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‘Father Oprah’ breaks with Church, becomes Episcopalian; war of words between archbishop, Episcopal leader

Catholic World News - May 29, 2009

Father Alberto Cutié-- a Miami archdiocesan priest whose television, radio, and newspaper outreach extended to outlets as varied as Telemundo and EWTN, and whose public ministry in the Church ended following the publication of compromising photographs-- has abandoned the Catholic faith and joined the Episcopal Church.

“This truly is a serious setback for ecumenical relations and cooperation between us,” said Miami Archbishop John Favalora said following Cutié’s reception into the Episcopal Church by the local Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade, who had publicly invited Cutié to join his ecclesial community. “Father Cutié is removing himself from full communion with the Catholic Church and thereby forfeiting his rights as a cleric,” the archbishop said, adding that Cutié is “still bound by his promise to live a celibate life, which he freely embraced at ordination. Only the Holy Father can release him from that obligation.”

“That promise is not recognized by our church,” Bishop Frade responded. “If you can find it in the Bible that priests should be celibate, that will be corrected.”

A Miami Herald editorial wryly observed, “Mr. Cutié's charisma no doubt attracted believers to his former church. No surprise then that his sudden loss of standing within the church for which he so ably proselytized hurt many of his followers. Yet the great religions that have withstood the test of centuries are founded on the doctrine and timeless ideals of inspired teachers, as well as the institutions that disseminate the holy word. Those who place their faith in celebrity instead of the message of their own religions will always be disappointed.”

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