The Anti-Cutie?

Did you have a chance to listen to Fr. Jim Martin's appearance on NPR's The Dianne Rehm Show, where he joined Episcopal priest Fr. Alberto Cutie to discuss celibacy and the priestly life? Cutie is promoting his new book, Dilemma, parts of which read as a polemic against celibacy and speak of the "natural desire" to be in relationship. The St. Petersburg Times offers a profile of a Catholic priest, Fr. Fr ToupsDavid Toups, who might be considered the "anti-Cutie." From the article:

Toups attended seminary in Florida at the same time Father Albert Cutié did. Cutié was another handsome, popular priest, nicknamed "Father Oprah" in his Miami Beach parish. Toups and Cutié have since written dead-opposite books about the priesthood.

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Cutié writes about the "natural desire" in everyone to love another human being.

Toups writes about supernatural love between God and man, one that transcends everything, even sexual desire. Toups' book, Reclaiming Our Priestly Character, tells about priests struggling to define who they are in the wake of scandal. Toups sees celibacy as one issue among many.

Other issues entangle him as pastor of Christ the King Church, a giant parish that's growing. It includes a school for 500 kids. As pastor, he's a seven-day-a-week CEO with a $2 million budget. Every year there are almost 200 First Communions, 130 baptisms and 70 funerals. He has one priest helping him. They celebrate 13 Masses a week, including five on Sundays. It's a grueling pace that even the pope says jeopardizes the church.

Release from celibacy would not lessen those demands. The only way he makes it, Toups says, is complete surrender to God through prayer, not merely prayer at Mass, but interior prayer — prayer in private, while he writes checks or heats leftovers. He says the Rosary while he runs laps.

Cutié's book, Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle With Faith and Love, tells about his affair with a parishioner at his Miami Beach church — an affair that led him to leave the church, marry, have a baby and become an Anglican priest.

In his book he writes: "It isn't just about breaking a promise to the Church or committing a sin. It is more about the very real emotions and complex struggles experienced by those serving the Church as they try to do what God expects, what the institutional Church expects, and what others expect from them — no matter how unrealistic those expectations may be."

Cutié got out of the priesthood.

Toups is going deeper.

Read the full story here.

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Bill Mazzella
7 years 4 months ago
Comparisons are odious. One should not define being a pastor as either celibate or not. Secondly, can anyone show that there were priests in the first hundred years AD?
There are certainly no priests in Corinth which Paul had so much to say about. Augustine was forced to become a priest as was Ambrose. Ambrose had the attraction of being a secular governor while Augustine's rhetoric seems to have gotten him this priesthood by abduction. Nobody uses the term "presider" as much which was a significant advance of Vatican II. Or at least advanced by those who did their homework. 

The obsession with transubstantiation or the words of consecration forgets or ignores the reality that it is the people who make up the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the celebration of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus by his church, the gathering of those who live through Christ our Lord. It is important that leaders, supervisors or episcopi, make sure that the Eucharist is celebrated. The sacralization of the presiders is a most unfortunate change in ecclesial history. This is why Vatican II eliminated private masses which were/are theological and liturgical miscarriages.


Presiders are pastors who are servants of the community. What we call pastors used to be called bishops. Augustine and Athanasius have been touted as heroes by the hierarchy. But really they were more dividers and used violence over other Christians. Paul, though he had problems as those two had, always worked toward unity and building up. He did not have the secular arm as they did. But I doubt he would have used  force or compel other Christians to conform to his teaching.         
Paul, when referring to his authority, always mentioned his assiduos work in preaching and building up the community throught sleepless nights, shipwrecks and other tribulations. In the fourth century that changed to the magisterium rather than example.

There is no shortage of priests. Wherever there is a Christian community the Eucharist must be celebrated. How can one say that the gathered community cannot celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in a commemorative meal? Whatever your theology all can agree on the principle of "ecclesia supplet" the church supplies, so that the gathering, the church, celebrates the Way.  

As a result of all these power moves to be the true church we get a zillion bodies claiming to be the only true church. Instead of working together to discern the spirit.

I guess what got me going in all this is the usque ad nauseum baloney of the shortage of priests. It is the insistence on empire and control that does not provide full life to Christians. We need less vocations to the priesthood and more commitment to the Way of life of the Christian.               
 
Thomas Piatak
7 years 4 months ago
God bless Fr. Toups and all the other faithful, hard-working diocesan priests. 
Martin Gallagher
7 years 4 months ago
Has anyone attended an Eastern Catholic Church with a married priest?  If so, what was your experience?  I wonder if married Eastern Catholic priests have any advice for their Latin brothers.

I attended a community headed by a married former Anglican priest who was ordained under the Pastoral Provision.  He was definitey a holy man and a good priest, but also much less involved than the celebate priest who succeeded him.  Of course, this is only an anectodal experience.

As for Fr. Cutie, I would have had more respect for his position if he requsted to be laicized and remained within the Church.  I pray that he comes back one day.

Bill, I am a little confused about your posts regarding this topic.  Are you saying the bishop (and by extension the pope) lacks the authority to impose the discipline of celibacy? 
Crystal Watson
7 years 4 months ago
Why when a Catholic priest decides to become an Anglican priest must he be raked over the coals, but when an  Anglican priest (or bishop) joins the Anglican Ordinariate to become a Catholic pruest, it's  considered just wonderful?  Cab we really be that partisan?
Martin Gallagher
7 years 4 months ago
Crystal,

I certainly wouldn't rake anyone over the coals.

However, one tragedy of priests leaving the Church is that they can no longer licitly administer or recieve the sacraments.  They are cutting themselves off from the graces Christ gives through His Church. 

Bill Mazzella
7 years 4 months ago
Martin,

I say that the bishops do not have the authority to keep the Eucharistic celebration from Christians. That is in direct contradiction to the gospel. I am also saying that the sacralization of the priest is a mistake. As if the "words of Consecration" were more important than given spiritual food to God's people. So in this case where the bishops and pope make their royalty more important than feeding the community then they abdicate their authority and the people have the right to do Eucharist.

We have a narrow view of Christ's gospel. As if the magisterium decides what is God's doing and who is God's people by placing the priest position above the needs of the church. It is the same with the pedophilia scandal where the power and reputation of the Hierarchy was deemed more important than the gospel.

Further, it is a mistake to hold that Christ's grace is withheld from those outside the church. I consider myself fortunate to be a Catholic. But it is a crass presumption to think that God would keep his grace from coming to other Christians. Or from any other God fearing and God seeking person.

Jesus welcomed everybody. His emphasis was on the beatitudes. The hierarchy too often ignores the beatitudes and considers fealty to the hierarchical empire the most important virtue. That is a real heresy.  
PJ Johnston
7 years 4 months ago
Cutié is an Anglican priest, so whatever else one may think of him, he did not get out of the priesthood and did not thereby become more superficial.
Martin Gallagher
7 years 4 months ago
Bill,
 
I empathize with your position and I used to hold it.  I used to have long discussions with my father on this very topic.  The concept of a hierarchy seemed incompatible with our 21st century egalitarianism.
 
The Church does teach that Christ administers graces to those beyond the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church.  Some of those people do extraordinary things with that extraordinary grace.  However, although it does not conform to our modern sensibilities, Christ did establish His bishops as the guardians and teachers of His faith and morals.  It took me many years to appreciate this, but I eventually accepted His Gospel (giving of the keys, power to bind and loose sins, etc.) as well as the writings of the very early Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch,
“It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid.”
Over time, I’ve come to appreciate Christ’s wisdom in having a hierarchy no matter how flawed. 
PJ,
I’d just tweak your comment a little.  Fr. Cutie is still a priest because he has valid holy orders administered by a Catholic bishop.  Unlike the Eastern Orthodox who maintained a valid priesthood, the Anglicans lost it soon after their split from Rome.  So even though Fr. Cutie is still a valid priest, he is not functioning as one (Anglican or otherwise).
David Pasinski
7 years 4 months ago
Fr. Toups is on the road to burn-out. I question his admonition to priests to remember their ''sacred character'' while saying the Rosary with one hand on a freeway. It seems hardly to be a sign of sanctity though I am not questioning his integrity, holiness, or desire to be a ''good priest.'' Fr. Cutie may be self-serving in his reflection, but Fr. Toups ''dedication'' sounds awfully close to a messianic workaholism.  A good dialogue between them would be helpful.
PJ Johnston
7 years 4 months ago
I know the RCC teaches that Anglican orders are invalid, but it's simply not true.  If you read Apostolicae Curae (the bull which makes said declaration), it rejects Anglican orders on grounds that would make RC and all other apostolic orders invalid as well.  The Archbishops of Canterbury and York effectively demonstrated the errors of reasoning in Apostolicae Curae in their official response, Saepius Officio.
Jim McCrea
7 years 4 months ago
Is there something noble about a church that tolerates situations such as the one Fr. Toups is involved in?  A church that CAUSES such situations becase of the slavish adherence to a counter-productive requirement of MANDATORY celibacy?  It Christ the King parish better off to have a frazzled pastor who has ONE assisting priest, no matter how loyal and dedicated Toups is?

He talks a good story, but does anyone actually think that he'd object to having more ordained help in his mini-diocese of a parish?

As time goes on and more and more married men are received into this church and ordained as priests, the absurdity of the requirement for mandatory celibacy that is abrogated more and more will become apparent.  Of course, Catholics are used to being obedient little pew potatoes that don't rise up and protest to any great degree with they are faced with the obvious absurdities. 

Get their mass ticket punched on Sunday, put a dollar in the collection plate and get the heck out of the parking lot so they can to to brunch is the most important religious duty for way too many "practicing" Catholics.
Martin Gallagher
7 years 4 months ago
Saepius Officio is interesting.  I'll admit that I don't know too much about it or it's validity.   I have read that the Catholic bishops on the British Isles responded to it by emphasizing the Protestantism of the English Reformers.   I suppose this would mean that the "intent" of the English bishops in ordaining priests is different than the Catholic intent and thus the Anglican orders are invalid.  I don't know if the Vatican wrote a response to it.

Do Anglican priests now regard their ordination and the sacrifice of the Mass as Catholics and Eastern Orthodox?  If so, and there was still a problem in their form of Holy Orders centuries ago, could valid apostolic succession by reestablished by Angilcan Bishops ordained by Eastern Orthodox or Old Catholic bishops?  How many Anglican priests today have been ordained by EO or OC bishops?
PJ Johnston
7 years 4 months ago
It's hard to say - I don't know if anyone has done a nose-count for precisely that question.  The Anglo-Catholic party is strong enough in the Episcopal Church that the denomination will not enter into full communion agreements with denominations without a priesthood in the apostolic succession.  This is formally stated in the late 19th century Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which was agreed upon communion-wide.  When the ELCA and the Episcopalians were talking about a full communion agreement, the Episcopalians would not agree to it unless from then on out every Lutheran bishop would be consecrated with an Anglican bishop concelebrating to make sure he/she was validly consecrated within the apostolic succession.  So the communion does seem to generally and officially believe in a sacrificial priesthood and the necessity of apostolic orders today.
PJ Johnston
7 years 4 months ago
It's a strange and dangerous game to start claiming that people must have had a defective intent when celebrating a sacrament if they held Protestant views.  Do you think every priest and bishop in the RCC holds fully orthodox views about the sacraments they preside over?  For Apostolicae Curae to be correct in concluding Anglican orders are invalid, all those RC sacraments would have to be up in the air too.  And the application of the defect of intent argument is inconsistently applied even with respect to the Anglicans as the RCC was willing to accept Anglican baptisms that were arguably just as defective in intent (symbol of faith, not sacrament of regeneration) as the ordinations if the ordinations are presumed to be invalid.DA
PJ Johnston
7 years 4 months ago
It's hard to say - I don't know if anyone has done a nose-count for precisely that question.  The Anglo-Catholic party is strong enough in the Episcopal Church that the denomination will not enter into full communion agreements with denominations without a priesthood in the apostolic succession.  This is formally stated in the late 19th century Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which was agreed upon communion-wide.  When the ELCA and the Episcopalians were talking about a full communion agreement, the Episcopalians would not agree to it unless from then on out every Lutheran bishop would be consecrated with an Anglican bishop concelebrating to make sure he/she was validly consecrated within the apostolic succession.  So the communion does seem to generally and officially believe in a sacrificial priesthood and the necessity of apostolic orders today.
Bill Mazzella
7 years 4 months ago
Martin, 

Just because a saint said it does not make it right. Ignatius of Antioch was wrong. Augustine, the most influential person in the Western church made substantial errors.
So you cannot presume you are making a convincing case if you quote a saint. Cyprian believed that you should baptize a repentant sinner again. It is irrefutable that bishops have and continue to make mistakes. They were terrible derelict in Nazi Germany. The church is where the gospel of Jesus is practiced. Jesus said it clearly. Not everyone who calls me Lord will be saved...but s/he who does the will of God will be saved.

Blind obedience to the magisterium has caused much harm and given liberty for bishops to do terrible things. We cannot surrender our consciences to anyone. Bishops are important to serve and lead. But when they are wrong they must be corrected as Paul corrected Peter. The conscience of the church today is in the people not the hierarchy. 
7 years 4 months ago
Bill,
It is you who generalize about ''blind obedience''.  Most ''obedient'' Catholics that I know do it with their eyes wide open.  In fact the most of the obedient Catholics that I know actually read the documents of Vatican II and the documents from the Magisterium.  I find that when I discuss the Church with ''progressive'' Catholics they think they know what Vatican II says but the never read the documents.

Here is a nice parody illustrating my experience concerning these things:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD4VlsLIZfI&feature=related
Jim McCrea
7 years 4 months ago
David P:

I spent many years in a small non-denominational church in which the value of tithing (or proportional giving - take your pick) was not only stressed but understood to be mandatory for the few members (around 250) in order to keep our church alive.

I would be ashamed to be back as a Catholic and to poo-poo what I learned in that prior experience when it comes to the necessity for ME to do MY financial part, irrespective of what others may or may not do.

A rude awakening will come to those Catholics who someday will have to support a priest and his family with salaries, benefits and housing allowances.  I can't want for the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth over THAT situation.
Martin Gallagher
7 years 4 months ago
Bill,

My point in quoting Ignatius of Antioch (written at the end of his life ~ 105-109AD)  was that the concept of episcopal authority was present right from the beginning of the Church - it was not added centuries later.  If you read the Church Fathers, you'll find that the so-called "primitive church" was much more Catholic than Protestant.  Of course, these Church Fathers are not infallible.  However, their witness tells us that the original 1st and early 2nd century Christians accpeted the current Catholic interpretation of infallible scripture that provides the heirarchy with the power to bind/loose etc.  I know it's difficult to accept this in our modern society.
Gabriel McAuliffe
7 years 4 months ago
In the name of St. Francis deSales, can we have some civility and charity?  This constant nitpicking and unrestrained attacks upon our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is quite dispiriting.
David Pasinski
7 years 4 months ago
Jim

I participate in a Catholic community and a small Protestant communtiy in which we pledge and attempt to keep the pastoral staaff at reasonable financial standards and concur with you that Catholics are largely blind in that regard as they would be challenged to think about support for a cleirc's family... part of the economic REAL reason celibacy grew as a discipline anyway, no?
Conor Dugan
7 years 4 months ago
Knowing Father Toups personally, I actually spoke to him briefly last night, I can say he is a) not on the road to burn-out and b) certainly does not have a messianic complex.  He is a holy, good, humble, humorous, decent, and wonderful man.  He is just one of many priests of similar caliber that my wife and I know.  We happen to live in a very blessed diocese, the Archdiocese of Washington, that is filled with great priests young and old.

We got to know Fr. Toups when he was stationed at the bishops conference.   He also heard my confession and prayed with me and over me the night before I had major surgery.  Christ the King is blessed to have him.  We (my family and I) are blessed to know him.

As for the question of celibacy, can we accept that there are two legitimate practices in the Catholic Church.  In the East, where the split is between monasticism and parish priests, they have a long tradition of married priests.   In the West, from very early, we've had a celibate priesthood (this wasn't just imposed in the 12th Century).  It is a discipline with deep and important roots and we shouldn't think we can just do away with it without consequences.  Celibacy says something important.  In the Eastern Rites, they value and emphasize celibacy in a different way.  A whole culture has grown up organically around the married priesthood.  In West, a different culture has grown up organically.  As the finagling with the liturgy, post-Vatican II shows, you mess with organically grown realities at your own peril.
Thomas Piatak
7 years 4 months ago
Thanks, Mr. Dugan, for letting us know some more about Fr. Toups.   There are many wonderful priests laboring for the Lord, and they deserve our appreciation and support.
David Pasinski
7 years 4 months ago
My remarks about Fr. Toups lifestyle and psyche were unfair. I do not know him and accept all that Mr. Dugan says about his goodness and  fruitful ministry.  Nevertheless, I do believe that the lifestyle described in the article is a formula for burnout for many. Perhaps he is truly an exception whose energy, zeal, and/or grace enable him to go at that pace and with rosary in hand. The "messianic" remark on my part was also uncalled for. Nevertheless, the whole equation of the emphasis on the "sacred character" of priesthood is one that I believe emphasizes an "otherness" or "special-ness" that has historically too easily devolved into aberrations of privilege that I do not believe serve the Church well.  Myr emarks however, obviously reflect my own thoughts and biases and values that are generalized but that I prersumptively and unfairly labeled to this individual. 
Conor Dugan
7 years 4 months ago
DaveP, I respect your latest post.  Let me say that in my experience Fr. Toups emphasis on the sacrednessness of the priesthood is combined with an understanding that that sacred character goes hand in hand with a ministry of service.  If anything the priest, in the way he lives it and the way he preaches it, is a man set apart to serve others.  It is not specialness that devolves into a clericalism, but finds itself in being open and present and washing the feet of others.  The stories in DC are legion about Fr. Toups' generosity and graciousness.  He made himself available for Masses and Missions and dinneres and lunches and for hearing someone.  He knew everyone's name at the bishops conference.  I am not sure if that makes any sense, but he lives out a priesthood that takes its meaning from Christ's actions at the Las Supper.

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