UPDATE (8/24/2022): A day after this article was published, Fr. James Martin backtracked even further, deleting previous tweets and offering another apology.
MILWAUKEE (ChurchMilitant.com) - A homosexualist Jesuit priest is under fire for posthumously praising a corrupt bishop.
Father James Martin is now backtracking after lauding cover-up prelate Abp. Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee, who passed away Monday. Following a hailstorm of criticism on Twitter, Martin apologized Tuesday for defending Abp. Weakland's corrupt legacy.
May God have mercy on the soul of Abp. Rembert Weakland, and may God have mercy on all sinners, which is all of us, myself included.— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) Aug. 23, 2022
"I apologize for seemingly excusing his many sins and crimes," Martin said in reference to Weakland. "That wasn't my intent. I condemn those actions and should have been clearer."
But the pro-gay Jesuit priest also compared his behavior to that of Our Lord, writing, "I also ask if people would have sat beside Jesus as He ate with 'sinners and tax collectors,' as He often did in Galilee and Judea."
The exchange began on Monday, when Fr. Martin eulogized the late archbishop, tweeting, "Archbishop Rembert Weakland has died. An erudite scholar, gifted pastor and Benedictine abbot primate, his legacy was marred by revelations that he paid money to a man with whom he had been in a relationship. I considered him a friend and mourn his loss. May he rest in peace."
Archbishop Rembert Weakland has died. An erudite scholar, gifted pastor and Benedictine abbot primate, his legacy was marred by revelations that he paid money to a man with whom he had been in a relationship. I considered him a friend and mourn his loss. May he rest in peace. https://t.co/mxb1RouRhd— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) Aug. 22, 2022
Soon after Martin's tweet, critics reminded the Jesuit of Abp. Weakland's sordid past. One commenter wrote, "His 'legacy' was marred by hiding child sex abuse and saying the victims would grow out of it. For the love of all that is holy, have you no shame?"
In 1998, the Milwaukee archdiocese paid $450,000 in hush money to a man named Paul Marcoux, who claimed Weakland sexually assaulted him in 1980. Marcoux claims the two were in a homosexual relationship when the assault occurred.
On two occasions, Martin responded to the deluge of criticism with the rhetorical question, "Have your friends ever done anything sinful?" That appears to be what his later apology thread was referencing, as it notes that "many people were angered by two tweets."
Weakland's legacy stretches back decades. In 1948, a young Weakland traveled to Rome to finish seminary and further his studies in music. While in the Eternal City, Weakland befriended the future Pope Paul VI, and later became instrumental in forming Vatican II documents touching on music in the liturgy. After Weakland served as abbot primate of the Benedictine order, Pope Paul VI appointed him archbishop of Milwaukee in 1977.
While archbishop, Weakland began to shuffle abusive priests around the archdiocese and even punished whistleblowers. In one instance, Weakland fired three teachers for reporting clerical child molestation, warning them that his lawyers would pounce on any 'libelous material' in the complaint letter. Weakland also countersued the family of an abuse victim to recover $4,000 in court costs. The victim's suit was thrown out due to the statute of limitations, and his abuser was already in jail.
Years later, in an attempt to defend pederast priests, Abp. Weakland wrote in the diocesan paper that "not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be very sexually active and aggressive and often quite streetwise." Weakland even admitted to a reporter that "what happens so often in those cases is that they go on for a few years, and then the boy gets a little older, and the perpetrator loses interest. ... That is when the squealing comes in, and you have to deal with it."
In his autobiography, Weakland admitted to covering up for priests sexually abusing children but claimed he didn't know that child abuse was a crime. In the book, he also discusses his own homosexuality.
In his initial tweet that paid honor to Weakland as a "friend" and "gifted pastor," Fr. Martin neglected to mention the archbishop's scandalous history of covering up child sex abuse. Rather, Martin noted that there were "revelations" of a homosexual relationship the prelate had been in. In 2002, the archbishop was exposed for having a relationship with Paul Marcoux, a relationship that involved sodomy and sexual favors. Weakland reportedly paid Marcoux around $450,000 in hush money, largely drawn from archdiocesan funds.
Weakland was also influential in the U.S. bishops' conference and was among the first clerical voices to support homosexual activism in the Church. Weakland supported the National Gay Task Force, Dignity and New Ways Ministry, among other dissident groups. The errant Dignity masses also thrived under Weakland's leadership. While he was archbishop, Weakland was involved in founding and funding the Milwaukee AIDS Project, which distributed condoms and encouraged masturbation, sadomasochism and the use of sex toys.
Father Martin himself has a colorful history of supporting dissident pro-homosexual activism in the Church. Martin pushes for homosexual and transsexual affirmation in the Church and claims he has even been commended by Pope Francis for his LGBT outreach.