Friday, May 15, 2009

Father Alberto Cutié: my two cents worth

I started paying attention to this story on a day I'll remember because, that morning, the First Reading at Mass had Saul and Barnabas being confused for gods by the people of Lystra.

Making Priests into "gods" is setting yourself up for trouble.  Giving them celebrity cult status raises them from who they are to who you imagine them to be and borders on idolatry.  Priests are ordained to be "other Christs", not "other Oprahs" or "other Brad Pitts".  Every Priest is your Priest: whether old or young, introvert or extrovert, cover of GQ or cover of New England Journal of Medicine's "Dropped at Birth" issue.  To think otherwise is to fall into the trap that the Corinthians fell into: "I belong to Paul," or, "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas." (1 Cor 1:12)  There's only one Savior in the Church's organizational chart, and that job's been filled.

A story about this that ran in the Miami Herald had this line in it:
"Cutie told CBS he has been romantically involved with the woman in the photos for about two years."
Yes, TWO YEARS.  That's when he lost me.  This wasn't a momentary lapse in judgment.  For two years he has been living a "double life"; this was a conspiracy.  For two years he planned his life around when he could be with her and where they could go and not be recognized. Did any of the parish staff know?  Did parish funds pay for meals, etc.? What if they were simply spotted on the beach last week with no photos taken; would he be denying it right now?  Is he sorry because of breaking promises he made on Ordination day or is he sorry that he got caught? Now he says he'll begin to think about whether to leave her or to leave the Catholic Church and marry her.  I mean, really, if you're her, can you trust him?  He's already made the promise of lifetime fidelity before.

And, let's face it.  If Padre Alberto looked less like himself and more like, well, me, no one would care if he was leaving the Priesthood over a relationship.  Though they might take the girl for an eye exam.

He needs prayers, true, but he also needs a long time before the Tabernacle to understand what he has done.  So do those who are saying that the Church's centuries-old discipline of celibacy needs to change just for the sake of Padre Alberto.  After all, he's not a god.


Ellen said...

Well stated.

Victoria said...

I too lost sympathy with Cutie when he said that he had been in a relationship with the woman for two years. If he allowed himself to become so close emotionally with the woman that he contemplated breaking his promise of celibacy he should have applied to leave the priesthood and married her. He has committed fornication and is possibly practising artificial contraception as well as scandalising thousands of people. If he and this "woman of faith" have been to confession what of their purpose of amendment? Have they both received Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin?

The photo of his hand diving into the back of her swimsuit disgusted and saddened me because those same hands hold the Body and Blood of Christ.

JimC said...

Nice piece Father. Do the let Father get married crowd realize that ordained men have never been allowed to marry? Phony solutions based on individual cases make bad law and bad precedent. I trust Peter to lead the Church where she must go.

Arthur said...

Well said, Victoria. How could this Priest offer the Holy Sacriface of the Mass, administer the sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, Penance, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, while he is in the state of grave sin, and look himself in the mirror? Hypocrisy with a capitl H, that's how. This is a man who does not deserve to decide whether or not he wants to remain a priest. He should be kicked out!

Maria Galea said...

"And all men are ready to pass judgement on the priest as if he was not a being clothed with flesh, or one who inherited a human nature..."