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Miami priest in photo scandal weds girlfriend

A priest and media celebrity who left the Catholic Church last month after he was photographed cuddling his girlfriend on a Florida beach has married the woman.
Priest Photos
Rev. Alberto Cutie, left, reads a statement as his girlfriend Ruhama Canellis, right, looks on during a May 28 news conference at the Trinity Cathedral Church in Miami. The telegenic Miami priest left the Catholic Church amid an uproar over published photos of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach.Lynne Sladky / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A telegenic Miami priest known as "Father Oprah," who left the Catholic Church amid an uproar over tabloid photos of him kissing his girlfriend on the beach, has made the relationship official, marrying the woman he was involved with for about two years.

The Rev. Alberto Cutie and Ruhama Canellis were married Tuesday by a judge in Coral Gables, according to Miami-Dade County court records. No other details of the wedding were known.

It was the latest in the public spectacle that started when photos of Cutie embracing his longtime girlfriend surfaced last month.

Amid the scandal, Cutie was removed from his South Beach parish, protesters marched to support him, and he departed from Catholicism to become an Episcopal priest. The Episcopal church is the U.S. branch of the Anglican communion.

Cutie, 40, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. Last month, in an interview with CBS, he said, "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."

Canellis, 35, met Cutie in church. The priest said they were friends for years before becoming romantically involved. An e-mail to Canellis prompted an automatic reply that said the account was not being checked but to "keep us in your prayers."

Expert on relationships
Cutie remains, technically at least, a Catholic priest, though the Miami archdiocese has barred him from celebrating Mass, providing the sacraments or preaching. Only the Vatican can fully remove him from the priesthood.

The Catholic archdiocese declined to comment on the marriage. A message left with a spokeswoman at the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida was not immediately returned. Cutie gave his first sermon before Episcopalians last month, but must meet other requirements before becoming a full-fledged priest in the religion.

Even before the scandal erupted, Cutie's face and voice were known to many for radio and TV broadcasts beamed throughout the Americas and in Spain. He was widely known as a relationship expert, even referred to as "Father Oprah," and he authored a book titled "Real Life, Real Love: 7 Paths to a Strong, Lasting Relationship."

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