Friday, May 29, 2009

Statement from Fr. Cutié's (former) Archbishop

Here is a strong pastoral statement from Archbishop Favalora of Miami, Florida.
STATEMENT
from John C. Favalora, Archbishop of Miami, about
Father Alberto Cutié's separation from the Roman Catholic Church.

Miami • May 28, 2009

I am genuinely disappointed by the announcement made earlier this afternoon by Father Alberto Cutié that he is joining the Episcopal Church.

According to our canon law, with this very act Father Cutié is separating himself from the communion of the Roman Catholic Church (c. 1364, §1) by professing erroneous faith and morals, and refusing submission to the Holy Father (canon 751). He also is irregular for the exercise of sacred orders as a priest (canons 1041 and 1044, §1) and no longer has the faculties of the Archdiocese of Miami to celebrate the sacraments; nor may he preach or teach on Catholic faith and morals (cannon 1336, §1). His actions could lead to his dismissal from the clerical state.

This means that Father Cutié is removing himself from full communion with the Catholic Church and thereby forfeiting his rights as a cleric. Roman Catholics should not request the sacraments from Father Cuité. Any sacramental actions he attempts to perform would be illicit. Any Mass he says would be valid but illicit, meaning it does not meet a Catholic’s obligation. Father Cutié cannot validly officiate at marriages of Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Miami or anywhere.

Father Cutié is still bound by his promise to live a celibate life, which he freely embraced at ordination. Only the Holy Father can release him from that obligation.

To the Catholic faithful of Saint Francis de Sales Parish, Radio Paz and the entire Archdiocese of Miami, I again say that Father Cutié’s actions cannot be justified, despite his good works as a priest (statement of May 5, 2009). This is all the more true in light of today’s announcement. Father Cutié may have abandoned the Catholic Church; he may have abandoned you. But I tell you that the Catholic Church will never abandon you; the Archdiocese of Miami is here for you.

Father Cutié’s actions have caused grave scandal within the Catholic Church, harmed the Archdiocese of Miami − especially our priests – and led to division within the ecumenical community and the community at large. Today’s announcement only deepens those wounds.

When Father Cutié met with me on May 5th, he requested and I granted a leave of absence from the exercise of the priesthood. Because of this, he could no longer be the administrator of St Francis de Sales Parish or the General Director of Radio Paz. For the good of the Church and to avoid the media frenzy, I chose not to impose publicly an ecclesiastical penalty, although his admitted actions clearly warranted it. Since that meeting, I have not heard from Father Cutié nor has he requested to meet with me. He has never told me that he was considering joining the Episcopal Church.

I must also express my sincere disappointment with how Bishop Leo Frade of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida has handled this situation. Bishop Frade has never spoken to me about his position on this delicate matter or what actions he was contemplating. I have only heard from him through the local media. This truly is a serious setback for ecumenical relations and cooperation between us. The Archdiocese of Miami has never made a public display when for doctrinal reasons Episcopal priests have joined the Catholic Church and sought ordination. In fact, to do so would violate the principles of the Catholic Church governing ecumenical relations. I regret that Bishop Frade has not afforded me or the Catholic community the same courtesy and respect.

In my nearly 50 years as a priest, I have often preached on Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son – which really should be called the parable of the Forgiving Father (Luke 15, 11-32). Perhaps the story told by the Lord so long ago is applicable to our discussions this afternoon.

A father had two sons. One of them took his inheritance early and left home, spending his money wantonly. The father waited patiently for the return of his prodigal son, who after he had seen the error of his ways, repented and returned home. Upon his return, the father lovingly embraced him and called him his son. I pray that Father Cutié will “come to his senses” (Luke 15, 17) and return home. The Catholic Church seeks the conversion and salvation of sinners, not their condemnation. The same is my attitude toward Father Cutié.

We must not forget, however, that there were two sons in the Lord’s story. The other son, who never left home, was angry that his erring brother was welcomed home by the father. To all faithful Catholics, I say what the father said to this second son: “You are with me always and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice. This brother of yours was dead and has come back to life. He was lost, and is found” (Luke 15, 31-32).

In this beautiful parable Jesus teaches us that God is a loving and forgiving Father. Each of us has experienced that love, each of us needs that forgiveness; for we are all sinners. If our brother comes home, let us celebrate with the Father.

In conclusion, I commend and salute the priests of the Archdiocese of Miami and all priests who faithfully live and fulfill their promise of celibacy. By their fidelity to their promise they reflect more clearly to the world the Christ whose total gift of himself to the Father was pure and chaste love for his brothers and sisters. In our times so pre-occupied with sex, the gift of celibacy is all the more a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven where, as scripture says, there will be “no marrying or giving in marriage” (Matthew 22, 30). I encourage all Catholics to pray for and support our dedicated priests.

Most Reverend John C. Favalora
Archbishop of Miami

3 comments:

Kit said...

That is truly good stuff.

Michael said...

I will begin by saying that I do not support a religion that preaches a gospel that is not entirely from the Bible. To any readers from the Episcopal church - Homosexuality (sin) is an abomination to God. Hate the sin not the sinner.

Now on to the "pastoral statement": So Father Cutie broke rule 1002 and 2994 and 3233 of the Catholic Church. Rules that have been made up by man. Along with things such as indulgences and purchasing forgiveness from the Catholic Church.

And the most interesting in this passage? The use of Scripture to "back up" Archbishop John's statement. Care to guess what it is?

In our times so pre-occupied with sex, the gift of celibacy is all the more a sign of the Kingdom of Heaven where, as scripture says, there will be “no marrying or giving in marriage” (Matthew 22, 30).

Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

How is this related to celibacy? But you know what? I do agree with Bsp John - that sex is the root of this. I think the very nature of celibacy which goes against how God intended man to be gives birth to more perverse offences such as child abuse (BOYS!!!). It's hard enough for a normal guy to control lustful desires.

BTW: Loved some of the comments by Catholics you posted in the previous post. Makes you wonder what would the same people say if I mentioned what the priests used to do in Ireland? Catholics get the strongest of converts? HAHAHAHA

did you mean perverts? Look at the log in your own eye.

Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

Michael: Along with things such as indulgences and purchasing forgiveness from the Catholic Church.

Were indulgences abused in the past? Yes. But what the Church actually teaches about them and what some people purport them to be are not identical. Indulgences have nothing to do with the CONFESSION of sins, so the scandals concerning indulgences in the past were never about "purchasing forgiveness".

As for the "rules made by man", the Catholic Church has the authority to establish disciplines for her children. These rules made by man nevertheless have grounding in Scripture and life in Christ. The Western tradition has several reasons for mandating clerical celibacy (as does the Eastern tradition for mandating celibacy of her bishops).

Some of the Scriptural support is St. Paul's admonition on the concerns of married men and women , compared to the lack of such concerns among virgins. (1 Cor. 7) The celibate state is a PRESENT SIGN of our resurrected state in which marriage will not exist. As Vatican II explains:

"Students who follow the venerable tradition of celibacy according to the holy and fixed laws of their own rite are to be educated to this state with great care. For renouncing thereby the companionship of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 19:12), they embrace the Lord with an undivided love altogether befitting the new covenant, bear witness to the resurrection of the world to come (cf. Luke 20:36), and obtain a most suitable aid for the continual exercise of that perfect charity whereby they can become all things to all men in their priestly ministry. Let them deeply realize how gratefully that state ought to be received, not, indeed, only as commanded by ecclesiastical law, but as a precious gift of God for which they should humbly pray. Through the inspiration and help of the grace of the Holy Spirit let them freely and generously hasten to respond to this gift.

"Students ought rightly to acknowledge the duties and dignity of Christian matrimony, which is a sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Let them recognize, however, the surpassing excellence of virginity consecrated to Christ, so that with a maturely deliberate and generous choice they may consecrate themselves to the Lord by a complete gift of body and soul.

"They are to be warned of the dangers that threaten their chastity especially in present-day society. Aided by suitable safeguards, both divine and human, let them learn to integrate their renunciation of marriage in such a way that they may suffer in their lives and work not only no harm from celibacy but rather acquire a deeper mastery of soul and body and a fuller maturity, and more perfectly receive the blessedness spoken of in the Gospel." (Optatam Totius [On Priestly Training] 10)

Also see Presbyterorum Ordinis (On the ministry and life of priests} 16. Of course, such things only matter if you a) accept the teaching authority of the Church, or b) at least want to know why the Church teaches what she does.