Black or white

I had no idea that my post on Fr. Cutie, the hopefully-soon-to-be-defrocked or -disciplined priest, would be received with so many passionate comments. There seems to be a pervasive frustration with the Church’s view on sexual behavior, one which even Catholics have mixed feelings about.

I watched the interview on Univision with Fr. Cutie (here’s  an English one from CBS) and was underwhelmed by his answers, to say the least. When asked why he got involved in a (sexual) relationship with this (divorced) woman, knowing his vows were permanent (he even explains the Catholic principle that ordination is a “mark on the soul”) he said simply “I fell in love”.  When asked why he, a public figure, would carouse with a woman on the beach, he responded that he “got tired” of hiding. When asked what he’ll do now, he said “I don’t know.” Stoic, realistic, and honest.

But wrong– something he’s loath to admit. It was wrong.

And that’s what I’m waiting to hear from this guy. He can say he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and that he’s sorry if he caused offense, but it’s all empty until he admits he was wrong, and asks forgiveness. Hard? Yes. Right? Yes.

The hardest thing in the world is to do what’s right. Even when you know you’ll have to face the music. Even though you’re loved by the masses and priest to the stars. And especially if you’re Father Cutie.

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25 Responses to Black or white

  1. KathyB! says:

    The discourse on your last post was very spirited! Regadless of how you feel about the Catholicism, I don’t think he’ll be forthcoming with an admission that what he did was wrong. I agree with you that it’s what he should do, but he missed a lot of opportunities to make tough choices. Over the course of two years he could have, on any number of occasions, come forward or asked for help or left the Church entirely. I don’t see him gaining the strength to make the tough choices now unless he’s forced into it.

  2. David says:

    KathyB, you are absolutely right. He needs to (as all Catholics) admit that he’s wrong, be remorseful, discontinue what he’s doing (at least until he’s free to continue it), and do penance. That’s the steps necessary, and I put them in the wrong order.

    One thing’s for sure-he cannot be a priest and continue the affair.

    Evenshine, what do you think is the Church’s view on sexual behavior? There can be no confusion-outside of marriage, it’s gravely sinful. A priest having sex at all is having sex outside of marriage, for he is married to the church. Same is true for a nun, for someone else’s comment.

    But we are all sinners, and when we are sorry and stop what we’re doing that’s sinful, we are forgiven.

  3. He’s human, just like every church leader. We’ve all heard about numerous preachers, priests, etc. doing shameful things. One can only imagine how many we haven’t heard about. He knows he’s wrong, just like all the other ones. That’s kind of why I trust my own conscience to do what’s right. I’m not going to have some flawed human telling me they KNOW the right things for me to do–because being mere humans, they don’t. They can’t even follow the rules that they THINK are right.

  4. evenshine says:

    David,

    My point is not to debate the church’s view on sexual behavior, but I think it’s fair to say that there are mixed feelings even among the faithful. It may be easy for you, but it’s hardly easy for the Bishops who moved sexual predators around, or the many gay seminarians even now, or the priest who is realizing that celibacy isn’t for him, but it means leaving his choice of vocation behind him.

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. evenshine says:

    KathyB!- I think you’re right. Too little too late. But I wish him the best, in whatever decision he makes. Unfortunately he’ll always have the fame of being “that priest who had an affair”.

  6. ck says:

    So interesting. Because regardless of how hard it is to say, there’s something freeing about admitting that you’re wrong. And I think people are usually quicker to forgive you when you’re able to do that. Maybe it’s just me (and that wouldn’t be entirely surprising) but I find it easier to forgive myself when I admit I’m wrong too.

  7. David says:

    I have lots to say but don’t want to derail your blog…God bless.

  8. insider53 says:

    How strong a vocation did he really have I wonder. And you sure like to stir that pot don’t ya. lol

  9. evenshine says:

    David- please feel free to discuss! It’s good to have various perspectives, and as long as you play nice, I have no problem with thoughtful discussion. As for derailing, just keep on topic and you won’t derail anything. Blessings.

  10. evenshine says:

    Insider- I think it’s difficult to speculate on the strength of his vocation, and that’s perhaps something only God can know.

    And yes, guilty as charged. I don’t usually shy away from controversial topics. 😉

  11. Gibby says:

    Does any leader in the Catholic Church admit he is wrong?

    OK, I take it back and will leave it lighthearted! The guy made a mistake. Perhaps he will go to confession like the rest of us are supposed to? And if he does, is that enough? Sigh. I don’t know what I think anymore…

  12. David says:

    Gibby, the answer is “Yes”. Every time they go to confession. The pope goes at least weekly, and every day he celebrates mass he says “I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault…

  13. evenshine says:

    David- what do you think of his comments that he won’t “ask for forgiveness for falling in love”, since it’s “natural and normal”?

  14. David says:

    Gibby said “Church leader” That priest isn’t a Church leader. He isn’t even a parish priest, I don’t think. Church leader implies pastor, bishop, university president, cardinal, etc.

    He needs forgiveness for being human. If he doesn’t recognize that, he’s not a very well educated priest, and that’s part of the problem. We are all fallen.

  15. Gibby says:

    Wait, question…why isn’t a priest one of the leaders of the Catholic church? Is he THE leader? No. But A leader? Of course. Does he lead us in Mass? Yes. Does he preach to us on how to live as Jesus did? Yes. Does he interpret the Bible and then teach children about it? Yes.

    To me, that is a leader.

    I am a co-leader of a Brownie troop. Am I in charge of every Girl Scout in America? No. Do I lead our entire council? No. Do I lead 9 young girls into trying to grow into responsible people? Yes. That is why I am referred to as a leader.

    Maybe because this priest didn’t act like a leader is why he is where he is.

    I believe that I originally didn’t throw stones at him as hard as some other commenters on this awesome blog. He is human. He can fall in love. Perhaps the Church should allow priests to show their love for women. I have never supported celibacy for priests. But as it stands now, he broke his vows. That was my only point.

  16. David says:

    In military parlance, he’s a grunt, E1-E3. A parish priest would be a non-commissioned officer, a monsignior would be a senior non-commissioned officer. Bishops and above are like officers. Pope is the Fleet Commander.

    An E-3 might lead a group of like and juniors, but is he a leader? No. But ok, at least you’ve defined your terms. At any rate, he also goes to confession on a very regular basis. So if that’s admitting you’re wrong, he does.

  17. faemom says:

    I get to busy to read your blog and see what I miss. Dang. I love the comments. But David, if he’s the grunt, where does that leave deacons and lay persons?

  18. Evenshine says:

    Interesting discussion.

    My two issues:
    Assuming whatever status you care to give him, he’s still a leader, a recognized leader at that, especially in the Miami community. He did Celia Cruz’s funeral, for Pete’s sake! Leaders are held to a higher standard, whether we care to hold them to different standards based on their position in the heirarchy or not.

    I find it disturbing that, assuming he confesses himself regularly, he did so for TWO YEARS with the knowledge that he was having (and would continue to have) his affair.

    Why is it so difficult to label this for what it is? I understand the Church protecting its own, but enough is enough. Call it for what it is. And I haven’t seen any comments from the Bishop condemning this. Has anyone else?

  19. David says:

    Deacons would be the Army Reserve, lay people would be outside. Analogies are never perfect, sorry. I agree with Evenshine, if he’s been confessing regularly, and not confessing his affair, his confessions have been ineffective. Totally.

    Evenshine, I don’t know who Celia Cruz is, but sometimes a nobody priest is friends with a somebody layperson. But your point is taken. A priest is and should be held to a higher standard-vow of chastity means strict celibacy.

  20. evenshine says:

    I forgot how important hierarchy is to Catholics. Knowing your place is supremely important, it seems.

    David- the shame! Google Celia Cruz. I think it would be hard to label this guy as a nobody priest given his widespread recognition in the hispanic community in general, and in Miami specifically.

    BTW- do you have a blog or are you a serial commenter? 😉

  21. David says:

    Sorry, knew the face, not the name.

    Regarding the priest, maybe he is well known, maybe not, it doesn’t matter. What he did is wrong and he needs to either stop it and confess all his sins, maybe go be a hermit somewhere and contemplate what a vow of chastity means…

    Yes I have a blog…rootofjesse2.wordpress.com called Unapologetically Catholic. But I spend a good deal of time trying to correct misconceptions of the Church, because there are so many of them…I guess you can’t survive 2000 years without having some urban legends…

  22. Evenshine, I haven’t been “on” for a while, but its always interesting to read your blog and the comments. I am with you…”admit it…say it was wrong…and admit that you were “wrong” for 2 or more years…I mean really? But chica…..you sure like opening up Pandora boxes.. 🙂

  23. Gibby says:

    I thought I saw that Fr. Cutie got married to his girlfriend. Did anyone see that? Not stirring up the pot, just chuckled when I saw it!

  24. evenshine says:

    GIBS! Way to go with the follow-up. He did indeed. And changed religions. Cause apparently the only difference between Catholic priests and Episcopalian ones is that you can have sex.

    And stir that pot, girl! You know I never shy away from a lively discussion.

    😉

  25. David says:

    The biggest difference between Catholic and Episcopal priests is that Catholic priests have valid ordination.

    What the Episcopal bishop did was highly irregular, and has lots of Episcopalians really miffed, because mostly, no matter what your ordination or knowledge of Christianity is, you have to go through years of schooling to be ordained in the Episcopal Church. Catholic bishops are upset because of the high profile given by the Episcopal Church. Considering that the two have been discussing how to be in communion together, it looks like the Episcopal church has no desire to come back to Rome.

    Also, Cutie should remember that ordination, like marriage, is permanent and indelible. God’s gonna have a few questions for him when he dies…

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