This week on Interfaith Voices, we feature an interview with Father Albert Cutie, the Catholic priest photographed in 2009 by paparazzi with the woman he loved on a beach near Miami. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami and a media star in both Spanish and English in North and South America – often dubbed “Father Oprah.”
Forget the notoriety. Fr. Cutie tells his personal, honest story – a story that has been repeated all too often in the lives of tens of thousands of priests. As a seminarian and a young priest, he was sincere, quite conservative, committed to celibacy… and then Ruhama came along. The chemistry was instantaneous… and from thereon, he was engaged in a struggle between celibacy and human love. He finally married Ruhama and became a priest in the Episcopal Church.
However, in the course of telling his story, he relates many open secrets of the church in ways that might shock some people. The hierarchy officially says it does not want gay seminarians, but there are hundreds of them. [Cutie has no problem with priests that have a gay orientation].
He says quite bluntly that many priests already treat celibacy as optional, whether they are gay or straight. He talks about gay bishops having what he dubbed a “Pink Mafia,” promoting their own to positions of power and influence.
In Africa and Latin America, he notes, it is not uncommon for priests to have children. In some cases, the bishop even pays for the children’s education in Catholic schools. Nothing is said about any of this as long as the relationships remain private; it’s the reputation of the institutional church that is paramount.
Cutie makes yet another compelling case for changing the celibacy requirement attached to diocesan priesthood. His new book is a great read. It’s called Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love.