Jen’s Library: Dilemma

Dilemma: A Priest’s Struggle with Faith and Love
by Albert Cutié

I remember hearing about this guy a couple of years ago. A charismatic, popular Roman Catholic priest, called “Father Oprah” by some of his fans because of his talk shows and his desire to help the average Joe with his problems, was “outed” by tabloids a couple of years ago when it was discovered he was seeing a woman. Now he’s written a book about his life with the Church and his gradual disillusionment with the establishment, and that last bit struck a chord with me, so I picked it up.

He is extremely clear, through the whole book, that his faith in God has not wavered since his childhood aspirations to serve Him as a priest. He entered into the Church, wanting to bring the message of God’s love to everyone who needed it, and as he spent more and more time “in the system” he realized the hypocrisy and coldness and exclusionary nature of the Catholic church was not something he was comfortable living with. To a certain degree, yes, it had to do with his falling in love with a woman and feeling that it was not right that the gift of marital love, which he considered a gift from God, was considered by the Church to be incompatible with preaching the word of God.

He left the Roman Catholic Church and is now an Episcopal priest, married and raising a family while continuing his ministry, and he’s much happier for it, despite the pain and difficulty of leaving the institution he grew up loving and believing in.

I’m not going to go into a huge religious debate here, because I don’t claim to have all the answers or even educated opinions on everything. I don’t consider myself religious – I joke that I’m a “catholic” in a superstitious way more than anything else. It’s a very touchy and emotional subject for many, on which I have vague and disjointed thoughts, and I’ve had some serious issues with the Catholic Church myself, which is why I haven’t really been involved with it since my childhood. There’s a dire need to adapt to reality, and I think that until that happens, the Church will keep losing members. Contraception, homosexuality, women, and celibacy are hot-button issues within the Church, and having the wrong opinion will keep you down, so you can’t corrupt anyone with your ideas and make the Church look bad. It’s not about faith, not about God, but about the rules Man has made about who’s allowed to be close to Him. And a lot of those rules piss me off. Father Cutié feels the same way about the need to adapt – I can’t express any of it nearly as well as he did, and I know I’m not doing him justice with this sad little review, so if you want to get his point of view, get reading.

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