The amount of vitriol being heaped on Padre Alberto Cutié and his novia Ruhama in blogosphere has been stunning and disheartening. I read my fellow bloggers and find myself wondering whether they are reacting out of real concern about Cutié or out of dissatisfaction with their own lives and choices or just to get attention.
Unfortunately I also find myself getting caught, standing up for the couple who seem happy with their choice even though the way to it was not exactly smooth. I look, I listen, and I believe Alberto and Ruhama are sincere so I end up springing to their defense.
But they do not need me to defend them and the battles in blogosphere have caused friction with my local clerical friends. Some battles are not worth fighting and this is one of them. Alberto and Ruhama are in Miami, presumably happily embracing their new life together. Fr. Hoyos, Fr. Alex and I are in Arlington and there is a needy immigrant community that is starving for pastoral care. A community that has real problems that are a whole lot bigger than just a sexy photo exposé in a tabloid magazine.
The little drama in Miami is not about us. It is a flash in the long history of the Church. Contrary to what one of my readers wrote, I don't believe it will have any impact on Church policy (for those who want to point to the change announced today in the laicization process, it should be noted that Cardinal Hummes' directive pre-dates the Cutié scandal). Rome is fairly impenetrable and it doesn't bend to the prevailing winds until they hit hurricane strength and some serious structural damage is being done.
However, it has caused damage in my feelings about some of the people I work with. I need to start backing away from the conflicts, examining what lies behind them rather than just reacting to the words, and taking steps to rebuild the relationships that are worth rebuilding, pruning away those that impede my ability to keep my eyes on the prize.
One of the most important lessons in life is picking the battles that are worth fighting and learning how to stay out of the rest. It is one that I am constantly re-learning.
When I told Fr. Hoyos that I was starting Iglesia Descalza because I was tired of catching flak from his conservative readership, he said he always figured I did battle with them because I wanted to. He said he didn't bother to respond, that he had better things to do with his life.
I do too. I would rather spend my time helping and supporting Fr. Hoyos than fighting with him. If he wants to be the best 100% celibate priest in the whole Western hemisphere, I got his back.