May 8th, 2009
05:24 PM ET

The Father Cutie Scandal: Sex and the Single Priest

Tim Padgett

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2009/0905/cuban_amer_priest_0506.jpg caption="Cuban American Catholic Father Alberto Cutie, a popular latin TV show host, poses for photographers upon his arrival to the Latin Billboard Music Awards in Miami."]

If only it were the worst thing that a Roman Catholic priest has been caught doing. The Mexican celebrity magazine TVnotas recently published 25 paparazzi photos of the Rev. Alberto Cutié, the popular Miami Beach priest famous for his Spanish-language television and radio talk shows, cavorting amorously on a Florida beach with an attractive woman. Over a three-day period, the pictures also captured him kissing her in a bar. In one of TVnotas's "in fragranti" shots [Note to TVnotas copy editors: it's "in flagrante"] the woman wraps her legs around Cutié; in another, Cutié has a hand down her swimsuit, fondling her rear end.

Because of the scandal, the Archdiocese of Miami says Cutié, 40, is no longer the administrator of his Miami Beach parish, and it has barred him from leading Sunday mass there. His media work seems up in the air now, and the popular website padrealberto.net has only a blue screen with a message from Cutié asking forgiveness.

Most Catholics probably don't approve of Cutié's affair. Still, will they back the archdiocese? Cutié's punishment is understandable at first glance, at least for his hypocrisy if not for the betrayal of his oath of celibacy. To the Catholic Church, priestly ordination means a marriage vow to the church — the "bride of Christ." In a statement, Miami Archbishop John Favalora said Cutié's actions "cannot be condoned despite the good work he's done as a priest."


Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Al

    I feel bad for him; he is a good man in many ways. However, I have watched him since he started on TV and the radio and he is very conservative. What I mean to say is that he has always been 100% in favor of church teachings, without any question.

    However, it appears that he has been dishonest, because obviously he does not favor many church policies. So, has he been lying? That's the more serious issue. What else doesn't he really believe that he has been openly supporting for years?

    Frankly speaking, I think it is pathetic if anyone's faith depends on this one man. I really think that he is definitely a very self-absorbed man and egocentric. He is always on the radio, on TV, in the newspaper, or having his picture taken with some famous Latin celebs. How much time can he be spending with normal people? His website looks (looked?) like a tribute to him! His picture is on every page!

    I really feel bad for devoted priests who have lived their vows faithfully. Their bishops don't allow them to be media personalities, and they don't have girlfriends.

    May 10, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  2. Dean Johansen

    If only he were a married democrat...we likely wouldn't be commenting on it.

    May 9, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  3. yvette

    The Catholic Church needs to WAKE UP! The Archbishop of Miami can not "condone" Father Cutie's actions but condones the hundreds of Priest that abuse children by relocating them to other parishes? What is wrong with this picture? They truly need to re-evaluate their stance on Priest's being allowed to marry. Just when I thought my opinions of the Catholic Church couldn't be any lower. May God help them.

    May 9, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Catrina Vela

    The media is criticizing him for not apologizing, I don't think that he should apologize for being in love. However the apology that i am still waiting for is that of all the priests who have molested and raped little boys and girls. But don't worry I am not holding my breath.

    May 9, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  5. Yo, I'm catholic!

    I totally agree Barb. It's this backwards thinking that makes me NOT want to go to church. "We'll definitley back you up as you rape little boys but DAMN YOU TO HELL if you look at another woman!!!!"

    Times are changing and the Catholic church as well as other religions need to as well. Yes, it is hypocrisy for the priest to be doing this but seriously....asking anyone to not get married and be celiabte for the rest of their lives is cruel and unusual punishment. This shouldn't be an issue at all when there are children out there getting raped/sexually abused by priests.

    May 9, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  6. GO

    Anderson had a priest on Friday that fell in love (with a nun) and left the priesthood 30 years ago! They felt priests should be allowed to marry but regardless, still loved their Catholic faith. It was a sweet story. The guest looked kind of silly because he said the priest celebacy thing was not doctrine but just tradition (and he is right) and that it makes it hard for the Church to survive.....although he looked kind of sheepish when he had to say this is how it's been in the Catholic Church for 1000 years. HELLO! Things aren't going to change! Sorry.

    Any entity that has been around for 2000 years is going to make some mistakes but give a little credit for the fact that the Church doesn't just go with the flow!

    Come on. Stand for something! It is soooo easy for everyone just to complain and pile on.

    May 9, 2009 at 8:16 am |
  7. Emil

    I'm surprised to see that all posts on here so far are - at best - indifferent to the Catholic Church, and hope my message will be published so I might explain some things:

    1) Fr. Alberto Cutie, whom I have always admired, is not a trailblazer for those who stand against priestly celibacy, but a man who has broken his vows to God. Couldn't he have done the same to his wife and the Church were he a married priest?

    2) People are taking advantage of this to attack the Catholic Church, and they have been given the chance by a famous priest who should have remained chaste or asked to be laicized instead of perpetrating scandal on the Church.

    3) Pedophiles and other priests like Father Cutie have a Christ-given right to be forgiven if they repent (Matthew 18:21-22). If anything, I believe the majority of Church leaders were guilty of naiveté instead of a malicious game of "transfer the pedophiles". However, I do believe pedophile priests and religious should be defrocked.

    4) God indeed does love us no matter what. But, do we love Him as much? Speaking from experience, I lived a gay lifestyle for over twenty-five years, and it took me that long to realize that in order to follow Christ, I would have to leave that lifestyle behind and be chaste. I prayed for help, and now I've been chaste for over ten years - although I didn‘t turn straight. And I haven't slipped, having joy in my life as I never had before, instead.

    5) As Jesus instructed us, we must deny ourselves (a call to discipline and holiness), and pick up our cross (our battle against our weaknesses and sinfulness) and follow Him (Mark 8:34). As he promised, this cross is not hard to bear (Matthew 11:30), although at first it seems easier simply to ignore it.

    In Christ,

    May 9, 2009 at 5:26 am |
  8. MUGO

    i think catholic priests should have a choice to marry or not,, why pretend to lead a celibacy life while they have sex behind closed doors, why all the sex scandles? God has given them bodly desires just like anyone else. I was a student in a seminary and i'm certain that there are no celibacy laws behind the doors.

    May 9, 2009 at 2:38 am |
  9. Greattheophany

    As a Roman Catholic, it is time for priest to be allowed to marry. This is terrible old draconian rule made up by old men in drag. It would be a great move in the right direction in a floundering church.

    ROMANS 8:31-39 don't forget:

    May 9, 2009 at 2:21 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    You are painting him as sex criminal "having cutie's" etc etc shame on you discuss the issue reasonably and stop oh please stop making this a sex scandal which it is not!!
    Long time since i have seen such poor quality reporting.

    May 9, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  11. Dawn

    When ALL gay people are allowed to marry, then Catholic Priests should be allowed to marry!

    May 9, 2009 at 1:32 am |
  12. Mary

    It is inhumane to expect EVERY candidate for the priesthood to be celibate. Considering Maslow's hierarchy of needs, sex (a gift from God) is as necessary for most humans as breathing and eating. It is a very rare human who willingly wants to sacrifice this normal appetite because of his vocation. Christ never imposed it upon His apostles. This idea was concocted in Medieval times because it is expensive for the Church to support wives and children and the Church was very poor at that time. How it evolved into the "necessity" so more time is available for Church duties, I cannot imagin. Many other religions do very well with allowing their ministers to get married. The Catholic Church is hurting for vocations because of this rigid and abnormal man-made rule, and in turn, the numbers of Catholics are dwindling, besides the numerous parishes in the lower income areas being closed because of celibacy. This forced life-style is also responsible for many priests having affairs, turning to alcohol as an escape, and creating a safe haven for pedophiles to use as a cover, besides other sexual perversions. Sex is a normal human need, and squelching this outlet will find its out in some unusual way! Hopefully, someday soon, we will have a Pope with the wisdom to change this ridiculous and selfish rule. The Catholic Church is one of the richest institutions in the world, and it can well afford to support normal lives for its priests.

    I am a practicing Roman Catholic with 16 years of Catholic education, and numerous other Catholics, educated or not, want this foolish requirement changed for the good of their priests.

    May 9, 2009 at 12:12 am |
  13. Jose Arreola

    Hey Father Cutie' if the catholics run you of Jesus Christ still loves you he bled and died that you may be free,repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of your sins and you shall recieve the gift of the holy ghost(acts 2:38) Its the only way to truly serve him, in spirit and truth. Run away as fast as you can from the catholic doctrine and all its idolatries and truly serve Jesus if eternal life is what you seek your choice.

    May 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm |
  14. Jose Arreola

    the bible teaches that a person in ministry should be married. Why the catholic church encourages the priest to not marry? who knows, if the priest married there would be less molestations and sex allegations.

    May 8, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  15. Forrest

    The church establishment needs to update it's value system to something more appropriate for today's society. It's really that simple.

    May 8, 2009 at 11:27 pm |
  16. M.O.

    I think Fr. Alberto should have waited to resign from the priesthood before cavorting around with someone on the beach. The celibacy rule, archaic as it may be, has been in place for centuries and Fr. Alberto was fully aware of that. It is understandable that he fell in love and wants to pursue romantic relationship with someone, since he is human. But I just believe he should have handled it differently.

    May 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  17. marie

    i understand a priest is supposed to be devoted to God only, but i think it would be ok if they wanted to marry because it's human nature, so maybe if they are allowed to have a marriage between a man and woman as the Bible says, maybe there wouldn't be so much sexual abuse on the children.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  18. Patricia

    The Roman Catholic Church is not the only Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox Churches allow their priests to marry and the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, (you can google it) which traces its origins to the 1st Vatican Council, allows married priests, female priests and gay priests. I know this flies in the face of Roman Catholic tradition but remember, Jesus did not turn anyone away. He said, “Go and sin no more”. Unless we are willing to say that being married, a woman or gay is a sin, then we must accept married, female and gay priests. It makes me sad that Father Alberto can not continue to serve the Church he loves and be married to the woman he loves. The Roman Church drove him to be hypocritical and I don’t blame him I blame the church.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  19. joe petrillo

    I am a Catholic and graduate of a Cotholic Prep School, and Catholic University, 55 year graduate, I totally Agree with Fr.Curtie and his getting married. I have always agreed that Catholic priest SHOULD be allowed to get married. How can they know or understand the problems ,good or bad, that married people are confronted with unless they experience them, All the book learning and lectures by other single males (priests) cannot replace married life. The Apostles were married men as well as the early "priests" and leaders of the Church. Many Christian sects, Orthodox, Episcopalians, and other allow their priests to marry. If an individual has a calling to the religious life and wants to remain celebate, thats fine, but if he chooses to marry he should be allowed.The Church,unfortuneatelyhas been controlled by very old,conservative and mediavel minded individuals. By the way I am married.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  20. marjorie

    anderson God i authorized marriage between a man and a woman why is the church against a man of God being married.they need to allow these men to get married,then theire will not be so mang molesting little boys

    May 8, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  21. Jordan

    Here is the issue why Catholic priests cannot marry: When the priest dies, where does his money (estate) go? If married, it goes to his spouse or family. If single, it goes to the Catholic Church. It's easy to see why the rule hasn't been changed.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  22. Lynne Splinter

    After seeing his photo, he is much too handsome to waste on the priest-hood. Just my opinion.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  23. Debbie - Arkansas

    I am a "recovering Catholic" christian...Priests SHOULD absolutely have the right to marry! The Vatican came up with the notion of "no marriage" for priests! A priest and nun from my old [Catholic] high school eventually left, and married...and they're happy!!

    Consider...that there may not have been so many "sex scandals" if the marriage thing had been different. It's not "normal" for them NOT to have the right to marry.

    May 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm |
  24. Melba González

    Padre Alberto baptized my sons, I have admired him for years, he's the BEST priest I have ever met. He's brilliant, funny, dedicated to the Church and loved by those who know him.
    I truly believe that he did this on purpose to put a stop to the RIDICULOUS CELIBACY LAWS . I support him 150%, he's the one that has the power to make the Church open its eyes and reconsider these outdated laws. The Church has spent millions of dollars paying for the pedophile scandal but it doesn't want to pay to support wives and children of priests. It's all about money, as usual. Padre Alberto's last name has an accent, it's spelled Cutié. We prefer to call him Father Alberto. We respect and love him.

    May 8, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  25. doris padin

    May 8 2009 Very sad God loves us no matter what. The catholic Church should be more comprehensive.

    May 8, 2009 at 8:02 pm |
  26. GF, Los Angeles

    It's sad that a grown man having a romantic relationship with a grown consenting woman causes this much scandal and repercussions yet a priest can molest and rape altar boys for decades and face no problems. Makes me proud to be an Atheist!

    May 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    The Catholic church needs to experience a second Renaissance and update its priestly requirements, throwing celibacy overboard. I have always wondered how a man who has never been married could counsel those that are married – he just has absolutely no frame of reference personally to be effective.

    May 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  28. Cindy

    I don't see why this is such a big deal! Not allowing a priest to marry is just asking for trouble! Married men are just as capable of being priests as a single man is. At least this guy was going after a woman and not a boy or little girl.


    May 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  29. Arachnae

    I thought your headline "the Father Cutie scandal" was flippant... until I saw that was the priest's name. My bad.

    May 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  30. Evita

    It goes to show what a bunch of hypocrites the leaders of the Catholic Church are! They condoned the behavior of pedophiles in their church, who committed some of the vilest acts against children, by “hiding” them through the process of moving the perpetrators from parish to parish for years. Yet, they pounce on a young priest who wasn’t hiding what he was doing like a bunch of piranha. Hey, where were the piranhas when they heard a priest was sexually abusing a child?

    As a former Catholic, left after the pedophilia scandal, I have never understood the “celibacy” crap. I say, give all servants of the Church the option to remain celibate or married!

    May 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  31. Janine from PA.

    The catholic church would have less problems if they would let priests marry. You are not less a servant of God if you are not celebant.

    May 8, 2009 at 6:01 pm |
  32. Barbara in Boston

    Amazing how quickly the church adminshes a priest for having an affair with a single, consenting adult woman, but covers up pedophilia. Talk about skewed priorities.

    May 8, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  33. Rodney Timbrook

    The shocking thing truly should be that he was getting amorous with a woman!

    May 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm |