Father Alberto Cutie
It’s puzzling to see the harsh reactions to Bishop Gabino Zavala’s resignation as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles after his admission that he fathered two teenage children as a consequence of a hidden sexual relationship with their mother — the Bishop’s secret girlfriend. I was determined to pray for Bishop Zavala quietly and not say a word, but since the Associated Press and other media outfits decided to mention my name and include me in a list with a number of church leaders in their widely circulated article, I decided to speak out and share my thoughts.
What troubles me about the reactions of so many who claim to feel “betrayed” is that when we discover that priests have had hidden sexual relationships with adults, too many people have a tendency to quickly speak of a “life of duplicity” or a moral “failure,” yet we never saw this same type of outrage when it was discovered — and unfortunately continues to be discovered — that the same institution developed a culture of secrecy and protected truly criminal behavior in the thousands of cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by priests and bishops. Where are the voices of “outrage” when minors and innocent children are involved?
When a priest fails to keep celibacy, that man-made rule that even the Roman Catholic Church admits is changeable, adaptable and dispensable, we should not be so easily scandalized. We live in the 21st century and sexuality should no longer be a taboo subject for most of us. The fact is that all human beings, including priests and bishops, are sexual beings and are capable of living up to their highest aspirations and ideals, while also capable of falling short of them. Sexuality among consenting, single adults cannot continue to be considered “a great scandal” in or out of church. On the other hand, covered up promiscuous and criminal sexual acts are truly scandalous and often brushed under the carpet.
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