The Strange Anglican Response to Father Alberto Cutié’s Switch to TEC

The Archdiocese of Miami’s response to Father Cutié’s bailing out on the RCC is understandable:

According to our canon law, with this very act Father Cutié is separating himself from the communion of the Roman Catholic Church (c. 1364, §1) by professing erroneous faith and morals, and refusing submission to the Holy Father (canon 751). He also is irregular for the exercise of sacred orders as a priest (canons 1041 and 1044, §1) and no longer has the faculties of the Archdiocese of Miami to celebrate the sacraments; nor may he preach or teach on Catholic faith and morals (cannon 1336, §1). His actions could lead to his dismissal from the clerical state.

What’s not understandable is how many conservative Anglicans dissaprove of this.

There are two levels to his switch.

The first is the fact that he has switch to a far more liberal church than the RCC is a simple argument.  His move is a decided step downward, especially in a diocese like Southeast Florida.  Had he done this in, say, Nigeria, Uganda, an ACNA church, or even across the Straits of Florida in the West Indes, it would have put orthodox Anglicans–even Anglo-Catholics–in a tighter place.   But switching to TEC makes a negative response on this ground jutified and simple.

The second is that he has broken a vow he made at the time of his ordination, i.e., celibacy.  That’s a serious problem; we as Christians are supposed to be serious about our commitments of any kind.

But Anglicans–of any stripe–need to recall the following Article of Religion:

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God’s Law, either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

It was Anglicanism which reintroduced into Western Europe the concept that clergy could be a) married and b) truly in the apostolic succession (which may be one reason why the RCC is so reluctant to admit that Anglican orders are valid.)  Celibacy is not a biblically imposed requirement on all ministers, and events like this one are a reminder of that and of the wisdom of Article XXXII.

Especially in the place where the animals are tame and the people run wild…

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