Padre Alberto

Ah, the poor, naive Episcopal Church. We can’t even seem to get it right these days when we try to do the “right thing.” The media has rightly noted that there has always been a certain amount of movement back and forth between The Roman Catholic Church and churches of the Anglican Communion since the Reformation. What separates the case of Father Alberto, a media figure for the Roman Church was the way it was handled.

We have no problem with unchurched Roman Catholics (or other Christians) exploring The Episcopal Church and perhaps eventually choosing to join us. But precisely because of the similarities, as well as diff erences, between the two communions the process needs to be a slow and careful one lest the unsuspecting person wake up one day in a church he/she did not fully understand. The roots of Roman Catholicism go very deep and this is a spiritual question, not one of mere “church shopping” a la the American culture.

With Father Alberto’s notoriety it was perhaps impossible to keep this quiet (although I’m not convinced of that — confirmations/receptions can take place in the bishop’s chapel and, while not ideal from the point of Christian community, might have been advisable in this case). Certainly, the Roman Catholic bishop should have been advised by the priest and our own bishop and diocese well in advance. This is not only ecumenical protocol, but implied by our canons.

Certainly there is no necessity for this new Episcopal lay person to be given the privileges of an Episcopal pulpit on the Feast of Pentecost, undoubtedly provoking even more scrutiny and rubbing salt into the ecumenical wounds not only in Southeast Florida across the nation and world.

I am committed to Latino initiatives of The Episcopal Church, given the fact that it is the fastest growing demographic in the United States. And I do not believe that the Roman Catholic Church has some kind of “divine right” of access to the Latino community. But we must not run the risk of being accused of  “poaching” Roman Catholic lay persons or clerics. That is why I do not believe this situation has helped our Hispanic ministry, but perhaps even unintentionally damaged it.

No doubt the ecumenical firestorm will pass like so many others. I just hope that we will have learned something, and that the burns left behind will not leave painful scars only partially healed.

15 Responses to “Padre Alberto”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I thought the same thing when I saw it. And regarding whatever priestly ministry he might exercise, although we in the Episcopal Church disagree about the necessity of priestly celibacy, at the very least this man did break a vow he had made. I would hope that significant discernment would occur before he was allowed to exercise public ministry in our church.

  2. Mary Sue Says:

    As one of those Latina members of The Episcopal Church, I’m scratching my head and going “Padre Alberto? Quien es?”

    Never heard of the guy. Only been to Florida once, actually, and that was spent at Disneyworld. I live in Oregon, yo. Us Hispanics, we’re everywhere (to noun your verb, I’m in your Vestry, quoting your Robert’s Rules). We don’t always speak with an accent, shoot, we don’t all speak Spanish. The spread of Pentecostalisim in the first part of the 20th century did not spare Mexico or the border states (or Utah, where my grandmother was born), some of us have to go back quite a ways to find an ancestor who was Roman Catholic, although I’d agree that a lot of our cultura is still tied to the RCC.

    I think the greatest disservice the Episcopal Church is doing is making the same old tired assumptions about Hispanics and Latin@s and Chican@s* and attempting to market to us as if we were demographics instead of Children of God.

    *the @ symbol is the newfangled inclusive way of designating the Spanish gendered suffixes, instead of o/a.

  3. Tony Palaces Says:

    Well, I am catholic and I believe that the History of our church is totally unknown for many of the “protestsant” brothers and sisters, it has been an endless stream of people leaving and coming back to and from Catholic church, I guess we all have free will, and we make our own desicions, I would only appreciate if people form other denominatons would stick to their doctrine and stop talking bad things about Catholic Church. (wasn’t it John who talked about unity of church?)

    On the other hand, with Father Alberto’s situation, I guess he made his desicion. I am OK with that. I would have only appreciated if he had done things correctly. I have no problem with him getting married, but why does his exit from the Catholic Church had to be as an scandal, he could have terminated his life as a priest, basically, stop his functions as a priest, take time off, and then come backa nd say good bye. I am pretty sure he is not the first one and won’t be the last in this same situation.
    He can have the life he wants, but just as a reminder, he was never fooled or never notified that there is a vow of celibacy in the Catholic Church.
    Let’s not forget, we must not judge others, let God do his job.

  4. rwk Says:

    Making such a high-profile event of this showed poor judgment on the part of the Bishop and the former Fr. Cutie. I don’t envy your next ecumenical exchange with Roman Catholics.

  5. ecubishop Says:

    rwk:

    I’ve already had that exchange. It was not pleasant, believe me!

  6. clementina salloum Says:

    Nuestra vida es corta y nuestro tiempo muy valioso. Si se mme permite expresarles mi preocupacion ya no por el Padre Alberto pero por la Comunidad y Jovenes que tan fielmente le seguian.

    Creo que en esta leccion, de presenciar como una vida tiene tanto impacto en la nuestra, deberiamos prestar atencion a nuestras opciones. Jesucristo
    nos ha dado un testimonio unico y es a El a quien seguimos los catolicos, lo importante como siempre lo comento es que un Sacerdote o Lider Espiritual no es el fin de nuestra fe, es el Puente a nuestro encuentro con Dios. Si esto no es claro, se desarrolla una gran confusion. Un lider religioso no debe permitir que una Comunidad se quede atrapada en el puente, que es el o ella, se confundiria el ser Dios. Asi que facil sera cambiarse de religion, porque el Padre es guapo o porque habla muy bien o porque tiene este o aquel carisma.

    Me pregunto si Alberto hubiera sido un individuo para nada atractivo fisicamente y con aquella personalidad tan simpatica, hubieran muchedumbres apoyandolo de la misma manera.? hubiera habido una Mujer que no importa que lo hubiera conquistado sin preambulos. No todos los laicos expresan sus sentimientos tan sin verguenzas en plena playa de Miami. Podra un rostro bello, conquistarnos de tal modo que todo se le permite> Cuanto a reflexiuonar

    Lo que si apoyo con gran fuerza y hasta me disturba, es nuestra incapacidad de no poner punto final a este tema y dejar que Dios sea quien evalue al Padre Alberto y tomar esa misma fuerz de los peruiodistas y de nosotros mismo para publicar noticias mas sobresalientes como el hambre de los ninos, el dolor del destituido y tambien las muchas buenas cosas que suceden en el mundo, como el valor, heroismo, superacion de tantos seres humanos. Esto valdria la pena, insistir en vanalidades es aburrido ademas de ser una perdida de tiempo

    Respetuosamente
    clemnentina

  7. Ali Kay Says:

    All i can say is that it is sort of strange of how Cutie had so much time before diciding to become a celibate Catolic priest while there were other rites in the Catholic church were he could have been a maried Catholic priest. He chose to take that vow with God himself to be celibate then he breaks this vow and instead of being sorry to God he says it to the community. Then he somehow changes his faith so drastically. Yes there are many similarities, but for example the Eucarist. As a Catholic in mass he blessed the bread and wine and then it was not bread and wine but the body and blood of Jesus Christ then he hops over to a different community that belives that bread and wine doesnt become the body and blood of Jesus. To me, changing your beliefs so drastically like that and playing with God like that doesnt make sense. I dont know his reasons but im no one to judge.

  8. rwk Says:

    ‘The ”Inquisition is over,” Frade said in widely broadcast remarks after Catholic Archbishop John C. Favalora admonished him for a disrespectful “public display.”’

    So a bishop admonishing one of his priests for quite publicly breaking his vows “an inquisition”?

    This was just a jawdropping statement and it is hard to believe an Episcopal bishop could be so callous.

  9. CLEME Says:

    Me desconcierta grandemente que el padre pida respeto para el y la persona con quien se envolvio. ?Acaso el mostro respeto a si mismo, a la Iglesia que tanto dice amar y a Dios mismo al actuar de la manera tan irresponsable con la que actuo? yo no se como espera el comenzarr con entusiasmo esta nueva etapa de su vida con este terrible escandalo y esperar que todos lo miren con respeto. Eso es una burla!
    La Iglesia va a continuar, no es el el primero que la traiciona Judas fue el primero, pero que el sepa acatar las consecuencias de sus acciones y no espere que todo mundo lo aplauda.

  10. Paty Says:

    I have been catholic all my life. I followed Padre Alberto when he had a TV show several years ago. I loved his great opinions, etc. I have been EXTREMELY sad to see lately the way he handled the fact that he had been having a double life, and double convictions and double opinions, I wonder What else double? I cannot judge him for falling in love, that can be easily understood, but not willing to sacrifice NOTHING for his church or for the woman he said he loved so much. Just when he did not have any choice because he had been discovered in this situation, is when he decided to just cover himself for whatever WORK ONLY FOR HIMSELF. Forget about the rest of the world!! He said what he loved the most about this woman was the fact that she is very spiritual, religious, etc. So far not even in the youth groups I belonged since I was 17 years old in Mexico, I found a spiritual, devoted woman who would deliverately invite a priest to go out with her, knowing there was an attraction on both of them. Sorry I still beleive he will be so disappointed but maybe God will teach him this way, as he said The road of God has its twists and turns (blaming God for his decisions). But well God will teach him that because he is not honest with his community, himself, etc. he will be sadenned for his choices. I hope not! but it is very likely.

  11. seraph Says:

    ECUBISHOP WROTE: “…No doubt the ecumenical firestorm will pass like so many others. I just hope that we will have learned something, and that the burns left behind will not leave painful scars only partially healed…”

    Are you kidding here…? Ecumenical firestorm over a clergyman who leaves one church for another over celibacy…!

    You mean other than …. Episcopalian women priests, a liberal female presiding bishop, same sex unions blessed, an openly gay bishop… How about Papal Infallibility, Roman Catholic denial of the validity of Anglican orders, closed communion and Dominus Iesus…? I would dare say there is plenty of fire in the storm…Fr Cutie’s case is an oversensionalized spit in the ocean.

    This is not a matter of substance as it relates to the real differences between Roman Catholics ans Episcopalians which do not seem bridgeable, even if we pretend all is well, are all able to smile at one another, hold hands and sing Kum Bayah!

    Begging your pardon, as an Episcopalian who is Hispanic I hope Fr. Cutie feels as welcome in the Episcopal Church as all who come should be!

    Given the lack of serious effort the Episcopal Church has shown in the last 50 years to reach Hispanics I would dare say we should be glad for the publicity and exposure the church has had among Latinos over this! For many “La Iglesia Episcopal” has come into their radar screen for the first time, or changed from being perceived as la Iglesia de “los gays” to “la Iglesia del Padre Alberto” . That can not be all bad!

    Blessings

    seraph

  12. Jim Hammond Says:

    Late to this discussion and sorry so to be. I’m not too sure just who it is who is setting back ecumenical relations with Rome. In the seventies in many jurisdictions, Episcopal and Roman Catholic clergy shared much more ecumenically than is the case today. I remember sharing a Roman Catholic altar with a neighboring RC priest for at least two weddings and one funeral, and being invited to take Communion on each occasion, as well as, I recall, to proclaim the Gospel. I remember four other such occasions when a Roman Catholic priest came to the Episcopal altar, proclaimed the Gospel, took Communion a gave the blessing — three marriages, one funeral. I remember when the RC church decided that it no longer would require the non-Catholic party to a wedding to sign papers indicating that children, if any, of a “mixed” marriage would have to be raised in the RC church. All those things have passed, Chris, and at least in this neck of the woods (RC = Arlington), papers are once more being required for mixed marriages and Communion is no longer being shared — quite the contrary, non-Catholics are specifically being excluded at weddings and funerals, openly, unabashedly and clearly, by RC clerics. Enough is enough. The current RC administration seems to have no desire whatsoever to engage ecumenically, at least at the grass roots level.

  13. ecubishop Says:

    No question about it: the gap between us has widened. We have made decisions the Roman Catholic Church could not have imagined in the 1960s and the Roman Church has backed off from many of the implications of the Second Vatican Council. But, no one said walking this particular way of the cross would be easy, and — if you can’t take the long view — find another vocation than ecumenism!

  14. Roberto Says:

    i also feel sorry for the Episcopal Church. I feel that Padre Alberto have chosen to learn in the hard way. I don’t criticize him because of his decision I criticize him because of hopping from church to church in a week!

    I believe he did this because he wanted to have the comfort and financial support of being a priest in another church

  15. Augusto50 Says:

    Padre Alberto’s book only shows that he should have stay in the Catholic communion and worked to improve it from the inside. He had the means to do it. He also did not have to leave the Church i a scandalous manner. The Church provides for situations like his. Now he wants a quick buck. The Episcopal communion deserves better and more serious ministers especially in our times. It is sad for both Churches, it is hypocritical for Padre Alberto to become an enemy of a Church that dearly received him. Oh, Judas is still at large…

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