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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The sad (and never ending) case of Fr. Alberto Cutié

So Fr. Alberto Cutié (aka, Fr. Oprah), the Catholic Church in America's Latin media sensation who was something akin to a Hispanic Fulton Sheen, has written a new book. It's an attempt to justify why, after promising at ordination to be celibate, he broke this promise, took up with a cutie, left the priesthood, and became first just a run-of-the-mill Episcopalian and then an Episcopalian priest.

Here's what I've never understand about his doing what he did. Not falling in love; hundreds if not thousands of Latin rite priests have done this (although it should be said that the overwhelming majority came to their senses and remembered their promises and responsibilities before God and the faithful). What I don't get is the whole Episcopalian thing. How can a Catholic priest do this? Here's the thinking:

Either the Church is the one, true Church or not. Either only validly consecrated priests have the power to consecrate the Eucharist using valid form and matter or they do not. Either the Real Presence is just the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ or it is blasphemy. If it is the Body and Blood -- and if only hosts consecrated in apostolic churches qualify -- then anything else pretending to be the Eucharist (monthly Lord's Supper, something calling itself Eucharist, etc.) is blasphemous. Either the Mass is a re-presentation of Christ's sacrifice on Calvary -- and is thus properly called the eucharistic sacrifice or the holy sacrifice of the Mass -- or it isn't. Either Anglican priests have valid orders or, pace Leo XIII, they are utterly null and void. If they are utterly null and void, then Anglican/Episcopalian priests have no more priestly powers than any lay member of the Body of Christ. They can baptize in the case of emergency or bless their own immediate family members, no more, no less. They cannot consecrate bread and wine into the Eucharist. Either the Pope is the successor of Peter and has authority in everything having to do with faith and morals, or he does not. There is no in between. On any of this. It's not a matter of opinion. Either the sky is blue or the sky is whatever it is you want it to be. Either 2+2=4 or it equals whatever you want it to.

Understanding this -- as he had to have -- why, why, WHY would Fr. Cutié have left the Catholic Church to become an Episcopalian? The issue was not about him and his honey. As other have noted, he could have  become an Eastern rite priest. He could have become a Catholic layman with a wide-ranging apostolate. (It's not likely either of these would have been successful, but that's another kettle of fish.) It had to be something else.

Whatever the case, just as well, since Cutié has obviously ceased to be Catholic in any tradtional sense of the word. That is, he never believed what the Church teaches or, conversely, that the Church is authoritative in what it teaches. Instead, it was left to him to decide what was authoritative and what was not. Just like any good Protestant, really.

The only question that remains is why won't his fellow travellers (i.e., the dissenters all along the spectrum) have the intellectual integrity to do the same as he has done? Admit you are Protestant and stop giving scandal. Leave. Repent and reform or leave. Otherwise, why harm the Body of Christ as you do?

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