It Is Gospel Truth to Speak Ill of the Dead

The holy Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John never let us forget that before Judas died he betrayed Christ.

The Gospels speak ill of the dead Judas.

Catholics pray for the dead, even in the case of a dead person who did great evil.

It is customary for Christians to avoid speaking ill of the dead, but it is not always wrong to speak of the ills the dead may have done.

Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee from 1977 to 2002, died two days ago.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, as archbishop, he repudiated cruelly and malevolently those teachers in a Catholic school who reported that local priests were sexually abusing children.

He destroyed reports of the abuse.

Without alerting the police or the people in the churches, he let priests guilty of sexually abusing children continue to serve as priests in churches.

After he retired in 2002, the news broke that he himself had sexually attacked an adult male in 1979 and 1980.

People on social media recalled and reported anew all these grave wrongs upon learning of Weakland’s death.

To condemn those who wrote those reports is to imitate Weakland’s condemnation of teachers who reported truthfully that priests under his jurisdiction were sexually abusing children.

Victims can continue to suffer from such evils psychologically, spiritually, and even physically for the rest of their lives.

We can and must continue to voice condemnation of the moral ill, the evil, that Weakland committed in the past, because that evil will never cease being evil.

And such condemnation must keep us on guard, since such evils can always happen again.

The still living victims of the now dead Weakland’s evil actions might not be able to rest in peace for the rest of their own lives.

Out of respect for such victims, for the sake preventing the making of future victims, and for the sake of helping any future victims that may arise because of other abusers, we must not forget what Weakland did.

And then we must leave to God to decide what Weakland’s own present and future might hold now that he has died.

Ongoing Conversion
Ongoing Conversion

Published by Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, O.S.B.

Benedictine Monk and Priest of Prince of Peace Abbey, Oceanside, California, in the Order of Saint Benedict

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