THE TRAGEDY OF MR. ALBERTO CUTIE
By Fr. Miguel Grave de Peralta
June 1, 2009
Many predicted that once the former Catholic priest, Alberto Cutie, was caught (whether planned or unplanned is irrelevant) cavorting with a young divorced mother in his congregation, he would leave the priesthood and join another Christian Church. In fact he claims to have done that so he may, according to the press, marry his girlfriend. But I wonder if Mr. Cutie is aware of what he is getting into now that he is seeking to serve as an ordained minister in the Protestant Episcopal Church.
I was an Episcopalian minister for 8 years. Having been raised a Southern Baptist, I was drawn to all things historical and religious in college after asking the usually dangerous question, "What happened after the Bible?" Joining what was then called the Protestant Episcopal Church (now just the Episcopal Church), I finished my theological studies in the Episcopalian seminary in New York City and went to work as an ordained Episcopal minister with my wife and a baby on the way.
My time in seminary (mid to late 80s) was, to say the least, volatile. Most of the seminarians were active homosexuals, our neighbors in student housing was a lesbian couple with their young son. Most of the religious courses offered assumed that what the Bible taught and Christians believed for most of its two-thousand year history was either wrong or at best warped. The few of us who believed what the Bible taught and wanted to live our lives as Christians have been trying to live it for 20 centuries kept insisting to each other that this was "New York" or that it was an "artificial" academic environment not reflective of the "pastoral trenches" we would find in the diocesan parish. We were wrong.
I've been there, done that and have the scars to prove it. What Mr. Cutie has signed up for is a religious organization that does not require its members or its clergy to believe in anything except "Thou shall not require anyone to believe in anything." As an example, when Mr. Cutie was Fr. Alberto, he probably believed (he certainly taught) that in the Catholic Mass, ordinary bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. He can still believe that as a Protestant Episcopalian but the belief is optional. He can continue to believe that his new bishop is a successor to the original Apostles but it is optional. He can continue to believe that Jesus Christ, after being dead for three days, rose from the dead and by His death defeated death, but it is optional. In essence what he has done is left a Church with one Teaching Authority and joined an organization with as many authorities as there are members. He has embraced the trinity of I-Me-Mine.
Perhaps Mr. Cutie has accepted the error that his bishop expressed on Spanish television (Univision) when he said the Episcopal Church is a Catholic Church. The bishop may say whatever he pleases just like I can say I am the president of the United States of America. However, when the Catholic Church, with over a billion members and the Orthodox Churches with almost half a billion members, being the oldest Christian families in the world, neither recognize the bishop as a bishop nor any sacraments of that bishop's denomination as being valid or licit, well now there may be other things to say besides (as one television hostess said) that the bishop is "simpatico". If anything, this is another example of the exception proving the norm and that norm is found in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
The tragedy of this is that in desiring to marry his girlfriend, Mr. Cutie has also married 1) clergy, including "bishops", who are practicing homosexuals; 2) rejection of the example of Christ who chose an all-male priesthood 3) the dogmas of Christians since the beginning, including but not limited to the Eucharist; 4) the entire sacramental system upon which Christian living is based; 5) last but not least he has married the philosophy of the age. It is an old philosophy whispered in the garden to Eve by the Serpent, "You will be like God."
Much if any of this will be discussed by the mainstream media. It is the prophet of this old philosophy. But for all of us priests, celibate or married, who strive and struggle every day to be obedient to our vows and to the Church established by Christ, the truth remains and He has set us free.
----The Rev. Fr. Miguel Grave de Peralta is the Parish Administrator of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Melkite Catholic Church in Augusta, Georgia
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