Monday, May 11, 2009

To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too.

I assume that most of my readers are aware of the Fr. Cutie incident. In case you are, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami who is a popular media personality on Spanish speaking satellite TV was photographed on the beach doing swimsuit exploration on a young lady and exposed in the Mexican tabloids. Fr. Cutie (a most unfortunate name) admitted to being in a 'relationship' with the woman for the last two years. He is unapologetic about it. He only regrets causing people pain, not violating his promises, not committing the mortal sin of adultery (the woman is evidently a divorcee). He is so unrepentant that he went on national TV where he said that celibacy is good, but it should be optional for priest. (And the man caught in adultery said, "Marital fidelity is a beautiful thing, but it should be optional.") Now, removed from his parish, he is deciding what to do. Should he stay a priest or marry the chicky who he says wants to marry him. (Chicky also wants people to leave her alone as she is a single mom. Sorry Darlin', but you made your bed, so to speak.) So now you are up to speed.

I am not interested in refuting Cutie's dense and self-serving statements. Fr. Farfaglia does a superb job of doing that. The upshot is that Cutie is behaving like an immature, spoiled playboy. Cutie recently said, "Under the cassock are a pair of pants." Yes Father, indeed there are and the fly needs to be kept zipped. This wasn't a momentary lapse of judgment, it was a deliberate violation of God's law and the sanctity of human sexuality carried out with deliberate deception over a period of two years. To call this love is mock something holy.

If you want to know what I think about priests "falling in love" and leaving, read this. Said briefly, it is the equivalent of a married man falling in lust with another woman and leaving his family because he can't control his hormones. Human beings are rational animals not just animals. Yes, we have feelings, but we use our mind and will to discern which are in accord with God's will and should be acted upon.

I am also not much interested in 'dialoguing' with those include Cutie who want to use this challenge the Church's apostolic teaching on celibacy. One does not need to be sexually active and/or married to lead a normal life or be free from loneliness. No one ever died or became ill from not having sex. If you think optional celibacy is the or a panacea for problem clergy, take a long hard look at Orthodox, Protestant, or Jewish clergy.

What I think we need to take a long, hard look at are priests in high-profile and self-chosen special apostolates. I wonder how hobnobbing with the rich and famous affected Fr. Cutie. He is quoted as saying that he decided he would not be a priest for the ordinary Catholic. (This is worlds away from discerning a call to a special ministry and that call being validated by the hierarchy.) I also wonder how much hierarchical supervision and direction his ministry received. There is a tendency in the Church to identify 'golden boys' and give them special treatment. I have never seen this turn out well.

By now someone is say, "But Father, you are judging." Yes, I am judging some very public actions which are very wrong. I don't know Fr. Cutie's heart or the state of his soul, but what he did can only be considered to be gravely scandelous. I am praying for him that his evident pride will be dispelled, that he will remember his vows, and that he will submit to the wisdom and discipline of the Church.
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