Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cutie's Book Raises the Issue of Gays in the Priesthood: When Will the Hypocrisy End?

Fr. Alberto Cutié is back in the news. For those who don't remember his first 15 minutes of fame, the Catholic priest made headlines in 2009 when photos appeared in a Hispanic magazine showing the Florida priest in an amorous tryst on the beach with the "love of [his] life." While initially taking responsibility for his actions and saying he wasn't attacking the Church's teaching on celibacy, Cutié later left, joined the Episcopal church, "married" his enamorata, and had a baby girl by her in December. He also shifted to victim status. What else could he do after all? As he once said, he wears pants under those vestments. We all know a man has needs, right?

And now the priest dubbed "Fr. Oprah," has written a book, Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love, which was released this week. I haven't read the book yet, but early reports are that Cutié uses it as a platform to attack the hypocrisy of the Church hierarchy who, he says, accept homosexual and heterosexual relationships among priests as long as they remain hidden. Exposure equals expulsion, the priest says. And so, Cutié writes, he became disillusioned with the Church and the "hypocrites" in the hierarchy.

He has this to say about homosexuality in the priesthood: “There are so many homosexuals, both active and celibate, at all levels of clergy and Church hierarchy that the church would never be able to function if they were really to exclude all of them from ministry.” Tell us something we haven't figured out for ourselves.

While I can't accept the legitimacy of Cutie's argument that the hypocrisy of Church leaders justifies his own hypocrisy; I think it's important to listen to what he's saying about homosexual priests. Cutie echoes priestly voices before him, voices as diverse as Fr. Enrique Rueda who warned about the homosexualization of the priesthood several decades ago, to dissenter-sociologist priest Fr. Andrew Greeley who described a "lavender mafia" subculture in the Church, to Fr. Donald Cozzens who wrote in The Changing Face of the Priesthood that the Church "is or is becoming a gay profession." Cozzens is okay with that, while many of us wonder how someone whose orientation to life and relationships is fundamentally disordered, not to mention the occasion of sin caused by living in close quarters with the sex to which you are physically attracted, can be the face of the Church.

The scandal of active homosexuals in the priesthood was graphically illustrated last July when an Italian magazine ran an exposé of three gay priests in Rome who offer Mass by day and engage in sodomy by night. The author, investigative reporter Carmelo Abbate, pursued the story undercover for twenty days and documented it with secretly taped videos showing the priests dirty dancing at parties and having sex with male escorts even on Church property. Abbate told Newsweek Magazine, “This is about private vices and public virtues. This is about serious hypocrisy in the Catholic Church.” The magazine claimed that 90% of Rome's priests are gay.

Regardless of the actual numbers, serious hypocrisy in the Church is alive and well. It's obvious when a faithful priest like Fr. James Haley is thrown out for exposing the rot in the rectory while homosexual parishes all over the country thrive. It's obvious when a priest is disciplined for hiring a detective because the chancery won't do a thing about a gay pastor embezzling from the Church. How many homosexual priests are living like the priests in Rome, one life by day and another by night? And how many good men have left because they wouldn't cooperate with the conspiracy of silence and protection that covers up for the fornicating or sodomizing priest as long as his double life is discreet?

Fr. Cutié is shining the light once more on a serious situation in the Church. Does anybody with authority care?

No comments:

Post a Comment