With compulsory celibacy for the Catholic Church back in the news, it is pertinent to consider once again the example of Father Alberto Cutie, who responding to a public outcry when he was seen on a public beach with a woman – and on terms that were obviously more intimate than simply pastoral – by quitting the Catholic Church and joining the Episcopal Church instead, where he now continues to minister.
His case is obviously not unique: the Catholic Church has quite needlessly lost any number of good and valued priests who have found themselves forced by Vatican rules to make an artificial and entirely unnecessary, unscriptural choice between their vocation to ministry, and their human desire to live in a close relationship with a loving partner (male or female). In this piece at the Huffington Post, Fr Cutie asks the very important question: where are all these priests, “missing, gone or disappeared by the Church?”
One of the issues I address in my personal memoir, “Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love,” which has caused a significant degree of controversy among certain Roman Catholic circles, is the way the institutional church deals with priests. I highlight especially those moments of personal crisis when priests need the most support, from everyone in the spiritual family they grew up in and gave their lives to, and often find everything but support.Recently, I read “The Unexpected Life,” a book by Monsignor Dale Fushek of the Diocese of Phoenix. The charismatic founder of Life Teen and organizer of Pope John Paul’s 1987 U.S. visit describes his work with youth, shares his stories of the priesthood, his attraction to figures like Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa (an admiration we share) and provides a unique perspective when he refers to his work as Vicar General (a bishop’s right hand) and pastor of one of the most prominent parishes in his local church. He served Bishop O’Brien of Phoenix, who also was ousted after a hit and run incident where a man died after being accidentally run-over by the bishop. I found it interesting that Father Dale avoided telling many of the “difficult” and “painful” stories in his life and in the lives of his brother priests, yet anyone who has been involved in the Roman Catholic Church, at any level, can certainly read between the lines.-read the full article at Huffington Post.