I am originally from West Texas, more precisely from the border town of El Paso. About eight months ago I had to leave El Paso and come and reside near Boston up here in frigid New England due to a work opportunity. I am married and have three daughters but due to the circumstances they and my wife had to stay behind in Texas.
In the past months I have seen my wife twice and yet I have not decided out of loneliness to have an extramarital affair. Why? Well, because I love my wife, because I am conscious of my marital vows, because I know full well the damage that would do to my family.
Why bring this up? Well a few days ago Father Alberto Cutie caused a scandal when some paparazzi took pictures of him cavorting and kissing with a woman in a Florida beach. Of course Alberto Cutie is a Catholic priest and a such he made a vow of chastity and celibacy. Behaving the way he did causes grave scandal to the Church, his ministry and his flock. Now, I am not a paragon of virtues and I am definitively not as good looking as father Cutie. But we can guess that being celibate for his whole career is harder than being faithful to your wife when you are apart for months. But the situation has some similitude; Father Cutie made a commitment to his priestly vows of chastity and celibacy, no one forced him to accept the Church discipline on this. He could have rejected such discipline and instead chosen the road of marriage and raising a family.
I sympathize with the father, he is a young, good looking successful person and the lure of sex is always there. But whenever you join any organization, be it the army, a sports club, a social group, an employer, they all have rules you must follow. With the Church is the same, and one of the Church’s rules is that of a celibate priesthood. If I do not like or agree with an organization’s rules then I should not joint them or leave them. Father Cutie knew that his very public affair was bound to cause grave scandal and he chose to ignore his promise and vows.
All priests are joined to the Church in the same manner that a husband is joined to his wife and doing what father did is equivalent to being unfaithful in marriage. He should have thought carefully about his actions given his very public persona. Instead he went ahead and now the damage done is grater than all the good he did in his media ministry.
Not only that, but now he wants to play the victim of an intransigent Church and wants it to change to accommodate his preferences. This is typical, those whose sexuality is out of bounds with what the Church teaches instead of repenting and changing their ways want the Church to change its doctrines to accommodate the sexual preferences of its members.
Father Cutie has two roads ahead of him; one is to ask the Church to revoke his vows and hang the cloth for good so he can marry. The other is to repent, be silent, do penitence and perhaps after a few years of reflection and humility return to the ministry. I pray that he makes the right choice.