hotel owned by his father and grandfather in Patton, Pa., Weakland was named George Samuel after his maternal and paternal grandfathers. He received the name Rembert nearly two decades later when he took vows as a Benedictine monk.

As archbishop, he helped craft a 112-page pastoral letter from the nation’s bishops that decried high unemployment, homelessness and hunger and described huge income gaps between the rich and poor as morally unacceptable. Released days after former President Ronald Reagan’s re-election, the letter sharply contrasted with the Republican administration’s hands-off economic policies.

Weakland pushed to increase women’s role in the church and to make it more welcoming to them. He created a task force that recommended women be permitted to preach and be considered for ordination.

Outside the church, he was a pianist who studied at The Juilliard School and earned a doctorate in musicology from Columbia University. Weakland also spoke six languages — English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Latin — and was elected to lead the Benedictine monks at age 40.

But his star began to fade as the church’s leadership became more conservative under Pope John Paul II. The archbishop’s public comments on abortion, married priests and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV put him in conflict with other church authorities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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