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Fr. Cutié – why he matters

Fr. Cutié – why he matters

Have you heard of “Father Oprah,” the former Roman Catholic priest, Alberto Cutié? Is he merely a fascination, or does he matter beyond the gossipy news stories? Miguel Angel Escobar discusses why Fr. Cutié does matter:


Why Alberto Cutié Matters

by Miguel Angel Escobar in Episcopal Church Foundation Vital Practices

Fr. Alberto Cutié’s new daytime talk show premiered yesterday. Did you watch?

The premier of “Father Albert” generated a bit of conversation on the Episcopal Café’s Facebook page with comments ranging from hopefulness to curiosity to disdain. “And we should care…why?” wrote one Episcopal priest.

I briefly met Fr. Cutié two years ago and I must confess that I did so with that last question very much in mind. First off, I’m not a big television watcher much less a fan of daytime television. I’d heard of Father Oprah, had seen his books in Barnes and Noble, but didn’t connect with the idea of a celibate priest dispensing relationship advice. Secondly, Fr. Cutié’s entry into the Episcopal Church came at a particularly difficult time in my life. Having just been rejected from the ordination process in the Diocese of New York, I was hurt by how swiftly Fr. Cutié became an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Southeast Florida. I recall joking that perhaps things would have turned out differently for me had I been a television star, better looking, with millions of fans…

A year or so later my attitude has changed. I’m a fan and I strongly believe we should care. Here’s why:

Increasingly, A Shared Story

The face of the Episcopal Church is rapidly changing. Latinos presently constitute one of – if not the – fastest growing segments of the Episcopal Church. This parallels broader shifts in U.S. demographics. As noted in “A (Uni)Vision for Life After A Mass Market,” demographers at the Census Bureau predict that by the year 2042 racial and ethnic minorities will make up more than half of the U.S. population, with more than 30 percent considering themselves Hispanic.

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Stuart

I’m in the kind of family you increasingly find in the Episcopal Church: we’re both converts from ethnicities not traditionally identified as Episcopalian. I’m Jewish and my husband is Puerto Rican.

While we both think it’s wonderful that the Episcopal Church is becoming more inclusive, we had a profoundly negative reaction to the premiere episode of Father Alberto’s talk show.

Commodifying trauma by publicly questioning a troubled couple whose daughter died of cancer was appalling. How was the couple helped by having 15 minutes of pseudo-counseling before a live studio audience?

Whether or not it is his intention, Fr. Cutie sells a product (himself) through the vehicle of other people’s suffering. How can this behavior really be reconciled with his baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being?

Surely, there are better ways Fr. Cutie can exercise pastoral ministry.

-Stuart Caban-Siegel

Kurt @keepercaines34

Robin is correct at how important the 2nd half of the article is:

“In this context, Alberto Cutié’s story – that of a Latino struggling to live within the confines of the Roman Catholic Church and finding a new life and home in the Episcopal Church – is a powerful one that may resonate with millions of people. This was very apparent in a Spanish-language radio interview he gave with another Episcopal priest, the Rev. Anna Lange-Soto. In it, he speaks about many of the people he encountered as a Roman Catholic priest: women who stayed within abusive relationships rather than getting divorced; divorced individuals denied communion; couples struggling with the church’s teaching on contraceptives, etc. He goes on to say that he’s a member of the Episcopal Church because we do not treat communion “like a prize” but as the body of Christ offered to all.”

Kurt Wiesner

Robin Margolis

Dear Friends at The Lead:

Thank you for posting this very interesting article!

I would urge other readers to visit the Episcopal Church Foundation and read the rest of the article as well — about half is posted here, but the other half is also very important.

Mr. Escobar makes some extremely important points.

Cordially,

Robin Margolis

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