Catholics Respond to Weakland's Comments

By Charles Benson
Today's TMJ 4

November 13, 2008

[with video of the deposition]


MILWAUKEE - A cover-up in the Catholic Church. The former Milwaukee archbishop says he did not report priests who sexually abused children.

It's the first time we're hearing about the scandal, directly from former Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

in a taped deposition Weakland said he didn't report abuse to police or parishioners.

There is no shortage of opinions among Catholics. On Weakland's statements.

We talked to some outspoken critics of the church.

Rita McDonald watched the heavily edited deposition in disbelief.

"I was surprised that the archbishop had never discussed any of these things with his predecessor or successor," McDonald said.

She is a life long Catholic and a moral and financial supporter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Reporter Charles Benson asked, "As a Catholic why is this issue important to you?"

"Because itís embarrassing," said McDonald.

In his own words, former Archbishop Weakland saw priest as family and never reported abuse claims to authorities.

On the tape, lawyer Jeffrey Anderson questioned Weakland, "You allowed each of these priests to continue in ministry in some capacity did you not?"

"Yes," Weakland answered.

Al Szews isnít surprised by what he hears in the deposition. ďThis perhaps verifies it, but Iím not surprised.Ē

Even before the scandal Szews was an outspoken critic of Weakland, he still is.

"Archbishop Weakland has poorly represented the Catholic Church,"said Szews.

But the life long Catholic believes the current archbishop, Timothy Dolan, has taken steps to heal the pain.

"I think the healing process has to come from both sides," said Szews, "those who were the offenders and those who were the victims."

The archdiocese agrees mistakes were made in the 70's, 80's and even as late as the 90ís but says progress has been made.

We called Weakland to comment on the deposition, he declined.


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