Cutie's choice: Love or Catholic Church

Posted by Rachel Leigh email

MIAMI (AP) - A popular Miami priest and media personality says he isn't sure if he's ready to leave the Catholic Church for a woman, he says, he loves.

Pictures of Padre Alberto Cutie were published last week of him embracing 35-year-old Ruhama Canellis. She is a divorced mother living in Miami Beach.

But, the 40-year-old priest said Monday morning on "The Early Show" he didn't want to become the "anti-celibacy priest".

He has gone on leave from his duties as head of the parish and the archdiocese's international radio network; however, Cutie said, he wasn't sure if he would leave the priesthood.

Cutie earned the nickname "Father Oprah" for his relationship advice and previously hosted shows on Telemundo. He is also a syndicated Spanish-language columnist and author.

Meanwhile, this is sparking the controversial question: Should the Catholic Church reconsider its centuries-old rule of celibacy for priests and nuns?

Padre Alberto Cutie outed by a magazine. He was seen last week embracing 35 year-old Ruhama Canellis. She is a divorced mother living in Miami Beach. Now, the 40 year-old priest says he's in love with her. So, what about his vow of celibacy?

Church-goer Francisco Castillo says, "I think it's good for the Catholic church." Etta Bagley says, "They're men first. They are men first. For that reason they need to re-think that."

Mixed reactions: Should priests be allowed to have a family, have sex? Wilda Simon attends St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach. She sees both sides of the argument, "I think if they took the vow they need uphold that, because all of the priests they knew what they were getting themselves into. But I also believe everybody deserves a second chance."

In it's truest form, celibacy means, "the state of not being married". It became church law in 1215. To date Roman catholic priests, monks and nuns follow the rule. Different arguments on how it started. Some say it's to be closer to God. Others, early priests were too caught up with worldly affairs, and women.

Francisco Castillo believes fully in keeping celibacy in the catholic church, but acknowledges after this recent scandal the church needs to sit down and talk, "We have to still down as a church and recognize our problems and get back to what we were before."

For now, no word on Father Cutie's future with the Catholic Church. We do now, however, he is considering marriage and children.