On the set of his show Padre Albert, Father Alberto Cutie, listens to his guest Sept. 28, 1999, in Miami. The topic of the show on this day was sex in marriage. The 30-year-old priest attributes the growing numbers in his congregation to the popularity of his show that airs on the spanish network station Telemundo. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Roughly a year after scandalous photos of Miami's celebrity priest with his hand on the hot bottom of his divorced girlfriend ran in a Mexican tabloid, prompting an international scandal and causing him to leave the Roman Catholic Church, Alberto Cutié is back in the news.
And the news is that Cutié isn't really back in the news at all.
The 41-year-old former "Father Oprah" was made an Episcopal priest Saturday and conducted his first mass Sunday at Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park, where he's been serving as a layman since the revelation of his affair with parishioner Ruhama Canallis lost him the backing of the powerful Archdioses of Miami, the advice column and the cable show carried in 22 countries.
"I'm really trying to serve the same God I’ve always served," Cutie said, "obviously in a different church."
But Cutié is shepherding this church from a far different place than he did South Beach's St. Francis de Sales: he has "shied away from having a central role in media," works for a relatively tiny diocese, lives in a three-bedroom house in suburban Miami Shores with his now-wife and stepson, and is awaiting the birth of his first child.
"All the apostles had wives and families" Cutie rationalized. "I've always been a spiritual father, to also be a biological father is a blessing."
Yep, Ruhama Cutié is three months pregnant, and the Herald says Padre Alberto makes Cuban food before games of Chinese Checkers in the living room.
What a difference a year makes.
"I never wanted to be the anti-anything poster child,'' Cutié told the Miami Herald. "I love the Roman Catholic Church and I love the Roman Catholic community. I understand the good the bad and the ugly of the church.''
Be that as it may, it's in the Episcopal Church where Cutié is laying low -- or as low as a man can when in one year his congregation has grown from 28 people with no air conditioning to 250 in the midst of a property improvement campaign.
His new denomination is "welcoming of all," even himself, he says. And, fortunately for a front page still recovering from the first go-round, there's no pesky vow of celibacy.