Leaving the Church for Love

PHOTO Dilemma: A Priests Struggle with Faith and Love
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Father Albert Cutie in his second book, "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love," shares his biography of choosing between the church and his heart.

Read an excerpt of the book below and then check out the "GMA" Library for more great reads.

PREFACE

Today, my wife and I attended her doctor's appointment and discovered that our baby is a girl. In a few short months, I will welcome my daughter into the world. I feel truly blessed.

I imagine every man feels a similar combination of joy, nervousness, and thanksgiving as he awaits the birth of his first child. For me, a former Roman Catholic priest who never imagined this as a real possibility in my own life, it is one spectacular moment on a very complicated journey.

I began writing this book in the midst of great turmoil — after marrying the woman I loved, being chased by the paparazzi for months, and finally making the decision to move on from the Roman Catholic Church I grew up in, to serve God in peace as a married Episcopal (Anglican) priest. Ironically, I began writing it at a beautiful retreat house owned by the Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, Florida, just a few minutes down the road from the Roman Catholic seminary and graduate school where I studied theology. I see this as yet more evidence that everything on the road of life is connected. Despite the bumps in the road to get to this point, I am grateful.

There is one particular story that illustrates my own situation well; it's one I told the first time I preached from the pulpit in my new parish, the Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, Florida. It is about a captain who became lost at sea despite having sailed for decades and knowing the sea better than most. Those under his care had great respect for him. Somehow, though, for the first time in his life, he had miscalculated the length of their voyage. Now the freshwater supply for his crew had run out. The men were beginning to dehydrate and the old captain began losing all hope.

Suddenly, in the distance, they saw another ship and immediately began to signal it. As the ship drew closer, the captain and his men made signs that read "We need water. Please help us!"

The response from the other ship came quickly, but it was completely unexpected: a sign in big letters that read "Lower your buckets."

The captain was devastated. They were in the open ocean, obviously surrounded by salt water. He asked again for water to drink. Again, the other ship responded by showing the same sign: "Lower your buckets."

Although he had lost all hope, the captain was desperate and feared for the lives of his crew, so he finally gave the order to lower the buckets. When the sailors tasted the water, they were all amazed: It was actually freshwater! It had been there all along. The output and power of the Amazon River were so great that, even that far out to sea, there was still a substantial amount of fresh, drinkable water in the ocean.

This story illustrates how often we forget the importance of learning to expect the unexpected. Or, in the words of the great philosopher Heraclitus, "Unless you expect the unexpected, you will never find truth."

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