I don’t normally like to write about Church scandals, but this story is getting so much press that it shouldn’t be ignored. A famous Miami priest, Fr. Alberto Cutie, was recently was recently photographed on a beach in some very compromising positions with a lady friend. When these pictures became public, Fr. Alberto was removed as head of the Miami archdiocese’s international radio network and relieved of his pastoral duties at his local parish. Appearing on CBS’ Early Show this morning, Fr. Alberto made the announcement that he is considering leaving the priesthood to get married. He also made a surprising statement that I totally agree with, “I believe that celibacy is good, and that it’s a good commitment to God.”
As expected, this story has opened the floodgates for those who feel that priests should be allowed to get married. But celibacy isn’t the real problem in this case. When a priest is ordained he makes a promise to remain celibate forever – not just until he meets the right woman. When I got married, I made a promise to stay married forever – not just until someone “better” comes along. Why should we believe that someone who would ignore his priestly promise of celibacy (as Father Cutie has admitted to doing for the past 2 years), would remain faithful to his marriage vows? Married priests who would abandon their marriage vows would do as much damage as those who would disregard their promise of celibacy. We would simply be trading one scandal for another.
So why am I writing this post? I assure you it’s not to condemn Father Alberto. Instead, I ask you to pray for him…he could really use it. My main purpose is to speak out against the opinion of some that we should be “happy” for him. There is never anything to celebrate when a man who has pledged to be faithful to Holy Mother Church goes back on that promise. It’s not as if he decided to make this decision before he committed his life to the priesthood. He agreed to the conditions of the priesthood and decided that an earthly pleasure was more important. This is every bit as tragic as when a married man or woman abandons his/her spouse and family. It’s actually worse because it involves someone who is voluntarily forfeiting the privilege of changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord and forgiving sins in His name because he decided that something else (the companionship of a woman) is more important.
What this story illustrates is how strongly Satan attacks the priesthood. Why the priesthood? If a priest commits public scandal, it’s very likely to affect many others. Catholics could even leave the Church because of this. People will be deprived of the Eucharist and Confession. We can be sure that Satan has a big smile on his face and that’s not good.
Please pray for Father Alberto and all of our priests.
“O wonderful the dignity of priests; in whose hands the Son of God is made flesh as in the womb of the Virgin.” (St. Augustine)