I hadn’t intended to weigh in on the Fr. Cutie incident. When anybody falls into sin it is very sad, especially if they are a priest. Normally the response to a situation like this would be to mainly pray for the person. Yesterday I saw the video of him on one of the morning shows and then later read Fr. Richsteig’s reaction.
His interviews gives an insight into how his involvement with a divorcee happened. He offered more of a defense than an apology. It seemed more of a regret for causing pain than that he had committed an objectively grave sin and caused scandal. I do wonder if his bishop had allowed him to show up on national television? It is hard to believe that he would. It really shows bad judgment on Fr. Cutie’s part to do this in the first place since he has caused even more scandal by trying to justify his “falling in love.” To go on national television and to say that celibacy should be optional is pretty self-serving. As Fr. Richsteig commented.
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.”).
“Under the cassock are a pair of pants.” is one of the lines he used. Last I checked this was true for all diocesan priests who are faithful to their promises. A married man that commits adultery because he “loves” his mistress I guess can not be blamed because he is a man and wears pants. You can almost see the process of justification he used to become involved with this women in the first place. He said that he had been under spiritual direction since he was tempted against celibacy and that this is something he struggled with. Too bad he did not take this temptation more seriously and worked to avoid situations where he would be tempted. Becoming a minor celebrity and media personality and being nicknamed “Father Oprah” was probably not the most prudent course if you are particularly tempted in this manner. We should flee from those situations where we know we are easily tempted.
I do pray that he fully repents and that he comes to the full realization of what his sin really is. In the meantime I hope he stays away from any media outlets.
Disgraceful. He follows a selfish act with a selfish explanation.
I have had a small number of priests admit to me that it is imperative to keep their distance from certain women that they may feel some type of attraction. It’s just common sense, you don’t go playing with fire. It’s kind of funny to hear some of these women complaint that “Fr X is too rough” or “not very friendly”. A few years ago, I was joking with some friends that you can summarize any guy story with three statements:
– “I met this girl…”
– “Somehow, one thing let to another…”
– “Next thing I know…”
As they say in AA, if you keep going to the barbershop, eventually you’re going to get a haircut.
Is there some reason why Fr. Cutie couldn’t have asked for a laicization and gotten married before he broke his vow of celibacy?
And as usual, Fr. Erik is SPOT ON! To devastating effect!
Hmmm… the whole celibacy issue comes down to one of interpreting Paul’s word about such things.
You see, he says that leaders in the church should be the husband of one wife. This included bishops, the top guy in the local church.
Nowhere does it say that these must be celibate. However, if the Lord instructs one to be in such condition for the sake of the kingdom, then you’re speaking of a clearly specific instance of celibacy.
So the requirement of celibacy within the priesthood is actually mandated by man’s interpretation and even distortion of the scriptures involved.
Paul said that he would rather people were as he was… and it is assumed he was referring to a celibate condition. But since he doesn’t specifically say so, we can’t actually “know” with certainty. Anyway, even if it does reference a celibate condition, it is Paul’s wish, and not a command or instruction compelled by the Holy Spirit to be so oriented.
That a priest agreeing to live under this compulsion should then violate it, well, I can’t agree that it is acceptable. Make your ‘yes’ a ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ a ‘no’. If you agree to something, you are pledging to obligate yourself to adhere to and abide by your word.
No ‘if’, no ‘and’, no ‘but’ about it.
This situation plays out with far too much frequency. A woman is in crisis over her divorce, the priest or seminarian is used to helping people, the two develop a codependency, the priest/seminarian leaves clerical life/training. The relationship seldom lasts.
It is a cliche, but a true cliche. Certain women will pursue them, regardless of their collar. It happened before with Fr. Francis Mary Stone, CFR at EWTN.
My best counsel is to avoid such entanglements whenever possible. Be aware when you feel unstable in your clerical life, and avoid risks during those times. I used to call flirtation is times of vocational uncertainty “vocational skydiving”, because of the risks involved.
This is very sad for me, as I’ve known of Father Cutie for several years from television and books. He and all priests and religious are in my prayers for constancy in vows, an increase in sanctification, to repent and get back on the right path.
My reading this week included the Venerable John Henry Newman’s sermon “Knowledge of God’s Will without Obedience.” It was a hard sermon for me to read, but I was thankful for his words and hope at applying them to myself:
Christ says, “Watch and pray;” herein lies our cure. To watch and to pray are surely in our power, and by these means we are certain of getting strength. You feel your weakness; you fear to be overcome by temptation: then keep out of the way of it. This is watching. Avoid society which is likely to mislead you; flee from the very shadow of evil; you cannot be too careful; better be a little too strict than a little too easy,—it is the safer side. Abstain from reading books which are dangerous to you. Turn from bad thoughts when they arise, set about some business, begin conversing with some friend, or say to yourself the Lord’s Prayer reverently. When you are urged by temptation, whether it be by the threats of the world, false shame, self-interest, provoking conduct on the part of another, or the world’s sinful pleasures, urged to be cowardly, or covetous, or unforgiving, or sensual, shut your eyes and think of Christ’s precious blood-shedding. Do not dare to say you cannot help sinning; a little attention to these points will go far (through God’s grace) to keep you in the right way. And again, pray as well as watch. You must know that you can do nothing of yourself; your past experience has taught you this; therefore look to God for the will and the power; ask Him earnestly in His Son’s name; seek His holy ordinances.
Parochial and Plain Sermons, Volume 1, Sermon 3.
Why is the focus on Fr. Cutie being a priest and doing what he did and presumedly still does.
This would be considered a mortal sin for any layman.
As for his wanting to pray and reflect on his situation, this is another way of saying he wants to stay on the payroll,keep his health insurance and possibly the use of the car.
As to why they got caught, could it be that they were “High” on what Miami has to offer?
I thought the interview was a good move, considering the side-stories that had built up around this. They were much worse than the simple reality.
Fr C’s casual manner regarding his infidelity and the choices he needs to make speak volumes, but at least they don’t reflect on the Church, but reveal the individual priest who acted against the Church.
I’m not a fan of “Fr Oprah”, so I don’t know how the interview affected the fans, but I was happy that this story actually has very little gossip value, and that Fr Cutie didn’t use his offenses to promote Abp Milingo, Rent-a-Priest, etc.
It was easier for me to pray sincerely for Fr C after the interview. Before that, I was too angry with him for acting like an idiot in public, as if the Church was of no importance to him whatsoever.
The behavior and attitude of this priest are a disgrace. I am not at all surprised by it, however. His actions are little different than the fractured attitudes and practices present throughout the Catholic Church, at least in America.
As a former Catholic, who always accepted the discipline of a celibate priesthood as appropriate in my days as a practicing Catholic, I have become more convinced than I ever have of its wisdom. Consequently, it would not at all surprise me in the reasonably near future as the decline of the Catholic Church will almost certainly continue for celibacy to become “optional”, more or less. There are no easy answers beyond personal integrity and personal holiness. What these mean, however, is different things to different people because there are no “assumed standards” of behavior with respect to right and wrong any longer.
There are many priests and laymen, but the priests are more dangerous due to their podsitions and their authority, who have loose morals that are operative in ways that do as much, if not more harm, that what Father Cutie has done. Marriage means nothing to many priests because if it does not “work out” divorce and annulment are available to “move on”
I do not understand why the few good priests and bishops that there might be do not even give an earnest listen to the experiences of those of us who remain faithful to our vows even after all the state and the Church has thrown at our marriages to end them and/or to conclude that they “never existed” as a valid Sacrament.
There could be much to learn and understand but instead the emphasis is to “push” annulments as a ministry. It is a waste.
The Father Cutie example is only one facet of a societal loss of respect for marriage.
The vast majority of our clergy can quote much of what the Church officially teaches but very, very, very few of them practice it in the trenches when a spouse, wife or husband, comes to them, broken often in tears and begs them to help them save their marriage. The stock answer is “you can’t make someone love you”!
If this is true then what is the purpose of any standard?
A vow made in public, in a Catholic marriage, should be defended with vigor and with canonical backing all the way through excommunication, if necessary. Yes, the Catholic Church and all its members, lay and cleric, have the obligation to defend marriage, completely.
The Catholic Church has the “innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful with penal sanctions”.
Unless this is exercized the Church is encouraging, by default, other Father Cuties through the tacit abandonment of marriage to the whims of individuals who serve themselves.
I expect this to continue and see no real point about being upset with all the Father Cuties and their ilk because the long standing decision of the hierarchy has been to ignore the necessity to protect marriage in anything but words.
One could always hope that upon trying to let go of the Church, Fr C will find that She has not let go of him. Maybe then he will discover that throughout his priesthood he has had the charism he didn’t know he had…and he will see that he has unfaithful to it.
Now there is an inviting prayer…
The sad thing is that if he leaves the priesthood for this woman she will despise him for it. She will see him as a weak man who will not fulfill his vows. We are drawn to strong moral men, not those whom we can seduce. This relationship will ultimately fail.
Worldly fame, even if it is as a result of being a religious man, can corrupt. The dominant celebrity culture encourages a belief that if one is famous, all is permitted.
To that, we can simply say: Sic transit gloria mundi.
I wonder if there is outrage against the woman. Many women that I know can recognize a “priest groupie” and have little respect or regard for them.
Good point, Mariadevotee. I was thinking that Fr Cutie, if he leaves, would find that he abandoned the priesthood for a handful of dust. But it is equally possible that the object of his desire will beat him to it, and discover that SHE has gained only a handful of dust.
That might not be a bad thing, ultimately. Just the most difficult way of discovering the truth about the situation. For Fr C, though, the “dust” will be followed by a realization of how many sheep he may have misguided along the way. Scary.
EWTN has lost a number of priests to sexual temptation. The devil strikes where the defenses are weakest. EWTN must be doing a lot of good for the devil to be so determined to cause scandal by tempting its priests.