Father Alberto Cutie, (pronounced Koo-ti-ay) known as "Padre Oprah," the nationally known Spanish language television host, advice columnist and bestselling author of the book "Real Life, Real Love," is creating a pretty big stir as he appears to have found real love himself.
A Mexican magazine ran pictures of Father Cutie cuddling with a woman on a Florida beach and kissing her at a bar. In an interview with the Spanish language network Univision, Father Cutie said that despite the scandal the photos have created, he doesn't want to give up either his collar or the woman he loves. He told Univision, he loves the woman and has liked her since he met her. After the photos appeared, the Archdiocese of Miami immediately removed him from his duties as a priest at St. Frances de Sales church in Miami Beach. This past Sunday marked the first time his parish held mass without him.
The scandal is surely reigniting the long-running debate over priest celibacy. Critics, including some priests, argue that celibacy is at the heart of the church's problems, including the shortage of priests and the sex abuse scandals and I for one have to agree. Truth be told, I think the Catholic Church seems to have even bigger issues at the forefront to handle that they've for decades just been sweeping under the rug. However, The Vatican has never wavered on the issue and most active priests agree with its stance.
I am not Catholic so I don't presume to understand the reasoning or logic behind celibacy. After doing some reading, it seems to be that Catholics see it as a true commitment to God, being "the bride of Christ" so to speak. Additionally those who support this stance seem to feel that it makes you wholly available for people and for ministry and for what you really believe, where if you were married with kids, you could not be as available.
Can't the two things co-exist? Can't you be wholly committed to and love God and have romantic love and family in your life? I don't know about you but it just seems unnatural to insist that human beings be required to resist the urge to find love and passion with other people. It's the way the world pro-creates. It's the way we find happiness.
Regardless, the Cutié scandal is sure to ratchet up debate over clerical celibacy in the Catholic Church, a spiritual ideal that seems to collide more often today with biological reality. I'm a die-hard romantic and I'm a Christian, so this is a tough one for me to call. Maybe it's just time for a change......
I gave my best...
5 years ago