May 24, 2009

HALF HUMAN:

The call to have a family and serve God (Jeff Jacoby, May 24, 2009, Boston Globe)

'I would like to have a family and at the same time serve God."

By all accounts, the man who recently spoke those words is more than capable of doing both. The Rev. Alberto Cutié, a 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest, built a devoted international following through his service as pastor of the St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach, his immensely popular Spanish-language radio and television ministry, and his widely distributed advice column. "Father Oprah," he was nicknamed, both for his gifts as a broadcaster and his empathy for the struggles so many face when it comes to love, sex, and relationships.

Such struggles, it turns out, were of more than just academic interest to the telegenic priest. Cutié's career imploded this month after a magazine published photos showing him kissing and embracing a brunette on the beach. In the uproar that ensued, Cutié admitted that he and the woman were in love, and that for nearly a year he had been struggling to resolve his feelings for her with his commitment to the church. The Archdiocese of Miami had little choice but to suspend him from his parish and media duties, and Cutié is now faced with an agonizing decision. Does he leave the priestly vocation that means so much to him and for which he has shown such flair? Or does he break with the woman he loves and yearns to share his life with?

Inevitably, the scandal in Miami has reopened the longstanding debate over celibacy and the Catholic priesthood. Cutié himself has said that he does not want to become an anti-celibacy "poster boy" - "I believe that celibacy is good, and that it's a good commitment to God," he told CBS - but it is hard not to wonder whether the Catholic Church loses much more than it gains by continuing to deny its priests the blessings of marriage.


And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. [...]

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2009 10:27 AM
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