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Miami Priest In Hetero Scandal

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Father Alberto Cutie may be in hot water for breaking a vow (of chastity).

I suppose the phrase "damned if you do, damned if you don't" would be somewhat in appropriate here. Per Time, an incredibly popular Catholic priest has been caught in a wee bit of a tough place down in Miami.

Father Alberto Cutié (not promises about jokes regarding his awesome surname) has landed in hot water due to some of his extra-curricular activity; namely, cavorting with women (or a woman). Father Guapo Cutié, who hosts Spanish-language radio and TV programs discussing matters of faith, was photographed with a kissing, embracing and grab-assin' with a comely (bonita) young lady on a Florida beach.

Because of the escándalo, Father Papi Chulo Cutié has been removed from Mass and his media ministries are in danger of being saying "hello" to the Archdiocese's little friend (by that I mean canceled, what? He's Cuban. It's Miami).

His flock is, for good reason, torn on the issue. Upon ordination, a Catholic priest takes vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The tradition of chastity goes back to the Middle Ages and was originally only sort of about prioritizing one's relationship with the church. Back in those days, Europeans were really into this the law of Primogenitor. Essentially, the first son inherited everything and the rest of the clan was left to hope for his good grace. The Church was not particularly keen on the idea of a priest handing over his possessions or property upon his death, so they forbade marriage. And upped the piety along the way by axing poonanny on-the-side, thus eliminating the overwhelming number of bastards they'd be responsible for.

Venerable, old institutions are about as agreeable to change as a guy in bicycle shorts, so Father Easy-On-The-Eyes Cutié is in a pickle. The Church, sort of surprisingly, hasn't really had his back. Past scandals (far more sordid in their nature), have been shielded, to some degree, until all facts can be brought to light. Obviously, this recent case is going to catalyze debate within and without the Church regarding the plausibility of maintaining such strict nether region control in an increasingly secular world. (I personally thought that the lovely film, Keeping The Faith, with the delightful Ed Norton, Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman would have started this conversation a decade ago but no one saw it.)

In the same way that new customers always get a better deal with Verizon, the Church has made a number of dispensations over the years in order to boost their numbers, including allowing married Episcopal priests to convert (though asking them to divorce would have been pretty hypocritical). It would be interesting to take stock of the effectiveness of the new, married priests and compare it to the old school, celibate blokes. You'd guess that there would be more buy-in to marital advice given by someone who's been there (though I know tons of married people who I'd never ask for relationship advice). And lest we think this is a new problem, I bumped into an old New York Times article about a priest running off to Atlantic City to marry the 18-year old daughter of a waiter. Good times.

Though I know only the facts printed in periodicals and the photos evidence, it seems like Father What-A-Waste Cutié is getting short thrift. It's possible that his popularity and maverick attitude rubbed his superiors the wrong way. Maybe he's trying to get a TV deal. Not to be flip, but it's probably a lot easier for a homely, less charming priest to keep the faith. Sometimes, like in comedy*, being really good-looking is actually a curse.

Thoughts? Should the Church reverse course on chastity? If they do, would it be tough to hold onto those vows of poverty and chastity? Could you raise a family on a priest's salary?

*Note: Paul Rudd claims to be severely handicapped in the comedy game by his good looks.

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