- The Rev. Alberto Cutié, the celebrity priest removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month, has left the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami to join the Episcopal church
At a news conference in front of the church, Cutié is expected to announce that he will marry his girlfriend, whom media reports have cited as 35-year-old Ruhama Buni Canellis, a divorced mother living in Miami Beach.
Cutié got into trouble with the Archdiocese of Miami earlier this month when compromising pictures of the 40-year-old cleric were published in the Spanish-language magazine TVnotas. The magazine's cover showed the priest in blue shorts lying on his back embracing a woman with long brown hair, a violation of his vow of chastity. Additional photos inside the magazine showed him kissing the woman.
Such a relationship [marriage of priests] is not prohibited in the more liberal Episcopal church, which considers itself the ''middle way'' between Protestantism and Catholicism. It ordains women and has an openly gay bishop.
Cutié is initially a lay person in the Episcopal church -- not a priest. The process of a Catholic priest becoming an Episcopal priest takes at least a year, experts say.
On Thursday, Cutié knelt in front of his new bishop and a handful of priests as Frade recited the traditional words to receive a new member of the church.
'We recognize you as a member of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church;and we receive you into the fellowship of this communion. God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless, preserve and keep you. Amen,'' Frade said.
While not having the same authority as a priest, Bishop Frade plans to give Cutié special status as a lay minister, meaning he can preach in Episcopal churches but not celebrate the Eucharist, the symbolic body and blood of Christ. Frade will grant that authority to Cutié in a ceremony Sunday at the Episcopal Church of The Resurrection in Biscayne Park.
In previous interviews, Frade had said he and Cutié had spoken following the media frenzy surrounding the priest, which included an appearance on CBS' The Early Show and Spanish-language network Univisión, in addition to national and international newspapers.
In the interviews, Cutié has said he loves the woman and hinted at marriage and kids in the future.
I wonder, will he be more sympathetic to the plight of the millions who do not have the same right, under church law, to express their sexuality? Or, will he be just one more hypocrite?
I fear it will be the latter.