- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MIAMI (AP) | A popular Miami priest and media personality said Monday that he is thinking about repudiating his ordination for a woman he loves after a magazine ran pictures of the couple kissing and hugging.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie told CBS’ “The Early Show” on Monday that he supports the Roman Catholic Church’s rule that priests cannot marry and said he does not want to become the “anti-celibacy priest.”

“I think it’s a debate that’s going on in our society, and now I’ve become kind of a poster boy for it. But I don’t want to be that. I believe that celibacy is good, and that it’s a good commitment to God,” Father Cutie said.

Father Cutie was removed last week as head of the Miami Archdiocese’s international radio network and as head of his parish after the Spanish-language magazine TVnotas ran photos of him embracing a woman at a bar and at a beach.

Father Cutie headed the archdiocese’s Radio Paz and Radio Peace broadcasts, heard throughout the Americas and in Spain, and earned the nickname “Father Oprah” for his relationship advice.

The Cuban-American priest was born in Puerto Rico and previously hosted shows on Telemundo. He is also a syndicated Spanish-language columnist and author of the book “Real Life, Real Love: 7 Paths to a Strong, Lasting Relationship.”

Father Cutie told CBS that he has been romantically involved with the woman in the photos for about two years after being friends for much longer. He said he is still deciding whether to leave the clergy and get married.

“I’m now in the process of thinking about all those things, of making decisions,” Father Cutie said. “And my bishop has given me the time to think about it. This is a difficult time. It’s a time of transition, it’s a time of thinking about the future.”

“I believe that I’ve fallen in love, and I believe that I’ve struggled with that, between my love for God, and my love for the church and my love for service,” Father Cutie said.

He appeared on CBS wearing a suit jacket and white shirt, not his priest’s collar.

Last week, more than a hundred people gathered outside St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach, waving posters and chanting their forgiveness for Father Cutie.

“I think we all have ideals, and we have ways of living,” Father Cutie said on CBS. “We want to do things right, but sometimes we fall short. And I fell short.”

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