Miami Herald: Father Alberto Cutié joins Episcopal church, will marry

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At a press conference late Thursday afternoon, Archdiocese of Miami officials expressed disappointment in Cutié and had strong words for the Episcopal Church, especially Bishop Frade.

''This is truly a setback for ecunemical relations and cooperation between us. The Archdiocese have never made a public display when for doctrinal reasons Episcopal priests have joined the Catholic Church and sought ordination,'' said Archbishop John Favalora. He said he had not heard from Frade about the transition and had not spoken to Cutié since May 5, adding that Cutié never told the archbishop he wanted to get married.

''Father Cutié is removing himself from full communion with the Catholic Church and thereby forfeiting his rights as a cleric,'' Favalora said, later adding that Cutié is still ``bound by the promise to live the celibate life which he freely embraced at ordination. Only the Holy Father can release him from the obligation''

Not so, Bishop Frade said Thursday afternoon. ''That promise is not recognized by our church. If you can find it in the Bible that priests should be celibate, that will be corrected,'' Frade said. ``The only thing we can say is that we pray for ecumenical relations. . .I am sorry they are sorry, and we love them.''

I am going to leave comments open on this, having had a night to pray on it, but I would request please that you be respectful. Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted May 29, 2009 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Katherine wrote:

I think Archbishop Favalora is right to say that this change is usually made for doctrinal reasons.  Is Bishop Frade certain, in such a short time, that this priest is committed to the faith as TEC presents it?  The sensational nature of the case at the least is taking the focus off doctrine and religious practice, which is unfortunate.

May 29, 7:56 am | [comment link]
2. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse wrote:

I know that you’re asking for respectful comments, but there’s really little in the story, or the players, that commands much charitable respect.

You’ve got a Catholic priest that has a two-year affair with a woman, violating a vow he made at ordination.  Rather than being honest with himself and the Church, he only makes a choice once his duplicity is discovered and made public.

You’ve got an Episcopalian bishop which trumpets this defection, sneers at the notion of Catholic discipline, and then falls back on ‘Where is THAT in the Bible’ dismissal.

And there will be scores of uncharitable commentaries from either side on the circumstances, which will neither help the understanding of the issues nor promote greater Christian unity.

Everyone loses.

May 29, 8:36 am | [comment link]
3. austin wrote:

I have seen several of these cases; two clergy in parishes I belonged to were ex-Roman Catholics.  Both were miserably unhappy.  One went back to Rome as a layman within 2 years, the other divorced after several years of an unhappy union, causing tremendous ructions in the parish.  Neither was much of an asset, over the long term, to the Anglican diocese that had rushed to accept and place him.  One should be extremely cautious about men who have a proven record of being unable to keep their vows.

As has often been said, Rome takes the best Anglicans, and Anglicans the worst Romans.  So Anglicans lose out twice.

The bishop’s behaviour is particularly sad.  But not atypical, sadly.

May 29, 9:00 am | [comment link]
4. amdg1 wrote:

#2 suggests some of the possible unfortunate circumstances. It seems to me that those include injury to Cutie himself. This was not an appropriate or legitimate discernment process.

May 29, 9:45 am | [comment link]
5. IchabodKunkleberry wrote:

Father Cutie will now be able to be comfortable with his “feelings” and,
as an added bonus, will be untroubled by notions of fidelity, right,
wrong, etc.

May 29, 10:07 am | [comment link]
6. Phil wrote:

I don’t think it’s healthy spiritually for somebody to make this drastic of a change this quickly, and Frade is doing Fr. Cutie a disservice by playing along.  Compare to, say, the Orthodox Church, in which stories are famously told (and I’m not saying this is how it always works) of spiritual fathers telling people not to be in a hurry to convert quickly, but to pray, and live Orthodoxy, and thereby to have a real understanding of the serious choice they are making.

Unless Fr. Cutie, who, after all, was not only a Roman Catholic priest, but traded on that status to perform a very public teaching role for the diocese, was being completely deceptive in his former role, his best move would have been to remain Catholic and resign his orders (or whatever you call it in Roman Catholicism).  As it is now, we’re left with a man who, a few days ago, was bound to believe ‘x’ now joining himself to an organization that, more and more, aggressively teaches ‘not x.’  As St. Jimbob says, none of the principals come out of this looking good - except for the Catholic Church, of course, which is just the innocent bystander.

May 29, 10:11 am | [comment link]
7. Ratramnus wrote:

Bishop Frade seems to have concisely, if a bit inelegantly, stated the position of the English Reformation on the subject.  We were founded on the idea that we are not bound by what isn’t in the Bible.  Many of our founding clergy broke vows they considered illegitimate and were not, as a consequence, persons of questionable character.

May 29, 10:23 am | [comment link]
8. Catholic Mom wrote:

I don’t think anybody would have a problem with Father Cutie saying “I have thought long and hard about some of the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church and find them unsupported by Scripture.  Therefore, I am asking to be released from my vows as a priest and will become an Episcopalian.”  One could then even imagine that if Rome said “no” Father Cutie might say “well,  the strength of my beliefs are such that I no longer consider myself bound by my previous vows.”

However, what happened here is that a man who “loves the Catholic Church” got photographed making out with his girlfriend on a public beach.  (BTW, is there some reason they had to do this?  I mean who, besides teenagers, makes out on public beaches?)  Two weeks later he has managed to weigh all of the history and theology of Protestantism and decide that maybe the Episcopal Church is a better fit for him. 

Wanna bet that he couldn’t answer 10 serious questions about Anglicanism if he tried?  Shouldn’t he have to at least read a book?  Spend a month on a blog? Something??

May 29, 10:43 am | [comment link]
9. Paula Loughlin wrote:

I hope this does not show a lack of respect for Episcopalians who take their doctrine seriously, but I doubt many Catholics convert to the Episcopal Church over the doctrinal issues which many Protestant find to be essential differences in our teachings.  Issues such as Mariology, The Real Presence, Sola Scriptura, teachings on Justification and/or Papal Infallibility.

  No usually it is because they can still call themselves catholic in a setting which is very like catholic yet does not mind them supporting gay rights or abortion or remarriage after divorce or exploring different paths along their spiritual journey.  In short they are looking for a church which will massage their delicate, sensitive and poor misunderstood egos.  They are not interested in discernment or in personal reflection.  They want to be justified not told they need to repent for their sins.  An Oprah Church for an Oprah Guy.  And in too many Dioceses of the Episcopal Church and sadly in Catholic parishes too you find priests all too eager to stroke an ego or two. 

I think that if this priest had truly discerned he could no longer truly believe teach those matters of doctrine exclusive to Catholicism and that he wanted to convert to Episcopalianism for that reason he would have found an Episcopal Diocese which took Episcopal teachings seriously.  He would have asked for spiritual direction and he would have spent some time in personal reflection and penance.  Finding such a Dioceses would not have been that difficult considering the Diocese of Central Florida ends in St. Lucie County which is about 3 hours north of Hialeah.  I mean isn’t one’s soul worth the price of the turnpike tolls? 

And has anyone else noticed that the church Cutie will be preaching at is the one that practiced communion for the unbaptized until they were advised by the Bishop to stop that practice?

May 29, 12:00 pm | [comment link]
10. Timothy wrote:

>“If you can find it in the Bible that priests should be celibate, that will be corrected,...”

I suppose the good bishop can find it in the Bible where Jesus and the apostles were NOT celibate after starting their ministry. There is no biblical precedent for ordained ministers not being celibate after starting their ministry. Peter was married, and presumably non-celibate, BEFORE being ordained by Christ.

God bless… +Timothy

May 29, 12:05 pm | [comment link]
11. Charles wrote:

#10 - which is exactly the doctrinal position of the Catholic Church.  And the Orthodox Church.  Married men can become priests but if a married priest’s wife dies, no remarriage.  Single priests may not marry.

May 29, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
12. austin wrote:

#9 If there were such things as “Episcopal teachings” your comment would make sense.  But as we know, an Episcopalian, or indeed Angican, can be everything from an atheist to a pantheist, Calvinist to Papist, ritualist to charismatic quaker.  I should think you could find every possible opinion on “Mariology, The Real Presence, Sola Scriptura, teachings on Justification and/or Papal Infallibility” from some Anglican somewhere.  And a few impossible ones too.

May 29, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
13. JC Olbrych wrote:

What makes this one different is the high media interest in Fr. Cutie and the “public display.”  I can only imagine that it really will be a set back for ecumenical relationships between RC’s and Episcopalians in Florida with the potential for larger consequences.

In the FWIW department,  I know of at least three former RC priests who came (very quietly) to the Episcopal Church for precisely the same reason - they wanted to marry and had found their future spouses.  All three of them have made fine Episcopal priests and one has been exemplary. 

I am sorry Fr. Cutie and Bishop Frade decided to be so high profile.

May 29, 12:58 pm | [comment link]
14. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Austin, you overstate your case. Anglican theology does not attempt to define its doctrine as precisely as Rome (Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, not transubtantiation.)  but its doctrine is easily determined. The 39 Articles set the broad boundaries, the Nicene Creed is a sufficient statement of the Faith, etc.
The present theological confusion in the Church is not a failure of doctrine, but of discipline.

May 29, 1:04 pm | [comment link]
15. mary martha wrote:

“One should be extremely cautious about men who have a proven record of being unable to keep their vows.”

One would hope that both his future wife and his new bishop keep that in mind.  From my POV (as a Catholic) it’s really a question of not keeping his vows, and not taking any steps to deal with that fact until he was caught. 

If he had become attracted to this woman, decided the life of a Catholic priest was not for him, and become convinced of the truth of the Episcopal church then there were steps he should have taken.  He should have gone to his bishop asked to be released from his vows and then gone tot he Episcopal church.  Instead we have a man who was trying to have is cake and eat it too… and when he was caught he seems to have decided to ‘exit - stage left’.

The whole thing seems quite sad - and more than a little tawdry.

May 29, 1:14 pm | [comment link]
16. David Hein wrote:

I guess I have a totally different take on all this. Maybe that’s because I’m the only commenter that hasn’t always behaved perfectly in his love life.

My view is, Cut this guy (Cutie) some slack. We don’t know what he’s gone through. Why not assume he’s made the most conscientious decision possible? Wish him well and hope for the best. Goodness gracious. I find the self-righteousness in these comments more repugnant than anything this guy has done.

One commenter even presumes to remark, “I don’t think it’s healthy spiritually for somebody to make this drastic of a change this quickly…”

Oh, o.k.

About the celibacy of the apostles: We don’t know much about the apostles (apart from the pious legends). Are we sure we even know all their names? Are we sure there were exactly 12 close followers? I don’t remember reading much about their sex lives. But I’m quite sure that Jesus didn’t “ordain” any.

As for this event damaging ecumenical relations with Rome: I think that TEC has pretty well taken care of that all on its own, long ere this little episode.

I confess that I wasn’t too impressed by the RC archbishop’s sniffing, either; if I were a young priest, I might want to get away from him myself.

As for Rome’s being the sole innocent bystander: The rule on clerical celibacy should be thrown out. As RC church historians have pointed out, married priests are not only part of the future of RCism; they are part of the recent past, and they are part of the present.

May 29, 1:31 pm | [comment link]
17. interested observer wrote:

The Roman Catholic Church is not injured by this once priest’s move to TEC.  Nor does it really injure ecumenical relations since there is very little of substance in common between the RCC and TEC.  It is now more of a live and let live/ respect each other in a general way.

The real issue for the RCC is .... what was the discernment and formation process for this (and for other) priests?  How could some one so lacking in understanding and in will not be of concern to his bishop.  As an RC, the underlying issues with discernment, teaching and training, spiritual formation, and on-going spiritual as well as theological guidance on the part of his bishop are my chief concerns.  It is the same old problem that allowed the other RC scandals to fester and remain unaddressed.

So as an RC, I don’t much care how he finally decided to leave and where he went, although I certainly understand the concern on the part of Episcopalians.  My big concern is the selection and the on-going formation of our priests and the continuing failures of our bishops.  The fact is it takes years to become a priest; one cannot reasonably claim that priests do not understand the nature of their vows.  There is no way that priests who “change their minds” don’t reveal a fundamental and important flaw in their character.  At the same time, I am grateful when these men decide to leave the RCC because it is far more honorable to do so than to stay and live a lie ... doing far more damage.

May 29, 1:35 pm | [comment link]
18. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re #s 10 & 11
Celibacy is a discipline which developed much later in the Church.  There is no evidence that that all of the apostles were celibate from the beginning of their ministry.  Indeed clerical celibacy did not become mandatory in the West before the 9th century and remains optional in the East to this day.  It was not until around the 6th century that priests were forbidden to marry after ordination and bishops were selected exclusively from the monastic clergy.

The position of the Roman Church and the Orthodox Churches are different.  However in both cases it is a matter of discipline not doctrine.

I am not a fan of mandatory celibacy for those wishing to serve God in Holy Orders.  It effectively reduces all clergy to quasi monastics.  That said it’s Rome’s call how they want to do things.  But I think its silly and probably at least part of the reason why so many homosexuals flocked to the Catholic priesthood.  I think the Orthodox Church has the more sensible approach to this.

As for Fr. Cutié, I will refrain from judging him.  I have enough sins of my own that I don’t need to be worrying about other people’s.  But I do hope that this was not done in haste solely to permit him to marry.  As others have noted TEC is doctrinally about as not Catholic as you can get from a doctrinal POV.

Under the mercy,

May 29, 2:04 pm | [comment link]
19. Ad Orientem wrote:

Re # 18
Note to self:  PROOF READ before posting!!!

May 29, 2:08 pm | [comment link]
20. Franz wrote:

To #17, I would also wonder “Where is the discernment process on the part of the Episcopal Church?”  When I was an Episcopalian, I would have hoped that reception into the church as a layperson was one thing, but ordination was another?  Why should there be a presumption that this individual should (very soon) become a priest in ECUSA? 

Admittedly, in my last ECUSA parish (in the Diocese of Southwest Florida) they are currently sponsoring a former RC cleric, who is without doubt the worst preacher I have ever heard, for reception into ECUSA as a priest.  It may be that I am a little jaundiced about the discernment process in ECUSA, because that individual will do nothing to advance the Gospel, or the Anglican tradition within Christianity.  It appears that the Bishop of SE Florida has no better judgment.

May 29, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
21. JimDeLa wrote:

I’m inclined to give Cutie the benefit of some doubt for two reasons. One, I haven’t read anything that says he and his fiancee have admitted having sex during their relationship. I think it’s possible for two adults to “date” without adding a sexual component to the relationship, so I may not be williing to make that leap to frame it as a “tawdry affair.”
Secondly, if they’ve been dating for two years, I think it’s highly probable there’s been some heavy discernment going on on his part, so I can’t come to the conclusion, as others have, that’s he’s rushing into this decision.
And Cutie is obviously very comfortable in the spotlight so it’s not surprising that he went very public with becoming an Episcopalian.
It will be interesting to see this process play out and to see how effective Cutie will be in whatever his new ministry will be.

May 29, 2:12 pm | [comment link]
22. Clueless wrote:

It is awfully lonely for RC priests.  They tend to be taken out of school young, and sent around to various parishes, so they really don’t have buddies the way lay folk do.  They can’t just go “have a few beers with a good friend” and “get their head together”.

And it is even more lonely for those who get into trouble.  Who can this poor guy go talk to, after all?  His parish staff, fellow priests, parents and bishop will all tell him to REPENT and put away the FALLEN WOMAN.  The girlfriend will encourage him to marry her. 

It is too bad that Frade and other TEC priests could not simply have been a friend at a time that he needed one.  Somebody who would have encouraged him to wait, pray, and take some vacation time alone before making irrevocable committments.

Having said that, I have been struck by the immaturity level of RC priests.  Anybody who isn’t at the emotional level of the modern teenager seems to be considered brilliant and bishop materal.  I think that Rome would have a much better choice of candidate if only they would allow their priests to marry.

May 29, 2:17 pm | [comment link]
23. Phil wrote:

David Hein #16: I stand by my opinion - having done it myself - that drastic changes in one’s spiritual life should be undertaken deliberately.  Why that is a major point of contention with you is beyond me.

Other than that, I generally agree with your first two paragraphs.

Moving on to clerical celibacy, I don’t agree with Rome’s rule, but it’s a longstanding one and was certainly known to Fr. Cutie before he decided to jump in to the deep end of the pool.  So, yes, Rome is an innocent bystander.

May 29, 3:17 pm | [comment link]
24. John Wilkins wrote:

What is interesting to me is how media driven this is.  If this were merely a Catholic Priest with a woman, and deciding to become an Episcopal church, it would be a very ordinary story. 

I think there is a sense that the media makes it harder for a sense of respect to be shared.  That said, Fr. Cutie may have a very interesting bully pulpit.  Or he might find that his popularity will ebb, and that he won’t have the same authority that he once had.

May 29, 3:34 pm | [comment link]
25. austin wrote:

#14 With respect, you’re delusional. 

“Anglican theology does not attempt to define its doctrine as precisely as Rome (Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, not transubtantiation.) but its doctrine is easily determined. The 39 Articles set the broad boundaries, the Nicene Creed is a sufficient statement of the Faith, etc.”

All the spikey clergy who trained me believed in transubstantiation, taught it to their flocks, and justified it (if called on) via Newman’s Tract 90 on the 39 Articles. (They also believed in papal infallibility, by the way). Then I met Evangelicals who celebrated the Lord’s Supper with grape juice and cream crackers and whose eucharistic theology didn’t even rise to a Zwinglian level.  And they justified their belief with reference to the 39 Articles.  Americans are all too familiar with the “advanced” clergy who recite the Nicene Creed but interpret the entire document as a kind of metaphor.  This situation has persisted for more than a century.

If Anglican doctrine were so easily determined, how could each of these groups exist?  And have members consecrated to the episcopate that is supposed to safeguard doctrine?

“The present theological confusion in the Church is not a failure of doctrine, but of discipline.”
That is true, up to a point.  But how can you discipline people if you cannot agree on what the doctrine is?  Punish Corpus Christi processions?  Sanction the clergy of Sydney who appear never to have possessed prayer book or surplice?  Drag out Bp Spong to the pillory?

Poor Fr Cutie is a confused man.  Becoming an Episcopalian will do little to lift the fog.

May 29, 3:56 pm | [comment link]
26. Jeff Thimsen wrote:

Austin: to parphrase, “The first oneto use the term ‘delusional’ loses the argument.

May 29, 4:39 pm | [comment link]
27. David Hein wrote:

No. 23 wrote:

“David Hein #16: I stand by my opinion - having done it myself - that drastic changes in one’s spiritual life should be undertaken deliberately.  Why that is a major point of contention with you is beyond me.”

No one would disagree with your general principle—drastic changes should be undertaken etc.

The problem is in what you actually said:

“I don’t think it’s healthy spiritually for somebody to make this drastic of a change this quickly…”

How can you know from this article how much agony this priest has gone thru; in fact, shouldn’t you, as a Christian, or simply as a fellow human being, simply assume that he’s gone thru a hell of a lot and did not undertake this decision either quickly or easily? How can an outsider set himself up as this man’s spiritual counselor and say from the outside that he didn’t spend enough time in prayer and careful deliberation? And what is enough time? One week’s concentrated study may equal another person’s year of more or less avoiding a subject. Who knows what this fellow has been thru? What you suggest may be true or it may not, but you sounded as if you KNEW.

I should have thought it would be obvious that my problem was not with your principle but with your presumption.

Too many comments preceding mine truly turned me off with their supercilious, holier-than-thou tones. Frankly, it’s the thing—Christian self-righteousness—that turns off my students to Christianity more than almost anything else.

May 29, 6:51 pm | [comment link]
28. David Hein wrote:

No. 23—missed this part:

“Moving on to clerical celibacy, I don’t agree with Rome’s rule, but it’s a longstanding one and was certainly known to Fr. Cutie before he decided to jump in to the deep end of the pool.”

Of course he knew about this rule. Of course he embraced it in good faith, presumably. Of course he messed up and fell in love and maybe broke the rule.

Maybe I’m too much of a fellow sinner, having probably done worse, more often, than this priest has done, but I would be more inclined to buy this priest a beer and listen to his story than to judge the guy.

May 29, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
29. Rudy wrote:

I keep thinking of Thomas Cranmer with his secret wife.  At least this one wants his lady friend out in the open.  I’d say we should all give him the benefit of any doubt.

May 29, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
30. nwlayman wrote:

He’s marrying, what a woman?  And they’re letting him in as a priest??  I didn’t know they handled conservatives so nicely anymore.

May 29, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
31. pell1020 wrote:

I wonder how Cutie reconciles the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation with that of an Anglican commemorative communion service.  Infallability of Pope is long contested.

May 29, 9:47 pm | [comment link]
32. Ratramnus wrote:

Thank you, Rudy, in #29 above.  We don’t know yet if this will be a wise move on either side, but there was nothing about it contrary to Scripture, reason, or justifiable tradition from the point of view of the English Reformation.  We don’t know the motives and feelings behind it, either, except what the press tells us.  Could we charitably assume for the moment that Mr Cutie is sincere and in love with a woman and that Bishop Frade is acting in the true spirit of his (my/our) church?

May 29, 9:58 pm | [comment link]
33. Ratramnus wrote:

#31, are you confusing Anglicans with Baptists?  In several ways, all Anglicans believe that Christ is really present in or at the Eucharist.

May 29, 10:04 pm | [comment link]
34. pell1020 wrote:

Well, I guess that’s how he recociles it.  #31

May 29, 10:24 pm | [comment link]
35. Branford wrote:

Did Bishop Frade let Fr. Cutie know that TEC is an official member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a pro-abortion group? Did the bishop review with Fr. Cutie the 1994 GC resolution allowing for abortion? Does Fr. Cutie know that he is entering a church that does not support Life as understood by the Roman Catholic Church? Or is it all just a personal decision because Fr. Cutie didn’t want to be “just” a lay Catholic? This is more serious that a former RC priest wanting to get married, this is rejecting the RC position on Life.

May 29, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
36. paradoxymoron wrote:

#21: I think it’s possible for two adults to “date” without adding a sexual component to the relationship, so I may not be williing to make that leap to frame it as a “tawdry affair.”

He’s got his hand down inside her bathingsuit bottom!  Yes, I think that it’s tawdry.

Self-righteous? Should someone who takes vows before god, to god, violates those vows, conceals it, counsels others to abide by the vows they’ve taken in their own relationships (Father Oprah), avoids the consequences of the vows that he’s broken by repudiating Catholic priesthood,sets himself up to continue as a moral and spiritual leader be free from criticism?  I disagree with your characterization of the ensuing criticism as self-righteous.

May 30, 1:01 am | [comment link]
37. Robert A. wrote:

33: It is true than many, if not most, Anglicans believe in the Real Presence, but traditionally Anglicans believe in Consubstantiation, not Transubstantiation.  I realize for some this is going to appear as typical wishy-washy Anglican fudge.  For me, it simply reflects a more perfect appreciation of the mystery that surrounds the duality of Christ’s humanity and divinity.

May 30, 3:10 am | [comment link]
38. The young fogey wrote:

I love the name; the headlines have cracked me up. It fits.

That said…

I understand Bishop Frade is one of his church’s relative conservatives and am disappointed about all the coverage of the switch and that he’d even consider instating a priest with such obvious problems with authority and keeping promises. Never mind the Episcopal rule allowing the ordained to marry.

What of the old WASP values of duty and keeping your word?

Does anybody else get a whiff of bad old-fashioned WASP anti-Romanism from Bishop Frade’s handling of this mess?

I feel bad for those Episcopalians who are still old-school in their values seeing their church being turned into a dumping ground for Rome’s undesirable clergy.

High-church libertarian curmudgeon

May 30, 9:47 am | [comment link]
39. Nevin wrote:

I don’t think this was a decision made quickly and rashly.  In comments made immediately after the photos were published it is obvious he had been thinking about leaving the RC church for quite a while.  He had been “dating” this woman for two years and wanted to marry her.  This exposure of the affair simply forced his hand and makes it appear as though he has given little thought to what he was doing. 

One of my good friends, who is a devout and traditional RC, and knows a lot more about Fr. Cutie than I do, says conservatives should embrace rather than ridicule Fr. Cutie.  He says Fr. Cutie is far more conservative than your average Episcopal priest.  But rather than making a big show about becoming an Episcopalian I think it would have been much better to join quietly and perhaps a year or two down the road be allowed to resume his role as priest.  I realize there was talk about a “process” but it almost seems as if Bishop Frade doesn’t believe that fornication is a sin to be repented of…

May 30, 10:14 am | [comment link]
40. libraryjim wrote:

This was a segment on CBS’ morning show today, and they interviewed three ‘experts’—one a former RCC priest who petitioned for laiciazation (sp?) of his vows and continues as a Catholic (although he said ‘as a priest’???), the other from ‘Beliefnet’ and the third an American priest in Rome.  All three were saying “oh, the celibate priesthood is under much debate, and isn’t very historical, definitely isn’t Biblically based, so will probably be overturned as the priest shortage continues”. 

No presentation of the official Church teaching or reasons were presented.

Jim Elliott <><

May 30, 12:30 pm | [comment link]
41. Words Matter wrote:

The Synod of Bishops gathered in 2005 to consider various matters pertaining to the Eucharist; they specifically considered priestly ordination of viri probati, i.e. proven married men. This proposal was rejected by the majority of bishops and the pope.

Thus anyone who claims the Church should “reconsider” the matter is ignoring the fact that, very recently, we did.

May 30, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
42. Ross wrote:

#41, but unlike most of the things people gripe at the RCC for, this is one that they can reconsider.  The RCC can’t suddenly announce that they’re going to ordain women, endorse contraception, or marry gay couples without admitting that they’ve changed their minds on something they declared was revealed doctrine.  But the Pope could get up tomorrow morning and say that it seems that times have changed and it now looks like it would be best for the church if married men could become priests, all without touching on doctrinal matters.

So if someone were interested in shifting the RCC’s position on something, the celibate priesthood would be one of the easier places to start.

May 30, 2:07 pm | [comment link]
43. austin wrote:

#26 to parphrase, “The first oneto use the term ‘delusional’ loses the argument.

Argument?  Just stating facts, ma’am.

New rule: the last one to use spellcheck loses.

May 30, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
44. Words Matter wrote:

Ross, you miss my point, which is that we have considered it (“again”) and decided to leave things the way they are. In fact, clerical celibacy works quite well for us, despite the Cutie case. The vast majority of priest honor their vows and live contented, fruitful lives of service to God and His people.

So for those so anxious to see the Church abandon it’s discipline, what happens when a married priest divorces? Or his children get into trouble (say, have an affair with a parishioner)?  Does not having a celibacy rule prevent these things?

In every time and every place, Caesar demands his pinch of incense. Celibacy stands as a counter-cultural witness against the materialism - specifically the sexual obsession - of this age and this place. The world constantly attacks that which we most need; to my eyes, that’s what’s happening here.

May 30, 2:44 pm | [comment link]
45. Phil wrote:

David Hein #27-8, I don’t really think we disagree.  My criticism is that this kind of change should be made slowly - and, you’re right, perhaps it was - and that Fr. Cutie has been serving in a teaching capacity for the diocese up to the time this story broke, yet he’s now rejected that teaching.  In some ways, then, if he has been considering the move for a while, the latter criticism is intensified.

I did not criticize, for the reasons you give, either his sexual indiscretion or the violation of his clerical vows.  If that’s your primary concern, I think you should have used a different commenter as a foil.  I’m up for a beer with this guy, too.

May 30, 3:04 pm | [comment link]
46. libraryjim wrote:

Just one more question: Why does it seem like the only ones who are calling for the RCC to reconsider this issue are the small number (compared to the rest of the world) of Catholics in America, and a small number of those at that (usually those who know of or are priests who have left to marry)?  Why do we not hear of protests in France, Italy, etc., calling for the married priesthood? Could it be that it is simply a non-issue to all but those who put self over Church?

May 30, 3:41 pm | [comment link]
47. Words Matter wrote:

Jim, there is a group in Austria making these sorts of demands, and I suspect you will hear the same in the other secularized countries.  The reason you don’t hear about them in the U.S…. well, let me spare you my rant about American journalism.

To my knowledge, you where the Church is spiritually vital, you don’t hear these things.  I recently read a John Allen column where he went looking for American-style Catholicism in Aftrica and just didn’t find it. They are too busy proclaiming the gospel and dealing with very dysfunction societies.

May 30, 3:52 pm | [comment link]
48. Ross wrote:

#44:  My point was not so much that the RCC ought or ought not to change this practice—not being Catholic myself, I don’t really have a dog in that fight.

What my point was, was simply the small observation that the people who are fighting for this have at the very least picked a battle that they could, in theory, possibly win.  This sets them apart from the people fighting for, say, ordaining women in the Catholic church.

May 30, 5:00 pm | [comment link]
49. Karen B. wrote:

Young fogey - Bp. Frade isn’t particularly conservative (he voted to consent to VGR, for example).  Nor is he a WASP.  He’s from a Cuban background I believe.

May 31, 9:33 am | [comment link]
50. chips wrote:

Having been an Episcopalian at a Jesuit Prep School - I am quite certain that Rome would do well to have a married clergy.  They are running dangerously low on Priests from every account I have read (and the number of Jesuits at my school is about half of what it was 20 years ago with the number of students having nearly doubled).  I knew several classmates who would have strongly considered the priesthood but could not forego a wife and family. Yes I am sure that they get some truly dedicated men for whom their celibacy is a bonus to the church - but from firsthand observation and the scandels over the last 20 years they also get a lot of very odd ducks.

May 31, 7:07 pm | [comment link]
51. pell1020 wrote:

Reply, #50
Folks, you need to read “Goodbye, Good Men” by Michael S. Rose.  About 7 years old, however, it addresses this issue in seminaries as well as homosexuality and women priests.  Author maintains that there are tons of men who are “orthodox catholics” who have been pushed out of the RCC seminaries, thus the dearth of vocations.  Bigger problem is homosexual priests.  It’s becoming known as a prime homosexual job.

May 31, 7:34 pm | [comment link]
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