Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Weakland: a bust

Off to the south as one enters Milwaukee's Cathedral St. John the Evangelist is a room displaying various items of historical or artistic interest. Among them is life-size bronze bust of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, shown in my accompanying photo. It's the work of Jeffrey Hanson Varilla and Anna Koh Varilla, commissioned around 1995 by our Archdiocese. (You can also see the 'clay stage preliminary to bronze casting' at their studio's website, preserved at the Internet Archive.) The bronze used to be displayed at the Archdiocese's headquarters in the Archbishop Cousins Center in suburban St. Francis.

Since our Archdiocese commissioned it, presumably it's one of its assets. Since it's gone bust and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, I'm surprised the physical bust hasn't been put up for sale. This might produce a bidding war between admirers of Weakland and others, say non-admirers, or lawyers specializing in representing creditors in diocesan bankruptcies who'd want it for their trophy case office decor.

9 comments:

  1. So narcissistic and inappropriate. Why isn't it put in storage, or melted down, or sold to the highest bidder? Just another example of the out-of-touchness so rampant in this archdiocese.

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    1. Or see what people would pay to watch Peter Isely try to beat it into a plowshare.

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  2. now how did Jesus put it...."let the one without sin cast the first stone"

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  3. You left out the next part, "Go, and sin no more."

    We certainly can judge the actions and legacy of a disastrous archbishop.

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  4. Aww, you're spoiling the April Fool's Day fun.

    But since you brought it up, wouldn't this case be 'let the one who has not paid for a statue in one's honor from funds of the church of which one is the leader cast the first stone'?

    Same might be applied to the $1.5 million and $500,000 endowed chairs in Archbishop Weakland's honor at the Gregorian University and International Benedictine College, Sant'Anselmo, respectively, paid for by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund, Inc., in 1997.

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    1. Wasn't the "supporting fund" Harry John's money as administered by his widow and daughter?

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    2. That's a succinct summary. There's more detail at Wikipedia:

      "Begun in the early 1950s by Harry G. John, a grandson of Miller Brewing founder Frederick Miller, De Rance [Corporation] was at one time worth $188 million. In 1983-1984, the charity's value plummeted to $83 million as a result of Harry John's questionable expenditures and investments of its assets. John's wife, Erica, and Dr. Donald Gallagher, two of the three foundation directors, subsequently sued to have John removed as a De Rance director. Harry John was found guilty of gross mismanagement and was permanently removed from the De Rance board in August, 1986.

      "When Harry John died in 1992, the De Rance board voted to award $30 million of the charity's $100 million in assets to several of John's favorite causes. The remaining $70 million was used to create a new charitable organization, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund. The fund was further renamed in 2009 as the Erica P. John Fund and reportedly contributes around $600,000 annually to the archdiocese. ..."

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  5. The officials of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee are so out of it, they do not understand the umbrage of the people at any reference to Weakland. Only they would continue to honor a man who was unfaithful to his priestly vows, cost the diocese millions of dollars and alienated generations from the Church. And they are still wondering why so many people stay fron church on Sunday........Dahhhhhhh

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  6. Jolly, jovial, jocose Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is a parody of pastoring. I'm for dropping all icons of him.

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