Friday, January 15, 2010
A BRONZE FOR WEAKLAND?
By Charlie Sykes
It is hard to image a less appropriate image than Archbishop Weakland depicted as a protector of children....Here is a link to my column on "The Shame of Remembert Weakland."
SNAP is holding a press conference this morning.:
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) will hold a sidewalk news conference on the steps of Milwaukee’s Catholic Cathedral urging newly installed archbishop Jerome Listecki to explain:
--why disgraced former archbishop Rembert Weakland is being honored next Tuesday, January 12th, with giving the keynote address at the Cathedral on the renovation of St. John’s;
--why, as part of that renovation, Weakland commissioned charitable money to be used to create a bronze relief of himself pictured in the biblical scene of Jesus protecting the little children (the relief is on the pedestal of the Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine, which is on the east side altar of the cathedral); ...[In the Weakland bronze relief, which serves as a pedestal to the Mary, Mother of the Church Shrine and is the Cathedral’s east side altar, Weakland is flanked by St. John the Evangelist and St. Anne, the mother of Mary. Also in the background of the relief, according to Chicago artists Jeffrey and Anna Koh-Varilla , is a portrait of the Cathedral’s current rector, Fr. Carl Last. A recent email by Anna and Jeffery Koh-Varilla, confirms that the relief was meant to bring the biblical scene into the contemporary world of the Milwaukee church by placing Weakland in it [as protector of children].
--why, for the first time since the 2002 revelations of paying half a million dollars in hush money to a man who says Weakland sexually abused him, is Weakland being allowed to ascend the Cathedral pulpit, but not in order to explain his covering up of child sex abuse crimes; ..
-how these actions are going to help bring about the desperately needed healing and resolution of the ongoing clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis in the Milwaukee archdiocese.
Peter Isley forwards an email from the artist:
Here is a recent email message from the artists confirming it is Weakland and why.
On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 9:56 AM, Anna Koh Varilla wrote:
Thank you for your appreciation. The relief bronze panel below Mother Mary depicts the diversity of the Milwaukee Catholic community. It is ,indeed, the tower of St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in the background and St. John is on the right with Archbishop Weakland on the left. The young mother in the foreground represents Mother Mary with today's children and Christ Child. The elderly woman praying represents St. Anne. The portrait of Father Last is also depicted in the background. You are correct that our intention was to merge the biblical message with contemporary reality.