Miami Priest 'Father Oprah' Cutie Broke Celibacy Vow Joins Episcopal Church

Should Priests Be Allowed to Marry? Since It's Just an Old Tradition, What's the Problem?

An internationally known Catholic priest Alberto nicknamed 'Father Oprah' Cutie was shown in multiple May 5th 2009 photographs embracing a bathing-suit-clad woman on a hot Florida beach. After being confronted with the photos, the priest admitted having a two-year affair and quickly issued an apology. Nonetheless, Priest Alberto Cutie nicknamed 'Father Oprah' is being fired from his diocese after being caught with his hands down the woman's bikini. 

On the controversy, in his own words, Cutie has stated:
“I never knew that [the photos] existed until I saw them. That’s what’s interesting. I knew for some time that I was being followed .”

Interestingly, the Father has known the woman for ten years but only started a romantic relationship recently. The photos themselves leave little to the imagination. The couple photographed are shown in some passionate moments, which would be embarrassing for any public figure, let alone a famous priest.

Cutie was ordained in May 1995 and had been the first Catholic priest to host a daily talk show on a major secular television network. Immediately after the scandal broke, the Father was relieved of his radio show and his parish at his South Beach church. Following the media storm, content was removed from his official website and replaced with a statement:

Father Oprah Intimate Photo "Before God - full of love and mercy - I ask for the forgiveness of those who may be hurt or saddened by my actions. Since I entered the seminary at the age of 18, the priesthood has brought me great joy.  The commitment that I made to serve God will remain intact. I am grateful for the love and support I have received today from so many in our community, especially my parishioners and the supporters of the radio stations who have demonstrated great compassion and understanding toward me as a human being. I ask for your continued prayers and support. " - Father Albert Cutie.

On May 11th 2009, in a televised interview for CBS morning show, Father Cutie announced that he was thinking of leaving the Catholic Church and for the woman he loves and that he supported the church's position that priests should not marry. He did not want to become the poster child for the "anti-celibacy priest".  Unfortunately, these revelations have put him directly in that spotlight.

Ruhama Buni Canellis Many point to the fact that there is nothing in the bible requiring that a disciple or preacher of scripture must be celibate. In fact the rule was established by Catholic Church as part of regulation not doctrine. Many of the early popes and priests were married, including the first, St. Peter. The rule was decided upon in the fourth century and has been hotly debated ever since.

In modern day, the cover of TV Notas screamed "Good God! Father Alberto!" Now he says he is in love with the woman and may even wish to marry her. She's divorced and according to the report from People Magazine, she is "Ruhama Buni Canellis, 35, a divorced mom living in Miami Beach, who has been fighting off photographers for the past week."

What do you think?

For many years of the Church's history, celibacy was considered optional. Based on the customs of the times, it is assumed by many that like Peter, most of the Apostles were married and had families. List of sexually active popes

Father Oprah's Dilemma

Surely, Father Cutie is not the first priest to notice a pretty girl; a cleric's collar does not make a man a saint. In becoming a priest, Father Cutie freely accepted the challenge of his humanity and vowed to uphold his celibacy. He should have left the priesthood, perhaps joined the Episcopal Church, when he first felt the stirrings of his dilemma. Doing so would have been admirable, truthful, righteous. Choosing a lie over the truth, living in sin, and jumping ship when outed was meek, dishonest, disgraceful. Father Cutie cannot blame the Catholic Church and its policies for his own actions. He exercised his free will. He chose the lie. He chose the spotlight. He made the mess, and now he has written a tell-all to clean it up and sweep larger issues under the rug. The Father Cutie scandal is not about celibacy in the Catholic Church. It is not about Catholics wrongly equating the Church establishment with faith, nor is it about the difference between religion and faith. Bottom line: it's about a man making a promise to his Church and very publicly breaking it. What's next? Father Oprah, the Movie? Rated R?