Florida Priest Disciplined

Father Alberto Cutié
Father Alberto Cutié (photo: CNS)

It is always distressing to have to report on actions by priests that have caused scandal among Catholics.

Scandal is so damaging precisely because it serves as a stumbling block that interferes with the capacity of people to believe in the truths of the Christian faith that the Church proclaims. In fact, this is the literal meaning of “scandal” — a stumbling block.

But every member of the body of Christ, including its priests, is subject to making mistakes. So when a Catholic priest stumbles publicly, what this demonstrates is his human fallibility, not the fallibility of the teachings of the Church.

Another thing to remember: For every priest who stumbles publicly and attracts intense media intention, there is a multitude of faithful priests who provide lives of unblemished service to the Church and to society as a whole. 

It’s in that context that this week’s news about prominent Florida priest Alberto Cutié should be understood. Father Cutié, who is particularly well-known among Latino Catholics courtesy of his media apostolate, has been removed from active ministry by Archbishop John Favalora of Miami following disclosures that indicate an improper relationship between Father Cutié and a woman.

“Father Cutié‘s actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest,” Archbishop Favalora said in a May 5 statement. “I ask for everyone’s prayers at this time.”