MSNBC Hosts Cheating Ex-Catholic Priest Who Bashes Church On-Air
To publicize his new memoir, MSNBC hosted Rev. Albert Cutie on its Friday afternoon news programming. Fr. Cutie is a married priest in the Episcopal Church, having abruptly left the Catholic priesthood in May of 2009 after his secret love affair was made public. Cutie used the segment to criticize the Catholic Church's position on priestly celibacy and homosexuality.
"I can tell you that priests do have a sexual life, and what I talk about in the book is not really an attack toward the Church, it's the reality of what happens within the Church at every level," Cutie insisted, adding that the Church should consider liberalizing its stance on priestly celibacy.
The former priest has also appeared on ABC to tell his story and argue his case for liberalization of Church teaching. CBS was sympathetic to Cutie's plight in their coverage of his scandal. Cutie was fairly well-known as a Catholic priest – before he departed the Church, he hosted a television show for Spanish Catholics that was broadcast on the Catholic cable network EWTN. He was reportedly popular among his parishoners in the Archdiocese of Miami.
Though he has criticized the Catholic Church's hypocrisy on the issue of celibacy, Fr. Cutie has not been questioned about his own hypocrisy on the major news networks, stemming from his preaching Church doctrine from the pulpit while harboring a secret love affair. This followed by his immediate departure to the Episcopal Church, which differs significantly from the Catholic Church in certain matters of doctrine, poses questions about his original understanding of the Catholic priesthood.
During his Friday interview, Father Cutie claimed that 100,000 priests have left active ministry in the Roman Catholic Church to marry; he also claimed that 40 popes were married and that the Church allowed priests to marry for 1,200 years. Furthermore, he argued, the Church shows its hypocrisy with the recent acceptance of married Episcopal clergy into the Roman Catholic priesthood.
"A lot of people think that the world is black and white and that we don't live in the 21st century," Cutie said of the Church's position on clerical celibacy. "And we can talk about sexual issues openly, and we should be able to talk to a young man who's thinking of becoming a priest – whether he is heterosexual or homosexual – and ask him, you know, 'How do you integrate a healthy sexuality in your life?'"
Of course, Cutie used his mic to rip the Church's stance on homosexual priests as well. He claimed that many priests, bishops, and cardinals are gay while the Church publicly prevents practicing homosexuals from entering the seminary and being ordained to the priesthood. Such dilemmas present problems to the Church, he argued, while casting it as hypocritical.
"The problem is that the Church publicly says one thing and then privately does another," complained Cutie.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on January 14 at 3:37 p.m. EST, is as follows:
RICHARD LUI: In a new memoir, Fr. Albert Cutie tells about the struggle between upholding his sacred promises as a priest and falling in love. Fr. Cutie was once a poster boy of the Roman Catholic Church, but a secret love affair with a woman forced him to abruptly change his life. He is now a married priest in the Episcopal Church, but the controversy does not end there. In his new book "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle With Faith and Love," Fr. Cutie is sharply critical of his old church leaders to uproot years of tradition to improvise teachings on celibacy and homosexuality.
LUI: You don't really pull any punches in this new book, I was just looking through some of the excerpts from it. Why are you saying some of those sayings right now? Why are you speaking out today?
Rev. ALBERT CUTIE: Well I think for a long time, especially in Spanish media, I listened to people's dilemmas and struggles. I used to write six advice columns a week. And then when my whole situation came out, it became so public, they talked about it for such a long time, that it was my turn to really speak about my experiences. I spent 25 years preparing to be a priest, and then 15 years of priestly ministry – so you know, that whole process is very much part of what this book is, it's a love story, but it's also a story about many priests, 100,000 priests, who have left active ministry in the Roman Catholic Church to marry, and that's something that most people don't really reflect on. And that's what this story is about.
LUI: And so you believe, then, that marriage should be allowed.
CUTIE: Amongst a bunch of other issues. The Church does too, actually, and ironically. All the priests from the Episcopal Church that are becoming Roman Catholic are welcome to come with their wives and their children, and they're accepted to be Roman Catholic priests right now. And that's happening in the Church. People don't talk about it, but that's the truth. There were 40 popes that were married, and for 1200 years celibacy was optional. So unfortunately all of these as functions that we hear about in the news, the horrible crimes, the difficulties with celibacy, they're real. And I talk about them in the book with great depth. I dealt with a lot of people in the Church at every level, and I can tell you that priests do have a sexual life, and what I talk about in the book is not really an attack toward the Church, it's the reality of what happens within the Church at every level.
LUI: Alright, let's go to one excerpt from the book, if we can here. There are so many homosexuals, you say, both active and celibate, at all levels of the clergy. The Church would never be able to function if they were really to exclude all of them from ministry. Now do you feel the Church should allow gay priests to lead openly, then? Based on that writing?
CUTIE: The fact is, we do have many gay priests and bishops and cardinals in the Church. And I think that there have been people serving in the Church and in all churches and denominations since the beginning of time, there were heterosexual and homosexual. The problem is that the Church publicly says one thing and then privately does another. Publicly it says seminarians are not supposed to be gay. We're not supposed to have gay seminarians or gay priests. And the fact is they know they have hundreds of thousands of gay seminarians and priests already. What are you saying to those men? Are you saying that their service is not valuable, or that the Church doesn't want them? I think it's wrong to say publicly one thing and then privately to say "Oh, we have no homosexuals in the clergy." That's part of the problem. Sexuality is not dealt with in a healthy, open way. And in the book I talk about that in depth.
LUI: Yeah, when you've brought that up before, the other view would say then "Do not be a Catholic priest."
CUTIE: Of course. A lot of people think that the world is black and white and that we don't live in the 21st century. But the fact is we do. And we can talk about sexual issues openly, and we should be able to talk to a young man who's thinking of becoming a priest – whether he is heterosexual or homosexual – and ask him, you know, "How do you integrate a healthy sexuality in your life?" Especially as someone that's being told "You have to be celibate."