Fr. Albert Cutie, the Miami priest who left the priesthood after the paparazzi caught him with his girlfriend on the beach, is in the news again. Now an Episcopal priest, husband (to said girlfriend) and actual father to a teen-aged stepson and infant daughter, Cutie has released a "tell-all" book this month.
Nothing in "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love" will surprise veteran church watchers and reformers:
- A number of priests are involved in heterosexual and homosexual relationships, in part because celibacy makes them lonely and starved for intimacy.
- Some bishops are hardly the pastoral shepherds they should be to their flocks, including their priests.
- Many in the church hierarchy are only concerned with the church's image in the sex abuse scandal.
(Disclaimer: I have not yet read the entire book but am basing this summary and my opinions on news reports here and here.)
Cutie claims he didn't write the book to "settle scores" (it's likely his publisher asked him to) and that he was disillusioned with the church and struggling with some church teaching long before his breaking of his vow of celibacy was exposed.
Yet Cutie had quite the platform even before his scandal. Nicknamed "Father Oprah" because of his successful television ministry, he was likely the most influential Hispanic priest in America. His first book was a bestseller, perhaps in part because it featured on its cover his "Father What-a-Waste" face (as does his new book).
I wish Father Cutie all the happiness in new life. But I wish he had revealed the things he's saying now back when he was part of the Catholic Church. That would have had real impact. Now, it unfortunately sounds like sour grapes.
Heidi Schlumpf is an accomplished journalist and editor. She is currently on the faculty of Aurora Univesity, located outside of Chicago. This blog entry can be found at http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/fr-cutie-too-little-too-late
Rev. Cutie’s website is http://www.padrealberto.com/ .