Popular Fla. Priest Caught in Sex Scandal

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2009 5:56 PM CDT
The Rev. Alberto Cutie, who is on leave from his duties as the pastor of St. Francis de Sales parish in Miami Beach.   (The Archdiocese of Miami)

(Newser) – A scandal involving a hunky and popular Catholic priest caught cavorting on a Florida beach with an attractive woman is renewing a debate over celibacy and the priesthood, the Miami Herald reports. After the Rev. Alberto Cutié—no sniggering, it's pronounced koo-tee-AY—was photographed kissing and fondling a woman, the Archdiocese of Miami suspended him from saying Mass and leading his Miami Beach parish.

The 40-year-old Cutié, who has a TV show on the EWTN Catholic network and an international following, has apologized and says he's taking time for "personal reflection." Today, parishioners rallied in his defense. ''I think this is the precise moment for the church to recognize that priests are flesh and blood,'' said one. "They should marry, too. I'm sure they'd still be exemplary people.''