View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Double Tragedy of Father Cutie

Father Alberto Cutie, the charismatic Miami priest who was caught breaking his vows of celibacy, has joined the Episcopal Church and will apparently begin functioning there as a "priest."

It is tragic that he broke his vows and is leaving the Church.

But it is also tragic that the Episcopal Church is willing to accept him so readily as a priest. He is a man who broke his vows, a public fornicator who has shown no signs of repentance. He was until recently an outspoken defender of the Catholic Church.

Yet the Episcopal Church seems ready to accept him with no period of discernment, no expressions of remorse for his sins, no regrets about breaking a vow, with his girlfriend standing at his side, no less.

Will she just move into the rectory with him? Will she sit in the front pew as he preaches about sin and morality - or are those concepts the Episcopal Church avoids?

Will members of his congregation be able to keep straight faces? Or will they take inspiration from him as they engage in similar activities - "Hey, if it's okay for Father ..."

The sarcastic part of me notes that this was a church founded because of adultery anyway, but that was centuries ago. Henry's sin is not the sin of the many good people who have belonged to this denomination since. This is just another sign that the Episcopal Church has lost direction - and credibility.

Yes, we all sin. Fornication is a common sin these days. But it is a sin, and I think most would agree that it's inappropriate for an unrepentant sinner to present himself as a spiritual leader - and for a church to hold him up as such a leader.


Blogger GrannyGrump said...

The Episcopal church is notoriously "liberal".

7:10 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Alas, this goes beyond just being liberal.

To steal from a previous entry -

"Broadmindedness, which sacrifices principles to whims, dissolves entities into environment, and reduces truth to opinion, is an unmistakable sign of the decay of the logical faculty." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen, "Moods and Truths"

7:18 AM  
Blogger Brother Charles said...

Indeed. Fine post. Even though the discipline of the Episcopalians is different, they should recognize the break of faith made to a previous promise and demand some discernment and time, as you say.

Making it so quick, their agenda is revealed, and the poor woman is now twice victimized.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the Episcopal church has hardly changed since its inception. It was founded on infidelity, and it continues to this day on infidelity. In this particular case, the infidelity being Fr. Cutie breaking his promise of celibacy.

It wasn't a vow, so it's not as bad as say a monk doing what he did, but it's still a serious offense.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Episcopal church is notoriously "liberal"."

To an extent. There are some Episcopal parishes that are far more "conservative" than a number of DoR Catholic parishes.

The Episcopal church in general though is "Catholic Lite." The rules are softened and the doctrine is softened. You get what you pay for (meaning sacrifices), and you don't get very much from their religion.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

I was wondering when (or if) you'd get around to the Father Cutie story. His name, by the way, is pronounced Koo-te-AY -- accent over the "e" -- which eliminates some bad jokes.

While Cutie is a U.S. priest, clerical celibacy has not been taken as an absolute in the Latin American church since the days when Father Jerinomo Aguilar washed up on the Yucatan in 1518. The Church here is still largely pre-Council of Trent in many ways (witness our willingness, even pre-Vatican II, to accommodate local custom and practice), and clerical celibacy has only been around since Trent.

Interestingly enough, the three major clerical sex stories out of Latin America right now (Cutie, Legion of Christ founder Marciel and the revelation that Paraguayan president -- and former Holy Ghost Father -- Fernando Lugo had a son born when still a Bishop) all involve WOMEN, not boys. It's a running sour joke in Mexico that the Church never investigated the Legionaires of Christ for their documented sexual abuse of males, nor Marciel's narcotics addictions, nor his financial irregularites, nor his ties to Fascist regimes -- but his relationship with a woman.

A minor point, but where is it claimed Cutie fornicated? I've seen photos of him engaging in some nookie, but no fornication. I suppose one leads to the other, but not always, and one shouldn't presume. Nor, for that matter, should Catholics attempt to interfere in the workings of the Episcopal Church of the United States, since it's none of their concern. Nor mine.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"A minor point, but where is it claimed Cutie fornicated? I've seen photos of him engaging in some nookie, but no fornication."

He admitted it in an interview.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I hadn't planned to write anything about it, by the way, but then this troubling Episcopal angle surfaced.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't nookie a violation of one of the commandments? The adultery one? The man is married to the Church after all, so he has committed adultery.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous DN said...

Clerical celibacy has only been around since Trent? The 4th Lateran Council doesn't think so. It relies on a prevailing idea of a celibate priesthood, with any local customs otherwise being an exception, and only an exception for those in that area.

(Also, the term 'nookie' is, at least in my area, indistinguishable from 'fornication'. Slang will differ, though, just struck me as odd.)

More to the point, we can't be blase about the vows the man took when he was ordained. Whatever Mexico's cultural proclivities, the act remains shameful in itself, and his defection moreso.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous DN said...

Sorry, I say Mexico because I noticed your URL (and grew up along the border), but my comment applies to any culture, really, Latin or otherwise.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celibacy was a lot easier to maintain when life expectancy was under 40 (when the policy was established).

10:38 PM  

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