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Father Alberto Cutié, “Father Oprah” to the devoted, has an informative little bio at the website of the Miami Archdiocese. There, he says that he knew he wanted to become a priest back in high school, and didn’t think that anything else would “fulfill” him. He says that he has no regrets about becoming a priest, that he feels it is an “exciting journey” to live a life given into “god’s hands.” Turn-offs include people trying to make him into a “little god,” and not treating him just like a regular person.
Like a regular person.
Yet somehow it was a huge surprise to everyone when the good padre was discovered doing something any regular person might do… with their girlfriend on the beach. In fact it was so surprising that Cutié (pronounced Coo-tee-ay, for the Spanish-challenged among us) was tossed out of the priesthood on his ear. Since the photos first appeared in TV Notas magazine, Cutié has admitted to a two year relationship with the young woman, and that while he thinks no priest should break the vow of celibacy, maybe that particular vow ought to be optional.
Can’t we be happy it wasn’t a thirteen year old altar boy?
Clerical abstinence in the Catholic church first raised it’s turgid head as far back as the Council of Elvira, (who did not host a biblical Friday night monster-of-the-week TV show) around the 270th year of the church’s history. It was mentioned here and there throughout the years (while clergy continued to be married and have kids) but keeping your willy dry didn’t become official church canon until 1917… and even then not for Eastern Catholics. Plus, abstinence for priests is discipline, not doctrine, which means that exceptions can be made, (and have) and that the Pope can rescind the whole silly thing any time he wants. Not that that is going to happen. Benedict XVI is every bit as sympathetic a figure as Darth Vader, without the cuddly mask.
I suppose there’s something to be said for only allowing miserable and lonely people to lead our communities and care for our spiritual well being. (Not my spiritual well being, but… you know what I mean.) Of course that something probably sounds a bit like “Jeeze, that’s fucking stupid.” or “How is somebody like that supposed to give me marital advice?” or “Jeeze, that’s fucking stupid.” I might have repeated myself a bit there.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t really even care what happens here. (69% of American Catholics feel priests should be allowed to marry. Schism! Schism!) It’s just that giving up sex for god seems to me about the equivalent of giving up beer for unicorns. You’re giving up something really good for something really imaginary that wouldn’t care even if it were real. I just think that’s funny.