The Departure of Fr. Alberto Curie

I hesitate on posting about Fr. Curie.  He is the priest from Miami, Florida who was very well known because of his television show and other media outlets.  He was caught with a woman on a beach a few weeks back, and now the news is reporting he left the Catholic Church, affiliating with the Episcopal Church and is seeking to be an Episcopal priest and has married his girlfriend.

The national coverage of this is another scandal for the Catholic faithful.  Clearly, Fr. Cutie’s behavior and decisons in regard to all this gives rise to the scandal.

He, obviously, is one among other priests who have left the Catholic Church to marry and then affiliate with the Episcopal Church. One of my better friends in seminary did just that a number of years ago.  But in Mike’s case, the national news didn’t make a spectacle of it even if his personal situation was perhaps similar.

I was thinking of all this as I prayed Midday Prayer today.  The antiphon for Psalm 75 was, “The Lord does not judge by appearances, but with justice and right.”

How incredibly true that is. 

If there is one thing I have learned in my ministry as a clinical social worker, it is this:  You really never know the entirety of a person.  There are aspects of ourselves and others that only come to light when in certain environments.  Only God is able to see through it at times. That is why, as our antiphon for the second Psalm in Midday Prayer reminded us:  “I am poor and unhappy; O God come quickly to help me!”  There are many good looking people out there who are in fact poor and hungry and are in need to God’s help.  And we are to be Christ to them.

I find myself thinking where the system failed individuals like Fr. Cutie, or my friend Mike, or even another priest friend who had some secret serious problems.  In other words, how did the community fail them? How did we, the Church, not be there for them in their need?  I am not trying to blame anyone for their moral behavior, but I am asking how we as a community could better support and challenge and develop those who minister in the name of the Church.

Finally, I think it is imperative and incumbent on those of us called into public ecclesial service to develop for ourselves and for colleagues the necessary structures of support, encouragement and challenge to identify, bring to the light and challenge to growth and fidelity those in ministry who are in trouble.

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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