Two priests who serve in the Archdiocese of Chicago headed by Cardinal Blase Cupich, a close ally of Pope Francis, were arrested on Monday in Miami Beach and charged with Lewd and Lascivious behavior after pedestrians and the police observed the two priests performing oral sex in a parked car.
The sexual activity took place at around 3:00PM "in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk," said the police, as reported by 4 CBS Miami. The police further noted that there is a children's playground near the intersection of 13th Street and Ocean Drive.
The two priests arrested and charged are Fr. Diego Berrio, 39, and Fr. Edwin Giraldo Cortez, 30. Both priests reportedly are assigned to the Mission San Juan Diego parish in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which is under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Cupich. Also, Fr. Berrio is listed as a tribunal judge with the Archdiocese.
Fr. Berrio was charged with Lewd and Lascivious Behavior and Fr. Giraldo Cortez was charged with Lewd and Lascivious Behavior and Indecent Exposure.
Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez told CBS Miami, "Yesterday, we received a call indicating that two men were performing a sex act inside of a car. This is in broad daylight. 13th Street and Ocean Drive."
When police arrived at the car, the sodomy was still occuring. "We observed the two males performing the sex act," said the spokesman. "The officer had to tap on the window to get their attention."
According to NBC 6 in Miami, Berrio is being held on $250 bond and Cortez is being held on $1500 bond.
In recent weeks, several Catholic cardinals, bishops, priests, and laymen have denounced the "homosexual subculture" in the Catholic Church, a subculture that is primarily responsible for the vast majority of sexual abuse cases over the last 40 years.
In an Aug. 18 letter to the Catholics in his diocese in Madison, Wisc., for instance, Bishop Robert Morlino wrote, "It is time to admit that there is a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord. The Church’s teaching is clear that the homosexual inclination is not in itself sinful, but it is intrinsically disordered in a way that renders any man stably afflicted by it unfit to be a priest.
"And the decision to act upon this disordered inclination is a sin so grave that it cries out to heaven for vengeance, especially when it involves preying upon the young or the vulnerable."
"Such wickedness should be hated with a perfect hatred," said Bishop Morlino. "Christian charity itself demands that we should hate wickedness just as we love goodness. But while hating the sin, we must never hate the sinner, who is called to conversion, penance, and renewed communion with Christ and His Church, through His inexhaustible mercy."
"To be clear, in the specific situations at hand, we are talking about deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics," said the bishop. "We’re also talking about homosexual propositions and abuses against seminarians and young priests by powerful priests, bishops, and cardinals."
"We are talking about acts and actions which are not only in violation of the sacred promises made by some, in short, sacrilege, but also are in violation of the natural moral law for all. To call it anything else would be deceitful and would only ignore the problem further."
"There has been a great deal of effort to keep separate acts which fall under the category of now-culturally-acceptable acts of homosexuality from the publically-deplorable acts of pedophilia," he said. "That is to say, until recently the problems of the Church have been painted purely as problems of pedophilia — this despite clear evidence to the contrary."