In many respects, Milwaukee still lives in Weakland World. What is that? It’s a particular (incorrect) interpretation of post-Vatican II Catholicism that veers sharply to the left. Weakland World is heavily influenced by political correctness, multi-culturalism, and an ecclesiology that stresses community and self over Sacrament and tradition. Think of it as Oprah Winfrey with a few Catholic symbols thrown in for kicks. Russell Shaw once brilliantly called it “Archbishop Weakland’s Oprah Ecclesiology.” Wish I’d thought of that one.
You could say that Milwaukee was the epicenter for this strange brand of Catholicism for several generations. Weakland World is not as bold as it once was. Resigning in disgrace tends to dim the lights of any kind of narcissistic legacy one is attempting to establish. To be fair, there are some positive signs around, especially in the younger priests who are doing great work against incredible odds. But the Weakland residue, especially in liturgy, is remarkably resilient and stubborn, sticking to our archdiocese like dirty gum on a nice pair of Italian shoes. It’s like that tipsy guest at a party who never leaves and annoys everyone. Folks would be more than willing to chip in for a taxi just so he’d leave. For some inexplicable reason, leaders of the archdiocese have been reluctant to reset the out-of-socket joint.
Case in point: Why is a major building adjoining the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist named after Archbishop Weakland? A huge placard bearing his name still remains fixed to the cream city brick wall. Is that how we honor people of Weakland’s legacy? Is this how you establish your credibility before a shell-shocked flock? Archbishop Weakland was a total disaster for us. It’d be like christening a new executive bank building after Bernie Madoff.
Why is liturgical life in Milwaukee so out of control and out of line with the liturgical vision of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? Veggie Tales Goes to Bermuda provides more theological depth than some of these cringe worthy homilies! I have enough liturgical abuse horror stories to fill a ten-volume anthology. And furthermore, why is the Counsins Center staffed with Weakland holdovers? Why is our radical, pro-abortion mayor an honored parishioner at Saint Sebastian’s? The questions could go on and on. It’s kind of like the Bizarro World in Superman. Or The Twilight Zone. Pick your analogy. What’s up is down, what’s down is up. Everything you think would be considered a bit odd in the real world is applauded, smiled upon and promoted here. Weakland’s loyal followers have been singing “Moving on up!” in Milwaukee ever since the 1980s. They have controlled the narrative for too long.
We hope to change that.