A popular Miami priest and media personality said Monday he is thinking about leaving the Roman Catholic Church for a woman he loves after a magazine ran pictures of the couple kissing and hugging.
Rev. Alberto Cutie told the CBS "Early Show" on Monday he supports the church's stand that priests should be celibate 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," Cutie said.
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 Cutie embracing a woman at a bar and at a beach.
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."
Cutie told CBS 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.
‘A time of transition’
"I'm now in the process of thinking about all those things, of making decisions," 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," Cutie said.
He appeared on CBS wearing a suit jacket and white shirt, not his priest collar.
Last week, more than one hundred people gathered outside St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach, waving posters and chanting their forgiveness for Cutie.
"I think we all have ideals and we have ways of living," Cutie said on CBS. "We want to do things right, but sometimes we fall short. And I fell short."