By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
A handsome priest named Cutie. Fame. Television. What did we expect?
You would think that after all the molestation scandals of recent years, the Catholic Church would give its priests a break and let them choose to be celibate, or to enjoy loving relationships with women.
After all, if you come to the priesthood already married, the church doesn't make you divorce. There are practicing Catholic married priests, and the world has not come to a flaming end.
But no, the aged church hierarchy, if anything, dug in. And so it was, perhaps, inevitable that someone like Rev. Alberto Cutie would come along and raise the eternally fascinating practice of celibacy, for public discussion, once again. Just when the flap over The Da Vinci Code was fading from memory. Just in time for Dan Brown's upcoming book tour, and Ron Howard's new film.
Cutie got caught by the tabloids, canoodling on the beach with a lady friend. He has acknowledged that he is conflicted and needs to work on some personal issues. But his defense is pretty convincing. He fell in love, and failed to see how that best of human emotions could be so wrong.
"I was motivated by love for someone, by a good thing, a healthy and a good desire in my heart," he said on TV yesterday. "And at the same time, I just need to make decisions. And I shouldn't be making them in public, but that's exactlywhat happened."
I cannot vouch for Cutie. He may be like one of those TV preachers who gets caught in a tryst, insists it was a one-time thing, and then disappears to rehab when the National Enquirer finds scores of sexual partners, of various disciplines, in his background.
But if he is who he says he is, I have t o sympathize. And so, apparently, do three-fourths of the Catholics of Miami who, when polled, said it was fine for their priests to marry.
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