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Monday, January 3, 2011

No Dilemma, only disgrace

Perhaps the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger said it best back in 2005 when he wrote this particular meditation for the 9th Station:

How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!

While the future Supreme Pontiff perhaps referred to the sexual abuse scandal plaguing the Church, I believe that this particular statement also applies to one Alberto Cutie, the former priest from Miami who betrayed the Church and the priesthood with his scandalous affair with a woman.

Sadly, Cutie, who left the Church, joined the Episcopalians, got married and subsequently became a minister for that particular ecclesial community, continues to spout out venomous remarks against Catholicism in his book, Dilemma:  A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love.  Unfortunately, the statements that he has made to the media, in my opinion, show neither faith nor love.  He accuses the Church, in particular, his own Archbishop, of being more concerned about image than about the faithful. In an interview with Time Magazine, Cutie said that the Church was an "inflexible, dictatorial and merciless institution."  In another interview, this time, with the Miami Herald, Cutie blasted the Church, saying that it was "an institution that continues to promote old ideas." 

Perhaps Cutie needs a refresher in the Catechism.  These are not "old ideas"; these are the basic Truths handed down to the Church through the Apostles who received them from no less than Jesus Christ, Himself.  The sacred priesthood that Cutie abandoned and the Church he renounced were established by Jesus Christ to stand firm forever.   When he attacks celibacy, saying, in the Time article that "the ban on clerical sex and marriage was one of the many misogynist constructs of the medieval church", he seems to forget what Christ told St. Peter when the Prince of the Apostles tells the Lord that he and his fellow Apostles left everything (including wives and families) to follow Him:

[27] Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? [28] And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting. [30] And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.  

Cutie also  fails to realize that celibacy calls a man to live against the grain, according to Pope Benedict XVI in the book, Light of the World:

Celibacy is always, shall we say, an affront to what man normally thinks.  It is something that can only be done, and is only credible, if there is a God and if celibacy is my foorway into the Kingdom of God.  In this case, celibacy is a special kind of sign.  The scandal that it provokes consists precisely in the fact that there are people who believe these things.  By the same token, this scandal has a positive sign.

But, it seems that Cutie does not see it that way.   Sadly, the former priest's position calls to mind the prophetic words that the former Cardinal Ratzinger preached the day before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI:

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves ­ thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching", looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

The attitude towards the Church that Cutie has is no different than that of King Henry VIII when the Pope refused to annul the English monarch's marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon.  Both Cutie and Henry renounced and denounced the Church.  In Cutie's case, he decided to go and join a branch of the ecclesial community that Henry established when he could not get his way with Rome.  However, what is worse is that Cutie tries to use the sexual abuse scandal to jusitfy his own infidelity to the Church and to his vows as a priest.  It's as though he let himself be swept up in the tidal wave of relativism.  Sadly, he's taken not a few people with him.

Cutie could have taken the high road, working with the Church to resolve his situation, instead of speaking out against it.  According to the Miami Herald, new Archbishop Thomas Wenski said that nobody forced Cutie to leave the Church.  He could have left the priesthood, but still remain Catholic.  But Cutie never gave the Church a chance.  Worse, he continues to spout venom against the Church and his former Archbishop, the same one who ordained him to the priesthood. 

Last week, I wrote a small tribute to my friend who celebrated his Silver Jubilee during the Feast of the Holy Innocents.  While Cutie's disdain for the Church and the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a tragedy, I find a great deal of comfort in the fact that the Church is full of good and holy priests, like Pope Benedict XVI, like Fr. Uwe Michael Lang, like Fr. John Zulsdorf, like Fr. Tim Finigan, like my pastor and like my friend, who find joy in their vocations and perservere despite the trials and tribulations that they face. 

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