I made a solemn New Year's resolution (complete with a long, unblinking stare while swearing with my hand placed upon a copy of "O" magazine) to not waste much more time or cyber ink on Alberto Cutie. But then I read this interesting bit of "news":
Alberto Cutie, a priest who was forced out of the Catholic Church because of the fact that he married a woman is now getting his own reality TV show (Fox) in a bizarre turn of events.
I thought, "That's strange: I don't remember Cutie being forced out of the Catholic Church." I do remember that he was caught having an affair with a woman, then refusing to cooperate with his bishop or acknowledge his sin, and then voluntarily leaving the Catholic Church and becoming an Episcopalian. But, hey, journalists have a real gift for distilling stories down to their essence, so who am I to question the above sentence? Wait, it gets even better:
The scandal first started when he was photographed kissing and embracing Ruhama Buni Canellis on a beach in Florida in 2009. As a result of the controversy that ensued he had no other option but to leave the church because of the damage that all of the attention had done to him as a religious figure.
He. had. no. other. option. Because, although he was a Catholic priest, he was mysteriously unaware of the Seven Sacraments, including one commonly called Confession. I know seminary formation has been spotty over the past few decades, but surely even the most loosy-goosy seminary makes passing reference to the sacrament of reconciliation, right? But, again, I suppose the author of this piece is onto something: if admitting that he was wrong wasn't an option for Cutie, than staying an active Catholic priest wasn't either.
Alberto Cutie has been labeled with the title of “Father Oprah” and will host the show “Father Albert” which will be an inspirational program which will discuss all different kinds of life topics.
Cutie said that the show will cover all of the different issues that Catholics face from the challenges of abstinence to the desire of ultimate salvation.
Hold on a moment. Different issues that "Catholics face"? Is the show actually oriented to a Catholic audience? If so, why? Because the producers can't find any Episcopalians interested in watching a show hosted by a man caught having an affair with a woman? Or is this a case of cherry-picking from his former audience? And, if so, isn't that mean-spirited and contrary to an authentic spirit of ecumenism according The Episcopalian Code of Suggested, Non-Dogmatic Conduct in Matters Ecumenical? However, I can't find any other story making the same strange remark, so it could be that the usually-solid, fact-checking writer of the above piece slipped up. A piece on HollywoodReporter.com adds this bit of information:
"It'll be everything from sex to salvation," Father Alberto told The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday in Miami during the NATPE TV trade show.
Because we know Cutie has shown a great interest in recent years in at least one of those topics.
Hopefully it'll invite "greater dialog" with the audience, he added. Sorta Oprah meets Dr. Phil meets Bishop Sheen, the only other religious personnage who ever fronted a national TV show. (And that was in the 1950s!)
Actually, Fr. Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago has a national show on WGN, and he is much closer to Bishop Fulton Sheen by virtue of being a Catholic priest in good standing who believes and teaches Catholic doctrine. But, according to the producers of the show, Cutie has "wide cross-over appeal, incredible story, encouraging advice and charismatic personality". No word if that sound bite was borrowed from Cutie's wife...