Monday, December 2, 2002

In Milwaukee, they were going to put a priest with an arrest record (sex in the park, you know the routine) in charge of a parish...

Parishioners protested, and the assignment was withdrawn

After outcry from concerned Catholics, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has rethought plans to assign a priest who has a history of being arrested for homosexual conduct with adults to a Hartford church.

Had his transfer to St. Kilian parish gone through, it would have marked the third time Father Thomas Walker was sent into a situation where Catholics who described themselves and their parish as traditional or orthodox had challenged the closing of their parish.

Former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland had approved the first two assignments.The priest's latest reassignment would have occurred under the watch of newly installed Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, who is more traditional in many devotional and theological matters than the liberal Weakland was.

Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba decided this summer that Walker was suitable for reassignment, said archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski. The nine-member College of Consultors, priests who advise the archbishop, made that recommendation, he added.At the time, Dolan had not yet been installed as the new archbishop. Sklba was serving as administrator of the archdiocese because Weakland had retired amid news reports that the archdiocese had paid $450,000 in 1998 to a man who claimed Weakland had sexually assaulted him nearly 20 years earlier.

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