The Rt. Rev. Bill Godfrey calls it a "scandal"
By David W. Virtue
The Anglican Bishop of Peru, The Rt. Rev. Bill Godfrey says the announcement of the reception of Fr. Alberto Cutié into The Episcopal Church from the Roman Catholic Church has caused deep concern among Global South Anglican leaders.
"Changing from one Church to another is not like changing shirts," said Godfrey in an interview with RPP-TV in Peru.
"Father Alberto Cutie still provides a lot to talk here. His decision to abandon the Catholic Church in order to belong to the Anglican Episcopal Church has generated many polemical commentaries."
"The pictures of Fr. Alberto together with his divorced girlfriend, Ruhama Bunil Canellis, as well as the controversial pictures have shaken Catholicism," said Godfrey
"Well, I believe every person acts according to their conscience, it is a personal decision, but I believe it very lamentable that it happened this way because to move from one communion to another will cause problems between the two churches", said the bishop.
Godfrey said that it was tragic to see how a priest with so many gifts found himself in such a scandal of this magnitude.
"It is very sad that such a talented priest with all that influence, who has represented the Gospel the way he did, didn't change in a more discreet manner, however he was the one who decided. I am not one to judge or criticize but he wounded many people who held him as an example."
The bishop described the actions of Cutie as "tragic."
"How can one change from one church to another?"
The bishop said that for a Roman Catholic priest like Cutie to change churches he should have to go through a process of adaptation. "There is a whole process of adaptation before you place him before a congregation. It is not like changing shirts and then saying everything is alright., I think it is too early to let him preach (this Sunday), given the circumstances it would have been more prudent to wait till the scandal subsided."
Late last week, The Rt. Rev. Leo Frade, Episcopal Bishop of Southeast Florida, announced that he was receiving Fr. Alberto Cutie into the Episcopal Church.
"I am excited and pleased to inform you that, as you receive this message from me, we are announcing the reception of Father Alberto Cutié into the Episcopal Church. Father Alberto will embark on the ordination process to continue his ministry, as has been our practice in receiving other priests from the Roman Catholic communion into our Church. I know you will agree that the Episcopal Church, with our message of inclusiveness and reconciliation, will serve as a vital new spiritual home for Father Cutié, and that he will have tremendous support and guidance from the entire Episcopal community as he begins his spiritual journey with us.
"We want to maintain openness and dialogue on all Church matters, but we also want to avoid rumors and speculation. Timing for the announcement is not necessarily of our doing. Given the publicity that Father Alberto has gained, once he made his decision we believed it necessary to move quickly and decisively. Our goal was to take a proactive approach so that our message can be communicated as clearly as possible, without unnecessary distractions."
Frade said that the message of Father Alberto's decision to join the Episcopal Church is the very message that is central to the Church, its teachings, and its opportunities for growth and evangelism in the future. "Our central mission in the days ahead will be of course to welcome Father Alberto, and to support him on his path, but we recognize as well that his very personal and spiritual decision offers a window into our own story - the story of the Episcopal Church. This is a story that we are well prepared to tell, because we share it every day in our lives and teachings, and we look forward to sharing it with the world.
"The Episcopal Church motto is 'All Are Welcome,' and they are. In our recent initiative to support one of our struggling congregations we have adopted the mantra 'Keep the Faith.' Let's all do that together as one community."