A popular Miami priest and media personality known as "Father Oprah" has left the Catholic Church to become an Anglican after he was photographed cavorting on the beach with his girlfriend.
The Rev. Alberto Cutié was 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.
He was received into the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, in a ceremony Thursday at Trinity Cathedral and may later announce he will marry his girlfriend, which is allowed in that denomination. He must complete other requirements before serving as an Episcopal priest.
"I thank God for the many people in our community who have shown me their love and support," Cutié said in a statement Thursday. "Your prayers have truly sustained me at this time of transition in my life. With God's help, I hope to continue priestly ministry and service in my new spiritual home."
Cutié has previously said he supports the Catholic Church's stand that priests should be celibate and does not want to become the "anti-celibacy priest."
The Cuban-American priest was born in Puerto Rico and previously hosted shows on the Spanish-language channel 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."
He headed the archdiocese's Radio Paz and Radio Peace broadcasts, heard throughout the Americas and in Spain, and earned the nickname "Father Oprah" — as in talk show host Oprah Winfrey — for his relationship advice.
Earlier this month, Cutié told CBS he has been romantically involved with the woman in the photos for about two years after being friends for much longer.
"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," Cutié said.
After the scandal, more than 100 people gathered outside Cutié's former parish in Miami Beach, waving posters and chanting their forgiveness following the scandal.