From Here To Eternity in Real Life


Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity.
Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity.
Father Al and friend in the remake. Or makeout.
Father Al and friend in the remake. Or makeout.

I can’t figure out what I don’t like about the story of former Catholic priest Alberto Cutie (pronounced ku-tee-ay, not cutie-pie), who has now become an Episcopal priest.  But, maybe it’s the fact that…

  • Father Al was caught in a Burt-Lancaster-From-Here-to-Eternity scene, rolling in the tide with a bikini clad woman; or that,
  • Father Alberto is called Father Oprah because of the popularity of his TV talk show; or that,
  • Alberto has jumped ship to the Episcopal church and will preach this coming Sunday in an Episcopal church in Biscayne Park that needs reviving; or that,
  • The Episcopalians welcomed him with open arms and are putting him right to work; or that,
  • According to CNN, he said, “Through the photos, it looked like a frivolous thing on the beach, you know, and that’s not what it is. It’s something deeper than that.” Okay, so deeper makes everything fine.  Or that,
  • This is another example of “Pastors Gone Wild.”  As if we needed any more examples.

So, that’s my take on Father Al.  I personally hope he finds the happiness he seeks, and that he is indeed in love and that everything ends happily ever after.  I would have liked it better if he’d taken at least a few days off, gone on a retreat or something, and started in a lower profile position than savior-of-a-dying-parish.  But, hey, only in America, right?

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8 Comments

  1. Oh Geeeeezzzzz….
    If he jumped ship because suddenly, through study and prayer felt as if one or more doctrines of the Catholic Faith were off and that the Episcopal church more accurately represented the absolute truth handed down by Christ, then I’d not blink an eye. But self-serving decisions bug me.

    I “jumped ship” myself…still in the water, but it was painful, and I only did it as a result of conviction and adoration of Christ…not a bikini clad babe.

  2. I’ve been hearing more and more of this lately – priest falling in love and leaving the priesthood to chuck off their celibacy. (this may not be a new phenomenon, could just be the nature of media today).

    At least these ex-priests aren’t allowing their sexuality to spill over into more destructive ways.

  3. Hopefully this priest has indeed found true love and not some crush that will be over in a few months. It would be all the more tragic if he gave up his priesthood, his parish, and his place in the Church for a passing fancy. I could preach on about the love and fidelity to the Bride of Christ the Church required of clergy and how he is betraying his vows to Her, but that would be a long rant.

    But really, from Catholic priest to Anglican priest so soon & in general? What type of example is that setting? If you don’t like the rules and commitments of one gathering hey, just go down the street to another? Indeed only in America.

  4. I’m curious as to any doctrinal distinctions between the two churches he will have to address. I’ve generally assumed the two (Anglican and Catholic) were close, but also assumed there would be enough difference (besides the celibacy thing) that such a shift wouldn’t be made so quickly.

    Can anyone enlighten me on this?

  5. Nephos,

    The Anglican church is essentially Catholic in practice: priests, bishops, archbishop, somewhat similar liturgy, sacraments.

    What makes the two different is the theology. Anglicans are reformed to a degree yet retains some of the Catholic theological distinctions like Jesus is really present in the Eucharist, but they don’t explain how, like transubstantiation. However it is not really binding. Some believe Jesus is present some don’t, it is up to the person. The Catholic Church is different.

    High Church Anglicans (Anglo-Catholics) are pretty much the closest thing you could get to being a “Reformed Catholic”. Actually they are more Catholic than reformed. Check out this for a summary of Anglican theological beliefs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_doctrine

  6. I believe Father Alberto made a terrible mistake by jumping into the Episcopal church so suddenly. As you point out, he should have taken a few days (or months) off, and at least ponder over how this might be read by his former (and, still, present) Catholic followers. Changing his church so quickly might signify a shallow understanding of the doctrine he was supposed to be devoted to, and the one he is assuming now. On the other hand, it’s my personal opinion that the only way of reforming the Catholic church (stuck on age-old traditions that scarcely contribute to its growth or evolution) is by acting, and he did it, he acted in protest to the limiting aspects of serving Catholicism. However, did acting necessarily mean abandoning Catholicism? At the very least, his former followers will wonder over the validity of the Catholic doctrine, which doesn’t do the Church any good either. I guess we can conclude nothing: only Father Alberto knows the answer. An interesting case.

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