Monday, May 11, 2009

The Catholic Church: Choosing Battles Worth Fighting For

They call him "Padre Oprah."

But his real name is Alberto Cutié (KOO'-tee-ay).

Cutié is a telegenic 39-year-old Cuban American priest, advice columnist, radio and television personality, best-selling author and pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Miami's trendy South Beach.

A Mexican magazine ran pics of Cutié and his girlfriend in "compromising" situations on a Florida beach.

Since the pics ran, Cutié was removed last week as head of the Miami archdiocese's international radio network and as head of his parish.

Cutié told the CBS "Early Show" on Monday, he supports the church's stand that priests should be celibate and said he does not want to become the "anti-celibacy priest."

"I think it's a debate that's going on in our society, and now I've b
ecome kind of a poster boy for it. But I don't want to be that. I believe that celibacy is good, and that it's a good commitment to God," Cutié said.

Cutié told CBS he has been romantically involved with the woman in the photos for about two years after being friends for much longer. He said he is still deciding whether to leave the clergy and get married.

"I'm now in the process of thinking about all those things, of making decisions," Cutié said. "And my bishop has given me the time to think about it. This is a difficult time. It's a time of transition, it's a time of thinking about the future."

"I believe that I've fallen in love and I believe that I've struggled with that, between my love for God, and my love for the Church and my love fo
r service," Cutié said.

More than 100 people gathered outside St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach, waving posters and chanting their forgiveness for

It's a shame that the Catholic Church would take such swift action against a man who has been straightforward with his "celibacy" issues, yet when confronted with its 2002 priest abuse scandal, the Church chose to
cover it up for years and protect the priests involved.

It's a shame that the Catholic Church didn't administer the same swift action implemented on Cutié, on John Geoghan.

According to reports, Geoghan stands out as one of the worst serial molesters in the recent history of the Catholic Church in America. For three decades, Geoghan preyed on young boys in a half-dozen parishes in the Boston area while church leaders looked the other way. Despite his disturbing pattern of abusive behavior, Geoghan was transferred from parish to parish for years before the church finally defrocked him in 1998. Some 150 people eventually came forward, claiming they were fondled or raped by the priest.

It's a shame that the Catholic Church isn't as strict in abolishing pedophilia as it is about abolishing celibacy.

It's a dirty ole shame.


Julie said...

I grew up Catholic, and I have never understood the argument that "Jesus didn't have a wife"-- when many of his apostles did. It's mostly based in making sure church assets don't go to the children of priests, and instead stay in the Church (as celibacy has only been in effect since the 1100s, if I recall). I'm also not sure how they can counsel married couples if they themselves have never been married, or had a romantic relationship.

And I agree-- the Church has far bigger fish to fry (oh, bad pun there) than celibacy. I'd prefer 1000 priests cavort on the beach with a consenting, of-age woman or man than hide behind the Church when they've ruined the lives of children.

My goodness, we've agreed on something religious, Maureen! :)

Maureen said...

ha! it's a red-letter day julie ole pal! a red-letter day!


Julie said...

Tee hee. :)